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CONTENTS

Wednesday, April 26, 1995

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

LEAD

IMMIGRATION

    Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 11803

VIA RAIL

MANITOBA ELECTION

THE ENVIRONMENT

EARTH DAY

FORUM FOR YOUNG CANADIANS

THE ENVIRONMENT

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

TOBACCO USE

NORTHERN TELECOM

HMCS FREDERICTON

    Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury) 11805

QUEBEC LIBERAL PARTY

YOM HASHOAH

QUEBEC SOVEREIGNTY

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 11806
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 11807

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

    Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 11807
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 11807
    Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 11807
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 11807

ATLANTIC GROUNDFISH STRATEGY

    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11807
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11808
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11808

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 11808
    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 11808

ATLANTIC GROUNDFISH STRATEGY

    Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 11808
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11809
    Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 11809
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11809

NATIONAL DEFENCE

SOCIAL TRANSFER

    Mr. Harper (Calgary West) 11810
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11810
    Mr. Harper (Calgary West) 11810
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11810

NATIONAL DEFENCE

    Mr. Leroux (Shefford) 11810
    Mr. Leroux (Shefford) 11811

LAND MINES

    Mrs. Stewart (Brant) 11811

COMMUNICATIONS

    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 11811
    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 11811

IMMIGRATION

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE

EMPLOYMENT

    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 11813

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

GOVERNMENT SPENDING

AGRICULTURE

EH-101 HELICOPTER

    Ms. Brown (Oakville-Milton) 11814

PRESENCE IN THE GALLERY

POINT OF ORDER

ERRATUM

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

CRTC

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

REGULATIONS ACT

    Bill C-84. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 11815

REGULATIONS ACT

    Bill C-84. Motions for introduction and first readingagreed to. 11815

AUDITOR GENERAL FOR THE FAMILY ACT

    Bill C-322. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 11815

ALTERNATIVE FUELS ACT

    Bill S-7. Motion for first reading agreed to. 11816
    Mrs. Stewart (Brant) 11816

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

FISHERIES AND OCEANS

    Motion moved and agreed to. 11816

ADM AGRI-INDUSTRIES LTD. OPERATIONS ACT

PETITIONS

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

TAXATION

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

EUTHANASIA

HUMAN RIGHTS

HUMAN RIGHTS

ASSISTED SUICIDE

HUMAN RIGHTS

ASSISTED SUICIDE

RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN

HUMAN RIGHTS

ASSISTED SUICIDE

BILL C-41

LEONARD PELTIER

HUMAN RIGHTS

ASSISTED SUICIDE

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

ASSISTED SUICIDE

HUMAN RIGHTS

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD

INCOME TAX ACT

HUMAN RIGHTS

GUN CONTROL

INCOME TAX ACT

GUN CONTROL

ASSISTED SUICIDE

    Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 11819

ABORTION

    Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 11819

FIREARMS

    Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 11819
    Mr. Breitkreuz (Yellowhead) 11819

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

MOTION FOR PAPERS

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 1995

BILL C-76-TIME ALLOCATION MOTION

    Motion agreed to on division: Yeas, 138; Nays, 90 11819
    Bill C-76. Consideration resumed of motion for secondreading 11820
    Mr. White (North Vancouver) 11822
    Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 11828
    Motion agreed to on division: Yeas, 132; Nays, 88 11831
    (Bill read the second time and referred to the committee.) 11832

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

LEGAL RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX SPOUSES

    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 11839

ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC SERVICE OF CANADA

APPENDIX


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HOUSE OF COMMONS

Wednesday, April 26, 1995


The House met at 2 p.m.

_______________

Prayers

_______________

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

LEAD

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, lead is a poison that can cause animals and humans to die. It certainly makes them sick.

In Canada we are moving steadily to eliminate lead from gasoline, paints and our drinking water systems. The U.S. is proceeding in this direction even faster than us.

I urge that we now move to eliminate the use of lead shot for hunting and lead sinkers for fishing. Non-toxic steel and bismuth shot is easily available. The U.S. has already banned lead shot for wild fowling. The only lead poisoned wildfowl seen down there are ours, birds that have flown from Canada.

This is a change which will not affect hunters and anglers and one which will simply make our environment more healthy.

Mr. Speaker, let us just do it.

* * *

[Translation]

IMMIGRATION

Mrs. Christiane Gagnon (Quebec, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Quebecois and Quebec's artistic community are outraged at the heartless attitude of the Minister of Immigration, who has denied an entry visa to Ms. Koudil, an Algerian filmmaker living in France.

This woman, whose courage is an example to all those who dare denounce publicly the treatment of women by Muslim fundamentalists, particularly in Algeria, has been unjustifiably denied entry into Quebec and Canada. Because of her honesty and courage, Ms. Koudil must be given this visa so that she can show her film here.

The stubbornness of Canadian authorities in this matter shows how subjective and arbitrary this kind of decision often is.

In the name of women and artists, we are calling on the minister to intervene on behalf of Ms. Koudil, whose film highlights the dangers of fundamentalist oppression.

* * *

[English]

VIA RAIL

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is deep in debt and continuing full speed ahead with government overspending toward the inevitable crash into the debt wall. The government claims to be using innovative ways to reduce its overspending but it is obvious it has no idea what it is doing.

The latest example is with the government owned VIA Rail system. This crown corporation receives over $800,000 a day in government subsidies. It was told to cut its costs but instead it cut its fares in half. It seems the only thing it can do well is lose money and now it is going to be twice as good at it. These fare reductions will continue until the end of May and they are devastating the private sector bus industry.

Using the taxpayers' money to subsidize poorly run crown corporations so they can unfairly compete with Canadian business is not only wrong, it is idiotic.

* * *

MANITOBA ELECTION

Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure today to stand and congratulate Premier Gary Filmon of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party on his third decisive victory last night. Premier Filmon captured 33 seats, the New Democrats 22 and the Liberals only 3.

The Manitoba provincial Liberals campaigned on a platform using a copycat provincial Liberal red book. I am proud to say that the general electorate discovered the reality of the provincial red book and sent them a strong message saying that they wanted no part of it.

We have discovered the reality of the federal Liberal red book which is amounting to broken promises. This is a message to the


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Liberal Party that it should heed that what happened in Manitoba is about to happen in the next federal election.

The PC party is back, alive and well. I welcome everyone to come to Hull this weekend to see our 1,500 delegates in action.

* * *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. John Maloney (Erie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to draw attention to an event that will take place in the city of Hamilton this weekend.

Canada's Minister of the Environment is hosting a meeting of environmental ministers from the world's most industrialized countries, the group of seven. Also in attendance will be senior environmental officials from the European Commission and the United Nations.

The two days of discussions will focus on how G-7 countries can continue to work together to improve the world's economic and environmental health.

I would like to congratulate the minister on her fine work as Minister of the Environment both in Canada and internationally.

(1405 )

I am happy that the subjects under discussion will include, among other things, species conservation, climate change and international management of toxic substances. Discussion will also centre on how we as industrialized countries can encourage such organizations as the World Bank and the United Nations to take a more environmentally sensitive approach to development.

I urge the minister to use this conference to encourage all countries, including Canada, to live up to the commitments made at the Rio conference.

It is essential that when the leaders of the G-7 countries meet in Halifax this June, the concerns raised and discussed at the environment ministers conference this weekend are addressed.

* * *

EARTH DAY

Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Earth Day is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the successes we have had in the environment which reminds us of the great work that remains.

This past Saturday was the 25th anniversary of Earth Day. The students, parents and teachers of Harry R. Hamilton Elementary School in upper Sackville in my riding of Halifax West marked Earth Day in a very fitting way. With federal government support, they have initiated a number of very important environmental projects.

I had the pleasure of joining them last Saturday morning for an outdoor spring cleaning. Working in rubber gloves and rubber boots, we removed garbage, tires, and even an old car from the pond behind the school. That pond will now be an excellent setting for those kids to learn about science and nature.

I want to congratulate all those involved for showing the kind of environmental responsibility we all need to exercise.

* * *

FORUM FOR YOUNG CANADIANS

Mr. Glen McKinnon (Brandon-Souris, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, since its inception in 1975 the Forum for Young Canadians has become an institution for moulding a national identity.

For the past 20 years the forum has provided a rich and varied experience to approximately 10,000 young Canadians from across the country. Every year, 500 students from across Canada come to Ottawa to share their regional perceptions and concerns.

I believe that after living and working with their peers from all parts of the country these same students return home one week later having learned more about themselves and each other, their perceptions and concerns, as well as their common interests and bonds. They leave the program challenged, inspired and ready to play a leadership role in their communities.

I congratulate the students who have participated in this very valuable forum, the generous corporations and individuals who have made the work of the foundation possible, and the many volunteers and sponsors of the Forum for Young Canadians.

* * *

[Translation]

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, when it first came out, the federal Green Plan was an unprecedented environmental initiative. After gradually cutting off funding, the Minister of the Environment recently confirmed that the Green Plan was dead.

Its replacement with a series of scattered and inconsistent guidelines shows that the Liberal government is giving up on the issue because it seems unable to set global objectives and propose a concerted approach.

Creating the position of environment commissioner, whose mandate and powers are very restricted, can never replace a concrete, global policy.

The minister is not fooling anyone by claiming that Canada is a world leader in environmental matters. She does not impress us either by proposing a so-called policy that does not even compensate for a dismal record.


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The minister should consider the environment as an economic investment rather than something that can be managed haphazardly.

* * *

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Commissioner of Official Languages told us that official bilingualism was, to all intents and purposes, a failure.

Moreover, he noted in his report that even government departments do not meet the standards set in the Official Languages Act. It is obvious that the Liberal government's commitment is purely symbolic. The time has come to review this policy to better serve the people of Canada, perhaps on the Swedish or Belgian model.

[English]

We believe that a language policy which leaves language and culture in the hands of the provinces will better serve the linguistic needs of each province.

The BNA Act of 1867 ensures minority language and education rights are respected. I will be tabling a private member's motion later in this session. I hope that members in this House will support me in bringing a practical alternative-

(1410 )

The Speaker: The hon. member for Bruce-Grey.

* * *

TOBACCO USE

Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce-Grey, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, tobacco use is one of Canada's greatest public health concerns.

Each year tobacco causes over 40,000 preventable deaths. While the number of Canadian smokers has declined over the last 20 years, there are still 6.5 million smokers. Even more distressing, thousands of young people begin to smoke every month.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease, circulatory disease, cancer of the lungs, larynx, pancreas, mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidney and cervix.

Pregnant women who smoke increase their baby's risk of premature birth, low birth rate, inhibited child development and sudden infant death syndrome.

In Grey and Bruce counties 26 per cent of the population continue to smoke. As a result, the Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre predicts that 287 residents in my riding will die this year from tobacco related illnesses.

NORTHERN TELECOM

Mr. Lyle Vanclief (Prince Edward-Hastings (Lib.): Mr. Speaker, tomorrow at its annual meeting in Montreal, Northern Telecom will be marking a century of progress. Founded in 1895 as a small manufacturer of telephones, it has since become a world leader with revenues of over $12 billion.

Today NorTel employs 21,000 Canadians. Four out of ten of those jobs are linked to export success. In the city of Belleville in my riding, close to 1,000 constituents are employed in NorTel's production of telecommunications equipment for use in over 90 countries.

I think it is particularly important to note NorTel's continuing investment in Canada. Not only does it invest in R and D to develop networks of tomorrow, it also commits itself to Canada's students. Last year NorTel hired over 600 new graduates from Canadian universities.

NorTel is an excellent example of the benefits that research and development and export success bring to Canada. I congratulate NorTel on its first 100 years and wish it all the best for the next century.

* * *

HMCS FREDERICTON

Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on April 6 the crew of the British sailboat Longo-Barda, en route to England after competing in a race off the coast of Australia, was attacked by pirates near Somalia. They fired mortar at the ship and were prepared to hijack it when one of Canada's new warships, the HMCS Fredericton speeded to the rescue, responding to the crew's distress call. The would be thieves fled the scene at once.

The navy officers aboard the helicopter frigate had heard the sailboat's mayday call en route to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where the ship is used to promote Canadian technology.

On behalf of all Canadians and particularly those in Fredericton, I congratulate and thank the captain and crew of the HMCS Fredericton for their act of heroism.

* * *

[Translation]

QUEBEC LIBERAL PARTY

Mrs. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Apparently, Mr. Speaker, the latest constitutional position of the Liberal Party in Quebec was another flash in the pan. Ridiculed in Quebec and without governmental support in Ottawa, it fizzled out in a matter of hours.

With the Martin budget and Bill C-76, the federal government has started to make changes in Canada that run counter to Quebec's traditional demands, which the Quebec Liberal Party has not even restated.

This morning, Lise Bissonnette indicated that the wishes of the committee, which is to some extent the last stronghold of the

11806

Liberal Party in Quebec, are being trampled and even ridiculed by Bill C-76 and the recent budget measures behind it. Basically, she is reminding us that, with Bill C-76 and the Martin budget, Quebec Liberals are no longer able to defend Quebec's traditional interests.

* * *

[English]

YOM HASHOAH

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, tomorrow will mark Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day and the 50th anniversary of the allied liberation of the concentration camps in Europe.

Yom Hashoah is a day to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust. It is a day to make a pledge for the future: never again. It is a day to rededicate ourselves to the sacred principle that all people are born equal regardless of race or creed.

When racist extremism flourished in Nazi Germany, the Jewish people were targeted for death and six million were murdered. Millions of others were also killed. When the rights of some are attacked on the grounds of race or religion, ultimately the rights and freedoms of all are undermined.

On behalf of the Reform Party, I solemnly vow that we shall honour the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust by remaining vigilant against those who would divide us by promoting hatred and discrimination.

* * *

(1415)

[Translation]

QUEBEC SOVEREIGNTY

Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome-Missisquoi, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in a document entitled La souveraineté, des réponses à vos questions, the Parti Quebecois says: ``No new structure, nor a superstructure. There will be no need for a new political organization governed by another elected parliament. This is demonstrated by the increasing number of customs unions and free trade agreements throughout the world''.

After listening to the comments made on Monday by the Parti Quebecois leader, Quebecers find it difficult to understand this about-face by sovereignists. Indeed, this is not just a change of direction, it is a complete about-face which can only lead to a massive pile-up on the road to separation.

Let us not forget that we live in an extraordinary democracy and that changes are possible because of the flexibility of our Canadian political structure. That structure is based on dialogue and harmony. Let us work safely together to reach many new agreements.


11806

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Translation]

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, for the first time since the CRTC was established, the cabinet is about to force this independent body to change one of its decisions. Furthermore, this interference by the government will benefit a group whose main shareholders are friends of the government and even close relatives. In a new development which may have far reaching consequences, we heard today that, in a communication sent to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the CRTC formally expressed its concern about this interference.

I therefore want to ask the Prime Minister to tell us from his seat whether he refrained from taking part in any discussions in cabinet on this matter, since his son-in-law is one of the directors of Power DirecTv, a subsidiary of Power Corporation?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon, the government intends to table in the House a document that will clearly set forth the position of the Canadian government on direct to home satellite services.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, first of all, this does not answer my question, and second, from what the minister just said, I must assume that the government ignored its fundamental responsibilities and decided to intervene directly and interfere with a CRTC decision on a matter that was crucial to the public interest.

I want to ask the Prime Minister, who has remained strangely silent on the matter and who is the leader of the government who is directly concerned by the ethical aspects of the case, to tell us whether he would confirm that his principal adviser, Eddie Goldenberg, intervened directly in the matter of Power DirecTv, this according to the Minister of Industry?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think the opposition leader's strategy is highly improper because-

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): If they have any accusations to make, let them make them. However, I can inform the House that, in this particular case, although I have no personal interest in the matter, in order to avoid laying myself open to criticism, I did not take part in any discussions and, when the time came to discuss this matter in cabinet, I abstained, and the acting Prime Minister presided over the rest of the meeting.


11807

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I must say I appreciate the fact that the Prime Minister rose in his seat to answer the question, so I will ask him another one.

We are talking about a very important matter which requires clarification as a matter of course, since according to the government's conflict of interest guidelines, subsection 23(3): ``A public office holder shall not accord preferential treatment in relation to any official matter to family members or friends or to organizations in which they, family members or friends, have an interest''.

(1420)

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he consulted his ethics counsellor on this matter.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I must say I have no interest in the matter and did not participate in any discussions on the subject. I did not discuss it with anyone, including the ministers. That is my answer. I have nothing further to add.

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in a notice sent to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the secretary general of the CRTC said that the federal cabinet would be overstepping its bounds if it went ahead with its proposal to use orders in council, which are too specific, too narrow and go much further than the general policy set out in the Broadcasting Act. The CRTC even believes that such orders in council could lead to legal action.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that, for the first time in history, cabinet orders in council would force the CRTC to reconsider its decision and that this action would constitute preferential treatment for Power DirecTv?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry answered this question yesterday.

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister deny that this is a clear case of favouritism, given that, in the CRTC's opinion, cabinet orders in council compromise the independence and integrity of its licensing process to such an extent that the government exposes itself to the risk of being taken to court over these retroactive orders?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the legislation allows cabinet some say concerning the CRTC's decisions. In the circumstances, cabinet has reviewed the situation and made a decision which will be made public later this afternoon.

[English]

ATLANTIC GROUNDFISH STRATEGY

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, this week the federal debt passed the $550 billion mark. Yet the government's mismanagement of taxpayers' money continues. The latest example, TAGS, the Atlantic groundfish strategy with $1.9 billion committed over five years, is a program already headed for a $385 million shortfall. Worst of all, it provides little in the way of concrete results.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. How much more federal money is the government planning to commit to this ill designed and unsuccessful program?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are facing the largest layoff in the history of Canada as a result of the collapse of the Atlantic fishery. It is the responsibility of any federal government that cares about the real needs of people in that region to respond in the most effective way possible.

The government established a budget last year of $1.9 billion that would help us to reduce the core fishery down to a point where it is a manageable size, which the minister of fisheries is responsible for. We also undertook to provide a variety of means by which people in that fishery could secure other alternative means of livelihood.

In that period of time we have provided counselling for upward of 25,000 people. We have over 15,000 people enrolled in training programs. We have a number-

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Silye: The question is: How much more money? How much more money? Answer the question.

Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, apparently the Reform Party does not want an answer to a very serious question. Perhaps most important is that the hon. member was probably not listening in the House as I replied yesterday. For thousands of individuals we restored a sense of hope at a time when they are facing a real calamity in their lives and the lives of their families.

That is what the federal government is doing, not the meanspirited nit-picking of the hon. leader of the third party.

(1425 )

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, we all know that TAGS is a fiscal disaster, but the most tragic aspect of the program is the fact that it fails the very people it was designed to help.


11808

When TAGS was announced it was supposed to break the cycle of dependency. The government predicted not that 25,000 fishery workers would be counselled but that they would be retrained for new jobs in new industries. Yet $40 million later HRD officials admit that less than 12,000 people have even participated in the program, that precious few have found any work, and that now money is being diverted from the training aspects of the program back into dependency support.

How does the minister plan to change TAGS so as to produce the results and the hope for affected Canadians in Atlantic Canada about whom he professes to be so passionately concerned?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said in my first response, we are dealing with probably the most massive, large scale adjustment program ever faced by the country.

Mr. Manning: It is not working.

Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says: ``It is not working''. He does not know. Like most things, he simply does not know. He is simply making it up and engaging in fiction, not fact.

We have example after example of people who have started their own businesses, been retrained for new occupations, have started projects to develop new resource conservation and have received mobility grants.

I challenge the hon. member to come with me to Atlantic Canada to talk to the people down there to find out just how well we are beginning to provide an alternative option for the people of Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, if the minister could tell me when we are going to go, I am perfectly willing to go.

TAGS is part of a bigger project. It was originally billed as a test run for the whole human resources approach to social security reform. The test has been a failure. TAGS was meant to tie income support to training, education and retraining, and it has not done that. Instead it is another example of a Liberal social megaproject that simply does not work. It is based on principles that do not work.

Has the minister learned anything-and I know this is a challenging question-from his disastrous social experiment? How will the failure of TAGS affect his overall program of social policy reform?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one thing I have learned is that the last person in Canada to listen to about what works in social reform is the hon. leader of the third party.

In response to the kind of major challenges we faced in developing those adjustment programs, we commissioned a major study by Price Waterhouse that gave us a report on examining where the program was working and where it was not. I can report to hon. members of the House that my department has acted on every one of the recommendations made in the Price Waterhouse study.

* * *

[Translation]

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

On Monday, the Minister received an opinion from the CRTC concerning the cabinet's draft directives on satellite broadcasting. According to the CRTC, the federal government would be open to legal proceedings, because the cabinet's directives are too specific and would call into question the integrity of the CRTC, a quasi legal, autonomous license-granting body.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who is responsible for the CRTC. Would he tell us whether he informed the Prime Minister of the content of the CRTC's opinion on the proposed directive at yesterday's cabinet meeting?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I believe the Prime Minister's answer to opposition questions indicates clearly that the matter was out of the question.

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Prime Minister.

Does the Prime Minister not consider it at least inappropriate that, for the first time in its history, cabinet is changing a CRTC decision and that this historical first just happens to benefit his son-in-law?

(1430)

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we will be tabling a document setting out the government's position this afternoon in the House.

I understand the opposition's impatience, but it will just be a few hours more. Then there will be days and weeks for questions.

* * *

[English]

ATLANTIC GROUNDFISH STRATEGY

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, last year in debate Reformers called the Atlantic


11809

groundfish strategy, or TAGS, a job security program for tinkering, meddling bureaucrats and further that handouts do nothing for people. They destroy people and they destroy their spirit and will.

The Minister of Human Resources Development said words to this effect: ``Trust us. We know what we are doing''. Now Atlantic Canadians have learned that this big government has failed them once again.

Can the minister explain why he chose to ignore our advice last June and proceed with such a flawed program? If you had listened to us you would not be in this big mess right now.

The Speaker: Colleagues, I would ask you always to make your remarks to the Chair.

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will tell you why we proceeded with the Atlantic groundfish strategy. Over 40,000 men and women in the Atlantic region had just lost their livelihood. They needed help in securing enough income to keep their families and themselves in the basic necessities. They also needed to be given certain tools for retraining, for counselling, for new employment and for alternatives that would provide them over time the opportunity to find an alternative way of making a living.

That is why we proceeded with the Atlantic groundfish strategy. That is what the groundfish strategy is doing today.

Rather than having the Reform Party try to make a blanket condemnation of the noble efforts being made by all kinds of people in the Atlantic fishery to find a new life for themselves, they should join in to help, rather than trying to hinder the program.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that his program is working.

If the minister will not listen to us, here is what some other people are saying. The senior director for TAGS says this about the training component of the program: ``Much of it has led to nothing and it is training for what?''. The chair of the committee calls it lunacy and crazy.

Why does the minister not acknowledge that on the job training is many times more effective than institutional training and build his job creation strategies on the strengths of small businesses in Atlantic Canada?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had any understanding at all, he would realize that you have to have small businesses first for people to start.

We are dealing with between 40,000 and 50,000 people whose families for 400 years have earned their living in the fishery. All of a sudden for a variety of reasons, many of which we have seen such as overfishing by foreign nations, it has finally come to an end. It is a calamity beyond the scope of anything we have faced before. It requires major adjustment and changes. We are doing our best to meet that.

I used examples and I will repeat them for the hon. member. Rather than listening to press commentary about what was said, talk to the woman who has just received a series of new training programs and has started her own business as a result. Listen to the family in Newfoundland that has now got new people started in their own businesses. Talk to people who are now doing college education courses to find new alternatives. Listen to the people who are being affected by the programs, not to some half-baked commentary in the Globe and Mail.

The Speaker: Colleagues, I appeal to you to make both the questions and the answers a little more precise.

* * *

(1435)

[Translation]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence confirmed that his government is about to acquire four British conventional submarines. He even stated that the negotiations with British authorities were practically wrapped up.

How can the Minister of National Defence justify spending $1.6 billion on four secondhand submarines, given the government's current financial situation?

[English]

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it amazes me how people can go to committee, hear an answer, then come to the House of Commons and completely give a distortion like the hon. member has.

I said that the government has given authority to me as minister and my officials to explore the possibility of purchasing secondhand submarines from the British navy.

Discussions have been ongoing. At a certain point in time, my colleagues in the cabinet will have to decide whether or not they wish the Government of Canada to purchase those submarines.

[Translation]

Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I think that even then the minister said that it was up to the government to decide and that some members of cabinet supported this move.

At a time when the auditor general is denouncing mismanagement at the Department of National Defence and the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars every year, how can the Minister


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of National Defence justify wasting another $2 billion or so on secondhand submarines we do not need?

[English]

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I might remind the hon. member he was a member of the special joint committee on defence which recommended to the government that we explore the possibility of replacing the Oberon submarines. That is what we have done.

I know members of his party had some disagreement with the basic elements of the report but I do not remember his actually dissociating himself from the part of the report that dealt with submarines.

* * *

SOCIAL TRANSFER

Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Yesterday in response to a question from the leader of the NDP he said that the new Canada social transfer strengthens the federal ability to ensure the responsibility of the provinces to live up to national principles. He went on to say it gives the continuing ability to ensure that leverage is exercised; in other words, blackmailing provincial governments.

On March 31 the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said that the budget makes it clear that fewer strings will be attached to the Canada social transfer and went on to say that social transfer strings will be reduced and these requirements will be set by mutual consent.

In the eyes of the government, does the Canada social transfer strengthen or weaken the ability of the federal government to apply federal standards in areas of provincial jurisdiction?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the new Canadian health and social transfer is the best of all possible worlds.

It provides more flexibility for the provinces in programming. At the same time it ensures fundamental principles and standards under the act. That is a sign of very creative policy making, which only this government is capable of doing and which the Reform Party is totally incapable of understanding.

Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the best of all possible worlds is apparently the ability of the government to talk out of both sides of its mouth.

[Translation]

My supplementary question is for the same minister. Is the new Canada social transfer designed to strengthen the government's ability to impose federal standards, as the Liberals say in English, or to reinforce areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, as the Liberals say in French?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we established five very important health care principles in order to protect the health care network throughout Canada.

Of course, these principles will still be protected under the new transfer program. At the same time, we will hold negotiations with all the provinces to discuss the new principles based on a consensus among all partners. The new federalism is based on consensus, partnership and co-operation for the future.

* * *

(1440)

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

In his 1994 report, the auditor general gives numerous examples of mismanagement resulting, among other things, from DND's inability to assess the cost of its operations. More recently, we learned that the cost of the frigates was underestimated by nearly $2 billion, with two of the twelve frigates yet to be delivered.

How can the minister maintain that the projected savings announced in the 1995 budget will be achieved, when the Auditor General's figures show that the department keeps miscalculating its expenditures?

[English]

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): First, Mr. Speaker, the department must realize all the savings as announced in the 1995 budget as with 1994, simply because we have only so much money that floated by Parliament to the department. Therefore, rest assured the budget cuts that were announced will be put in place as they were in 1994.

I would like to dispute what my friend opposite said when he talks about the problems with the Canadian frigate program. As with all new technological developments, and the fact that a lot of new integrated systems require pioneering developmental work with the frigate, there are teething problems. There are problems with getting accustomed to the new technologies.

However, what the hon. member has conveniently forgotten to mention is that this project has come in about a billion dollars under budget.


11811

[Translation]

Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford, BQ): Mr. Speaker, what we do know about the frigate program is that it will come in at $2 billion over budget, not $1 billion under, like the minister said.

Since senior officials of the Department of National Defence recognize that the Canadian Forces can still buy all the equipment they need in spite of budget cuts, will the minister admit that his department's capital budget has been overestimated, that more drastic cuts should have been made and that no submarines should be purchased, as specified in the Bloc Quebecois's dissenting report?

[English]

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to be advocating even greater cuts in the budget of the Department of National Defence.

I would like to point out that while the members for the official opposition advocated in the last election a 25 per cent cut in federal expenditures in defence, when we have cut not nearly by that amount but by a significant amount over the last couple of years, the first to object to the application of those cuts are the hon. members for the Bloc Quebecois.

* * *

LAND MINES

Mrs. Jane Stewart (Brant, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, millions of land mines are buried in countries around the world, inhibiting post-war reconstruction and killing hundreds of men and women every month.

The UN will be convening in September to discuss strengthening its conventions regulating the trade and the use of land mines.

I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs whether Canada, a world leader in de-mining activities, will support a ban and a moratorium on the use and international trade of land mines?

Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. The hon. member should know that a number of countries are presently respecting a moratorium in this regard. Canada, I am told, has not exported land mines since 1987.

We would like to work diligently with others in Vienna to extend the convention on certain conventional weapons and to ensure that land mines are covered and properly taken care of.

COMMUNICATIONS

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

In the CRTC response to a draft the cabinet directly prepared for direct to home broadcasting, it states that the proposed government directive may be in violation of the Broadcasting Act. The proposed DTH carriage rules and the revocation of the exemption order may both be illegal according to the CRTC.

(1445)

Instead of attempting to benefit Power Corp. with cabinet directives of questionable legal standing, why will the government not refer the mess it has created to a House standing committee where decisions will be made out in the open and without the perception of family influence tainting the process?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, much of the content of the question has already been answered this afternoon.

The government will table a document later on which contains the thrust of government policy. I understand that our colleague would like to explore many issues before the document is tabled. She will have time tomorrow and in the ensuing days and weeks to raise all the questions she would like once the policy has been laid down.

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to these questions, it has always been looking at the issue of openness, accountability and transparency.

The government has been fast tracking the cabinet directive to try to cover up the huge regulatory mess it has created. It is a mess because it does not know if it wants open competition or not. It is a mess because industry is opening our borders while heritage is closing them. The DTH fiasco demonstrates that the CRTC as well has outlived its purpose.

Rather than helping a favoured few, why not implement the recommendations of the competition bureau to allow telecommunications and broadcasting free market driven competition?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our colleague is addressing openness and transparency. She has probably read the report of the panel on DTH. That panel suggests the matter be put before the House under section 7 of the Broadcasting Act. This is a very open process, a very transparent process.


11812

Furthermore, the panel recommends the authority for DTH be granted through a licensing process administered by the CRTC. Here again, this is a very open and transparent process.

The member will see in a few minutes what the government intends to do.

* * *

[Translation]

IMMIGRATION

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Immigration officials' decision not to deliver a visitor's visa to Algerian filmmaker Hafsa Zinaï Koudil continues to shock people. Indeed, it is most surprising that Canada would refuse to welcome a filmmaker who received a death sentence from Algerian fundamentalists for having denounced, in her film, the oppression to which Algerian women are subjected.

Did the Minister of Immigration reconsider the issue and will he take action to allow Ms. Koudil to present her film at the Festival Vues d'Afrique?

Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday I told the hon. member in this House that our officials rejected the application after interviewing the applicant.

I also told the hon. member that if he had new information or details, he or the applicant should contact departmental officials.

There is a problem with visitors' visas. A person wishing to come to Canada can apply for a visitor's visa. However, if there are real problems relating to refugee status, then that person must make an application after claiming refugee status and not when applying for a visitor's visa. This is the kind of clarification we seek from applicants.

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, if the minister wants all the necessary information, he should watch the evening news report. Last night, every television network provided all that information. Everyone in Canada probably knows about the issue, except the minister.

(1450)

How can the minister keep refusing to grant a visitor's visa to this Algerian woman, while at the same time refusing to immediately expel Mr. Rahmani, who is accused of being a religious extremist as well as an active member of the Islamic Salvation Front, the group behind the death threat to this filmmaker?

[English]

Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member ought to consult the immigration critic in terms of how visitor visa applications are assessed. They are assessed on a case by case basis. Of the nearly one million applications made worldwide, 86 per cent are approved.

What I said is there was something said during the interview that caused concern. The person making the application has every opportunity to provide clarification, to provide new information. The member says just because it was in the news it is what, a guarantee to do what?

I am open to looking into this case but there has to be the new information, the special circumstances or the clarification furnished by this applicant. Otherwise people in Quebec will also see that somehow we treat visitor visa applications on whether they are artists or not. That situation cannot be allowed.

* * *

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of revenue. Access to information documents revealed the Department of National Revenue spent $250,000 in order to fly bureaucrats to Victoria during the Commonwealth Games last August. In a written response to me on September 28 the minister advised me that a total of only $76,000 had been spent, a far cry from $250,000.

Could the minister explain the discrepancy?

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not have the letter the hon. member refers to but if I may speculate the figure given in the newspaper apparently refers to all the customs officers reassigned to Victoria and Vancouver to take care of the number of people who came specifically for the games, be they athletes, officials or tourists who were there in the regular course of events.

There were a total of 60 people reassigned and of these there were some who were from my staff and from the public affairs office in Ottawa. If I may again toss my mind back to September when I wrote him that letter, the paper is not talking about the same group of people the letter referred to.

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand the letter from the minister. It states very specifically $76,000. I suggest the discrepancy between $250,000 and $76,000 is an awfully wide gulf for anyone to accept.

Can the minister explain more clearly to the House and to the long suffering Canadian taxpayer why even $250,000 would have been spent on this flying back and forth?

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is very simple to explain why we spent the money, to take the extra customs officers from British Colum-


11813

bia, one from Yukon, three from Alberta, to put them where we had this sudden rush of people crossing the border.

It must be recognized by the hon. member that Canada Customs is the country's first line of defence against the importation of drugs, weapons or terrorism from other countries.

Therefore it is important for us when we are faced with a situation such as we had to make sure we have the people in place who are able to handle it. This type of flexibility is perfectly normal. It took place for the Calgary 1988 winter Olympics. It took place in the Nordic Games in northern Ontario a few months ago and it will take place again if we are successful with other bids for other games in the future.

* * *

(1455)

[Translation]

EMPLOYMENT

Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit employment centres in my riding, and I noted a marked improvement in the services provided. At the same time, however, we know that the programs falling under the Department of Human Resources Development will inevitably be hit by the budget cuts.

[English]

Can the minister please tell the House how his department is improving services to assist the unemployed in finding jobs?

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to read the article in Le Soleil which described the new system of delivery that we are now introducing which will allow us to substantially decentralize these services to the local level. Our employment centres are able to work now in very close partnership with provincial and municipal organizations, with business and labour, and they will be able to share the responsibility of getting people back to work.

The 11 projects in Quebec are part of a much larger nationwide program which involves 70 Canada employment centres. They are really the forerunner of a brand new design by which the federal government is able to deliver these programs much more efficiently and effectively, and in the meantime ensure that far more Canadians get the chance to return to a job.

[Translation]

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Twenty-six years after its passage, the Official Languages Act is still not being evenly applied, in particular in the Ottawa region. According to the Official Languages Commissioner, French does not have equal status as a working language in the National Capital Region's federal government offices.

How can the President of the Treasury Board not qualify the fact that 62 per cent of all francophone federal employees in Ottawa are hired to work exclusively in English as a complete and total failure of institutionalized bilingualism?

[English]

Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of improvements made over the years. The government is dedicated to accelerating the rate of improvement in terms of Canadians being able to get service from federal institutions in the official language of their choice, quality services.

We are asking all of our departments to submit action plans by September which will outline what programs they will undertake to improve levels of service. We will monitor them further. In March of next year we will expect a progress report. We will expect progress reports every six months thereafter. In short, we are determined to live up to our obligations under the Official Languages Act and its regulations.

* * *

GOVERNMENT SPENDING

Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

It has come to my attention the mileage allowance veterans receive for going to doctor appointments is being decreased significantly from 23 cents to 10 cents per kilometre. Could it be these reductions were imposed on our sick and frail veterans to pay for the luxurious 11.5 per cent increase the government has made to the mileage allowance MPs and government employees enjoy?

Would the Minister of Veterans Affairs assure the House he will urge the government to rescind this decision?

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a number of adjustments have been made with respect to the


11814

veterans affairs budget which reflect the cost of living. A number of adjustments have been made for economic reasons.

I will take the hon. member's question and discuss it with officials, who are busy with the Canada remembers ceremonies, and I will get back to him with an answer.

* * *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

With the budget announcing the elimination of the Crow benefit under the WGTA effective August 1, abandonment of branchline protection effective January 1 and full grain rate deregulation by the year 2000, the government has inflicted great damage on the global competitive position of our prairie farmers.

Assuming the government would like to see agricultural activity continue on the prairies and given this land locked, underpopulated but highly productive region will likely continue to export the vast surpluses from production for years to come, why has the government not considered turning control of CNR, which it wants to privatize anyway, over to farmers so they can control at least part of the system from farm to port?

(1500 )

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the changes the hon. member has referred to are very important ones. One that we think has to be taken into account is the future ownership of the CNR.

A project to commercialize CN will be made public by legislation presented to the House of Commons we hope relatively soon. Certainly there will be nothing in that legislation that would preclude the result the hon. member seeks. That is, western farmers will be invited and encouraged to participate in the largest single share issue in the history of this country.

* * *

EH-101 HELICOPTER

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville-Milton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and government services.

Since the cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter program, the minister has made a financial agreement and settlement with the main contractor, called Unisys. Many of the suppliers and subcontractors are small Canadian companies that require their share of the settlement if they are to survive. What assurances can the minister give these suppliers that they will indeed be able to secure a fair portion of the $166 million settlement?

Mr. Réginald Bélair (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Oakville-Milton for her question and commend her for the concerns she has for those small subcontractors in the EH-101 helicopter deal.

As members know, we kept our promise in the red book and cancelled this deal in 1993. In March 1995 a final settlement was reached with Unisys Canada for a total of $166 million, $98 million of which was for work that had been completed upon the cancellation and $68 million for work that was in progress upon termination.

The settlement agreement between Unisys and the crown includes a provision that a portion of the settlement will not be paid to Unisys until this company reaches its agreements with the primary subcontractors of the deal.

* * *

PRESENCE IN THE GALLERY

The Speaker: Colleagues, I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of Her Excellency Mrs. Pimpa Chanprasong, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand.

[Translation]

I would also like to draw the attention of members to the presence in our gallery of Mr. Valdis Birkava, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

* * *

[English]

POINT OF ORDER

ERRATUM

Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I very briefly want to mention that I made an error on page 11771 in Hansard in debate when the member for Broadview-Greenwood was up speaking and the member for Saint-Léonard came in. I did not hear that he was calling time allocation on Bill

11815

C-76. I said ``on this piece of legislation'', and we were actually debating Bill C-70. I just wanted to straighten out the difference between Bill C-70 and Bill C-76, although it is just as disgusting to bring in time allocation on anything.

_____________________________________________


11815

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

(1505)

[English]

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 109, I am pleased to respond on behalf of the government, in both official languages, to the recommendation in the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, tabled on November 30, 1994.

* * *

CRTC

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two proposed orders issuing directions to the CRTC respecting the government's proposed policy on direct to home satellite distribution.

The government is confident this process will provide the CRTC with a DTH policy that reflects the interests of Canadians and the integrity of the Canadian broadcasting system.

* * *

[Translation]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 17 petitions.

[English]

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the house, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association concerning the North Atlantic Assembly Subcommittee on Defence and Security Cooperation between Europe and North America held in New York and Washington, D.C., from January 29 to February 3, 1995.

* * *

[Translation]

REGULATIONS ACT

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-84, an act to provide for the review, registration, publication and parliamentary scrutiny of regulations and other documents and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts.

He said: Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House of my intention to propose that this bill be referred to committee before second reading, pursuant to Standing Order 73(1).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

* * *

[English]

AUDITOR GENERAL FOR THE FAMILY ACT

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East, Ref.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-322, an act respecting the Office of the Auditor General for the family.

He said: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to present a bill entitled ``An act respecting the Office of the Auditor General for the family''.

This act would establish an office similar to but much smaller than that of our respected financial auditor general, charged with finding ways to encourage, support, and protect the nuclear family.

No one can doubt that the family is one of the foundations of our society, and Canada would do well to support that foundation. This bill would provide some of that support in a small but very tangible way.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)


11816

(1510 )

ALTERNATIVE FUELS ACT

Mrs. Jane Stewart (Brant, Lib.) moved that Bill S-7, an act to accelerate the use of alternative fuels for motor vehicles, be read the first time.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.)

* * *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

FISHERIES AND OCEANS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I think you will find consent for the following motion. I should say that on April 6 this House granted the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans authority to travel and the dates have been changed and that is the reason for this motion. It is not an additional trip.

I move:

That a subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to travel to Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Nanaimo and Campbell River, British Columbia, from May 7 to 12, 1995, to discuss Pacific salmon issues.
(Motion agreed to.)

* * *

[Translation]

ADM AGRI-INDUSTRIES LTD. OPERATIONS ACT

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to withdraw Bill C-312, a private member's bill, because my colleague for Verdun-Saint-Paul will shortly be presenting Bill C-313, which is essentially the same as mine.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Bill withdrawn).

* * *

[English]

PETITIONS

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Ms. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I present to the House here assembled a petition from many citizens who request that this Parliament not amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms in any way that would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase ``sexual orientation''.

TAXATION

Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I have several petitions, pursuant to Standing Order 36, from many people from the lower mainland of British Columbia and some from Alberta saying that they are concerned about the fact that Canadians are overburdened with taxation. The petitioners are asking the federal Parliament to not consider tax increases and in fact implement a taxpayer protection act to limit federal spending.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Second, Madam Speaker, there are many constituents from Beaver River, from Radway and Smoky Lake who are asking, pursuant to Standing Order 36, that the government not implement Bill C-41 and specifically section 718(2), which would give special provision based on sexual orientation. The petitioners say that the behaviour people engage in does not warrant special consideration in Canadian law.

EUTHANASIA

Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Finally, Madam Speaker, also pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have another petition signed by many people in the constituency of Beaver River, Bonnyville, Plamondon, Mallaig, and various towns, who are asking also that physician assisted suicide or legalizing euthanasia not be considered in the Canadian Parliament.

The petitioners are also praying that Parliament continue to reject euthanasia and physician assisted suicide and that the present provisions of section 241 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which forbid counselling, procuring, aiding or abetting that person to commit suicide, be enforced vigorously, and finally that Parliament consider expanding palliative care that would be accessible to all dying persons in Canada.

[Translation]

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to submit a petition signed by people on the west island of Montreal, including people from my riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard, with respect to their approval of the proposed amendments to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

(1515)

They ask that Parliament amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include the undefined term ``sexual orientation'' in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.


11817

[English]

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I present a petition signed by 514 constituents. The petitioners call upon Parliament to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or any other federal legislation which provides for the inclusion of the phrase ``sexual orientation'' or any other approval of homosexuality.

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to present three petitions pursuant to Standing Order 36.

The first petition is signed by people from the lower mainland. The petitioners humbly pray that Parliament will not repeal or amend section 241 of the Criminal Code in any way and will uphold the Supreme Court of Canada decision of September 30, 1993 to disallow assisted suicide or euthanasia.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Madam Speaker, in the second petition the petitioners are calling upon Parliament to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provide for the inclusion of the phrase ``sexual orientation''.

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Madam Speaker, in the third petition the petitioners call upon Parliament to ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia.

RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN

Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have three petitions to present.

The first petition is signed by 485 Canadians primarily from the Trenton, Ontario area but also from various other locations. It calls upon Parliament to act immediately to extend protection to the unborn child by amending the Criminal Code to extend the same protection enjoyed by born human beings to unborn human beings.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have another petition bearing the signatures of almost 800 Canadians primarily from my riding and surrounding ridings in the Scarborough area. They are asking Parliament not to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase ``sexual orientation''.

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West, Lib.): Madam Speaker, finally I have a petition signed by approximately 900 Canadians on the issue of euthanasia.

They pray that Parliament ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia.

BILL C-41

Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have a petition bearing approximately 140 signatures signed by constituents of my riding of Cambridge.

The petitioners believe that all Canadians are equal in the eyes of the law and that section 718(2) of Bill C-41 excludes some groups by naming some. As a result, the petitioners pray and request that Parliament delete section 718(2) from Bill C-41.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan, Ref.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition on behalf of six of my constituents and a number of other citizens calling on Parliament to amend federal legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

LEONARD PELTIER

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I rise with another petition in the Leonard Peltier case. This petition is from 150 people in the Peterborough area and other parts of Ontario.

The petitioners say that the paperwork surrounding Mr. Leonard Peltier's extradition from Canada to the United States was falsified by the U.S. authorities. Key witness Myrtle Poor Bear who signed the falsified affidavits now publicly admits that she lied on the paperwork as well as at the trial. The U.S. courts refuse to put her on the stand, labelling her as mentally incompetent.

The petitioners point out that since that time various information has surfaced which indicates that Leonard Peltier is innocent but still remains in prison after 18 years.

(1520 )

Under the U.S. freedom of information laws it was found that the FBI had withheld certain evidence that would have been helpful in Mr. Peltier's case.


11818

Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament lobby and advocate on behalf of Mr. Leonard Peltier to obtain a prison transfer to Canada.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce-Grey, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I rise today to table two petitions on behalf of residents of my riding of Bruce-Grey.

The first petition calls upon Parliament to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provide for the inclusion of the phrase ``sexual orientation''.

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce-Grey, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the other petition requests that Parliament ensure that present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no change in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding and abetting of suicide, active or passive euthanasia.

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present six petitions from the province of British Columbia.

The first petition deals with the issue of Canada's social programs. The petitioners say that along with other Canadians they have certain basic rights and that deep cuts to social programs will hurt all Canadians and will have a profoundly negative impact on the four million adults and children living below the poverty line.

The petitioners therefore request that Parliament maintain and enhance Canada's social programs.

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the second petition signed by 308 individuals deals with euthanasia. They say the majority of Canadians respect the sanctity of human life. They request that Parliament ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the final petition deals with the issue of sexual orientation. The petitioners say that more than 80 per cent of Canadians believe that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are subjected to discrimination. They call upon Parliament to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD

Mr. Lee Morrison (Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, Ref.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition signed by 54 Canadians including three resident in my riding.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to maintain the single desk selling monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board. They further request steps be taken to expand the powers of the wheat board so that more grains and oilseeds can be placed under monopoly control.

INCOME TAX ACT

Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition that has been circulated across Canada. This particular petition has been signed by a number of petitioners from the Surrey and Delta regions of British Columbia.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that managing a family home and caring for preschool children is an honourable profession which has not been recognized for its value to our society.

They also state that the Income Tax Act discriminates against families who make the choice to provide care in the home to preschool children, the disabled, the chronically ill or the aged.

Therefore, the petitioners pray and call upon Parliament to pursue initiatives to eliminate tax discrimination against families who decide to provide care in the home for preschool children, the disabled, the chronically ill and the aged.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I have before me three petitions signed by members of the Peace River riding.

The first petition is signed by 127 people who call upon the Parliament of Canada to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms which provide for the inclusion of the phrase ``sexual orientation''.

I agree with that petition.

GUN CONTROL

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Ref.): Madam Speaker, the second and third petitions deal with the issue of gun control.

The petitioners call upon Parliament not to enact any further firearms control legislation, regulations or orders in council. They are also opposed to any laws that put more restrictions or a prohibition on legal firearms ownership.

INCOME TAX ACT

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton-Middlesex, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to present this petition signed by 25 petitioners. They are calling upon Parliament to pursue initiatives to eliminate tax discrimination against families who decide to provide care in the home for preschool children as well as for the disabled, the chronically ill and the aged.

11819

GUN CONTROL

Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I present six petitions containing 1,848 signatures. It calls upon Parliament to reconsider the passing of legislation on the new gun control measures as tabled in the House. They are hopefully requesting amendments.

(1525)

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I have three petitions to present today.

The first petition is signed by 45 people who express great concern with respect to the aiding or abetting of suicide and active or passive euthanasia.

ABORTION

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Ref.): Madam Speaker, the second petition which is signed by 42 people of my riding expresses their concern with abortion. The petitioners call upon Parliament to exercise its authority to enact legislation to halt abortion.

FIREARMS

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Ref.): Madam Speaker, the last petition which I have to present is signed by 215 citizens. They request that Parliament support laws which will severely punish all violent criminals who use weapons in the commission of a crime and that Parliament support new Criminal Code firearms control provisions which recognize and protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use recreational firearms.

Mr. Cliff Breitkreuz (Yellowhead, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I rise to present five petitions bearing hundreds of signatures of Yellowhead constituents.

These petitions are due largely to the efforts of Edson Reynolds of Evansburg. The petitioners ask Parliament to introduce legislation by which the criminal misuse of firearms would be severely punished and the right of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms would be protected.

I concur with the petitioners.

* * *

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

MOTION FOR PAPERS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I suggest that the notice of motion for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

_____________________________________________


11819

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Translation]

BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 1995

BILL C-76-TIME ALLOCATION MOTION

Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Secretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-76, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 1995, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of second reading stage of the Bill; and
That, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Business on the allotted day of the second reading consideration of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required, for the purpose of this Order and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the second reading stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
[English]

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)


11820

(Division No. 200)

YEAS

Members
Adams
Alcock
Anderson
Arseneault
Assad
Assadourian
Augustine
Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre)
Bakopanos
Barnes
Beaumier
Bellemare
Bethel
Bevilacqua
Blondin-Andrew
Bodnar
Boudria
Brown (Oakville-Milton)
Brushett
Bryden
Bélair
Bélanger
Calder
Campbell
Catterall
Cauchon
Chamberlain
Chan
Clancy
Cohen
Collenette
Collins
Comuzzi
Cowling
Crawford
Culbert
DeVillers
Dhaliwal
Discepola
Dromisky
Duhamel
Dupuy
Easter
Eggleton
English
Fewchuk
Finlay
Flis
Fontana
Fry
Gagliano
Gagnon (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Gallaway
Gerrard
Godfrey
Graham
Gray (Windsor West)
Guarnieri
Harb
Harvard
Hickey
Hubbard
Iftody
Jackson
Jordan
Keyes
Kirkby
Knutson
Kraft Sloan
Lastewka
Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul)
LeBlanc (Cape/Cap-Breton Highlands-Canso)
Lee
MacDonald
MacLaren
MacLellan (Cape/Cap-Breton-The Sydneys)
Malhi
Maloney
Manley
Marchi
Marleau
Massé
McCormick
McGuire
McKinnon
McTeague
McWhinney
Mifflin
Milliken
Mills (Broadview-Greenwood)
Minna
Mitchell
Murray
Nault
Nunziata
O'Reilly
Ouellet
Pagtakhan
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Payne
Peric
Peterson
Phinney
Pickard (Essex-Kent)
Pillitteri
Proud
Reed
Regan
Richardson
Rideout
Robillard
Rompkey
Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury)
Serré
Shepherd
Skoke
Speller
St. Denis
Steckle
Stewart (Brant)
Szabo
Telegdi
Terrana
Thalheimer
Torsney
Ur
Valeri
Vanclief
Volpe
Walker
Wappel
Wells
Whelan
Wood
Young
Zed-138

NAYS

Members
Abbott
Althouse
Asselin
Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing)
Bellehumeur
Benoit
Bergeron
Bernier (Gaspé)
Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead)
Blaikie
Breitkreuz (Yellowhead)
Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville)
Brien
Brown (Calgary Southeast)
Bélisle
Canuel
Caron
Chrétien (Frontenac)
Crête
Dalphond-Guiral
Daviault
Debien
de Savoye
Deshaies
Duceppe
Dumas
Duncan
Epp
Fillion
Forseth
Frazer
Gagnon (Québec)
Gauthier (Roberval)
Gilmour
Godin
Gouk
Grey (Beaver River)
Grubel
Guay
Guimond
Hanrahan
Harper (Calgary West)
Harper (Simcoe Centre)
Harris
Hart
Hayes
Hermanson
Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George-Peace River)
Hoeppner
Johnston
Kerpan
Lalonde
Landry
Laurin
Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)
Lebel
Leblanc (Longueuil)
Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe)
Leroux (Shefford)
Loubier
Manning
Marchand
Meredith
Mills (Red Deer)
Ménard
Nunez
Paré
Penson
Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Ramsay
Ringma
Rocheleau
Sauvageau
Schmidt
Silye
Solberg
Solomon
St-Laurent
Strahl
Taylor
Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata)
Tremblay (Rosemont)
Venne
Wayne
White (Fraser Valley West)
White (North Vancouver)
Williams-90

PAIRED MEMBERS

Bachand
Dubé
Gaffney
Harper (Churchill)
Langlois
McLellan (Edmonton Northwest)

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I declare the motion carried.

(1610 )

The House resumed from April 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-76, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 1995, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am rising to participate in the debate today, in part


11821

because of the importance of the bill. I want to put some views in respect of the bill on the record.

Also I want to anticipate what I know members opposite are going to say in the course of their remarks. I expect that you, Madam Speaker, and members of the House will be treated to a lot of bleating and whining and shrieking this afternoon about the evils of time allocation.

I want to speak briefly about the virtues of time allocation, at least in respect to the bill today. I certainly have had cause to criticize its use in the past. I want to point out today some relevant facts about the use of time allocation in the debate on this bill.

[Translation]

We have been debating this bill for four days. We debated it on March 30, March 31, April 3 and April 6. And there had been almost 16 hours of debate until today.

[English]

I turn to the experience we endured in respect of Bill C-93 during the debates in 1992 and 1993. That was another budget implementation bill. It implemented a budget much worse than the one to which Canadians have been subjected by the Minister of Finance. He has had to take very difficult steps in the budget, in part because of the dreadful budgets we endured during the Tory years. Members on this side of the House will remember.

An hon. member: Yes.

Mr. Milliken: I do not think anyone except the hon. member for Beaver River from the other side and some of the New Democrats will remember that.

Mr. Boudria: The Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Milliken: Oh, yes, the Leader of the Opposition. He helped to bring in these budgets. I forgot about that. I am glad the chief government whip reminded me of it.

In any event, in 1992 and 1993 when we were debating Bill C-93, time allocation was used after eight hours and nineteen minutes of debate. We have already had almost double the debate before time allocation was used on this bill.

I know the hon. member for Beaver River was here and I suspect she may have even spoken. Let me just check the list. No, I do not see her name. She did not get to speak on that occasion. I am sorry she did not because I am sure she would have denounced the Conservative budget too.

She should be praising this one because it is doing all the things she used to say the Tories did wrong. We have corrected the Tory errors. We are trying to make up for their blunders. She used to denounce them for failing to do things that we are now doing. I am sure that in her heart of hearts she supports this budget and would like to be able to vote for it today.

An hon. member: She does. She does.

Mr. Milliken: Except that her leader has told her she cannot, so she is stuck.

An hon. member: No free vote.

Mr. Milliken: I will leave her out of it for the time being.

I want to point out that we have moved time allocation in respect of the bill because we have had 15 hours and 40 minutes of debate before today. We will have the rest of today on the bill, all of the time allotted for Government Orders.

I am sorry we could not get any arrangement to extend the time beyond that. Had we been able to get agreement pursuant to the rules to limit debate to a certain time, the government House leader in his beneficence would have given the time. We were prepared to do that. However there was no willingness on the part of the opposition to indicate when they would terminate debate so the government has taken the step of bringing in time allocation.

An hon. member: Shame.

Mr. Milliken: It is a reasonable and fair use of the rule. The hon. member from the New Democratic Party is yelling shame, but he is smiling at the same time. In fact he knows we are letting the opposition off the hook by using this because they were running out of people who could make any intelligent remarks on this bill. Virtually everyone had spoken. The well was running dry. By using time allocation today we are in fact helping the opposition.

(1615)

Let us turn to their criticisms of the budget. We are getting it on both sides. It is worth the opposition parties hearing this. We have the Bloc Quebecois on the one hand saying our cuts are too draconian, and we have the Reform Party on the other hand saying the cuts do not go far enough.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): We are right and they are wrong.

Mr. Milliken: There we have it. We hear it from the hon. member for Simcoe Centre. He says that they are right and the Bloc is wrong. The thing is they are both wrong. It is the government that has it right.

Mr. McCormick: It shows in the polls.

Mr. Milliken: It shows in the polls, as my friend from Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington has indicated. It shows in the polls and it shows in the hearts of Canadians. They realize the government had to take tough measures. The govern-


11822

ment took tough measures and Canadians support their government in the tough measures.

The hon. member for Simcoe Centre wags his head and says that somehow they are not tough enough. The hon. member for Bellechasse wags his head and says that they are too strong. I will not choose between the two extremes. We have chosen a reasonable path, a tough path but a fair path. That is what the Minister of Finance did in his budget.

It is important, in looking at what he did, to bear in mind the fact that he was trying to achieve equity, fairness and a balanced budget. That was important.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): And he failed.

Mr. Milliken: The hon. member says that he failed. I point out some facts that indicate it did not fail. It was a very significant budget. It will be a great success.

It takes action to reduce government spending and refocus activities of government on priorities and needs. The goal of the strategy is clear, concrete and compelling. It is to restore national fiscal health to Canada. In so doing it will reshape the role of government to build a stronger and more dynamic Canadian economy.

The budget will provide sustained growth for Canada and confidence in Canada's future. New jobs will be created as a result of the budget in spite of the ones that are lost, which we all regret. It will also allow the Canadian government to preserve its ability to help those in need. Major cuts in the social programs of the country are not contained in the budget.

To meet the goal, the budget delivers on the commitment to cut the deficit to 3 per cent of the economy in two years. That was a red book commitment. Hon. members opposite do not like to hear about the red book because it upsets them. It was a success. It worked and it is still working.

An hon. member: We will probably exceed it.

Mr. Milliken: The hon. member says: ``We will probably exceed it''. I agree with him. I intend to refer to that later in my remarks. If the economic performance is stronger than the very prudent forecast of the minister in his budget, the deficit should fall even more.

The fiscal actions taken in the budget will total $29 billion over the next three years, more than any budget since World War II. In two years program spending will be $10.4 billion lower than it is today.

Just as important, the budget also changes the structure of how the government operates. The changes will ensure that spending will be restrained beyond the two-year target period so that the deficit will continue to fall, much to the dismay of Reformers, and will reflect the government's commitment to eliminate the deficit entirely.

To achieve these results the budget takes fundamental action across government programs and operations. It implements the results of program review, a comprehensive examination of departmental spending. The government will focus on what is essential and the government will do it better. The budgets of some government departments, as hon. members know, have been cut in half.

The budget also acts on the new vision of the federal government's role in the economy, one that includes substantial reductions in business subsidies. These will drop from $3.8 billion this year to $1.5 billion by 1997-98. They are very substantial cuts.

The budget reforms major transfers to the provinces, modernizing the federal-provincial fiscal regime and making it more effective, flexible and affordable. These wide ranging reforms will mean a smaller public service. Some 45,000 jobs will be eliminated as we have heard in the budget speech, but we will manage this difficult process with as much fairness as we can manage including the use of early departure and retirement incentives, some of which have already been announced by the involved ministers of the crown.

It is also essential to be fair to the taxpayer, and the budget is fair to Canadian taxpayers. The tax changes are modest. They affect only the most wealthy. The cuts are $7 to every $1 of increase in tax. It is a fair budget; it is a good budget. The hon. members opposite should be voting for the bill.

(1620)

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I remind hon. members that debate is now 10 minutes maximum with no questions and comments.

Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.): Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands did a desperate job of defending the restrictions on debate this afternoon, but there really is no excuse for restricting debate on such an important topic. It is not because the media do not think it is a hot topic any more but because people out there are aware of the budget and the problems it could produce.

At the various public meetings I am attending people keep asking me: ``What did you think of that budget?'' It is almost as if there is this background awareness that the budget, which was a major anticlimax, might just come back to haunt us.

Several weeks ago when the finance minister had his short meeting with Moody's bond rating service it was clear that Moody's went away dissatisfied with the explanation from the finance minister. The Financial Post predicted the same day that Canada's debt rating would be downgraded within a few days. As we see that is exactly what happened.


11823

Even when Moody's announced the downgrade the markets had already anticipated the news and there was very little reaction out there. As the lack of substance in the budget becomes more and more apparent, it is quite likely we will continue to incur ever higher interest rates to finance our borrowings.

We have been lulled into a false sense of security lately by a dollar that seems to have risen a little in value. I even heard the business reporter on CTV this morning saying that our dollar was holding up very well. However, when we look at our currency against a basket of major world currencies instead of simply comparing it with the U.S. dollar, we find that our currency has continued to drop against the basket of major currencies.

In an international sense we are actually losing ground quite rapidly. This means that price inflation is just around the corner. Significant price jumps have started to occur already in some consumer products. In my office we recently purchased a second laser printer. The price had jumped more than 8 per cent in six months. Can anyone remember when the price of electronic goods actually went up? Prices have been dropping for years now, and all of a sudden we have price increases on things like cameras, VCRs, vegetables, garden tools, paint and cars, almost everything. It is starting to look like standard Liberal economic policy: allow the dollar to drop and inflation comes roaring back in.

The dollar dropped in the late seventies and early eighties from $1 to 85 cents. Inflation rose. The export sector boomed. It all looked very rosy. We had the appearance of prosperity while our deficit and debt were ballooning dramatically. Unfortunately the strategy is not going to work this time. We are a little too close to the debt wall for it to be effective.

Because of my business background I have quite a number of friends who are small business people. I have taken the time to ask them in the last few weeks about their sales and price levels over the past six months. In a group that includes one of the most productive realtors in the country, a hardware and garden tools importer, a car dealer and a furniture sales company, all have experienced dramatic drops in sales over the past two months at the same time as they have experienced huge price increases from suppliers because of the low dollar.

Stacey's, a large furniture manufacturer in Vancouver, revealed on a radio talk show last week that bankruptcies in the furniture industry were imminent because sales had suddenly dropped to levels lower than they were in the last recession. On the same radio talk show, bankruptcies of car dealers were being predicted as well.

The hardware importer I know has had two price increases exceeding 15 per cent, in some cases since January, and reports that some retail clients have declared bankruptcy in the past month. Sales in this sector have dropped sharply at the same time as the price increases that they are trying to pass on because of low profit margins.

Except for the export sector, the good news is not being passed on to other parts of the business sector. In the meantime there are those sneaky budget tax increases in place taking a bite out of everyone's spending power.

(1625)

The Liberals and the NDP must be the only people in the country who think that the penalty tax on banks announced in the budget will not lead to higher bank service charges or loan charges for the average Canadian.

Liberals and the NDP must be the only people in the country who think that a 1 per cent increase in corporate taxes and a change that forces corporations to report their income at the end of a calendar year will not lead to an increase in the price of goods.

Liberals and the NDP must be the only people in the country who think that a 1.5 cent increase per litre on gasoline will not lead to an increase in the price of gasoline. Actually the new gas tax also increases the GST because GST is added on after the other taxes on the price of gasoline.

Incidentally the Deputy Prime Minister said during the election campaign that if the GST had not gone within a year of the election she would resign. She has not done that yet.

As I have said before, despite the tax increases and the token spending cuts, the ship of state is still going down a little bit slower with a smaller crew on board. That is all. In three years the increase in interest payments on our growing debt will consume every cent of savings the minister made in his budget. He did not go nearly far enough and he is not going fast enough.

I mention New Zealand all the time in my speeches. It has shown us the way by making some pretty massive cuts in government spending at the same time as it lowered taxes. New Zealand is now expecting a budget surplus in excess of $3 billion. It forecast $2 billion and is getting in excess of a $3 billion surplus. It has increased spending on social programs. Its unemployment rate is down to 5.6 per cent.

I cannot use props in the House but I have a full page advertisement from a New Zealand newspaper wherein Roger Douglas, the architect of a lot of New Zealand's restructuring, has now proposed that by the year 2000 New Zealand could have zero income tax.

I am not suggesting we could follow the procedure here because New Zealand is going to run on a 15 per cent GST. That is easy to do with a consumption tax when there are no bordering countries. Perhaps by the year 2000 New Zealand could be income tax free and running on just a consumption tax. Imagine zero per cent income taxes. That is pretty good.


11824

I repeat what I have said before. The best way to put more money in the hands of the poor, of families, of business, of everyone, is to cut spending and to cut taxes. Tax cuts and spending cuts make it easier for people to buy homes and improve their standard of living. Things work better when people make their own spending decisions instead of having big brother government make the decisions for them.

High taxes punish those who are the most productive in our society. High taxes are a symptom of a government's failure, incompetence and inability to see the damage taxes are doing to society.

The finance minister gave it his best shot and was overruled by what might be a socialist cabinet. I congratulate him for trying but I castigate him for not doing what he knew had to be done. He stands responsible for the massive loss of net worth that is now occurring for Canadians across the country who do not have offshore shipping companies and a multimillion dollar worth.

Shame on the government. Shame on the MPs who failed their constituents by avoiding the truth that we cannot buy our way out of poverty. We have not even begun to address other very real problems with government programs that lead to waste and cheating.

For example, I have a copy of an advertisement that appeared in the Vancouver Sun on March 4, 1995. It was sent to me by a constituent, Mr. George Brooks. The advertisement reads:

UIC top-up positions: two festival production jobs available mid-April with performing arts association. Outgoing individuals with festive or event experience sought. Must have minimum of 21 weeks UI benefits.
My constituent asks since when has UIC been a prerequisite for employment in Canada. Here we have blatant abuse of a program that is supposed to help people get retrained. Mr. Brooks has asked quite a good question.

(1630 )

Special interest groups know how to milk our system. Nothing was done about it in the budget.

Look at Bombardier. The hon. member mentioned government grants to business. Bombardier, a tremendously profitable corporation, is receiving grants from the federal government. These grants go directly to the bottom line because it is a profitable company. We have no business giving grants to a company like Bombardier.

I urge members to vote against the implementation of the 1995 budget on the basis that it has failed to address government spending and brings us one step closer to a debt and currency crisis.

Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have to wonder what the hon. member who has just spoken has been reading, where he gets his information and why he is referring to what he believes to be a currency crisis or something like that. It is that kind of irresponsible talk on the part of hon. members which could do damage to the economy of this country.

Luckily for all of us, and I will put it as kindly as I can, very few people, if any, would believe what the hon. member has just said. That is why it likely will not do any damage. I could put it a bit less kindly but I will not.

[Translation]

The budget tabled in this House on February 27 by the hon. Minister of Finance provides for the most stringent measures ever adopted by any government in the last 50 years. During the last election campaign, we promised the Canadian people in the red book that we would reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 1996-97. That is what we are going to do. Not only that, but we will probably do more: we will reduce the deficit even more vigorously than we announced.

Second, as you know, the deficit will be down to 1.7 per cent of GDP the following year and, who knows, Canada may even have a balanced budget one or two years later.

We in the Liberal Party have managed to do in a few years what the Tory government was never able to do during its nine years in office. During those nine years, Tory ministers made annual fiscal projections about Canada's deficit. Not once did the Tory government ever meet its objectives.

We have brought down two budgets. After the first budget, we not only met our objective, we exceeded it. Of course, the second budget was tabled only a few weeks ago, on February 27 to be exact, and we are still putting in place the measures needed to meet requirements.

Total savings over the next three years will be $29 billion: $5 billion in 1995-96, $10.6 billion in 1996-97 and $13.3 billion in 1997-98. Reform members just told us that no money would be saved. That could not be further from the truth.

Take a good look at some of the cuts that were made. We will have reductions, in departmental budgets for example, totalling $3.9 billion in 1995-96, $5.9 billion in 1996-97 and $7.2 billion in 1997-98. The public service will be reduced by some 45,000 positions. Of course, as a member of the party elected in the National Capital Region, I am not thrilled to see some of my constituents lose their jobs. But if we had not taken these harsh measures, that will work and have indeed worked so far, we would be much worse off in the future.

Subsidies to business will be reduced by some 60 per cent. That is a major reduction.


11825

(1635)

Only major banks are hit with tax hikes. Other businesses were almost all spared, except, of course, for the fuel tax, which increased by 1.5 cents per litre. That is the only new tax that will affect most of my constituents, generally speaking.

[English]

Some Bloc Quebecois members say that this budget is way too severe or something to that effect. Members of the Reform Party say it is not severe enough. Could it be that these two groups are at one extreme and the other? Could it be that the middle ground is what is reasonable? Could it be that the middle ground is the belief of Canadians and also the program on which we were elected? I say it is so and it is not just me. Let me read what some other Canadians have said.

Here is what Jayson Myers of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association said: ``I am impressed. I applaud the minister for what he has done''. That is a quote from this business leader. Reform Party members pretend they know what is good for business. Let us listen to another one.

[Translation]

``This is a good budget'', said Ghislain Dufour, president of the Conseil du patronat du Québec. Again, this is from someone who ought to know what he is talking about.

[English]

This statement is by Fred Ketchen, chairman of the board of the Toronto Stock Exchange, probably not a bleeding heart socialist. He says: ``A responsible, a fair, a realistic and even a humane budget''.

Mr. Pension: Any grants?

Mr. Boudria: I say to members across the way that grants to businesses have been cut by 60 per cent. Of course they probably were not listening, they never do.

Here is another quote: ``It is a good budget on several fronts''. This was stated by Peter Wolford of the Retail Council of Canada. The Retail Council of Canada sure does not get any grants. Let us listen to another one.

[Translation]

Michel Audet, president of the Province of Quebec Chamber of Commerce said: ``This is a real budget based on concrete measures''. Now listen to this: an economist with Nesbitt Burns-since the members opposite want to hear from the financial sector-said: ``This is a great budget and not just a smoke screen''. That person added that this was a realistic budget.

[English]

This is what Lloyd Atkinson of MT Associates said: ``This is one of the few budgets I have seen in a very long time where the promise was matched by the reality''. That is us. We made commitments to the people of Canada in the red book and we are going to live up to those commitments. Whether those commitments are for gun control, for restoring the financial integrity of this country, or for good government and sound and frugal management, all of those things will be delivered because that is what we said we would do. In fact, that is what we are delivering to the people of Canada.

Mr. Penson: What about the GST?

Mr. Boudria: Some members are asking us about the GST. We are well on our way to correcting all of the things we want to. We were only elected 18 months ago. Our program is for a five year mandate and we will deliver. In our second mandate we will have another red book and we will deliver again. In our third mandate we will do the same thing, and so on. We intend to provide good government in the short, medium and long term for the people of Canada. The people of Canada know this and will recognize this in the next election campaign in 1998 or whenever it occurs.

While we are talking about election campaigns, Bobby Rae in our own province of Ontario is probably going to call an election within a few days. His mandate has completely expired. He tried to launch an attack against the budget until he realized that most, if not all, Canadians agreed with the budget except for him. Of course, he was unable to use the budget to launch his campaign. His left wing agenda is not going anywhere because that is not what the people want.

(1640)

Neither will the common nonsense revolution of Mike Harris in Ontario. I am sorry, the common sense revolution as he calls it is not going to fly anywhere because again there are the two extremes like we see across the way.

The people of Ontario will also do the right thing. They will elect Lyn McLeod and a very good government for the province of Ontario, such as we are delivering to the people of Canada.

[Translation]

Mr. Maurice Godin (Châteauguay, BQ): Madam Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois decided to fight Bill C-76 tooth and nail. Basic reasons motivate us to keep this promise, for example, fairness. All too often, the budget hits the middle class and the needy instead of addressing inequities within the tax system.

The government has refused to review the tax system, despite the Bloc Quebecois' repeated requests over the past year and a half. In addition, the current budget cuts do not target unnecessary or extravagant spending, such as the purchase of furniture for the fisheries minister's office. No, they hit the neediest.


11826

Another example is the army. The Bloc Quebecois recommended cutting the Minister of National Defence's budget, but only targeted unnecessary spending or spending in non-essential areas. For example, Operation William Tell, $7 million; the lavish fishing trips to the tune of $1.2 million; the number of generals, their assistants and retinues of support staff; mansions for high-ranking officers; the Reserves, which cost us some $532 million but have no specific mission, according to several generals.

Instead, with Bill C-76, the government hits the neediest, widows, orphans, and veterans, whose average age is 73 years.

Bill C-76 hits three acts which are administered by Veterans Affairs. The seven clauses of the bill which affect these three acts all cut benefits and allowances.

Clause 42 will have the effect of gradually phasing out education assistance benefits for the children of deceased veterans. In fact, clause 42 amends the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act. This amendment initiates the gradual phasing out of a veterans benefit that provides the children of deceased veterans with the assistance they need to continue their education. With a few exceptions, the 85 students now receiving these benefits are the children of deceased military personnel who participated in Canadian peacekeeping missions. Students who were receiving the benefit on the day the budget was tabled will continue to receive it under this legislation but the department will not accept new applications.

Clauses 68 to 72, inclusive, amend the War Veterans Allowance Act by terminating the payment of allowances to allied veterans of resistance groups. As of September 1, 1995 or within two months after Bill C-76 receives royal assent, whichever comes later. The same provision will also initiate the gradual phasing out of allowances payable to allied veterans in uniform who immigrated to Canada at the end of their service and resided in Canada for at least 10 years before applying for veterans allowance.

Bill C-76 will terminate payment of allowances to about 3,000 veterans. Payments will also be terminated in the case of 1,000 veterans of resistance groups whose old age security and Canada Pension Plan benefits raise their incomes just above the threshold below which they would be entitled to certain health care benefits. The provinces will inherit this new set of clients, two thirds of whom are Quebecers.

Clause 73(a) would terminate compensation for loss of income in the case of veterans who are required to appear before a review board.

(1645)

Clause 73(b) would also do away with compensation for income loss and includes other restrictions on travel and living expenses occasioned by a medical examination required by the minister. We oppose this loss of benefits for veterans. Society's disadvantaged-seniors, widows and children-are being attacked.

Let us look at a specific example: a woman in Montreal, a widow, who has just received a notice in the mail. The director general of veterans' benefits at Veterans Affairs Canada, Doris Boulet, is advising her that she will lose all the assistance she has been receiving for a number of years. Under the provisions proposed in Bill C-76, this woman will lose on a number of counts. First, she will lose her allowance. Second, she will no longer enjoy the related benefits she received from Veterans Affairs Canada, including her Blue Cross identity card. Third, she will no longer have access to veterans' independence programs, nor, fourth, to Veterans Affairs Canada contributions to long term health care. In short, she is being abandoned.

The letter tells her to act quickly to find other sources of financial and health care assistance. It reminds her of existing programs: federal government programs, such as old age security and the guaranteed income supplement, and provincial government programs, such as social assistance and health care plans. She is advised that these are her options to help her replace the financial assistance and the other benefits she will no longer enjoy following adoption of Bill C-76.

In fact, the need of that woman is recognized, but she is simply referred to other federal and provincial public services. This is a good example of duplication. That woman is told that she can get help from both the federal and provincial levels. Yet, as I recall, veterans affairs come under federal jurisdiction.

Here is another example. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot learned from Branch No. 2 of the Royal Canadian Legion that the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue hospital is increasing the monthly rate for its rooms from $547 to $704. This increase of 28 per cent brings to 198 per cent the total increase for these veterans since 1990. Veterans are offended, hurt and humiliated by such off-hand treatment on the part of a country they paid to protect. Why penalize these veterans by offloading onto them the financial burden related to the treatment of injuries which they suffered while defending our country? There are many other places cuts could have been made.

If I had suggested that the responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs should be decentralized and delegated to the provinces to ensure greater efficiency, federalists would immediately have objected, on the grounds that this is an exclusive federal jurisdiction. Bill C-76 leads us to one conclusion: the federal is no longer able to meet its responsibilities. Why not decentralize by delegating to the provinces responsibilities as well as tax points?

The federal system is obsolete. We need autonomous provinces which would give to the federal government, or to another economic and political union, a mandate and a budget to manage certain joint responsibilities. In short, the Bloc is opposed to the


11827

loss of these benefits for veterans. The poor, the elderly, widows and children are too often the ones who are targeted.

[English]

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Ottawa West-Public service of Canada.

Mr. John O'Reilly (Victoria-Haliburton, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to bring some reality to the fact that the Canadian public is in tune with and in favour of the recent budget.

At a recent meeting in Haliburton I had the pleasure of speaking to a group from the chambers of commerce from Haliburton to the Quebec border. Most of them are managers, some operate chambers of commerce, are CEOs and so forth. They agreed that for the first time since the 1940s there was actually a budget cut, that it was not just a freeze, it was not something that would be taken off at the next election, it was not something that was going to change. It was actually an alternate course the government has decided to embark on. They applauded that.

(1650)

In researching the budget in order to speak to the chamber of commerce and find something to talk about that I thought would be of interest to them, I did look at the reduction of business subsidies. These are dear to most of our hearts. We all believe that businesses should not be financed by federal governments. We have talked about that many times.

A key principle of the 1995 budget, as the Minister of Finance said, was to redesign the role of government in the economy to fit the size of the pocketbook and the priorities of our people. The decision dramatically reduces subsidies to businesses and shows how that principle is at work.

The simple fact is that subsidies often did more harm to businesses than help. It is a problem business leaders themselves have often pointed to. This was confirmed in the 1994 OECD job studies, which said that subsidies tend to operate in exactly the opposite way from what is needed: they slow rather than stimulate adjustment, they discourage rather than encourage innovation, and they tend to become permanent.

That is why the budget cuts business subsidies by 60 per cent, from $3.8 billion last year to $1.5 billion by 1997-98. Areas where subsidies will drop sharply include agriculture and transportation. Again, we can no longer afford subsidies that were designed decades ago and that today are actually undercutting adaptation, diversification, and competitiveness.

Western Grain Transportation Act subsidies are being eliminated, for a savings of $2.6 billion over five years. But because of the scope of this change there will be transition measures. For example, we will make a one-time payment of $1.6 billion to prairie farmer landowners and invest a further $300 million to help establish a more efficient grain handling and transportation system.

As well, in line with the recent decision of federal and provincial agriculture ministers, we will develop a core national whole farm package. This shared cost program will replace current programs based on individual commodities. This will encourage innovation and diversification while producing a 30 per cent reduction in federal contributions to agricultural safety nets.

The Atlantic freight subsidies will also be eliminated, for five-year savings of $500 million. This again will be balanced by a five-year transition program, including helping to modernize the highway system in Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec.

Of course our cuts to subsidies extend far beyond agriculture and transportation. At Industry Canada subsidies will fall by half, from $525 million in 1994-95 to $264 million in three years. Remaining spending will focus on initiatives in high growth sectors and in partnerships with the private sector.

A new role for the regional development agencies will see them focusing on small and medium sized enterprises. This assistance will rely on loans and repayable contributions rather than direct subsidies. As a result, subsidies from these agencies, the western diversification, the Federal Office of Regional Development for Quebec, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, will drop from $700 million to $234 million.

Subsidies to cultural industries are also being reduced. This includes an eight per cent reduction in the postal subsidy, which reduces mailing costs for certain books and magazines.

As well, we are eliminating the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act, which returns to provinces the taxes paid by privately owned utilities. As a result, major energy subsidies will virtually disappear, dropping from $410 million now to $8 million.

These subsidy cuts are vital components in restoring Canada's fiscal health. We also recognize that there are times and places where governments can and should assist the private sector in today's fast changing global environment. For example, the government will continue to play an appropriate role in supporting exports for companies in sectors facing intense international competition.


11828

(1655 )

The government will be working with Canada's banks between now and the fall to elaborate meaningful benchmarks regarding small business lending.

A survey in my riding provided overwhelming support for the budget. In fact most would have gone further. Eighty per cent approved the cuts made and are looking for Canada to live within the fiscal constraints of the reality of our income.

The results of my survey include to this date 1,167 people as of yesterday. One of the questions was: Do you agree with the government department spending cuts announced in the 1995 budget? That was a very simple question. The response was no, 18 per cent; yes, 73.6 per cent.

Do you believe the government spending cuts went too far? Yes, 8.7 per cent; no, 83.9 per cent. Do you believe that the government's spending cuts did not go far enough? Yes, 70 per cent; no, 19.6 per cent. Do you support the proposed changes to MPs' pensions? The survey indicated what those changes were. Yes, 90.9 per cent.

An hon. member: Is that not interesting?

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): I wonder about that.

Mr. O'Reilly: Is that not interesting? They support them. No, 6.8 per cent.

The other one I really liked: Do you believe that your member of Parliament should opt out of the pension program provided for members of Parliament? Yes, 28 per cent; no, 82 per cent.

What are the people of Canada saying about the budget? They are saying that they support it. What are they saying about members' pension plans? They are saying that they support those cuts.

So the doom and gloom from across the way is just that, doom and gloom. I am not sorry we have taken the Reform agenda away from them. It does not bother me at all.

There are 205 rookies in Parliament who came here to make a difference. This budget made a difference. The Liberal Party made a difference, and we will continue to provide good government for Canadian people, which is what they asked for and what they elected us for and what we are doing.

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre, Ref.): Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to speak against Bill C-76, the budget implementation act.

I would like to make a couple of comments before I get into my presentation. I just cannot help but do this.

I was interested when the government whip in his presentation was making all those quotes about what people said about this magnificent government budget. One quote that he apparently forgot was the very important quote from Moody's. The quote from Moody's of course was: "This budget is too little, too late, and unrealistic." It is going to cost all Canadian taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars because Moody's did give that verdict on the budget.

I was also interested in the survey results just quoted by the member for Victoria-Haliburton, where his constituents said that they supported the budget, that they supported the cuts. They want cuts. The very next question was that the cuts did not go far enough. That is what his people responded to, and that is what the Canadian people are saying in responding to the budget. It made some cuts. They were not deep enough. They did not go far enough.

I guess it is appropriate to be talking about the budget today because today marks a milestone. The debt passed $550 billion today, not a milestone we can be very proud of. In fact we should all be ashamed of it.

The word guts is not a word I use, but it was used by the Prime Minister the other day in responding to a question in this House. I am going to use it today in suggesting that this budget lacked guts. It did not do the things that have to be done. The courage was not there to do it. What is more, the budget lacked vision.

We have wasted a year and a half. We had our first budget and now we have come up with the second stage of a two-part budget that does nothing to address the most serious problem we have in this country. In that wasted year and a half, what has happened to the debt? The debt has gone from $490 billion to just over $550 billion. Is that an accomplishment? I do not think so.

The message a year ago in the budget was don't worry, be happy. Because of that, we are $60 billion deeper in debt. Think about that first budget. It did not help the situation; it aggravated it. It brought out the much heralded infrastructure program: $6 billion to buy your way to prosperity. It is the old shell game. Two for one. What a deal. ``We will give you one, and you get two for one''. The same taxpayer is being bribed with his own money.

(1700)

Mr. Calder: Why did the member say it was a good program?

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): The government realized the infrastructure program was not good. It has now been extended supposedly because the municipalities have been asking for it, but that was not stated in the budget.


11829

Unbelievably we reduced tobacco taxes that first year. Here we are with our backs to the wall, in debt up to our eyeballs and we gave away what was admitted at the time to be about $300 million. The government did not understand the seriousness of the problem. We gave away $300 million. That does not even begin to touch the health costs implicit in encouraging people to start smoking again by reducing the taxes.

However it was not $300 million. It cost the Canadian taxpayers $850 million in an attempt to drive the bad guys away. ``We are only going to do this until the bad guys disappear, then we are going to put the tax back''. The Liberals were dreaming in technicolour at a time when they should not have been dreaming, they should have been facing reality.

The last thing we were involved in thanks to this government was the Pearson mess. We are still debating whether it is a Liberal scandal or a Tory scandal. While we are doing that the airport is deteriorating. The jobs that could have been created there have not been created. In the long term it will cost jobs across Canada. That is all because of the government failing to face reality and take action.

The other comment I wanted to address at the beginning was: ``We did not do this; we just took over. It was the Conservatives that started all this. They did not address the deficit''. The present government was in opposition. I cannot recall a great deal of emphasis from them in those years to cut spending. As a matter of fact, I detected the exact opposite. Whenever the Conservative government, realizing the magnitude of the problem, tried to do something about it like revising the UI program, the howls of indignation from the Liberals were unbelievable.

It is a little hypocritical to sit over there and say: "It is not us. We did not cause the deficit." They sure did not help by supporting the cuts the Tories were trying to make. Not to mention the government was in place when we started this slide down the debt hole. When the Liberals were defeated in 1984 the debt at that point was just under $200 billion and all Conservative efforts to reduce it failed miserably because they were not getting the support they needed from the opposition.

Now we come to the budget. A year ago it was: ``Don't worry, be happy''. Now Canadians are being told: ``It is a serious situation. It is life threatening. We have to do something about it. We have to cut spending''. They blew it big time. The one thing the Liberals had to do was show leadership by example. They had to address our gold plated MP pension plan and they did not do it. They blew big time any credibility they had with the Canadian people in that budget.

It is interesting the MP pension cuts were not in the budget. I am sure the finance minister looked at that program and said: ``Forget it. It would be a disaster in my budget''.

Mr. Penson: You have got to pay the price.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): You have to pay the price. You have to show leadership by example. It was not there, so the budget started off on a very bad note. They just blew all credibility.

Let us talk about the budget. In 1997 the debt will be $650 billion. That is the bottom line. That is an accomplishment? That is reality. That is a fact. Interest rates on it amount to $55 billion to $60 billion. That is reality. That is a fact. We will still be overspending by $25 billion. That is reality. That is an accomplishment? It is a disaster we are going to have to face and deal with.

The IMF brought out a study this week on growth and the world economy. It showed Canada's growth at 4.3 per cent in 1995 and 2.6 per cent in 1996. Bad news is coming. Are we prepared for it? I suggest not. Just below the growth in the world economy is how Canada's debt stacks up. It is compared to our other trading partners. Canada is the absolute worst and worsening.

(1705 )

Canada has the distinction of being the world's largest offshore debtor. That debt has increased. During the last year the offshore debt has gone from $319 billion to $341 billion. Twenty-eight billion dollars in interest payments flow out of Canada to those countries that have been supporting our lavish lifestyle. It does not do a thing for the economy. We are not in control of our own destiny. That control is in the hands of the people who have been supporting that lavish lifestyle we have been enjoying while we lived beyond our means.

What will be the future costs of the Moody's downgrade? As I suggested at the beginning, it is going to be in the area of millions if not billions of dollars. We cannot say we were not warned. We got a warning shot before the budget. Moody's said: ``Your 3 per cent target is far too low and we want you to give us a date when you are going to get to zero''. Rolling two-year targets are laughable.

I can see myself going to my bank manager and saying: ``I know I am in debt, but will you keep lending me money if I give you a rolling two-year target?'' He would throw me out of his office after he had a fit of hysterics.

Several clouds are on the horizon that are not faced in the budget and of course there is what can happen in the United States.

I will close by saying that the situation prompts me to recall buying my first home. The neighbour next door had all the trappings, lovely furnishings. I thought he must be making a lot of money. Reality was the creditors moving in and closing him down because he was doing it with his credit card. That is what we are doing and it could hurt our future generations.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I remind the next member that we have only eight minutes left.


11830

Mr. Murray Calder (Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I would like to speak to Bill C-76.

I just read something in Quorum: ``A new fever for frugality''. That is what we are talking about today. Among other things I have learned in my last 18 months as a politician are three words: imbalance, fluctuation and disturbance. These are three words that politicians hate to hear. They are also the basis for innovative and creative thinking. That is what the budget is showing right now.

The 1994-95 estimates show the first reduction in budgetary requirements in 20 years. In the next fiscal year spending here will drop by 6 per cent, and 3 per cent each year after. Senior employees on the House staff have been cut by 15 per cent. MPs remuneration, salaries, as an example, have been frozen and will remain frozen.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): Tell us about the pension plan.

Mr. Calder: The pension plan has been cut back also. I get a kick out of how cynical the member for Simcoe Centre can be at times. The member and I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to tour base Borden. This will give members a rough idea of the innovation I am talking about.

With the cuts that have been made to the Department of National Defence, base Borden at the present time is working in conjunction with Georgian College. The member knows this because we saw it. Base Borden is conducting welding classes as a way of utilizing the facilities. It is holding catering courses and courses for firefighting and for paramedical training. The member knows this.

This is all part of budget cuts and innovative thinking. This is what I am talking about if the member would just listen. We wanted to make sure the budget was fair to the taxpayer.

Mr. Penson: Did you run your farm like that?

Mr. Calder: I went through this with my farm.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Order. I would ask members to address their remarks to the Chair.

Mr. Calder: Madam Speaker, I apologize. The member asked if that was the way I ran my farm. In 1984 I was a pig farmer. The draconian cuts he and his party are talking about would be the same as me saying that I am not going to pay the taxes on my farm, or my hydro bill or buy any clothes this year.

(1710 )

What they are talking about are targets that cannot be made. One of the things laid out in the budget is the fact that we are keeping our targets. In fact, we have set targets that are based on very pessimistic growth. Even the business community said that we were being pessimistic. Our targets are capped.

If the target is too low, by the time we get to 3 per cent of the GDP by 1996-97, which is what we promised in the red book and from our own pessimistic outlook, then if we go by what is happening in the business community and what they have been projecting, we will exceed 3 per cent. Is that not what it is all about, having a government that the voters know is a credible government if it comes forward with a budget, sets targets and achieves those targets?

For the last nine years voters have watched governments making promises in different budgets. Those promises were not kept. We were at the point where they were becoming cynical and saying that this was just another promise which was not credible.

That is not what this government is all about. We are where we are in the polls today because we are credible. We are making promises that we can keep.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): What about the GST?

Mr. Calder: The GST will be worked out later this year. It is in process right now. The member can laugh. I love the way the member for Simcoe Centre tries to work this around. He stood up and chastised the infrastructure program. In fact, a few months ago he made a statement in the House questioning the minister responsible. However, at the same time, I found some correspondence he had written the mayor of Barrie praising the program. It is cynicism like that which gives politicians a bad name.

Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre): Tell the whole story, do not just give little quotes.

Mr. Calder: I am ashamed of the member.

The budget has a number of advantages. We have pledged that in 1995-96 the debt will not exceed $32.7 billion. We want that reduced to 3 per cent of the GDP or $24.3 billion for 1996-97. This is something that was laid down in the Maastricht treaty. We recognize that a large percentage of our money is borrowed from the international market and it is our responsibility to make that figure.

That is one of the reasons why the Canadian dollar today is strong, interest rates within the country are stable and why we are the leader in the G-7 nations in exporting. We are an exporting nation. If we are going to keep our standard of living we have to export. Thirty million people within this country without exports just does not cut it. Therefore, we have to be an efficient exporting nation. We have to be ISO 9000 effective. We have to take every advantage. We have to be innovative and creative which is exactly what the budget is.

I hope that the member across the way will see the light and vote for Bill C-76.


11831

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): It being 5.15 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

(Division No. 201)

YEAS

Members
Adams
Alcock
Anawak
Anderson
Arseneault
Assadourian
Augustine
Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre)
Bakopanos
Beaumier
Bellemare
Bethel
Bevilacqua
Blondin-Andrew
Bodnar
Boudria
Brown (Oakville-Milton)
Brushett
Bryden
Bélair
Bélanger
Calder
Campbell
Catterall
Cauchon
Chamberlain
Chan
Clancy
Cohen
Collenette
Collins
Comuzzi
Cowling
Crawford
Culbert
DeVillers
Dhaliwal
Discepola
Dromisky
Duhamel
Dupuy
Easter
Eggleton
English
Fewchuk
Finlay
Flis
Fontana
Fry
Gagliano
Gagnon (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Gallaway
Gerrard
Godfrey
Graham
Guarnieri
Harb
Hubbard
Iftody
Irwin
Jackson
Jordan
Keyes
Kirkby
Knutson
Kraft Sloan
Lastewka
Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul)
LeBlanc (Cape/Cap-Breton Highlands-Canso)
MacDonald
MacLaren
MacLellan (Cape/Cap-Breton-The Sydneys)
Malhi
Maloney
Marchi
Marleau
Massé
McCormick
McGuire
McKinnon
McTeague
McWhinney
Mifflin
Milliken

Minna
Mitchell
Murray
Nault
Nunziata
O'Reilly
Pagtakhan
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Peric
Peters
Peterson
Pickard (Essex-Kent)
Pillitteri
Proud
Reed
Regan
Richardson
Rideout
Robillard
Rompkey
Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury)
Serré
Shepherd
Simmons
Skoke
Speller
St. Denis
Steckle
Stewart (Brant)
Stewart (Northumberland)
Szabo
Telegdi
Terrana
Thalheimer
Torsney
Ur
Valeri
Vanclief
Volpe
Walker
Wappel
Wells
Whelan
Wood
Young
Zed-132

NAYS

Members
Abbott
Althouse
Asselin
Benoit
Bergeron
Bernier (Gaspé)
Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead)
Blaikie
Bouchard
Breitkreuz (Yellowhead)
Brien
Brown (Calgary Southeast)
Bélisle
Canuel
Caron
Chrétien (Frontenac)
Crête
Dalphond-Guiral
Daviault
Debien
de Savoye
Deshaies
Duceppe
Dumas
Duncan
Epp
Fillion
Forseth
Frazer
Gagnon (Québec)
Gauthier (Roberval)
Gilmour
Godin
Gouk
Grey (Beaver River)
Grubel
Guay
Guimond
Hanrahan
Harper (Calgary West)
Harper (Simcoe Centre)
Harris
Hart
Hayes
Hermanson
Hill (Macleod)
Hoeppner
Jacob
Johnston
Lalonde
Laurin
Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)
Leblanc (Longueuil)
Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe)
Leroux (Shefford)
Loubier
Manning
Marchand
Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)
McLaughlin
Mercier
Mills (Red Deer)
Morrison
Ménard
Nunez
Paré
Penson
Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Ringma
Rocheleau
Schmidt
Scott (Skeena)
Silye
Solberg
Solomon
Speaker
St-Laurent
Strahl
Taylor
Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata)
Tremblay (Rosemont)
Venne
Wayne
White (Fraser Valley West)
White (North Vancouver)
Williams-88

11832

PAIRED MEMBERS

Bachand
Dubé
Gaffney
Harper (Churchill)
Langlois
McLellan (Edmonton Northwest)

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee.)

Mrs. Payne: Madam Speaker, I was not in my seat at the time the vote was taken but I would like the record to show that had I been I would have voted with the government.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): It being 5.43 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

_____________________________________________


11832

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Translation]

LEGAL RECOGNITION OF SAME SEX SPOUSES

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, BQ) moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.
(1745)

He said: Madam Speaker, it must be realized that major social changes require some disruption.

I thank you for calling the House to order and I want to stress how important this motion is to me and how I fully appreciate the opportunity we have in this Parliament to raise an issue which, in many countries, is the object of repression.

First of all, I would like to point out that the motion I am tabling today calls on us as members of Parliament to recognize same sex spouses. What this means is that we as members of Parliament recognize and urge the government to take the measures necessary to recognize that same sex individuals, whether two men or two women, can have a satisfactory loving and sexual relationship. On such a basis, nothing could justify legislators condoning discriminatory practices.

First of all, I wish to point out that what is to be debated in the next few minutes and hours is not the concept of family or the issue of adoption but the question of free choice for two same sex individuals who want to enjoy a relationship.

I would like to draw a comparison between feelings of love and religious feelings. I had an old theology professor who used to say about religious belief that a religious person is one who believes that mysteries exist and that we cannot apprehend the world around us in its totality for we are hindered by our conventional senses, while one who sees problems where he or she should see mysteries is not a religious but a superstitious person. I suggest that religious belief is universal and transcends denominational boundaries. Whether Catholic, Protestant, Quaker or what not, we have religious beliefs and values and this is a matter of feeling.

Love is the same kind of feeling. Whether or not this love is between two men or two women, the fact remains that what is experienced in terms of relationship is the same.

I would say that, today, we are picking up where Pierre Elliott Trudeau and John Turner left off and, with a majority vote on this motion in Parliament, we would basically be taking another step forward.

You will recall that it was John Turner and not Pierre Elliott Trudeau who, as Minister of Justice, decriminalized homosexuality through the passage of Bill C-150 in December 1968. Of course, as we recall, this was an omnibus bill which included a number of amendments relating to lotteries and abortion.

But the main thing is that, in 1968, it was recognized in a mature way, in a generous society which is no doubt even more so today, that two consenting adults, or as paragraph 149(a) of the Criminal Code put it, two persons who are both over the age of 21 can engage freely in sexual activity- provided, naturally, that they have reached the legal age, which was 21 in those days-and that they consensually agree to be in a relationship.

I think that, as a society, we are now going a further step in saying that, as a society, we will not tolerate that individuals who knowingly and willingly get into a same sex relationship should suffer economic, social or fiscal discrimination.

That is what this motion is about. I have heard all kinds of remarks and comparisons which, if I may say so, were quite misguided.

(1750)

Before getting down to the specifics, I want to say that the gay community, to which I belong, is a fine community. Our fellow citizens, as well as the gay community, must realize that a person can be gay and still be a taxpayer, a worker and a happy human being. The best way for society to integrate its various groups and make them feel comfortable is to accept their differences. It will be very interesting to see how, as we prepare for the 21st century, Canada and Quebec will be prepared to accept these differences.


11833

Ultimately, no one can contend, from a psychological or anthropological point of view, that homosexuality is something abnormal. In psychology, the term abnormal refers to something which is unhealthy from a psychological or physiological point of view. A person can be a homosexual or a lesbian and still be a member of the workforce, a happy human being, a conscientious worker, as well as an active member of his or her community. In fact, this is the case of most people I know.

Yet, even though several administrative tribunals, employers and provincial governments-including Ontario-have recognized same sex spouses, the fact is that, in 1995, there is still a great deal of discrimination.

In recognizing same sex spouses, we have to take a look at the scope of the current notion of spouses, which is defined strictly in heterosexist terms.

With the diligent and much appreciated help of the Library researchers, I sought to find out how many acts in Canada contain a definition of ``spouse'' in heterosexist terms, that is a definition referring to spouses of two different sexes. Madam Speaker, you will surely be surprised to learn that, for all intents and purposes, there are about 60 such acts. You have no idea of all the lines of activity concerned. I have a list here which includes the Bankruptcy Act, the Evidence Act, the Carriage by Air Act and the Excise Tax Act. Therefore, this issue does not just involve social and fringe benefits, as well as pensions. It also concerns all sorts of other rights in a vast array of sectors in our society.

We are not starting from scratch. Some progress has been made and it would be extremely dishonest on my part to claim that nothing has been done since 1968. I think the best example I could give you is the fact that 11 major Canadian cities-Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Waterloo, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and that wonderful city where I am sure you would all love to spend your vacation, Vancouver-have also recognized same sex spouses.

I asked our researchers to join me and the human resources managers in each one of these municipalities in evaluating the fiscal impact on municipalities. Of course we should realize that a municipality is not a central government, and I know that is something we have to consider. It is also a fact that each of these cities signed a contract with a private insurance company for health insurance. They let an insurance company offer coverage. It is also a fact, and I think one could not expect it to be otherwise, that when these cities and municipalities recognized same sex spouses, there were no additional costs because after all, would anyone rise in this House and claim that two 30-year old lesbians have more dental appointments that a heterosexual couple? That two gays in their forties need hospital care more often than their heterosexual counterparts?

(1755)

So it is clear that recognition of same sex spouses is not a money issue, at least based on what one could reasonably expect to be the case in these municipalities, since the homosexual community, the members of that community do not differ physically from heterosexuals. I know some people said that there might be neurological or glandular or hormonal differences, but upon closer analysis, these theories did not hold water.

I hope that this debate, which is an extremely important one, will reflect what this 35th Parliament is prepared to do to enhance the equality of all Canadians and Quebecers. Once again, this is not supposed to be a debate on adoption and redefining the family, matters that Parliament would have no mandate to discuss in any case.

As a person who is a committed and militant gay, I have no hesitation in saying that two men or two women do not constitute a family. For a family, you need children. I am not saying that two men or two women would be unable to provide an environment comparable to what a heterosexual couple could offer, but that is not the point of this debate.

So this is an appeal for generosity and openness, since for the legislator, there can be no grounds for discrimination. Since homosexual couples are made up of taxpayers-a number of them are taxpayers-, they are part of the labour market and are involved in the community, there is no objective reason for allowing the discrimination to rage on.

Before concluding, I would like to provide a number of examples to illustrate how insidious it can be. Even though I am an idealist, opposed to pragmatists, discrimination is tangible and a day to day experience in the lives of the people in this community.

I have chosen this example, which concerns a number of areas of activity: unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance is no charity. As you know, after the Conservatives opted out, unfortunately, with the Liberals following suit, unemployment insurance was no longer an assistance plan. It became an insurance plan, with workers paying for unemployment insurance, along with employers, of course.

I will give you an example. A claimant can, in certain instances, voluntarily leave his job if his or her spouse is transferred to another city. It is clear that a gay or lesbian couple appearing before an unemployment insurance officer because one partner must move to another city for job-related reasons will not enjoy the same benefits a heterosexual couple might.

Obviously, discrimination is a major concern. Such an issue concerning the Income Tax Act was of real concern to the community. In the past 10 to 15 years, social laws have tended to acknowledge common law spouses. Under most Canadian laws, you must meet the following two conditions to have your relationship recognized and to acquire the same rights as a


11834

married couple. You must share accommodation with the same person for at least one year and you must identify yourselves publicly as a couple.

Regarding income tax, and the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot follows all developments in this area very closely, as he is the finance critic, since 1987, the definition of the term ``spouse'' in the Income Tax Act has been the following: a person of the opposite sex living in a situation similar to that of marital union. What rights would same sex couples acquire, what would be the significance of recognizing them from an income tax point of view? It would give them the right to claim credits for dependents.

(1800)

They would also gain access to spousal RRSPs, and we all know how important RRSPs are for preparing, obviously, for retirement and old age, since governments are withdrawing from this area. I would like to take this opportunity to say first off that the gay community is a beautiful community, within which it is not unusual to see couples who have been together for 20, 25 or 30 years. I know that many people tend to think that same sex relationships, gay relationships, are short-lived, futile, superficial, but I personally can vouch for the fact, as can others, that it is not unusual to see same sex relationships last 20, 25 or 30 years.

We can safely say that the same is not always true of the heterosexual community. Of course, there are also couples that last 20, 25 or 30 years, but one must also acknowledge, in all fairness, that the same exists in the gay community. Therefore, if I may use a specific example, recognizing same sex spouses for income tax purposes would also mean they could use RRSP limits to their mutual advantage, claim a parent of their spouse as a dependent, transfer to the other spouse some unused tax credits for pension purposes, tuition fees or disability credits.

We could also talk about the Canada Pension Plan. Since 1986, it has recognized a spouse of the opposite sex that has been living with the contributor for one year or more. It means that, in the case of heterosexual couples in Canada, when one spouse has contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, at the time of death, undoubtedly a tragic event, the other is entitled to part of the pension. This is also a form of discrimination against homosexual and gay couples.

Another very obvious example is a case concerning the Old Age Security Act that is now before the Supreme Court, which is expected to hand down its decision in May, and it will be interesting to see what this decision will be. You know that, under this act, when two people live together and their total income is under a certain level, one of them can receive a guaranteed income supplement. Unfortunately, two homosexuals or two lesbians who have been living together for 10, 15 or 20 years in some cases, cannot get the guaranteed income supplement when their income is under that threshold.

We could also talk about pensions in the Canadian public service. The issue, as far as public service pensions are concerned, is that, when a heterosexual partner dies, the surviving partner is entitled to a portion of the pension. There are very concrete, commonplace examples to show clearly that same sex partners living as a couple, who freely got into this relationship, honourable citizens who are participants in the the workforce and, in most cases, want to contribute to society, are discriminated against.

This is a test for Parliament. We could choose to act as if this reality did not exist, but it does. I think that we must be driven by a feeling of generosity which should lead us ultimately to accept our differences. This motion provides us with an opportunity to discuss one difference which has been of concern to all societies. Allow me, in closing, to be optimistic about its chances of being adopted.

[English]

Mrs. Marlene Cowling (Dauphin-Swan River, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the hon. member moved that the government should take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

By legal recognition of same sex spouses I am unclear as to whether the hon. member means same sex partners should be able to register, as I understand they can in Denmark, or that benefits currently given to married and common law spouses should be extended to same sex partners.

(1805 )

Neither option is viable, given the current state of the law. Perhaps it would be a better motion had it been made in a provincial legislature rather than in the House of Commons.

The federal government has very limited jurisdiction in this area of the legal recognition of personal relationships. The Constitution divides jurisdiction in the area of family law between the provincial legislatures and the federal Parliament. The jurisdiction for marriage is divided with the provinces being responsible for the solemnization of marriage, including licensing requirements, and the federal government being responsible for the legal capacity to marry. However, as the definition of marriage clearly makes it an opposite sex concept, this constitutional power is irrelevant for the current discussion.

The Constitution also gives Parliament the power over divorce, although the province retains the power to administer the application of the Divorce Act, including division of property and support obligations. However, as marriage is irrelevant here, I am assuming the divorce power is as well, as divorce cannot apply without marriage, although I understand that


11835

Denmark requires same sex couples who have registered to go through the divorce legislation to deregister.

Perhaps the only relevant example I can think of is the treatment of common law spouses under provincial family law. This is a personal relationship widely recognized by law, even though it is not specifically mentioned by the Constitution, unlike marriage.

Until fairly recently historically common law spouses were not recognized by our law. The term is a misnomer in any event, as common law spouses do not actually exist in the common law or judge made law. They actually are created by statute law, not by one statute but by a very large number of statutes at both the federal and provincial levels.

In other words, unless a particular statute specifically provides that a reference to spouse will include common law relationships, they are not included for the purpose of the benefit in issue. The major statute law that recognizes common law spouses is the provincial family law statutes.

These statutes create the major legal obligations imposed on common law spouses should the relationship break down. They deal with division of property, support obligations between the former spouses and for any children. Even here the provincial law is not consistent across the country. Common law spouses are subject to different legal obligations under different provincial family law statutes across the provinces. They are not even recognized in two provinces including Quebec, the province of residence of the hon. member proposing this measure.

Common law marriage is a different concept from that of common law spouses. Common law marriage existed only in the early settlement days of Canada where a minister or a priest was often difficult to find. Although there is some speculation that the concept may still exist in the common law in Canada it would only apply in an opposite sex context.

Therefore, if provincial family law is the main source of legal obligations between spouses, it would seem more appropriate that any legal recognition of same sex partners would come first under provincial family law. As I understand it, this was primarily the way which common law relationships first gained legal recognition.

As a result of several high profile cases before the Supreme Court of Canada the courts recognized through the doctrines of unjust enrichment and constructive trust the contribution of a woman who had lived for a long period of time with a man as married, even though they had not married.

Legislative changes followed shortly thereafter, starting primarily with provincial family law and then slowly moving into the benefits field.

(1810)

This legal recognition is recent in Canadian law. The changes to the Income Tax Act to recognize common law spouses have come about in the last year or two after the majority of provincial family law statutes recognized the status. The question of whether common law spouses must be treated in the same way as married spouses in some or all circumstances is still before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Miron case was argued last fall and a decision is pending.

The only references in federal law to personal relationships either follow blood or marriage relationships, which are relatively easy to prove, or copy provincial family law definitions of common law relationships. At the federal level spouses are mostly included in legislation for the purposes of employment benefits, the government pension plans and income tax.

The concern is that if we were to extend these benefits to same sex partners at the federal level first before provincial family law extends any legal obligations it could create a situation of unfairness. Spouses, both married and common law, are currently subject to a package of legal rights and responsibilities created by a combination of federal and provincial laws.

It is because spouses are subject to legal obligations such as support obligations upon the breakdown of the relationship that they are also eligible for benefits such as survivor benefits under pension plans. It is for the provinces to extend first the obligations before we should extend benefits under federal jurisdiction.

How would we accomplish what the hon. member is asking? How would we take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses, even were we to agree this should be done? It is clear from the history of the recognition of common law relationships that this was not accomplished by passing a statute called the common law spouses act. Nor was this legal recognition even accomplished by the government at any level.

The fact of social change was first acknowledged by the courts in looking at unfairness and unjust enrichment between two partners who had not married. The courts felt strongly that individuals who were living together as if married and so were getting all of the advantages of being married, such as working together to afford a better lifestyle than either would have been able to live alone, should not be able to avoid taking on the obligations of married persons simply by choosing not to marry. Particularly in a situation such as that represented in the first few high profile cases, the common life wife needed the protection of the law.

However, this is a controversial enough subject with regard to opposite sex common law couples. Many common law couples continue to disagree and feel frustrated the law deems their relationship to be akin to marriage after a certain time has


11836

passed. Many still feel their choice not to marry should be respected by the law.

How much more of a problem will this be with same sex couples who may not be public about their relationships? Conversely, is it fair to recognize only those same sex couples who do wish to be open about their relationships? For a number of reasons this motion is premature and not feasible for the federal government to adopt without the full co-operation of the provincial legislatures.

Mrs. Sharon Hayes (Port Moody-Coquitlam, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 264, a private member's motion forwarded by the member by Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

The motion states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.
As chair of the Reform Party's family task force I will speak definitely in opposition to this motion for the reasons I will outline.

First let me comment on the make-up of the Canadian family. In its 1994 report on families in Canada, Statistics Canada reported that in 1991 the traditional model of the Canadian family, a husband and wife, made up 87 per cent of all families.

Members may wish to note that in 1941, 88 per cent of families consisted of a traditional husband and wife family. Therefore, it would seem there has been relatively no change in the make-up of the traditional Canadian family unit, in spite of the tremendous economic, fiscal, social, and cultural pressures it has faced over the last 50 years. This is a testimony to the resilience of the family as a social institution.

(1815)

In recent years there have been numerous efforts and suggestions to change what is commonly understood as the traditional family unit. The assumptions about the traditional family unit are being challenged by courts, interest groups, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies.

Often the judicial system has been used by interest groups and individuals to pursue issues that do not have broad based support with Canadians, and this is such a case in point. Presently the Supreme Court is considering a case, Egan and Nesbit v. The Queen, which would redefine the term spouse and therefore the related concepts of family and marriage. Another case is in Ontario, Leshner v. Ontario, where the court actually ordered the Ontario government to give same sex couples pension benefits, even though the federal Income Tax Act does not permit registered pension plans to provide for same sex spouses.

Another example of this trend outside of law is the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In its recent annual report, as it has recommended every year since 1979, it has proposed the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act as a prohibited ground of discrimination. If enacted this would provide a legal basis for challenges to redefine spouse, marriage, and family.

The Minister of Justice, ignoring what I feel is the voice of real Canadians, has listened to these other voices and has committed himself to this goal.

I could go on to mention the ultra-feminist and lesbian representation sent as the Canadian delegation to the preparatory conference for the upcoming Beijing conference and their proposal supporting the removal of alleged barriers due to sexual orientation.

In contrast to this, the Reform Party has long recognized the importance of family to the stability and prosperity of our society. Principle six of our party states: ``We affirm the value and dignity of the individual person and the importance of strengthening and protecting the family unit as essential to the well-being of individuals and society''.

To date the Reform Party is the only political party to have defined family. Our family task force, which I chair, has researched and developed a policy on the definition of family. We define family in the following way: ``Those individuals related by the ties of blood, marriage, or adoption. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman as recognized by the state''.

This is the traditional family unit, which is the fundamental building block of our society. I believe it is the best social institution for the cultivation and protection of values and culture in our society, for the raising of our children and the nurturing and provision of the care of all family members.

This having been said, the Reform Party reaffirms the traditional definition of the family and opposes any efforts to redefine it.

These efforts and challenges have been made in spite of the well entrenched views of grassroots Canadians. In June 1994 a Maclean's-CTV-Angus Reid poll found that 68 per cent of Canadians believed that the best type of family in which to raise children has two heterosexual parents.

Over 600 petitions have been tabled in this House, with over 70,000 signatures from grassroots Canadians stating their opposition to the extension of benefits to same sex couples and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Contrary to the expressed will of so many Canadians, this motion is another example of the efforts under way to redefine


11837

the Canadian family. The motion calls upon the House of Commons and the federal government to take measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

What is legal recognition? It is undefined in the motion. What would it mean and what issues would it raise? Would legal recognition automatically result in benefits to same sex partners? Would legal recognition mean that same sex partners could be married? Would it mean that homosexual couples could adopt children? What and how many federal and provincial statutes would have to be amended?

The legal recognition of same sex spouses would ultimately entail the revision of many federal and provincial statutes, particularly those that relate to the tax law that defines spouse, marriage, and family. Our research has indicated that up to 40 federal statutes would have to be amended if this recognition were to occur.

(1820 )

Provincially, in Ontario the word spouse is contained in over 80 provincial laws and statutes. Presently, marriage between individuals of the same sex is not permitted in Canada.

Adoption of children, although a provincial matter, is a question our society will have to deal with. Last year, Bill 167 in Ontario, which would have allowed for adoption by same sex couples, was defeated, largely in response to a huge public outcry. In June 1994, a Maclean's-CTV-Angus Reid poll found that 67 per cent of Canadians oppose giving homosexual couples the same legal status as mothers and fathers.

There is another question. Would this motion strengthen arguments in favour of the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act? Clearly it would.

Again, a majority of grassroots Canadians do not support the proposed amendment to the act by the justice minister. The minister's proposed amendment is in so much trouble that he has publicly asked the homosexual community to support his efforts ``to keep a prod on the government to move forward on these matters'', in spite of opposition from Canadians, opposition in this House, and opposition in his own caucus.

I would like to conclude. This motion, if passed, like all other approved private members' motions, would express an opinion of this House. This motion is a votable motion and thus would be a clear and distinct expression of the opinion of this House. The expression of this opinion would send a moral signal and provide a moral direction for our society on this particular issue, which flies in the face of the expressed will of Canadians.

This House faces a choice. Which path will we choose for the future of our society, our families and our children? I say that this House should choose a path that has guided this country and many others and has provided stability to our society.

Therefore, I oppose this motion and call upon my colleagues on all sides of the House to vote in favour rather of the traditional Canadian family and against this motion.

[Translation]

Mr. Dan McTeague (Ontario, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to make a few comments on the motion put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, who is committed to a very big issue: the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

[English]

This issue certainly has a number of moral and historical implications. This is not the first time this House has treated this issue. Yet it is an issue that from time to time will come back. I am sure the pending Bill C-41 and other bills being proposed by the Minister of Justice-or suggested in terms of changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act-will certainly have an impact on the future of this particular issue.

We also know the Canadian Human Rights Commissioner has been a strong advocate and has on many occasions shown to the government and Parliament that it must act in this area.

My interest today is to talk about the real implications of the hon. member's motion. We know that in Canada there is a very strong sense of the traditional family, with opposite sexes. Family status in law involves a couple comprised of a husband and a wife, and possibly children. Lately that definition has changed to also include non-married families or common law couples.

My concern with this particular motion is its implications in Canada. One of the most critical things that has not been touched by my honourable colleague and other members in this House is the direct cost impact that such an undertaking would have in terms of the federal treasury. These are very difficult times, and we are asking the taxpayers to fund the benefits accruing from the same sex relationships.

Probably a more important side to this is how one defines the question of same sex benefits or spousal benefits. We are not necessarily talking about people of similar sex. We are really talking about the possibility-as is the case in many ridings, including I am sure the riding of the hon. member-that a grandfather and a grandson who are of the same sex and live in the same household would be effectively left out because we have not really defined what we mean by same sex benefits. Presumably, I know the intention. It is very clear what the hon. member is seeking. However, it does not include the important case of people who are not together for sexual reasons.


11838

(1825 )

As we know, the federal court has already dealt with the issue of same sex benefits. In 1991 it ruled that the federal approach has not been established and has not demonstrated discrimination per se. That ruling was again upheld in 1993 by a two to one vote. It was found at the time that the law does not discriminate against gay men or lesbians because there are many other couples who live together who are ineligible for the same benefits.

My concern is that we have to be very careful about what this legislation really means. As a member of Parliament from Ontario, I am only too familiar with what happens when a government, through a motion presented by a member of Parliament, or Parliament considers a motion that has not been thoroughly discussed or debated by the vast majority of Canadians.

We are asking Canadians to undertake a major financial hit here. It is incumbent upon this Parliament to also examine the cost attached to such an initiative.

This no doubt raises a number of moral and political implications for all members of Parliament. The traditional role of a member of Parliament is to be advised, to consult and to hear from constituents, and not act as a court in a situation.

We know this issue is before the Supreme Court of Canada under the Egan and Nesbit case, the same individuals who had appeared before the federal court. Many of us are familiar with the proceedings, and some of us might cynically suggest that the crown in this case put forth a rather weak argument in defence of the status quo. I find that very interesting. However, I am speaking with liberty in the House of Commons on that issue.

I think we want to make sure that we do not confuse legal rights to protect against discrimination. We do not want to be seen as invalidating equal rights. We want to be seen as not promoting a certain lifestyle that is conducted in a way whereby people have to spend more money to approve of somebody's activity.

The comments made by the hon. member when he alluded to John Turner in 1969 and to the Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau in reference to the state not having any business in the bedrooms of the nation is one issue. We as Liberals recognize that what people do in their own private affairs is fine, but there is a difference between tolerance and equality and promoting that on the streets. I think there is a quantum leap in terms of the philosophy of government.

Of course this is not the first time Parliament has been seized of this issue. It is a very complicated issue, and if as members of Parliament we are going to debate the various relative impacts of what my honourable colleague is suggesting, we must first and foremost ensure that Canadian people are adequately and thoroughly canvassed on the issue. We cannot have legislation, motions, or private members' bills introduced by stealth. This is a very important matter of fundamental public policy.

As my honourable colleague for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has suggested, this is a matter that has gone on for a considerable amount of time. It is a matter that Parliament has not addressed up until this time. Perhaps one reason it has not addressed the issue in the past is because it did not consult with the very people it is supposed to represent.

My concern also is with the whole notion of whether or not, as a society, we are effectively capable of defining what a spouse is. The spouse issue is very important, because of course it relates to the possibility of different interpretations. We do not know exactly what the term spouse is really trying to achieve in this bill.

My view of a spouse is very simple. A spouse happens to be a male and female who happen to come together for whatever reasons, as the hon. member suggested, for amorous reasons, and whose fruit, the product of that love, may ultimately produce a family.

We should not be playing with words here. We should try to find some kind of definition or interpretation that really relates to common usage and what the common person on the street would accept as the term spouse.

(1830 )

If two people who happen to be homosexual wish to live together, that is fine. I do not think anyone in this House objects to that. It really is up to them. The concern we have is where the society or state moves from saying that is great and fine, they are free to do what they want, section 15 of the charter of rights and freedoms covers them sufficiently, to saying that now we should in some way promote, benefit or provide some kind of support for that activity.

Many members from the homosexual community will make the argument that it is a question of cost, that they are paying for someone else's benefits. I am wondering if those who have spoken on this matter as homosexuals have consulted and canvassed their own constituency which would suggest that some of their members are not prepared to accept the benefits. Some people would be uncomfortable with accepting those benefits.

We have a situation that is not addressed well in this motion, although it is understandable. Benjamin Disraeli put it very well that when estimating the accuracy of a political opinion one should first of all take into account the standing of the opinionist. My hon. colleague has very good standing not only in this House but also in the community on the issue which the member is advocating.

We must also make sure that Canadians as a whole are involved in this and that the traditional family or the term family is not itself compromised.


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I am the member of Parliament for one of the most populous ridings in this country. I have seen an Ontario colleague at the provincial level debate this issue without popular consent. It seems to me we may be trying to do in this House or through weak arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada that which we cannot do enough to convince the Canadian people that this is an issue that is well worthwhile.

Everyone is equal before and under the law and has equal treatment and equal protection and derives benefits from that protection. I do not believe this House should be in a position of making a moral decision as to what is right and what is wrong. I do however believe that when it comes to the term family there is very little room for compromise.

We must look at the cost. We must look at the implications. We must make sure that above all we are making legislation which reflects accurately the opinion, judgment and sentiments of those people we represent.

While I compliment the member of Parliament for his courage in bringing this forward, I will not support this motion.

[Translation]

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion put forward in the House by my colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, seeking the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

I want first of all to stress that this motion does not seek at all, as some would believe or might want to make us believe, to promote same sex relationships as the ideal way of life that every Canadian man and woman should adopt. This motion only seeks to recognize something that already exists in our society. Quite obviously, there are homosexuals in our society.

Homosexuals lead the same kind of life we do. Just like other Canadians, they have a job and sometimes live with a spouse. Just like other workers, they get fringe benefits to which their spouse could be entitled.

This motion recommends that homosexuals get the same rights as heterosexuals. I think it is about time Canada moved with the times and stopped discriminating against homosexuals.

Both at the provincial level and in collective agreements of federal public servants, precedents are building up to the effect that fringe benefits should be granted to same sex spouses. All existing federal statutes that are discriminatory in nature will eventually be challenged in court with a very good chance of success. Over the past few years, an increasing number of organizations, private companies and government administrations have come to offer the same benefits to same sex couples and opposite sex couples, in order to respect the principles of equity and non-discrimination.

This acknowledgement should not be seen as a threat. What we give to others will not lessen our entitlements. And this will not prevent anyone from choosing a more conventional, traditional lifestyle or from being heterosexual.

(1835)

Furthermore, I must say that same sex couples should be entitled to benefits. It is not a privilege but a right, a right for which they have already paid. In the current state of things, employees who have contributed for years to health, sickness and life insurance plans or to pension plans cannot transfer their entitlements to their same sex spouses.

This could lead to situations where, for example, a homosexual employee living with the same person for 20 years could not share his benefits with this person, whereas one of his coworkers, a heterosexual, could share his benefits with someone he had been with only since the day before.

I repeat, this is not a matter of granting special rights but of not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. People who are more or less well intentioned will want to hide their intolerance behind financial objections. These people will claim that measures providing the same benefits for same sex partners will cost too much, just as they did when it involved obtaining the same benefits for working women.

I want to talk about the low cost of these measures. Several private businesses, organizations and governments asked actuary firms to estimate the cost of measures they intended to take respecting same sex couples.

For example, at The Globe and Mail, out of 700 employees, only a dozen took advantage of the program, while at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, less than 1 per cent of the employees took advantage of the program and at Northern Telecom, which has more than 20 000 employees in Canada, the company said: ``We do not expect this to represent a lot of money''. William Mercer, an actuary firm, said: ``The changes requested will probably represent less than 0.5 per cent of the total payroll of the company''.

Another interesting example is that of the City of Montreal, which, since 1989, has treated all its employees on the same basis, whatever their sexual orientation or the sex of their spouse. Only 10 of the 8,000 City of Montreal employees have registered spouses of the same sex. Because of the actuarial nature of its benefit plans, the City of Montreal would incur no immediately identifiable costs by introducing this policy.

Given the small percentage of homosexual people in Canadian society, the smaller percentage of gay people living in a common-law relationship and the even smaller percentage of

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gay people living in a common law relationship who would claim spousal benefits, the experts surveyed agree that costs would only go up by 0.5 to 1.5 per cent, depending on the various benefits being considered.

According to two recent surveys conducted by SOM in Quebec and Angus-Reid across Canada, 73 per cent of Quebecers feel that homosexual couples should be entitled to the same benefits as those enjoyed by heterosexual couples. In Canada, the percentage is lower but still represents a majority. Indeed, 54 per cent of Canadians feel that, except for the right to adopt children, same sex couples should enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.

According to another poll, 70 per cent of Canadians would support legislation prohibiting any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation. These figures confirm that Canadians are increasingly aware that we should all enjoy the same rights. I do hope that this House will not be more conservative than the population which it serves.

I will conclude by pointing out that, on March 18, 1994, the Minister of Justice provided the following answer to my colleague and friend, the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve: ``Mr. Speaker, in its campaign for office, in its throne speech and in statements made subsequently in the House, the government has committed itself to amendments to the Human Rights Act which will add sexual orientation as a ground on which discrimination is prohibited. We intend to follow through on that commitment''.

(1840)

I ask only one thing, that the Minister of Justice make good on his promise to end discrimination against homosexuals and start by supporting, with me, the motion tabled by the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

[English]

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to enter into the debate on the motion that the government should take the necessary measures for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

It is the role of Parliament to give leadership in providing the rules and laws that reflect the needs, wishes and aspirations of Canadians. In a democracy it is important for us to represent the views of the majority. If we did that carefully we would most likely end up with the best proportion of good laws for the benefit of all the people in this magnificent country.

I was elected to represent the will of the people who elected me in Elk Island. One could perhaps argue there is such a thing as the tyranny of the majority. However, in a well educated, well informed society such as ours if there is a really good idea, one that bears recognition, there should be absolutely no difficulty in gaining the majority consent for that.

I think of many different examples. We have rules of taxation. There was a big hue and cry when the GST was introduced and the majority of Canadians objected to it.

The Liberal Party ran on the platform of eliminating the GST because subsequently it found the majority of the people were against this and it was not a good tax. We are still waiting for that to happen.

In the context of this bill I find an overwhelming degree of support for the maintenance and development of the traditional family. I share what probably most MPs share in the receipt of letters and petitions given to us that by far the majority, an overwhelming number, indicate they would prefer not to recognize same sex relationships. They do not want to include homosexuality as part of the fabric of our society.

This could be viewed as the tyranny of the majority but we should look at it as a very clear and strong understanding of what is best. I say this with all due regard to those who think the other way.

With all due regard to my hon. colleague moving the motion today, I understand what he is saying but I want to very clearly communicate that we do not in any way wish him or other people who have the sexual orientation which he has admitted to any ill. We really do not.

We need to ask seriously the question whether this is best.

(1845 )

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

_____________________________________________

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ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

[English]

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

PUBLIC SERVICE OF CANADA

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West, Lib.): Madam Speaker, four minutes is not long to follow up on my question of December 2 to the Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal. Therefore I will only touch on a few highlights. In these few minutes I hope to provide some inspiration for the minister to get on with the business of renewal of the public service.

We have been known for a long time as having one of the best public service organizations in the world, to the extent that people who work in or have worked in the public service are in demand in countries around the world to show other governments how to set up democratic institutions and how to set up efficient and effective public sector organizations.

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Our ability to do as the minister said shortly after he was appointed to restore good relations between politicians and public servants has been severely strained. Because of the economic climate we have found ourselves in, we have extended the wage freeze and deepened it by including increments. We have introduced a budget which stated that we were to reduce the size of the federal public sector by over 45,000 jobs.

It is a little difficult in that climate to talk about renewal. Renewal suggests improvement, restored hope and a better future. There are not too many public servants who feel that way right now.

When the minister spoke a year ago this month to the professional executives of the Public Service of Canada he said that our success would be judged not only by what we do but also by how we do it.

I refer to a couple of other comments the minister made in the speech a year ago when he spoke about what was required for public service renewal and give him some of my thoughts on how important it is to move ahead with that initiative.

This is the largest organization in the country. If we cannot go through a period of transition and come out the other side with an organization that has a clear understanding of its mission and a clear commitment to service to Canadians, I do not know what other organization or business in the country can do it.

Let me talk about some of the elements the minister spoke about. He talked about the importance of the people side, the importance of giving more prominence to human resource management issues and to training. Yet we have not seen the kinds of initiatives, the overall sense of a new vision and the leadership required to make people feel that their organization is moving into a better and clearer state where it has a clear sense of mission and of serving the country again.

The minister talked about perhaps separating the policy function from the service function and at the same time improving services to Canadians. I frankly urge him not to do that. If the frontline service becomes disconnected from policy, we no longer have the feedback to ensure that we have the kinds of policies and programs that provide good services to Canadians.

The minister talked about organization. I encourage him not to think in terms of structures but to think of organic working relationships that can change easily. The organization has had far too much reorganization.

Above all, I urge the minister to get through this period of what I called a demolition derby in my question and get on with the business of public renewal. He should get the leadership going at the administrative and political levels so that people can again feel they have a mission of serving their country, serving their fellow citizens and doing the best darned job they can, not because excellence is a jargon word but because that is what they want to do.

Mr. John English (Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Ottawa West has long been recognized as one of the most creative and inspired thinkers in the area of public service renewal. That spirit animated the question we have heard tonight.

I should like to respond to some of the comments made by the hon. member for Ottawa West. It is true we are downsizing the public service, but the government has given a pledge that during the downsizing it will keep involuntary layoffs to an absolute minimum. I assure the hon. member that the government will keep that pledge.

Let me reiterate the government's commitment to deal with employees in the fairest and most sensitive way possible, as has been suggested by the hon. member for Ottawa West. It is particularly important to express our determination to continue to work with the unions and with local governments to ease the transition.

Finally let me say that we hope to keep layoffs and the number of employees on unpaid surplus status to an absolute minimum. Some individuals will be accommodated through normal attrition. Others may take advantage of the early departure and early retirement incentives announced by the President of the Treasury Board. The hon. member is aware of the $2.25 million program for displaced public servants in the national capital region who are seeking employment.

The government will continue its program review because it believes that with all other problems still to be solved it is the only way to allocate resources properly. However I strongly reiterate that the government also believes, as does the hon. member, in public service renewal.

With the new government policies we hope for a role for the public service that is much more satisfying, much more fulfilling and much more challenging than it ever has been.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5), the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.51 p.m.)