Lost her last election, in 1997, with 22% of the vote.
Supply May 30th, 1996
Supply May 16th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I understand our difficulty. The hon. member suggested that I was confused and contradicted myself. He did not give any examples, ergo I cannot refute his utterly ridiculous charge.
He said that we do not share. I gave eight examples of where the federal government not only shares but shares most generously in federal funds with the province of Quebec without even getting into the transfer payments.
Finally, our federation certainly has its problems as do other federations. I know we can overcome these problems because on this side of the House we have faith in the sense and sensibility and the good hearts of all Canadians whether they live in Quebec or anywhere else in the country. I am sorry the hon. member over there does not. However we will prevail.
Supply May 16th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with my colleague, the hon. member for St. Boniface.
I am very pleased to take part in the debate today. I am glad the hon. member from Scarborough asked the hon. member from Kamouraska the question about to whom the term we refers. When I look at the quote in the original motion, I remind hon. members opposite that in 1985 we did win, just as we did win in 1995. As far as I am concerned we refers to all Canadians, whether you live in Quebec, British Columbia, or the Yukon, whether you speak French or English, the we includes all of us from sea to sea to sea.
The Bloc motion seeks to sow confusion once again among Canadians, then blame it on the federal government. I draw to the attention of the House and the attention of Quebecers in particular to the true intention behind the words of the secessionists. I will deal briefly with a number of myths that they enjoy circulating.
First, let me talk about transfers to the provinces, the first myth we have to deal with. Quebec's current finance minister said when he tabled his last budget that Quebec is the most indebted province. Indeed, its economy generates revenues for the provincial government which fall below the Canadian average.
It is precisely to remedy the inequalities this situation could cause over time that the federal government provides Quebec with generous and completely unconditional equalization payments every year. A federal system can afford to do that, unlike a separate and separated heavily indebted country.
Quebec is not the only province that receives federal transfer payments. My province of Nova Scotia does, as do Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. It is because we are a federation, it is because as a federation we believe in assisting each other.
Mr. Speaker, you will remember there was a time when Quebecers and maritimers, eastern Canadians in general, paid $5 a barrel over the world price for oil in order to get the Alberta oil industry moving. That is what a federation is about, helping one part of the federation when it is needed.
Transfers to the provinces represent a substantial part of the federal government's program spending. We could therefore not reasonably streamline the spending in the last budget without touching those transfers, but they are still there and will continue to be there.
Nevertheless, the cuts in transfers to the provinces that were made are far from disproportionate. They will require from all the provinces an effort to adjust that is well below the one that the federal government is imposing on itself. Thus, in the next two years the federal government intends to reduce its own spending by 7.3 per cent while the main transfers to the provinces will be cut by only 4.4 per cent. In other words, the federal government is being much easier on the provinces, Quebec included, than it is on itself.
The Bloc is also trying to make people believe that cuts in federal transfers affect Quebec more than the other provinces. However, it has taken pains not to mention Le Hir study which stated that Quebec's share in that regard has remained stable for 15 years at around 30 per cent, which is clearly greater than Quebec's proportion of the Canadian population.
Moreover, the Bloc is also not mentioning that the reform announced in the last federal budget in this regard even gives additional protection to the seven less wealthy provinces, which include Quebec, because equalization payments to these provinces will continue to increase in the next four years. Equalization payments to Quebec will thus increase by around $200 million for a total of $4.05 billion in 1996-97. Yet another myth that just does not cut it.
The Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois refuse to respect the will of Quebecers, a majority of whom have twice chosen to stay in Canada and work to renew it.
However, the Bloc and the péquiste keep singing the same tune. For example, their unsubstantiated inflating of the cost of overlap and duplication to $3 billion is another deliberate attempt on their part to discredit Canadian federalism and to hoodwink the people in the province of Quebec. Yet they will never admit that.
In the vast majority of cases where the two orders of government are active in the same field of activity, their actions complement one another because they serve different clientele or provide different services to the same clientele. This federalism works and works well for the people of Quebec as it works and works well for the people of every province and territory in this great country.
Furthermore, they are very reluctant to tell people that the few serious analyses of the subject show that the savings achieved would be less than $1.7 billion and that those are gross savings which would be offset in the event of secession by the loss of economies of scale and by higher interest rates on government borrowing.
The overlap being described to Quebecers is much less than our friends across the aisle would have them believe. It certainly is not worth destroying a country for. We intend to minimize unnecessary overlap while ensuring that we effectively manage overlap that is inevitable.
There are other myths too. Our opponents across the aisle like to suggest that Canadian federalism is responsible for the high unemployment in Quebec. That has nothing to do with the Canadian system. Everyone, except it seems the Bloc, seems to know that unemployment is a problem for all western countries. Some unitary states have unemployment rates much higher than Canada. Canada is taking the necessary measures to implement the fullest employment policy possible.
The IMF forecast of a 2.9 per cent economic growth in 1997 is good news for all Canadians and for the Canadian government, whose main objective is to revitalize the economy and improve our economic union. The standard of living of all Canadians depends on it.
The secessionists may not like it but Canada actually works a whole lot better than their highly speculative smoke and mirrors. If federalism is so harmful to the economy and jobs in Quebec why do economists unanimously conclude that the job situation in Quebec would worsen considerably following separation?
The secessionists like to suggest that the Government of Canada gives Quebec money only for unemployment insurance, social assistance and seniors. Yet the federal government has always invested considerable sums of money in Quebec year after year in a large number of projects that are essential to its social, economic and cultural development. Furthermore, statistics show unequivocally that Quebec within Canada is very profitable for Quebecers. In fact, Quebec provides 21.7 per cent of the federal government's revenues and receives more than 24.5 per cent of federal spending.
Let me give a few examples of that spending: 47.5 per cent of Canadian industrial milk quotas go to Quebec farmers; 32 per cent of Canada Council funding is distributed to Quebec, specifically in the literary and publishing field, Quebec receives 40 per cent of
council funding; more than 50 per cent of financial assistance from the Department of Canadian Heritage for publishing and distribution of publications goes to Quebec; 37 per cent of Telefilm Canada funding is distributed in Quebec; 33 per cent of federal funding for the reception and integration of immigrants goes to the Government of Quebec, even though Quebec receives less than 20 per cent of the immigrants who come to Canada each year; $204 million is earmarked for the economic development of the regions of Quebec by the Federal Office for Regional Development-Quebec.
How can the Bloc seriously claim that federalism is hurting Quebec's development and keeping it in a state of dependency? It is beyond understanding. It is smoke and mirrors. It is a sham and one that I do not think Quebecers believe any more than other Canadians do.
Canada is seen as the jailer of Quebec. That is the latest outrage, to compare Canada to a prison in which Quebec is being held against its will. Is this a strange sense of humour, or are the secessionists serious? Indeed, how can Quebec want to separate from their jailers today and yet want to reassociate with them tomorrow?
Belonging to an political and economic union brings with it the obligation of co-operation and consultation. In today's interdependent world, doing what I like is not the objective of any responsible government. It is not even feasible.
Quebecers have twice chosen with their hearts and with their heads not to mortgage their future and their children's future when they benefit from economic and political association with Canada and are part of the country with the best quality of life in the world.
If our friends across the aisle want to help Quebecers, they will have to do their part, abandon their completely unrealistic ideology and work with the majority of their fellow citizens who want and will help us all to build a better Canada.
Privilege May 14th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, it is with some regret that I bring to your attention that following the answer given by the hon. Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women with regard to the women's march, the hon. member for Saint John replied to some comments made from this side: "They are all crazy women. You are all crazy women".
Canadian Human Rights Act May 7th, 1996
Madam Speaker, on a point of privilege. As I sat down the hon. member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia said, to my hearing and I believe to the hearing of some colleagues: "How do you spell Halifax? B-I-G-O-T".
That is unacceptable and unparliamentary. I would ask you to rule.
Canadian Human Rights Act May 7th, 1996
Madam Speaker, I am sorry the hon. member for Scarborough West is so threatened by the fact that history is
relevant to the debate today. He can heckle me privately or publicly whenever he wishes, if he dares.
Richard the Lionhearted was also a homosexual. Julius Caesar was, in the minds of most historians of the period, thought to be bisexual. There are hundreds and thousands of other examples.
I listened to my hon. friend for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia talk about children, scout masters, pedophilia and all of that. What frightens me more than anything else in the House is bigotry, intolerance and fear of the unknown.
What frightens me is a Salem like response, a witch hunt like attitude to people who have a different lifestyle or a different sexual orientation; not a criminal orientation, a different orientation.
As we stand in the House later this week and see the passage of the justice minister's amendment to the Human Rights Act and see the defeat of the group of amendments we are debating here now, I will be proud that members on both sides of the House understand that freedom from discrimination, freedom from fear, the ability to live as full participants in society are things all Canadians deserve, things all Canadians should expect from their government.
The rights enshrined in the charter of rights and freedoms are beyond the enforcement of many Canadians because of financial exigency. However, the rights spelled out in federal and provincial human rights act can and will be enforced by ordinary Canadians, and should be.
I am proud that I am hear in the House this week supporting this amendment brought by the Minister of Justice and voting against the amendments that are fearmongering, intolerant and un-Canadian.
Canadian Human Rights Act May 7th, 1996
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to take part in this debate today. I am particularly delighted that my hon. friend, the member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, brought up history. Some of my remarks have to do with history. I want to make particular note of his comments that certain things were criminal acts in the past and are no longer.
There are other things that were enshrined in our laws in the past and are so no longer. For example, women were considered to be chattel. That is no longer the case, at least in law, although it is sometimes still the case unfortunately in practice. Married women prior to 1870 anywhere in the British Commonwealth could not actually own property. Any property they brought to the marriage became the property of their husbands. We changed that. There are thousands of examples.
However, murder has been murder since Cain killed Abel, and murder is murder today. Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation; pedophilia is a crime. It will continue to be a crime while good people sit in the House of Commons. I believe good people will sit in the House of Commons for a long time to come.
I believe most passionately in the separation of church and state. I believe most passionately in the separation of moral issues and legal issues. I believe most passionately that amendments to the human rights act are legal issues and are long overdue.
In 1604 England and Scotland became the United Kingdom of Great Britain under the monarch James I of England, also styled James VI of Scotland. He effectively completed the Elizabethan age. Under his reign we saw the completion of the Shakespearian plays. We saw the beginnings of the metaphysical poets, great poets and church men like John Donne and George Herbert, to name only two.
We heard and saw the wonderful songs and poetry of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Philip Sydney. There were not too many women writing in those days because they were chattels then, but that has changed.
Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the reign of King James was the justly famous and magnificent work known as the King James Bible.
Not only is the King James Bible in the minds and hearts of adherents of Christianity the inspired word of God, but it is considered a masterpiece of world literature. I studied it in a course on the masterpieces of western literature at Mount Saint Vincent University some 25 years ago.
The King James Bible is something which people of all faiths read with delight and pleasure, with its glories of the English language. I wonder if all my colleagues know that James I, James Stuart of England, James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley was, in the minds of most historians, homosexual.
Another great figure in British history is Richard I. We go back to time immemorial, the reign of Richard I, at the end of the twelfth century, the dark ages. A great king arose who left England to sail to the holy land to free the holy places from the Saracens. Who was that man? His name was Richard Coeur de Lion, Richard the Lionhearted. Guess what? In the minds of most scholars of that period, he too was a homosexual.
There are those who suggest Julius Caesar was bisexual.
The Late Gerry Godsoe April 16th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, it is said that no one is indispensable. Last week many of us in Canada learned that this is not so. Gerry Godsoe died in Halifax, leaving a huge gap that no one can fill.
He advised prime ministers and backbenchers, premiers and business leaders on all sides of the political spectrum. He helped the young and the old, the great and the lowly.
He practised law superbly. He practised politics superbly. He practised life superbly.
To Dale, his wife and other half, to their three daughters, Suzanne, Stacey and Laura, I express our sympathy in this, their sudden and tragic loss. Gerry was taken far too soon and it is not fair to any of us.
Gerry Godsoe, lawyer, thinker, caregiver, husband, father, son and brother, Canadian extraordinaire, friend, requiescat in pace.
Supply March 20th, 1996
Privilege March 13th, 1996
Perhaps the hon. member would let me finish. This is very serious. I have already said that I believe very much in partisanship. God knows I can out-heckle him any day of the week but that is not the point. The point is, let us get on with this. Let us get the motion in its proper framework to the proper committee so that it can be disposed of.
I would like to finish my comments with respect to Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition by saying that all of us on this side of the House are proud that issues such as this one and issues that relate to the unity of Canada, the sovereignty of Canada and our Constitution are being debated here and in committee under democratic rules and procedures, not in the street with bombs.