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37th Parliament, 1st Session

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 070

CONTENTS

Friday, June 1, 2001

VGOVERNMENT ORDERS

. 1005

VKANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT
VBill S-24. Report stage
VMotion for concurrence
VHon. Robert Nault
VThird reading
VHon. Robert Nault

. 1010

VMr. Maurice Vellacott

. 1015

. 1020

VMr. Réal Ménard

. 1025

. 1030

VMrs. Bev Desjarlais

. 1035

. 1040

VMr. Gerald Keddy
VMr. Loyola Hearn

. 1045

VMr. Gerald Keddy

. 1050

. 1055

VSTATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

. 1100

VTHIRD WORLD EYE CARE SOCIETY
VMs. Sophia Leung
VCANADIAN DOLLAR
VMr. Werner Schmidt
VECUADOR
VMs. Sarmite Bulte
VEMPLOYER SUPPORT AWARDS
VMr. John O'Reilly
VONTARIO TECHNICAL SKILLS DESIGN COMPETITION
VMrs. Judi Longfield

. 1105

VABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
VMr. Philip Mayfield
VTHE ECONOMY
VMs. Raymonde Folco
VACADÉMIE LES ESTACADES
VMr. Marcel Gagnon
VBOATING SAFETY
VMr. John Maloney
VCEDAR LODGE RESTORATION RESORT
VMrs. Lynne Yelich

. 1110

VCENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN WOMEN'S HEALTH
VMrs. Karen Kraft Sloan
VLABOUR
VMr. Dick Proctor
VNATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY
VMs. Monique Guay
VQUEBEC MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
VMr. Yvon Charbonneau
VRCMP
VMr. Bill Casey

. 1115

VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMs. Aileen Carroll
VORAL QUESTION PERIOD
VNATIONAL DEFENCE
VMr. Grant Hill
VMr. John O'Reilly
VMr. Grant Hill
VMr. John O'Reilly
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Peter Goldring
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Peter Goldring

. 1120

VHon. Herb Gray
VFEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS
VMs. Caroline St-Hilaire
VHon. Don Boudria
VMs. Caroline St-Hilaire
VHon. Stéphane Dion
VMr. Stéphane Bergeron
VHon. Don Boudria
VMr. Stéphane Bergeron
VHon. Stéphane Dion
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMr. Bill Blaikie

. 1125

VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Bill Blaikie
VHon. Herb Gray
VENERGY INDUSTRY
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. John Manley
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. John Manley
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. John Williams
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. John Williams

. 1130

VMr. Larry McCormick
VFEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS
VMr. Yvan Loubier
VHon. Don Boudria
VMr. Yvan Loubier
VHon. Don Boudria
VNATURAL RESOURCES
VMr. Charlie Penson
VHon. Stéphane Dion
VMr. Charlie Penson
VHon. Herb Gray

. 1135

VPARENTAL LEAVE
VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VMs. Raymonde Folco
VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VHon. Stéphane Dion
VHEALTH
VMr. Keith Martin
VMr. Yvon Charbonneau
VMr. Keith Martin
VMr. Yvon Charbonneau

. 1140

VDISASTER RELIEF
VMr. Mac Harb
VMr. John O'Reilly
VINFRASTRUCTURE
VMrs. Bev Desjarlais
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMrs. Bev Desjarlais
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VDAIRY INDUSTRY
VMr. John Herron
VMr. Pat O'Brien
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMr. Bill Casey

. 1145

VMrs. Karen Redman
VJUSTICE
VMr. Bob Mills
VMr. John Maloney
VMr. Bob Mills
VMr. John Maloney
VWATER RESOURCES
VMs. Francine Lalonde
VHon. John Manley
VMs. Francine Lalonde
VMrs. Karen Redman

. 1150

VTRANSPORTATION SAFETY
VMr. Brian Fitzpatrick
VMr. Brent St. Denis
VMr. Brian Fitzpatrick
VMr. Brent St. Denis
VCANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
VMr. Dominic LeBlanc
VHon. Maria Minna
VRELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
VMr. Roy Bailey
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Roy Bailey

. 1155

VHon. Herb Gray
VPORT INFRASTRUCTURES
VMr. Jean-Yves Roy
VHon. Andy Mitchell
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Murray Calder
VMr. Larry McCormick
VLUMBER INDUSTRY
VMr. Rick Casson
VMr. Pat O'Brien
VINTERNATIONAL TRADE
VMr. Marcel Gagnon
VMr. Pat O'Brien

. 1200

VABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
VMr. Bill Blaikie
VHon. Herb Gray
VTRADE
VMs. Val Meredith
VHon. John Manley
VPRESENCE IN GALLERY
VThe Speaker
VROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
VGOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
VMr. Derek Lee
VNATIONAL DEFENCE
VMr. John O'Reilly
VBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
VHon. Don Boudria
VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMr. Derek Lee

. 1205

VModernization and Improvement of Procedures of House of
VMr. Bob Kilger
VCANADIAN PEACEKEEPING SERVICE MEDAL ACT
VBill C-356. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VPROTECTION OF PRIVACY (SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBERS) ACT
VBill C-357. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VCOMPETITION ACT
VBill C-358. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VOIL AND GAS OMBUDSMAN ACT
VBill C-359. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VINCOME TAX ACT
VBill C-360. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb

. 1210

VINCOME TAX ACT
VBill C-361. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VCANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS
VBill C-362. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VDEFICIT PREVENTION ACT
VBill C-363. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VDEPARTMENTAL INTERNAL AUDIT ACT
VBill C-364. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VCANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS
VBill C-365. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VCANADA SEAT BELT ACT
VBill C-366. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb
VCONSUMER CREDIT INFORMATION ACT
VBill C-367. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Mac Harb

. 1215

VPETITIONS
VImmigration
VMr. Pat Martin
VBell Canada
VMr. Pat Martin
VHuman Rights
VMr. John Williams
VVeterans Affairs
VMr. Murray Calder
VHuman Rights
VMr. Maurice Vellacott
VQUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
VMr. Derek Lee
VGOVERNMENT ORDERS
VKANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT
VBill S-24. Third reading
VMr. Gerald Keddy

. 1220

VIMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
VBill C-11. Report stage
VMr. Ken Epp
VMr. Mark Assad

. 1225

. 1230

VMr. Pat Martin

. 1235

. 1240

VMr. Loyola Hearn

. 1245

. 1250

VMrs. Bev Desjarlais

. 1255

. 1300

VROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

. 1305

VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMotion for concurrence
VMr. Ken Epp
VGOVERNMENT ORDERS
VIMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
VBill C-11. Report stage
VDivision on Motion No. 1 deferred
VDivision on Motion No. 2 deferred
VDivision on Motion No. 3 deferred
VMotion No. 4 agreed to

. 1310

VMr. Gurmant Grewal
VMotions Nos. 5 and 6
VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VMotion No. 7
VMr. John Herron
VMotion No. 8

. 1315

. 1320

VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

. 1325

VMr. John Herron

. 1330

VPRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
VARMENIA
VMr. Sarkis Assadourian
VMotion

. 1335

. 1340

. 1345

VMr. Gurmant Grewal

. 1350

. 1355

VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

. 1400

VMr. Bill Blaikie

. 1405

. 1410

VMr. Bill Casey

. 1415

VMr. Gar Knutson

. 1420

VMr. Ken Epp

. 1425

VMr. Sarkis Assadourian
VAppendix

(Official Version)

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 070


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Friday, June 1, 2001

The House met at 10 a.m.



Prayers


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

 

. 1005 +

[English]

KANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT

 

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-24, an act to implement an agreement between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and Her Majesty in right of Canada respecting governance of certain lands by the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to amend an act in consequence, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.  

Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

The Deputy Speaker: When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Some hon. members: Agreed.  

Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

He said: Mr. Speaker, many Canadians will remember the summer of 1990. Oka acted as a national wake-up call. It sent a clear signal that as a country we had to take concrete action to ensure that the concerns of people like the Mohawks of Kanesatake were not only heard but acted upon.

This is precisely what the Government of Canada and the Mohawks of Kanesatake have been doing ever since the barricades came down.

 

. 1010 + -

For example, talks are currently underway between current grand chief James Gabriel, his council, the mayor of Oka and his municipal council to negotiate a harmonization of Kanesatake laws and Oka bylaws on neighbouring lands in the village of Oka as required by Bill S-24.

With incremental steps, we have proven that together the path of negotiation and reconciliation is the best option for all parties involved. Bill S-24 would raise the bar another notch and would continue our work to resolve the outstanding issues confronting the Mohawk people of Kanesatake.

Bill S-24, and the agreement it would implement, would formally recognize an interim land base for the Mohawks of Kanesatake. It would not be a permanent land base because the agreement in no way represents a final resolution of land issues for Kanesatake. It is entirely possible that additional lands may in the future be brought under the agreement should both parties agree.

While the agreement is limited in its scope, it nevertheless represents a major breakthrough. Kanesatake Mohawk lands would now fall under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. It is something the Mohawks of Kanesatake have sought for many years. The legislation would prevent the lands from falling under the Indian Act, something they are determined to avoid. They fully realize that other first nations are trying to extricate themselves from the cumbersome provisions of the act.

It was for this very reason that I recently launched national consultations on first nations governance. Although Bill S-24 was developed before consultations on governance reform got underway, it is entirely consistent with the thrust of our initiative.

These measures set the stage for further negotiations on a range of substantive issues. They are the first crucial step in the ongoing process of ensuring peace and prosperity for the community. In the end that is our overarching objective no matter which side of the negotiating table we sit on.

The legislation sets out a framework by which the two communities would be able to peacefully co-exist, paving the way for economic and social development and an improved quality of life for all the people living in and around the area.

The legislation is a tremendous accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work and tenacity of all parties involved, most particularly, the Mohawks of Kanesatake. The future is as bright and promising as the young democracy that has taken hold in Kanesatake since the barricades came down and that we as legislators are helping to shape. This achievement should be celebrated not just in the halls of parliament but across the country.

I would like to thank our colleagues in the Senate for their part in the review and adoption of Bill S-24. I urge all hon. members to follow the example of the Mohawk people of Kanesatake who acted in good faith to achieve this landmark agreement by voting to adopt the historic legislation.

Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to rise and speak today to Bill S-24, the Kanesatake interim land base governance act.

As my colleagues have stated previously at second reading and in committee, the Canadian Alliance will be supporting the bill. We believe the intent of the bill is correct and that it is one small incremental step in correcting a long outstanding issue for the Kanesatake Mohawks.

I will however use this opportunity to again express our concern over the manner in which the government and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development brought the bill to the House of Commons.

My first concern, and I say it respectfully to the minister, is the way in which the minister brought the bill to the House. It was tabled in the other place first. My colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan stated it previously but I believe the minister's comments during the Senate committee hearings are worth repeating.

 

. 1015 + -

On April 25 the minister stated:

    Without being too derogatory to my own colleagues in the House, maybe things will go better if I send them here first. Perhaps that is a good trend to continue. We will test it for a while. We have other pieces of legislation that will be coming your way in the next year that we may have some discussions about and consider, with the approval of the House leadership.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you will agree with me when I state that I and many members on both sides of the House find this attitude and this approach completely unacceptable.

The second matter I am concerned with is that without the insistence of the official opposition party, the Canadian Alliance, the bill would have been rushed through with rather undue haste without committee hearings and therefore without the opportunity to hear from concerned Kanesatake community members who oppose the bill. When there is opposition for various reasons, we need to hear from those who are opposing. Maybe we could learn from them as well.

Lastly I wish to state for the record that although we will be supporting Bill S-24, we have concerns over the process that was used in the handling of the bill through the negotiation in that territory and, in particular, the manner in which the community was not fully involved.

I fully realize that no process is perfect and that not everyone will be satisfied with the end results. However, the government and particularly the minister having responsibility need to reflect for the future on the inadequacies of this process and improve upon it for all future negotiations so that there is co-operation among parties on these matters.

Many community members feel that they were not a part of this important process. I would like to take this opportunity to read into the record excerpts from a letter that was received from a Kanesatake community member following the committee hearings. I would like to thank him and others who have attempted input in this manner. This letter was addressed to the chair of the standing committee in Ottawa and states:

    Good day to you, please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Eugene Nicholas, member of the Kanesatake band, No. 0690074401, province of Quebec.

    It has come to my attention that there are hearings being conducted on the Kanesatake Land Governance Agreement, referred to as: Bill S-24. I would like to extend you an invitation to our community, to give the community members a chance to voice their concerns and opinions/facts before the Standing Committee, before Bill S-24 is passed as law.

    I am concerned with these proceedings because of a lack of information and input from the community level. We are not consulted or given the facts behind this agreement. Our Leaders and negotiators have neglected to properly inform and consult the population on all matters pertaining to this accord. We have not publicly debated the contents of this said agreement in which constructive and positive measures can be suggested in regards to our community.

    I view the entire arrangement as questionable.

    Last year when the agreement was to be initialled, no one from the community was invited/advised or told to be present for such a historical signing, other than the Chiefs of the Council, INAC representative Walter Walling, and Mr. Eric Maldoff, federal negotiator.

    Last year, Mr. Robert Nault was in our community to sign or initial this agreement, and ironically it was done on Aboriginal Day, where our members were celebrating in the Pines area. Mr. Walter Walling of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, was seen riding in a Kanesatake Police Vehicle, making sure that trouble makers (opposition to the agreement) were not in the area! Why was he doing this? Is it in the Federal Government's interest to have their public servants do community police work, or is it to cover up the fact that the Minister was here and that we were not permitted to attend this event because it was supposed to remain a secret? In other facts where the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs provided funds to hire an individual to privately investigate our police officers. I found this to be quite odd. Does the federal department (INAC) other than the Solicitor General, provide discretionary funds for this?

    We were not allowed to speak to the media because Mr. Eric Maldoff issued a media blackout, which meant that we could not give our opinions to the public, and they call this a free country? Only James Gabriel and anyone who favoured the agreement, was heard or published.

    I urge you to hear the community speak for themselves, they deserve a chance to be heard and it is their right, after all it is a human right. Also, you will know the truth about this issue.

    I strongly encourage the Standing Committee to come to Kanesatake to see for yourselves.

    Yours in Peace and Friendship, Eugene Kanatiio Nicholas, Band Registry No. 0690074401

I would like that letter on the record.

 

. 1020 + -

In concluding, I would like to thank the Liberal members who stated to our chief critic of aboriginal affairs that they were pleased to have met those who were dissenting. They said it was good to hear other points of view. They indicated in committee that they were pleased to have met and listened to those community members, one represented by this letter, and to have had the opportunity to hear other viewpoints on this very important legislation. I believe they have realized it is imperative that the parliamentary process not be subject to whims, to just moving things through too quickly at the whim of any particular minister.

I appreciate the opportunity to join in the debate and anticipate that we will have continued involvement in the future, hopefully in constructive ways, as the minister brings matters like this forward.

[Translation]

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the purpose of Bill S-24, the Kanesatake interim land base governance act, is to implement an historic agreement which recognizes, for the first time, a land base for the Mohawks of Kanesatake, as well as the powers to exercise jurisdiction over these lands.

It is important to point out that the word interim is used precisely because there is the possibility of other lands being added in future, with the consent of both parties.

Bill S-24 will make it possible to settle Mohawk property rights, thereby reducing the economic uncertainty surrounding the ownership and use of the area's lands and resources.

Our position is based on a careful analysis of the situation as a whole. In addition, on May 14, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and the member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, our party's aboriginal affairs critic, met with the Kanesatake Mohawk band council and its Grand Chief, James Gabriel.

This agreement is the outcome of long months of negotiation and is evidence of the desire to create a peaceful and positive atmosphere between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples, following on the disturbing events of 1990 to which the minister referred.

The Bloc Quebecois' favourable position on this bill is indicative of our party's openness to the comprehensive claims of aboriginal peoples and is part of the constructive dialogue our party has maintained with the first nations for quite some time now.

The Mohawks' present land base has always been kept as public lands, rather than reserve lands as defined in the Indian Act. For this reason, the band council did not have the same legal tools at its disposal as other first nations for controlling and ensuring the development of its own land base, or for preventing these lands from being used for purposes contrary to their interests.

On June 21, 2000, negotiators for the Kanesatake Mohawks and the government signed an historic agreement with respect to Kanesatake governance of the interim land base.

This agreement constitutes the first legal recognition by the Government of Canada of the ability of the Mohawks of Kanesatake to determine and control the use of their interim land base.

The effect of the agreement is to transfer to the Mohawks of Kanesatake lands over which they will exercise full authority, thus putting an end to years of legal uncertainty.

It is worthy pointing out that this very uncertainty was one of the key causes of the Oka crisis in 1990. The powder keg was set off, hon. members will recall, by the expansion of a golf course onto land claimed by the Mohawks.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Kanesatake Mohawk lands would fall under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, which gives the Government of Canada exclusive legislative power over Indians and lands reserved for the Indians.

According to the agreement, however, the lands covered by the agreement do not become a reserve within the meaning of the Indian Act, but belong to the band council, which thus obtains jurisdiction with respect to the maintenance of law and order. These lands are therefore guaranteed clear legal status along with protection from coming under the cumbersome and restrictive land management provisions of the present Indian Act.

The agreement with the Government of Canada will empower the Mohawk community to adopt its own laws and regulations relating to the land occupied by it. The band council will be able to enact laws relating to waste management, building inspection, zoning and wildlife protection and management. It can also regulate traffic.

 

. 1025 + -

In addition, the agreement gives Kanesatake the right to appoint its own judges, once there is an agreement on the relationship between these judges and the Quebec justice system. The agreement provides as well that laws passed by Kanesatake will have to be harmonized with those in force in the neighbouring village of Oka.

However, the harmonization process is reciprocal, according to the bill. It depends on the good will and co-operation of the two communities. A framework is established for discussions between native and non-native officials.

In order to understand the need for harmonization, it is vital to know that all sections of Kanesatake land are not contiguous and that 57 parcels of the lands of the Mohawks of Kanesatake are located in the town of Oka.

Another important aspect of the agreement is the fact that it was concluded without prejudice to any right of the Mohawks of Kanesatake, be they ancestral or treaty rights and without prejudice to the land claims pertaining to the Seigneurie du Lac des Deux-Montagnes.

These issues are still under negotiation between the Government of Canada and Kanesatake. This is not a general agreement on self-government or a treaty. It is a unique agreement on land management that reflects the circumstances of Kanesatake.

Despite some opposition from June 21, 2000 until the eve of the ratification vote, on October 14, 2000, the band council led an intensive information and consultation campaign. It held several public meetings and organized over 50 workshops to explain the scope and impact of the agreement. The ratification vote on the land governance agreement took place in Kanesatake on October 14, 2000.

Community members were also asked to approve a code on the exercise of government powers. This code provides that the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake will act as a transparent and responsible government, in the best interests of the community. It also sets the rules of procedure and conduct that relate to the accountability of governing authorities and to conflicts of interests. The vote was very close with 239 voting in favour of the agreement and 237 voting against it.

As Grand Chief James Gabriel pointed out, such a close result was indicative of the energetic debate in his community, without calling into question the legitimacy of the agreement. He said that “It is always healthy to have differing views. Let us not forget that we have traditionalists on our territory who do not participate in these votes, because they do not think they are legitimate. I truly respect their choice”.

On December 14, 2000, the result of the ratification vote was confirmed through a recount by the Hon. Lawrence Poitras, a retired chief justice of the Quebec superior court, who conducted the independent judicial control of the ratification vote and procedure. The judge concluded that these aspects of the process had been perfectly proper.

The historic agreement was therefore officially signed in Ottawa on December 21, 2000 and must now be approved by an act of the Parliament of Canada in order to take effect, which is what we are aiming for today.

It is important to recall that these are federal lands and that, for this reason, tripartite discussions involving Quebec, Ottawa and Kanesatake were not held. However, I am pleased to point out that the government of Quebec was consulted and informed about the agreement and gave its general approval, as did the municipality of Oka.

The Bloc Quebecois also examined the proposed legislation carefully and heartily endorse it. We support this initiative and are proud to share in what is an historic moment for the Kanesatake Mohawk nation, which will now have the necessary tools for its own development.

In closing, the Bloc Quebecois wishes to point out that it supports the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. These call for an approach based on the concept of self-government, which acknowledges aboriginal governments as a level of government with jurisdiction over questions concerning governance and the welfare of their people.

In addition, the entire royal commission report was based on recognition of the aboriginal peoples as an independent nation occupying a unique place within Canada.

The agreement respecting Kanesatake governance fully reflects the spirit of the conclusions and recommendations of the Erasmus-Dussault report, which is why we are pleased to facilitate speedy passage of the bill.

 

. 1030 + -

[English]

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in the debate on behalf of our party's critic, the member for Winnipeg North Centre, who spoke at length on the bill. I will at points reflect upon the comments he previously made.

I will emphasize exactly what the bill is about, because unless one happened to be part of the standing committee on aboriginal affairs or was somehow involved with the Senate discussions, we in the House really did not hear a whole lot about it. This is really somewhat of a shame considering its major achievement. It is truly a major achievement in Canadian history to see this type of bill come forth. It reflects the true interests of the people of Kanesatake and of process taken, which started some time ago.

At this time I want to congratulate Chief James Gabriel and the people of Kanesatake for their efforts and their work. I also want to congratulate all those who made a point of taking part in the voting process. We heard the numbers earlier. If I heard them correctly, I think it was 237 to 239, although I may be a little off. However, when I heard them I was really quite impressed because it shows that the people did care.

At this point I want to comment on a problem I think we have within the House, which relates to the situation of voting, and sometimes the misunderstandings we have in the communities. It is inherent upon us as a House, when we are talking about issues that pertain to specific first nations communities, to acknowledge that all people in those communities do not have the same opportunity of education and economic opportunities. As a result they cannot always get to Ottawa or to other places to get their points across. It is inherent on us, when dealing with a specific first nation, to make the point of taking our hearings into those communities. That is what we should do as a parliament.

I did not go through this process in my community on an issue that pertained to specific bands in my riding, which was northern flood agreement. With all my heart and soul I wanted us to hold those meetings there or at least have our hearings videotaped, so the people in the communities could be a part of the process. What is more important is that we hold the meetings so that all people in the communities have the opportunity to come out, voice their opinions and to make an informed decision.

When we have a vote of 237 to 239, we should never have any question about someone not having all the information. We should recognize the vote was taken and the decision was made. I do not always like the outcome of elections, especially close calls. If I had my druthers, the mix in the House would be a whole lot different. The bottom line is I accept the process of having elections. A vote takes place and one accepts the result. One can fight against the parts disagreed with and support those that are good for the people.

Recognizing that the vote indicated the support of the chief, the council and those people who wanted that process in Kanesatake, we should also support it. As a parliament we need to support the bill. I would love to see it supported unanimously in the House as a show of acknowledgement to first nations people that we respect their right of decision.

As indicated, the bill will not put the first nation of Kanesatake under the Indian Act. The people of Kanesatake will have a separate process in place for their community. Because of their unique position, they have had some opportunities that other first nations have not. They have had the opportunity of not being totally under the thumb of the government. This has given them an opportunity to expand in areas where other first nations people could not. We see that independence in their decision making.

 

. 1035 + -

One of the areas noted, which was instrumental in putting the extra push to the bill, was the issue of the land use. The people in that area did not have an opportunity to make a decision on what they wanted for their area. That was the additional incentive to push for this. They wanted control over what was happening with their land, while recognizing that the environmental laws of Canada would still fall into place and be in force in Kanesatake. However, they would be able to use the land as they wished.

At this point I would like to tie the issue of wanting control over their land to what happens with the land in Canada, if we do not make sure that we stay in control of it under free trade agreements. A very instrumental first nations leader from, I believe, Manitoba made a comment one time that trade agreements would make Indians of us all because we would not have control of it.

The fight that the people of Kanesatake have had has just emphasized that even more for me. They did not have control over their land and needed to make sure they put rules and legislation in place that would give them that right. I want us to pay attention to the words of that aboriginal leader who said trade agreements would make Indians of everybody and that we should see the struggles that they had. That will be us in the years to come if we do not make sure we as Canadians have control over our land.

I would like to impress upon the minister that point, but certainly more on his government. I would like to commend him for the process on the bill and encourage him.

When he was making his comments he spoke of his new initiative with the first nations peoples. He and I both know that the first nations leaders in Manitoba are not acceptant of his process. I would like to emphasize to him that they have good reason not to be acceptant. This process was dumped on them with the suggestion that this was the way we were going to do it, once again without the involvement of those first nations leaders. They were not happy about that.

Again, I do not like the outcomes of all the elections sometimes, but the bottom line is I accept that in first nations communities, even though there is unhappiness sometimes over the outcomes of them, and I impress this upon my colleagues from the Alliance, the point is chiefs in council for the most part are elected. When they are elected we must give them the right to make the decisions for their people. If the chiefs in Manitoba are not acceptant of the process, then I suggest to the minister that he needs to consult with them to make sure the process which will take place is one that they are okay with. I do not think that has happened.

I have nothing but good results in my discussions with the chiefs in Manitoba, certainly with the first nations communities in my riding. There is good and bad, we do not always agree but that is life. I have my thoughts and they have theirs, but they represent the people of their first nations. I acknowledge that and so should the minister. He needs to acknowledge that this is the position they want to take. It is their first nations communities and he really needs to take that into consideration.

I will not go into all the intricacies of the bill. That has been done a number of times. I do not think we want to delay the process. I know the people in Kanesatake want the bill to go through. We in the New Democratic Party want it to go through. We support it and I would encourage all my colleagues in the House to show respect for the first nations people who have made the decision on the process they want to take. Members should acknowledge that with a show of respect by supporting the decision they have made.

 

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Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Churchill spoke about a very important aspect of the bill, that was the closeness of the vote. She enlarged on that somewhat and discussed the fact that although the vote was very close, it was a democratic vote. I have heard comments from some of the speakers which cast aspersions on that.

My question concerns a vote that was taken in her riding on the northern flood agreement where a number of communities were very close to being in a tie situation. There were a number of aspersions cast that the process may not have been correct, but at the end of the day the vote was accepted. The fact remains that we have to accept the votes for what they are, regardless if they are close or one person away from deciding a tying vote.

Could the member enlarge on what happened with the northern flood agreement and on the fact that the vote was close but ended in an agreement? There may be people, and the member may be one, who were not in complete agreement with everything that went on, but that at the end of the day we moved forward.

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Mr. Speaker, in the case of my riding, it was not an extremely close vote like the Kanesatake vote. It was the questioning as to the process, directed under Indian affairs. A lot of the problems over the years have been because it has been directed by Indian affairs.

We have had years and years of policy and implementation of different processes under Indian affairs. As a result, the first nations people have not had the same opportunities we have. Non-aboriginal people may not vote throughout Canada, but none of them can ever argue with the fact that they have opportunities for education, economic opportunities and to be with their families, in most cases year after year. They do not have the history of first nations people who have been taken from their homes or children have been taken away from their parents.

First nations people have not had the opportunity to evolve as a society and as a nation the same way we have because they were under the thumb of the government. They lost a lot of years of evolving through what I consider a democratic process.

I firmly hope that each and every first nation will accept, over time, the democratic system in Canada, because quite frankly I am happy with it. I would suggest that something like proportional representation is a better route to go within our election system. I would prefer if we are going to have a Senate that it be elected, but the bottom line is we can make those decisions.

We need to give first nations people the very same opportunities we have all had. We need to give them the opportunity to fail as well as succeed. If they happen to fail in some instances, it does not mean the process is wrong and it does not mean they do not have the right. They just need the same time and the same opportunities we have had to evolve through a process of forming their society as they would like to form it.

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, I was intrigued with the answer the member just gave my colleague. She mentioned two things.

First, she talked about closeness of vote, that a majority is a majority. However, as the member knows, there are times when we say a majority is not a majority. The people of Quebec certainly would argue that, and there are other issues we discover within leadership races and major decisions, where people look at the majority in relation to the problem. I wonder if there is something there that should be looked at.

Second, she mentioned concerns with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Indian Act. Yesterday the committee heard the legal advisor to the national chief, Mr. Mercredi, express devout concerns about how aboriginals were being treated, and rightly so, regarding a lack of consultation and involvement. I would appreciate the member's views on those issues.

 

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Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to say with pride that Mr. Mercredi is originally from my riding. His parents live in my riding. As well, the former grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, was from my riding. I mention that to give some indication of the type of riding I have the pleasure of representing.

Residents of my riding have the benefit of knowing that two of their members have gone on to represent the first nations people of Canada. As a result, I think the people of the riding have benefited.

With regard to the treatment of first nations people, there is no question that it has been absolutely terrible. I grew up in Lebret, a very tiny community in southern Saskatchewan, which had a residential school. In my years of living there I hardly knew a child who attended that school because it was in a segregated area. A lot of aboriginal people lived in the community where I grew up, so I believe I have an understanding of the situations that first nations people live through.

My father actually managed one of what were called the Indian and Metis farms in Saskatchewan. I had the opportunity to see the differences when first nations people are given the opportunity for employment, the differences that can take place in their lives and their children's lives for years to come.

A number of families that had the opportunity to work on farms or at other jobs and to be paid fairly and to live in adequate housing have gone on to see their children educated. Many of those children have become productive people within our country.

We have failed in a lot of areas. Those farms were not the norm. There was the odd one here and there throughout Canada, though I only know of the ones in Saskatchewan. We have failed to give economic opportunities to first nations people. It is very hard to do that on the type of reserve system we have. It will take a lot of years to change that system but those changes will never happen if we do not put enough dollars into proper housing, into proper sewers and water and into schools that are big enough to hold the number of students in them.

A lot of schools in my riding were built to hold only so many children and they probably need room for another hundred. Those children do not have the opportunity of going five miles down the road to the next farming community to go to another school. Most of the reserves are off somewhere so they try to cram people into the schools in order to give them the educational opportunities.

The government must be seriously committed to following through on the recommendations of the royal commission on aboriginal peoples and to putting enough dollars into housing. Anybody who thinks for one second that first nations people do not look after their housing should know that they get the bare minimum standard of housing. Their houses in no way compare to the houses we have in our communities. Their houses would never have been allowed in our communities.

The communities do not have adequate firefighting services and the firefighting services it does have is paid for through its global budgets. When I hear Alliance members talk about wasted dollars in first nations communities, I would suggest to them that if their municipalities had to do everything aboriginal communities had to do with their dollars they would be here screaming and hollering too.

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, before I speak directly to the Kanesatake interim land base governance act, a bill which came from the Senate to this House, I will make a quick reference to the words of the member for Churchill. I have always enjoyed listening to the member speak. She brings a certain clarity and a personal reference to the subject that a lot of other members simply do not bring.

 

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Although I have never been in complete agreement with everything the member says, she speaks from her heart and with a wide knowledge of the subject. That knowledge could certainly be listened to by a lot of members in the House and influence a lot of party policies that are dedicated and manufactured in the House.

The Mohawks of Kanesatake, also known as Oka, live on a tract of land roughly 50 kilometres west of Montreal. On these lands which have been set aside for the Mohawks but do not constitute a reserve live both aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples. It is extremely important when discussing the bill to understand that we are not in any way, shape or form talking about an Indian reserve.

In 1990 the problem of unresolved aboriginal land claims erupted in the Oka crisis. The Mohawks erected barricades to block roads. In response to a request from the Quebec government, the federal government sent Canadian forces to help resolve the confrontation. In the conflict that ensued one Quebec officer died.

We cannot say those words lightly in the House. The reason I say them at all is to give a little history lesson to everyone in this place. We need to look back at where we were in 1990 and come ahead to where we are today. This may not be the perfect agreement. It may not suit every member of the House. However the reality is that light years from where we were in 1990.

We are on the eve of signing an agreement so that we can step forward into the reality of the 21st century. It is long overdue. Over the past 10 years the Mohawk of Kanesatake have worked with the Government of Canada to resolve questions and grievances regarding land use.

In March 1991 the Mohawks and the federal government agreed on an agenda for negotiations within the community of Kanesatake. I must point out that since 1991 the Mohawks of Kanesatake have switched from a traditional system to an elective democratic system that includes off territory voters. They did so because they felt that everyone who has an interest in Kanesatake should be able to participate in the elections.

That being said, a lot of progress has been made over the past 10 years. In 1994 the memorandum of understanding over land purchases was signed between the Mohawks and the federal government. In 1997 the federal government made land purchases in the name of Kanesatake, and the Mohawks established their own police station.

On December 21, 2000, a new land governance agreement was signed between the Kanesatake and the federal government. Bill S-24 represents the culmination of negotiations engaged in over the past 10 years. The bill did not suddenly appear before us. The bill has taken over a decade to go from where it was to where we are today. The bill is a critical milestone for the community of Kanesatake.

Bill S-24 would provide legal recognition of the land base for the Mohawks and would include powers of law making, policing and other services. The agreement with respect to Kanesatake governance of the interim land base was ratified through a legitimate democratic process by a majority, albeit a slim one, 239 to 237, but a majority nevertheless. An independent legal review of the ratification process and recount of the vote results, both conducted by a former chief justice of the Quebec superior court, confirmed that the process was conducted in a fair and open manner.

Bill S-24 would ensure that the Kanesatake Mohawk interim land base constitutes lands reserved for the Indians pursuant to the constitution but not as a reserve under the Indian Act.

Bill S-24 would also provide a framework for the exercise of jurisdiction and establish principles for the harmonious use and development of those lands.

Under the legislation the Mohawks of Kanesatake would have legal capacity to acquire and hold property, enter into contracts, borrow, expend and invest money, and be party to legal proceedings.

 

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The Mohawks would also exercise power to make laws formerly made at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. It must be pointed out that laws made by the Mohawks of Kanesatake could not be less stringent than municipal or provincial laws already in existence.

These laws would affect health and qualify of life, protection and management of fish and wildlife, disorderly conduct and nuisance, prevention of trespass, residency, fire safety and fire prevention, local works, zoning, waste management and public sanitation, traffic regulation and the appointment of judges.

While violators of any of these laws would be punishable by the Mohawk of Kanesatake, fines or imprisonment terms may not exceed limits established in subsection 787(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Subclause 8(1) of the bill specifies that a Kanesatake Mohawk is not governed by the Indian Act.

Before the Mohawk of Kanesatake can enact the legal powers accorded to them by Bill S-24, they must adopt a land governance code that sets out the law of the land. The code shall establish the rule of law, land use rules, conflict of interest rules, rights of appeal and redress, and procedures to amend the code. Furthermore a land use plan must precede any form of commercial or industrial activity. Storage or transportation of hazardous materials or waste disposal can happen.

Bill S-24 stipulates that Kanesatake Mohawk land should be consistent with federal standards and can exceed in strictness provincial standards. It must be pointed out that although environmental standards can exceed in strictness provincial environmental standards, they must be equivalent to or exceed standards already in place.

Before substantial land use practices can be changed, Bill S-24 establishes the process by which Kanesatake land use rules should be harmonized with the land laws of the municipality of Oka. This task will be an onerous one and is an onerous one, considering that the entire land area affected by the bill and inhabited by the Mohawk comprises many small parcels of land occupied by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents.

Bill S-24 addresses the issue of governance but does not include debate regarding first nation treaty rights or other outstanding disputes and grievances. Neither does it represent settlement of a land claim.

In conclusion, the PC Party supports the legislation. Bill S-24 has been 10 years in the making and there has been appropriate consultation with the third parties involved. We would have appreciated more time to look at the bill and have more witnesses appear before committee. However sending legislation through the Senate first has become commonplace for the Liberal government. The House should not be here to simply rubber stamp a piece of legislation but should be actively involved in it.

I will clarify this point because I do not want my colleagues in the Senate to think I do not approve of legislation coming from the Senate. That is what makes the Senate a more appropriate vehicle of governance in Canada and gives it legitimacy. We should be seeking more legitimacy for the Senate.

That being said, we are supportive of the will of the Mohawk of Kanesatake and the extensive consultations that have been carried out with the community of Kanesatake. As critic for Indian affairs and northern development in the last parliament, the 36th parliament—

The Deputy Speaker: The Chair has a bit of a dilemma. Does the member for South Shore want to wrap it all up within a minute or would he prefer to conclude his remarks after question period?

Mr. Gerald Keddy: Mr. Speaker, I will conclude after question period.



STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

 

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[English]

THIRD WORLD EYE CARE SOCIETY

Ms. Sophia Leung (Vancouver Kingsway, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, recently I attended the Third World Eye Care Society's sixth fundraising ball in Vancouver. This group collects old eyeglasses and distributes them with eye exams to people in developing countries.

The group has provided its services all around the world helping people to see better. In fact, last year in Grenada the society examined over 1,100 patients and performed 29 surgeries over the course of five days.

I want to congratulate the members of the Third World Eye Care Society for their dedication, compassion and assistance to people in third world countries who need eye care.

*  *  *

CANADIAN DOLLAR

Mr. Werner Schmidt (Kelowna, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the value of the Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar has dropped approximately 25% since the Liberals came to power. The implications of this fact are important.

First, it creates an attitude of complacency on the part of Canadian exporters. Due to the lower Canadian dollar, Canadian exporters observe that they can easily compete with a similar product produced in the U.S. without maximizing efficiencies of operation. Canadian workers are lulled into a false sense of security that their jobs will be safe.

Second, the lower Canadian dollar means a higher cost of living for Canadian consumers. That creates hardship, particularly for Canadians on limited or fixed incomes, many of whom are seniors.

How much lower is the Liberal government willing to let the dollar fall? The Liberal notion of Canada's competitiveness is a fool's paradise that builds wealth on a false sense of security and efficiency. It is time to stop the Canadian dollar from falling further.

*  *  *

ECUADOR

Ms. Sarmite Bulte (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate four students who have been chosen to participate in the humedica, Canada's Window to the World Project, Ecuador 2001, which started on May 18, 2001.

The four students are Jeff Fadway, Kaitlin Kazmierowski, Austin Pool and Allyn Norris who is a constituent in my riding.

This year's project involves two schools: Richview Collegiate Institute and Humberside Collegiate Institute. The students will be visiting an orphanage in Mindo, Ecuador.

The orphanage is operated by a charitable Ecuadorian foundation, and humedica works in partnership with the foundation to meet their physical and health needs.

This is an exciting opportunity for these students to reach out and make a difference in their world and to create a link of cultural understanding to hundreds of Canadian youth in their home schools.

*  *  *

EMPLOYER SUPPORT AWARDS

Mr. John O'Reilly (Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute 14 civilian employers from across Canada who will be honoured this weekend by the Department of National Defence for their support of the reserve force.

The Canadian Forces Liaison Council Employer Support Awards are presented every two years, and this year's awards ceremony is the fourth that the CFLC has sponsored since 1997.

There are about 30,000 primary reservists in Canada; most work full or part time for civilian employers and some are students. In order to train, attend courses or serve on operational missions, these reservists need the support of their employers. In turn, employers benefit from the work values, leadership training and specific job skills that reservist employees bring back to the civilian workplace.

I want to congratulate Cominco Trail Operations of Trail, British Columbia for being the most supportive employer in Canada. I would also like to salute all those employers who won awards for most supportive employer in their respective provinces or for their support in specific operations. All of these employers were nominated by reservists who proudly serve this great country.

*  *  *

ONTARIO TECHNICAL SKILLS DESIGN COMPETITION

Mrs. Judi Longfield (Whitby—Ajax, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Peter Miljanovic and Neil Hunt, from Anderson High School in my riding of Whitby—Ajax, recently won gold at the Ontario Technical Skills Design Competition.

Fifteen teams from secondary schools across Ontario competed in developing a website within a short five hour time period. They had to design story boards and their entire site plan first, then interview participants and take digital pictures. After their site was fully completed and met all the criteria, they had to present to a panel of five judges. The judges viewed their site on several computers with various resolutions and web browsers.

Compared to the other teams, Peter and Neil had the most obsolete computer hardware and software. They were a little intimidated by the other competitors but that did not stop them from proving that they possessed the skills required to make an outstanding website in a limited timeframe.

 

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By winning the gold medal, Peter Miljanovic and Neil Hunt have gone on to represent Ontario at the National Internet Website Design Competition in Edmonton this weekend.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Peter and Neil on their accomplishment.

*  *  *

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo—Chilcotin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Indian residential schools are a national tragedy. The government has refused to accept its responsibility for the plight of those individuals who suffered years of abuse while in the legal custody of the government.

A recent ruling by a Saskatchewan judge stated that it was the federal government and not the churches that must settle the lawsuits. The government is and always has been the legal guardian of all those students.

Today the Deputy Prime Minister will meet with church leaders. It was the government, not the churches, that dragged the churches into the ongoing lawsuits as third party defendants. Some of the churches will soon go bankrupt if the government does not take some immediate action.

The government has dragged this on far too long. While former students try to rebuild their lives, lawyers are rebuilding their bank accounts by dragging out this whole process.

I plead with the government to do the right thing and settle these claims. It will do the right thing by not forcing churches into bankruptcy and by offering the former students the healing and reconciliation they are crying out for.

*  *  *

[Translation]

THE ECONOMY

Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the economic news is good for Canada.

We have learned that growth in the last quarter was 2.5%. This is close to twice the figure for the United States. Our GDP increased in March as well.

This good news follows on the update announced by the Minister of Finance. This year there will be $17 billion more available to stimulate our economy. Among other things, we have reduced the corporate tax rate by one point, which will help give our businesses a competitive edge.

Despite the worldwide downturn, Canada is still enjoying the longest growth period since the 1960s.

Judge for yourself: more than 22 growth quarters in a row, more than 40% of our GDP composed of exports.

The state of the Canadian economy presents excellent prospects for the future.

*  *  *

ACADÉMIE LES ESTACADES

Mr. Marcel Gagnon (Champlain, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share with you news of the successful performance of a group of 92 young musicians from the academics and music program of the Académie Les Estacades, of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, at a music festival held in New York City on May 5.

First places, and a gold medal, were won by the academy's string orchestra, symphony orchestra and brass and reed bands i and ii. The mark of 97% awarded to the string ensemble was the highest mark ever recorded at this competition. In addition, the school's stage band also came first and was awarded a silver medal.

My particular congratulations to oboist Marjorie Tremblay, who was chosen best soloist, all categories.

Incidentally, the Académie les Estacades was up against some 40 musical ensembles from 13 American colleges.

I am proud to congratulate all these young musicians and their teachers for this excellent—

The Speaker: The hon. member for Erie—Lincoln.

*  *  *

[English]

BOATING SAFETY

Mr. John Maloney (Erie—Lincoln, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this past Victoria Day long weekend marked the traditional opening of a great Canadian ritual. It marked the start of the cottage and boating season.

An estimated eight million Canadians will take to our lakes, rivers and oceans this summer. Whether they are seeking peace and solitude or fast paced action and fun, it is important that all Canadians who take to the water do so in a safe and responsible manner.

I remind all Canadians that all operators of personal watercraft must be at least 16 years of age, regardless of supervision. I also encourage all Canadians to take an accredited safe boating course, wear well-fitted Canadian approved life jackets and understand the consequences of drinking and boating.

Following these simple rules will help us continue to reduce the number of boating fatalities and injuries that occur each year.

*  *  *

CEDAR LODGE RESTORATION RESORT

Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on June 16, Cedar Lodge Restoration Resort will be celebrating its fourth anniversary.

Cedar Lodge is a 44,000 square foot hotel and conference facility overlooking Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan. Although it is mostly known for its conference centre, Cedar Lodge has much more to offer.

Suzanne Claire, owner and operator, has committed herself to serving those in her community who are in need. Her staff, who are all volunteers, have a devotion to others to provide self-restoration and community outreach programs.

 

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The value that Cedar Lodge fulfills in self-restoration include experienced staff and counsellors offering spiritual guidance and ongoing daily workshops. These services include stress management, defeating depression, addiction management and, most important, a surrounding of peace and tranquillity.

This project that Ms. Claire has initiated is self-reliant. With absolutely no funding from any level of government, she has made this self-healing centre a success through the generosity of the community and also through her strong faith.

*  *  *

CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN WOMEN'S HEALTH

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health recently announced that Health Canada will contribute an additional $1.7 million over the next year to the national Centres of Excellence for Women's Health.

There are five of these centres across Canada: in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The centres use a multidisciplinary approach to address quality care in the health system, health protection, aboriginal women's health and rural women's health.

Since their establishment in 1995, the centres have played a critical role in more than 250 research projects.

I salute the world renowned work done by the Centres of Excellence in Women's Health and I look forward to the new research that will be done as a result of this funding.

*  *  *

LABOUR

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Retail Council of Canada gives a retailer of the year award but we should consider a sweatshop retailer of the year award. There is no shortage of worthy candidates from which to choose.

Nominations could consider the Disney Corporation which has sweatshops in China that force women to work seven days a week, 16 hours a day for the princely sum of $90 a month.

We could consider Walmart which manufacturers its Kathy-Lee products in southern China where workers are reportedly locked up for all but 60 minutes a day, work 90 hours a week and then charged most of those wages for room and board.

This year's sweatshop retailer of the year award goes to Reitman's stores which continues to import huge amounts of clothing from Burma in spite of the Canadian government policy asking businesses to refrain from trading with that country because its brutal military regime uses profits from the textile industry to finance the repression of its citizens.

*  *  *

[Translation]

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY

Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, June 2 is National Children's Day. I salute the children of Quebec, Canada and the entire planet and want them to know how important they are to us.

It is a shame and a scandal to see that despite surpluses of close to $100 billion over the next four years, one child in five will continue to live in poverty in Canada.

A campaign in support of children's rights “Say Yes for Children” is currently getting started around the world. It is an international campaign intended to encourage people from all over to make a commitment to improve the living conditions and well-being of young people.

I invite parliamentarians and the public to say yes for children by signing the virtual petition at UNICEF's website.

Changing the world for children and doing it with them is a commitment that cannot be broken.

*  *  *

QUEBEC MINISTER OF TRANSPORT

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish to criticize the remarks made yesterday in the Quebec national assembly by the member for Joliette, Guy Chevrette, against the member for Lafontaine, Jean-Claude Gobé.

By calling him a “bloody Frenchman” and carrying on insulting him in the most offensive manner possible, Guy Chevrette has shown himself once again to be ill-mannered, impulsive and a worn out politician.

For the past 15 years, Mr. Gobé has legitimately represented the people of Lafontaine, a riding that includes part of the federal riding I represent.

With his racist remarks and insults, Guy Chevrette represents neither Quebecers nor, I hope, his political party. This man showered me with insults when I sat at the national assembly and since then.

Chevrette is worn out, finished, kept in office by a certain type of press to which he feeds his twaddle. Mr. Gobé has represented Quebec with dignity on several international missions to francophone countries and has my full support and that of my colleagues, especially the member for Brossard—La Prairie, under these unfortunate and unacceptable circumstances.

*  *  *

[English]

RCMP

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend RCMP Constable Jodeen Cassidy and Corporal Al Ramey for their successful efforts to locate a 19 year old accident victim who spent a horrible eight days trapped at the bottom of a deep ravine in a badly wrecked car.

Constable Cassidy piloted her RCMP helicopter on a determined and persistent mission until she located the crash. Corporal Ramey volunteered as a spotter and between the two of them, surely saved the life of Joe Spring.

These two RCMP officers went above and beyond the call of duty and we commend them wholeheartedly. We all wish young Joe Spring a speedy recovery and we again thank Constable Jodeen Cassidy and Corporal Ramey for their extraordinary efforts in this lifesaving rescue.

*  *  *

 

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THE ENVIRONMENT

Ms. Aileen Carroll (Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our government's sound economic planning is based on careful consideration of economic indicators like GDP and unemployment rates.

However these indicators alone are limited in their ability to assess our progress toward larger goals of environmental sustainability and health. That is why we strongly support the national round table on the environment and the economy and Statistics Canada in their development of environmental indicators.

[Translation]

The indicators will enable us to better establish a database to help us with our economic and environmental decisions.

[English]

As the finance minister has said, the existence of indicators compels decisions. These indicators will help us ensure that our children grow up in communities that offer clean air and water, are free of toxic chemicals and are open, natural spaces.



ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[English]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the military says that it needs 35 helicopters to undertake its duties. How many will it get?

Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to the acquisition of 28 new shipborne maritime helicopters.

Through a competitive process that is fair, open and transparent, we will get the very best product at the very best price for the men and women of the Canadian forces to serve the country in the way we are committed to and the way they are committed to.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that the military asked for 35 and is now getting 28.

It also asked for helicopters that would allow them to be in the air for more than three hours. How long will these helicopters be able to be in the air under adverse circumstances?

Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the requirements for this helicopter were written by Canadian military people, not by politicians.

The military is getting exactly what it wanted. Even in letters to the editor yesterday and today, vice-admirals have said these are the specifications that they want, not the 1960s dinosaur type tactics that the Reform Party is looking for.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting commentary. Military advisers said they wanted 35 helicopters. They wanted helicopters that could be the air for more than three hours. They are getting neither.

How does the parliamentary secretary explain the fact that political interference has intruded in what the military really needs and what it really wants?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there has been no so-called political interference. The military developed a statement of requirements. The government accepted the statement of requirements. Under the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Works and Government Services the procurement process is now under way.

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton Centre-East, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, cold war, hot war, no war, what is the difference when the chief of maritime staff says he cannot meet his domestic needs? Referring to reduced Sea King capability he says that it:

      —will directly impact my ability to...maintain operationally ready maritime forces and to conduct surveillance and control of Canadian territory.

The end of the cold war is a poor reason to lower aircraft standards. Why are we not raising standards for our military?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the chief of maritime staff made it perfectly clear in his testimony before the parliamentary committee that “Canada's navy is more combat capable today than it was a decade ago during the Persian war conflict”, and the vice-admiral made it clear in his testimony that “the navy has been provided the resources it needs to fulfil its mandate and maintain combat capability”.

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton Centre-East, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we now have a hat trick of Liberal procurement screw-ups. There were shipping contracts given without tender that now discourage shipping bidders.

A jeep-like vehicle contract went to a sole European bidder because the government drove away Canadian competition.

 

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After 25 years a helicopter contract is to be given for a replacement with only 75% of the capability of 40 year old Sea Kings. Why is the minister allowing Liberal politics to manipulate serious military procurement?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's premise is totally wrong. We are responding to the military's own statement of requirements.

I would think that a member of the Alliance Party is the last person in the world to talk about “screw-ups” unless he is looking at himself in the mirror.

*  *  *

[Translation]

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ): Mr. Speaker, after more than two years, we finally got documents on the unity operation led by the Privy Council.

The purpose of the operation was to orchestrate the federal government's actions during the 1995 referendum held in Quebec. Several pages of the document were censored under the pretext that they could adversely affect federal-provincial relations.

Could the President of the Privy Council tell us how a document that was originally supposed to promote Canadian unity can now adversely affect federal-provincial relations?

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, members opposite should have a more consistent approach.

Every now and then they complain; they claim that they do not have access to documents under the Access to Information Act. This is what they say. Of course that is rarely the case. In fact, it is never the case.

Today, they are claiming that they complied with the Access to Information Act, but did not have access to the documents that they wanted. There is something wrong with these questions.

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the leader of the government clearly did not understand the question and this is why it is addressed to the President of the Privy Council.

I am asking the President of the Privy Council, who boasts about clarity and transparency, to tell us: Is the document so bad and so much against Quebec that it still cannot be released six years later?

Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government House leader replied as regards compliance with the act. We do comply with the act.

The facts speak for themselves. The Government of Canada does not in any way act against Quebec. The Government of Canada protects the right of Quebecers to be full fledged Canadians and to fully enjoy the benefits provided by their great country.

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, several passages in the documents we obtained after two years of waiting were blanked out in accordance with section 14 of the Access to Information Act, which provides as follows:

    The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains information the disclosure of which could—be injurious to the conduct by the Government of Canada of federal-provincial affairs.

How could these censored passages have been so controversial that they could have been injurious to the conduct of federal-provincial affairs by the Government of Canada?

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again, we see how ridiculous the question is. We are being accused of obeying the law. We plead guilty. We always obey the law.

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, if it is true that the disclosure of these documents would have seriously damaged relations between Quebec and the federal government, will he explain how it is that the federal government acted contrary to its own interpretation of the legislation by faxing complete copies of these documents to the Liberal Party of Quebec just a few days before the 1995 referendum campaign?

Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government complied with the legislation, and the same type of legislation applies, as far as I know, to the executive council of the government of Quebec. The member is entirely free to ask the government of Quebec for any information he wishes.

*  *  *

[English]

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. It has to do with the study released today by the David Suzuki Foundation entitled “Fuelling the Climate Crisis”, which claims that the continental energy plan, and particularly the development of the Alberta tar sands, will raise Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to 44% above the commitment to the Kyoto protocol.

Would the Deputy Prime Minister commit his government to an environmental study of the greenhouse gas emission consequences of the development of the Alberta tar sands before any further commitment is made to that development?

 

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Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it would have been appropriate for the hon. member to give me notice of this question. I have not seen the Suzuki report. We will certainly look into it. I reiterate that the government has said that it intends to meet its Kyoto commitments and that continues to be the case.

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I could not have given him notice because the study only came out today, but the question really is whether the government is committed to an environmental study of the Alberta tar sands development.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister again about energy. I raised it in the House the other day with respect to the purchase of Gulf by American interests. I know that the Deputy Prime Minister has had an interest in these issues in the past. We know that American ownership is lower than it used to be, but this could be the beginning of a trend upward.

I want to know from the government if there is a level of foreign ownership at which the government would begin to be concerned and begin to act.

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Alberta tar sands, their development involves provincial jurisdiction. There may be a federal issue. Certainly we will apply the relevant laws in co-operation with our Alberta counterparts.

With respect to foreign ownership, there are laws on the books. They will be followed.

*  *  *

ENERGY INDUSTRY

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Deputy Prime Minister. Premier Klein of Alberta originally indicated that his provincial government might interfere with the transportation of oil and gas from the north through Alberta to United States markets.

He has since said that the federal government holds the hammer when it comes to such issues. Will the Deputy Prime Minister clarify whether or not the federal government has such jurisdiction?

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member might be well advised to seek legal opinions from the appropriate sources, but what I can say to him is that the federal government is not interested in stopping the sale of energy resources.

The federal government is interested in working with our provincial partners, which have direct jurisdiction over natural resources, together with our international partners, including the major markets in the United States, to see that Canadians and Canada benefit the most that is possible from our natural resource wealth.

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister because I agree with him. I wish to ask him if he is now prepared to exercise the same power to let Newfoundland and Labrador electricity be transported through Quebec to United States markets without Newfoundland being charged exorbitant wheeling fees.

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it always unnerves me slightly when opposition members from any party agree with me.

On this one I would like to point out to the hon. member that the federal government, since 1993, has been working very hard to eliminate barriers to interprovincial trade, including in the electricity market.

As increasingly there is an interest in finding a means for the interprovincial sale of electricity such as arose, for example, with needs that came about at the time of the ice storm, it is incumbent on the provinces to resolve some of the barriers that exist—

The Speaker: The hon. member for St. Albert.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister told farmers in Winnipeg to stop complaining because there is no crisis on farms. Let me say to the House that the minister of agriculture cut $470 million out of grants to farmers. There is a drought on the prairies. There is no money to drill emergency wells to water cattle.

My question is for the Prime Minister. When will his government recognize that there is a crisis on prairies farms and when will it do something about it?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government wants to work with Canadians in every part of our country. It has been working with farmers in the west and in the rest of the country.

Proof of that is what the hon. member referred to, our close to $500 million emergency aid program for farmers. I thank the hon. member for mentioning that.

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I said that was a cut of $470 million. The Deputy Prime Minister talked about wanting to work with Canadians. The member for Scarborough Southwest said “If you don't vote for me, I don't work for you”. It seems to be that the Liberal government is saying “If you don't elect Liberals, we will do nothing for you”.

 

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Is this Liberal-type democracy where they say “If you don't elect members of the Liberal Party, we will do nothing for you”, or will they seriously do something for the drought on the prairies?

Mr. Larry McCormick (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, beside the $500 million that the hon. Deputy Prime Minister mentioned, another $2.2 billion will go out in the next three years. Cheques are going out now. Also we gave $240 million to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

On the particular question, there was no cut. It was bookkeeping. He had the answer before. I suggest he look it up. In fact, more money is going out this year than ever before in the last seven years.

*  *  *

[Translation]

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Privy Council missed the point in the question asked earlier.

The government of Quebec cannot be asked to distribute Operation Unity documents when only the Liberal Party of Quebec has obtained a copy. Even the Bloc Quebecois MPs have been refused the entire document, under the pretext of section 14 of the Access to Information Act.

Why has the minister made the decision to restrict distribution of the full Operation Unity document to the Liberal Party of Quebec and to no one else, thus violating his own legislation?

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the questions seem to be changing. What was said earlier was that we had obeyed the law, and we were faulted for having done so. Now, five minutes later, we are being accused of having done the opposite, in connection with the same matter.

The Government of Canada obeys the law, as we do at all times with all laws, including the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act and so on.

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is missing the point as well.

Under the pretext of section 14 of the Access to Information Act, we were refused the full Operation Unity document. Under the pretext of that law, of compliance with that law, we were denied access to it, yet it was provided to the Liberal Party of Quebec. Thus, they broke the federal law.

Could some light be cast on this and could the documents be tabled, along with the others that have also been distributed solely to the Liberal Party of Quebec, all the documents relating to Operation Unity during the referendum campaign?

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government made public what had to be made public under the law and in compliance with the law. Once again, the question seems to be drifting all over the map.

*  *  *

[English]

NATURAL RESOURCES

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday western premiers were united in their demand that Ottawa give energy producing provinces a seat at the table during the negotiations on the continental energy policy. They stated that the provinces were the keepers, owners and guardians of our natural resources.

The constitution is very clear on the subject. Natural resources belong to the provinces. Will the minister recognize that provinces are full partners and respect their demands?

Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously western premiers asked to be full participants in the international discussions related to energy. However, referring to the table, which table? There is no table.

It is clear, as the premier of British Columbia said, that Canada must speak with one voice. The Government of Canada will make sure that everything we do about energy will be for the benefit of all provinces, and indeed will include the premiers.

By the way, the Minister of Natural Resources is speaking with the premier of Prince Edward Island today about that.

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, there will be a negotiation. I guess the premiers and the provinces would be more trusting of the federal government if it had not betrayed them in ignoring the limits agreed to at the Kyoto negotiations with the provinces. That is why they are asking to be at the table this time. That is why they are insisting on being at the table, because they were ignored last time and betrayed.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister commit to the western provinces and the western premiers that they be at the negotiating table when they meet with the Americans to hammer out a new energy agreement?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is starting off, as usual, on the wrong premise. There is no table contemplated at which there would be negotiations for a new continental energy agreement.

 

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We in Canada will be working on behalf of the entire country. For this purpose we will be fully consulting with the provinces. Each of us has our respective jurisdictions under the constitution. These jurisdictions will be respected and at the same time we will be working on behalf of all Canadians.

*  *  *

[Translation]

PARENTAL LEAVE

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, last week the national assembly passed the law to establish the Quebec parental leave program.

This law, passed unanimously, has the support of the unions, young Quebec families and management. All that is lacking to get the program going is to have the federal government agree to sit down and negotiate with Quebec.

Is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs capable of making a commitment on behalf of his government to begin negotiations with the government of Quebec? Yes or no.

Ms. Raymonde Folco (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have had a system in place in Canada for several months now, which extends parental leave up to a year for all Canadians.

This system was put in place responsibly to ensure that the program remains affordable and sustainable.

I would also like to point out the fact that this is not provincial government money. This money comes from the contributions of workers and employers. In addition, we have extended parental benefits for Canadians across the country, including those of Quebec.

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the desire of Quebec to keep rehabilitation the priority for young offenders, the need to readjust tax matters between Ottawa and Quebec City and the Quebec parental leave program are all the focus of consensus in Quebec, which largely transcends partisan lines, since the future of Quebec is involved. The federal government response to each consensus has been consistent: no.

In refusing to negotiate, is the minister aware of the message he is sending to Quebec families, stating clearly “If you want a parental leave program that meets your needs, you have only one option, become sovereign”?

Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we invite the government of Quebec to improve the federal program. As good federalists, this is what we can and should do. However, clearly, if they destroy the federation, we will be unable to do this sort of thing.

*  *  *

[English]

HEALTH

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Canadian patients are waiting desperately for organ transplants, so much so that several of them are paying thousands of dollars to Canadian businessmen to go abroad and purchase organs from poor Chinese people.

My question is for the Minister of Health. Why has the government dragged its heels, knowing full well that it has had solutions on its lap for the last two years, including the health committee's report? Why has it not implemented those solutions to save Canadian lives?

[Translation]

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish to tell the hon. member that the practice that is reported in some newspapers today and to which he is referring is totally reprehensible. Health Canada absolutely condemns it.

The Canadian government has taken very concrete measures. We invested over $20 million to deal with the issue of organ and tissue transplants. Following the report, we set up a national council on organ donations and transplants. We implemented all the recommendations made in the report of the House committee and I think that the situation will improve.

[English]

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we do not want more reports. We do not want more studies. We want action. These people are dying; 150 Canadians are dying every year and the number is increasing. The government has mud on its face and it had better fix the problem soon.

Again my question is for the minister. Why have they not implemented the solutions in the health committee's report, active solutions that will save lives? Will they ban people from going abroad and purchasing organs from live donors?

[Translation]

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member's impatience.

However, we are actually in the process of taking measures. The parliamentary committee produced a report. That is the past. The report's recommendations are being implemented. The council that was recommended by the standing committee of the House has been set up and the budgets are there. The situation will improve with the co-operation of the provinces and of the medical staff involved in this area.

*  *  *

 

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[English]

DISASTER RELIEF

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. Recent television news has shown some dramatic images coming from forest fires in Alberta.

Has the Government of Canada received any requests for assistance from the government of Alberta and, if so, what does it plan to do about it?

Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our hearts go out to the people of Alberta who have suffered great personal losses due to these fires. As a former firefighter, I wish to express my admiration for firefighters across Canada who are battling these blazes.

At this time the federal government has received no request for assistance from the government of Alberta. We are nonetheless ready to help, if asked, much like during the ice storm and the Saguenay and Red River floods.

*  *  *

INFRASTRUCTURE

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Over the last six years the Liberal government has cut $3.6 billion out of rural economies through the elimination of the Crow benefit alone. The Liberal legacy in rural Canada is crumbling roads, farm closures and tainted water.

Europe and the U.S. care about their agricultural communities. They invest in their infrastructure and value added economies. Will the minister tell the House why the infrastructure program is putting less funding back into rural Canada than the Liberal government has cut?

[Translation]

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. member is saying, the new Infrastructure Canada program includes a requirement for each province to respect a certain percentage for rural areas.

We have reached agreements. Agreements have been signed and the amount is based on the proportion of people living in rural areas. This initiative shows that the federal government cares about what is going on in the country's rural areas.

[English]

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister has admitted publicly that the so-called green infrastructure program is not sufficient. The green infrastructure program requires cash strapped provinces and municipalities to put up two-thirds of the money. As a result, some provinces are not accessing the funds.

Will the government commit to an infrastructure program that is not tied to matched funds from the municipalities and provinces?

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the only obligation in the agreement we signed with the provinces is that the federal government will pay one-third the cost of a project.

Nothing in the agreement forbids a province from deciding to take two-thirds of the cost. Nobody said that the municipality should be able to afford one-third of the project. In some remote areas of the country, especially, provinces are aware of the situation and are ready to help their municipalities.

*  *  *

DAIRY INDUSTRY

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Mr. Speaker, dairy farmers of Canada are challenging whether the Liberal government really believes in protecting supply management. The federal government has said time and time again that it supports supply management, but actions speak louder than words.

In early May dairy farmers of Canada were informed that it was the intention of the minister to stop issuing supplemental import permits for the importation of cheese sticks only after September 1. Supply management does not work if we cannot control our own borders.

Why is the government waiting until after September 1 to actually protect the rights of the dairy farmers of Canada. It is the cows that are supposed to be milked, not Canadian dairy farmers.

Mr. Pat O'Brien (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as usual the member is given to quite a bit of hyperbole in his comments.

We are talking about less than 1% of domestic cheese production. For the last 20 years there has been absolutely no change in government policy. When there is an increase in excess of the quotas, it is for specific consumers requiring a specific product.

The member has exaggerated the case. I want to tell him that the minister recently raised this issue with Mr. Zoellick in the United States.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Isle Haute is a pristine island located in the Bay of Fundy. It is the home of endangered species and is a real treasure. Recently it was declared surplus by the coast guard and may be put up for sale.

Some months ago in the House we asked the Minister of the Environment if he would declare this a wilderness preserve. Has the minister made any progress on that request?

 

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Mrs. Karen Redman (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's Isle Haute is of major ecological significance for several species at risk in colonial seabirds.

The federal government believes this property should be preserved and protected. That is why Environment Canada is working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure this island is protected as a national wildlife area.

This designation will be a major step forward to protect and recover species at risk in the region, such as the peregrine falcon and several rare plant species.

This kind of co-operation and science based action is exactly what is fundamental to the proposed species at risk legislation.

*  *  *

JUSTICE

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the psychological torment continues to worsen. Last night, John Schneeberger, convicted pedophile, issued a letter full of uncertainties. He said he would not have the kids come to the jail, provided they live up to his conditions.

Can the minister not see that this law must be fixed so convicted sex offenders cannot use kids for blackmail?

Mr. John Maloney (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we share the member's concern for the well-being of the Dillman children.

As the member opposite knows, the Minister of Justice does not have the authority or the jurisdiction to interfere with an order of the court. We remain committed to promoting positive outcomes for children and their families following a separation or divorce.

In the present situation variations in custody orders can be made at any time. In the situation in question, the mother may well be advised to do so or to appeal the existing order.

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice tells a single mom to go to Saskatchewan, to leave her job, to hire a lawyer and to develop her own psychological evidence. Now we have a guy giving ultimatums from prison.

Schneeberger has paid $50 in support in the last three years. This sex offender is now setting the rules for access once he gets out of prison, and he is eligible in November of this year.

We need Lisa's law to prevent the creation of psychological child victims. Will the minister change it now for future kids who might be forced into this situation?

Mr. John Maloney (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we remain committed to promoting positive outcomes for children and their families following a separation or divorce.

We are currently engaged with the provinces and territories in a comprehensive review of the custody and access provisions under the federal Divorce Act and provincial legislation. These public consultations are currently under way.

Our shared goal is to create an effective family law system across Canada that will promote a child centred approach by focusing on children's needs and their best interests.

*  *  *

[Translation]

WATER RESOURCES

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Environment Canada web site contains an invitation to tender with the objective of putting a price on Canada's water resources.

It goes on to say that this price will apply in particular to bulk water exports and to access to groundwater supplies.

Are we to understand from this that the government has moved much further ahead than it lets on, and has even decided to change its position as far as bulk water exports are concerned?

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there has been no change in our policy. We are about to enact Bill C-6, which opposes bulk water sales. There has been no change, and that is perfectly clear.

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in connection with Bill C-6, those who appeared before the committee expressed general concern. The government has just sent a completely contradictory message with this invitation to tender.

Is the government aware that, by asking that a price be put on water, it is giving in to the arguments of those wishing to buy our water, the Americans in particular, and is opening the door to all manner of abuses?

[English]

Mrs. Karen Redman (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, good environmental policy is based on good science. I am reading from the actual website.

It is an initiative to develop a methodology to value water so that it can be applied to a broad range of environmental assets. It is a case of developing indicators to assess environmental value over the long term.

It is simply incorrect to infer that this in any way has to do with bulk water. It is simply not so and we have not changed our policy. The government remains opposed to bulk water removal.

*  *  *

 

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TRANSPORTATION SAFETY

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, since 1988 the government has been studying safety for uncontrolled rail crossings while 70 people have been killed at such crossings in Saskatchewan alone.

When will the minister act on the request of the Saskatchewan Safety Council to reflectorize those crossings?

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I am sure he reads the estimates like all of us try to do, but he is aware that Transport Canada invests substantial millions of dollars each year in co-operation with municipalities to enhance safety at crossings.

Transport Canada works with municipalities and their provincial counterpart officials to ensure the most effective use of dollars to deal with dangerous situations. Transport Canada is very responsive in this regard. I encourage the member to examine the estimates more carefully.

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the industry is ready to move on this matter. It has been wanting to move on it for quite some time.

The government has been studying the issue for 13 years. Now it tells us it needs time to consult with the territories that have very few crossings. Before more citizens are killed, will the minister take immediate action to make uncontrolled rail crossings safe?

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, just yesterday I met with the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and he raised a number of very important issues relative to Saskatchewan, but that one was not raised.

Nonetheless it is an important issue and I want to remind the member that under the new Canada-provincial-territorial infrastructure program it is possible, where priorities are set by the province, for funds to be made available to deal with such crossing problems.

*  *  *

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Mr. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation. For some time Atlantic Canadians have felt far away or removed from the Canadian International Development Agency.

Could the minister tell us what steps she has taken to make CIDA more accessible to Canadians who live in the Atlantic provinces?

Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have been consulting with Atlantic Canadians for some time now, over the last year or so, with respect to accessibility.

This is why two weeks ago I opened a regional office headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick, with staff also responsible for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

This should facilitate greatly the access of Atlantic Canadians to CIDA programming and break down some of the barriers that I know have existed for some time in the past.

*  *  *

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the government has chosen a road of destruction for many Canadian churches. The government has set aside $2 billion, most of which falls into the pockets of lawyers to take clients from former residential schools and then sue the church organizations which provided the education. This is breaking churches across Canada.

I have a question for the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the government continue this until every church in Canada that provided these services is flat broke?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is way off base. The government recognizes the churches as valuable social institutions. We do not want to see any church or church organization driven into bankruptcy over any residential school issue.

However there is a matter of shared responsibility. We are carrying out discussions with the churches and eventually with the victims to bring about a fair resolution of the matter much quicker than would otherwise be the case. We do not want to see all the funds of either the government or the churches eaten up in legal fees. I ask my hon. friend to work with me in this regard and not try to politicize this issue.

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it was not until Saskatchewan judge Ted Malone said that the federal government has responsibility. Now the Deputy Prime Minister says they will make a change.

To many of the churches in my constituency it is simply too late. You have set about on a path that has destroyed this completely. When will you announce your planned changes?

The Speaker: The hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain knows very well he must address his remarks to the Chair.

 

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Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the native claimants in 70% of the cases are suing directly both the churches and the federal government at the same time.

My hon. friend is wrong when he said there has been some final determination of responsibility. He mentioned one case. There are other cases where the judges have said there is shared responsibility.

I am working to see if we can resolve the matter outside the lengthy and costly litigation process. Instead of trying to unfairly politicize the matter, I think the hon. member should work with me in doing something that is fair to the victims as well as to the churches and the taxpayers.

*  *  *

[Translation]

PORT INFRASTRUCTURES

Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Matapédia—Matane, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans recently appeared before the parliamentary committee. All committee members agree that the funds allocated to the repair and maintenance of small craft harbours are far from sufficient. In addition, the minister has promised to look into providing financial support for the authorities of ports that have been reassigned.

Does the minister intend to respond positively to the request by the members of the committee to increase the maintenance and repair budgets of small craft ports and does he intend to act quickly on the possibility of providing financial support for port authorities?

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Secretary of State (Rural Development)(Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is reviewing the resources available to him and will be making decisions on particular projects that he will be able to initiate this year.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Murray Calder (Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Spring seeding is done and the bills are now starting to come due. I would like the parliamentary secretary to explain how the Canada farm income program will benefit farmers with those bills.

Mr. Larry McCormick (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that applications are being processed for all provinces. Payments are also being issued as the processing is completed.

Cheques are continuing to go out. CFIP is a national program that is cost shared with the provinces on a 60:40 basis. The federal government pays 60%.

Federal and provincial governments have budgeted $2.2 billion for the next three years. To date, 2,500 applications have been received and I would encourage producers who are planning to apply for this program to do so as soon as possible so that we can continue to send out the cheques.

*  *  *

LUMBER INDUSTRY

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade held stakeholder meetings this week with the Canadian forest sector. Regional interests were given an opportunity to present their views on the current softwood lumber dispute with the U.S.

Would the minister assure us that his position in favour of free trade in lumber remains the government position?

Mr. Pat O'Brien (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if necessary, I can reassure my hon. colleague that the Minister for International Trade obviously speaks for the government on trade matters. As my hon. colleague knows, the minister has championed repeatedly for months now the call for free trade in softwood lumber.

The concern has been whether the stakeholders from coast to coast to coast would continue to adhere to that position. As a result of the excellent meeting the minister was involved in on Wednesday in Ottawa, that consensus remains strong and the minister remains the champion of free trade in softwood lumber.

*  *  *

[Translation]

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Mr. Marcel Gagnon (Champlain, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade said yesterday that the 70% increase in imports of cheese sticks meant that there was a need on our market. We are saying this increase in imports is totally unjustified, because Canadian producers are telling us they can meet the demand.

Will the minister understand that this 70% increase in imports is artificial and fabricated, because the minister is not respecting the negotiated quotas.

[English]

Mr. Pat O'Brien (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier in a response to a question, there seems to be a desire on the part of opposition parties to grossly exaggerate the situation.

Canada's cheese industry is much stronger than they would have us believe on the basis of these alarmist comments. The minister said yesterday that if imports are occasionally allowed in excess of the quotas it is because there are specific consumers who need a specific product. That is the reason it has been allowed, and no other.

*  *  *

 

. 1200 + -

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Deputy Prime Minister with respect to the residential school question.

I know the Deputy Prime Minister has been working hard on this file but I wonder if he could tell us, given the decision in Saskatchewan, whether there is any intention on the part of the government to tell the church leaders this afternoon or subsequently that the government will not be naming the church as a third party where it has not already been named? That at least would be progress in the 30% of cases that the Deputy Prime Minister referred to.

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have already pointed out that in 70% of the cases the victims are suing both the federal government and the churches directly. With respect to the remaining 30%, in about 16% of the cases where there has been evidence that servants or employees of churches have been involved, the federal government feels there is an obligation to have this information before the court.

With respect to the remaining 15%, I do not think there has been any determination as to whether there is possible church involvement. I think we should concentrate on working to find a settlement of this matter in a way that is fair to all parties.

*  *  *

TRADE

Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, this past week the government has shown its true colours when it comes to international trade: full support for Bombardier, writing off the grain farmers and clueless about softwood lumber.

While the government is negotiating a continental energy plan with the U.S., it has shown no willingness to link energy discussions with other trade issues. When will the government tell Americans that if they want to keep the lights on in California they had better be prepared to accept our lumber products?

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is always appealing, at a very simplistic level, to try to link issues. When one is smaller than one's neighbour, one sometimes has to use intelligence as well.

I would encourage the hon. member to think about the fact that while there may be a few things that we could link to our benefit, there may be many more things that our neighbour could link to its benefit. Therefore the Canadian government consistently works with its U.S. neighbour in a constructive way to try to deal with issues one by one and to resolve them in everybody's interest.

*  *  *

PRESENCE IN GALLERY

The Speaker: I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable P. Myron Kowalsky, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[English]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

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

*  *  *

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, two copies of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman's 2000-01 annual report.

*  *  *

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, during my business statement yesterday, I neglected to inform the House that should the report on the modernization committee be tabled later this day, it would be my intention to seek the co-operation of other hon. members, pursuant to discussions that House leader's have had, to see whether there would be an interest in debating next Tuesday evening the content of the report of the modernization committee.

I neglected to inform the House of that yesterday and I wanted to amend the statement that I made.

*  *  *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of the special committee on non-medical use of drugs.

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to present the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.

 

. 1205 + -

[Translation]

MODERNIZATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF PROCEDURES OF HOUSE OF COMMONS

Mr. Bob Kilger (Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons.

[English]

Like the notion of modernization itself, the House of Commons is a work in progress. We hope that this report will be one contribution to the evolution of our procedures and practice in this 37th Parliament.

[Translation]

My committee colleagues decided to seek unanimity. While it was relatively easy to agree on certain issues, we had to find reasonable compromises on others. Some issues could not be solved. Therefore, it will be up to other members, within other frameworks, to continue the work that was begun here.

[English]

I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their candour and the generous, open-minded spirit of co-operation they brought to our work. I also want to thank their staff as well as staff in procedural services for their technical assistance. I want to recognize the contribution and the grace under pressure of our Library of Parliament researcher, James Robertson, and to thank the clerks of the committee, Audrey O'Brien and Diane Diotte.

*  *  *

CANADIAN PEACEKEEPING SERVICE MEDAL ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-356, an act to amend the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal Act (Book of Remembrance for peacekeepers).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the enactment of the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal Act requires that the minister establish a book of remembrance for Canadians who have died during an international peacekeeping mission.

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

*  *  *

PROTECTION OF PRIVACY (SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBERS) ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-357, an act to protect personal privacy by restricting the use of social insurance numbers.

He said: Mr. Speaker, this enactment establishes that no person would be required to disclose his or her social insurance number except where that disclosure is specifically required by law.

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

*  *  *

COMPETITION ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-358, an act to amend the Competition Act (vertically integrated gasoline suppliers).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to address the fact that vertically integrated gasoline suppliers that manufacture more than a certain percentage should not be able to act as suppliers as well as retailers at the same time.

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

*  *  *

OIL AND GAS OMBUDSMAN ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-359, an act to establish the office of Oil and Gas Ombudsman to investigate complaints relating to the business practices of suppliers of oil or gas.

He said: Mr. Speaker, this enactment establishes the office of the oil and gas ombudsman which would receive and investigate complaints about the business practices of oil and gasoline suppliers, as well as producers.

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

*  *  *

INCOME TAX ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-360, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit for mental or physical impairment).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill would allow people who suffer from a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from performing housekeeping activities to use the Income Tax Act for the purpose of deductions for themselves or their families.

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

*  *  *

 

. 1210 + -

INCOME TAX ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-361, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (to provide for the deduction of funeral expenses).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill would allow a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for a taxpayer who has paid the funeral expenses of a person who has been buried in Canada. Taxpayers eligible for the tax deduction include the taxpayer who has died, the legal representative of the taxpayer who has died or any other taxpayer who has paid the funeral expenses of the person who has died.

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

*  *  *

CANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-362, an act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to education).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill would ensure that a child or a youth have free and reasonable access to education without any financial burden or other barriers.

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

*  *  *

DEFICIT PREVENTION ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-363, an act to Prevent Deficit Budgets.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the enactment of this bill would provide that there must be no deficit either budgeted or incurred in any fiscal year. It would require a contingency reserve to be included in the estimates of expenditures for each year. If that contingency reserve is not fully expended, the balance must be used to pay down the debt.

Deficits caused by natural disasters, war or unusual collapse of revenues are excluded by such special deficit but must be recovered in the following three year budgets.

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

*  *  *

DEPARTMENTAL INTERNAL AUDIT ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill-364, an act to require Crown corporations and departments of government to have annual internal audits the reports of which are to be submitted to the Auditor General of Canada.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this enactment would be to require crown corporations and departments to complete an annual internal audit, an audit report, using internal or external auditors who ought to be qualified as prescribed by the auditor general. The internal audit report is then to be submitted to the head of the corporation or minister for the department and to the auditor general. Either of them may require a further examination of records. This would secure a greater involvement and commitment by crown corporations and departments in their own financial regulation and would assist the auditor general in the timely fulfilment of the duties required under the Auditor General Act.

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

*  *  *

CANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-365, an act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right of literacy).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the enactment to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights would include the right of an individual to adequate training to develop the individual's full literacy potential free from reasonable financial or other barriers.

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

*  *  *

CANADA SEAT BELT ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-366, an act respecting seat belts in federal vehicles and school buses.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill would require that all vehicles under federal jurisdiction, including military vehicles, must be equipped with seat belts for the driver and passengers if they are operated on a public highway. The design of the seat belt must comply with the regulations and the laws of the province in which the vehicles are used. There is a power to exempt vehicles in special cases but not for vehicles that regularly transport students.

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

*  *  *

CONSUMER CREDIT INFORMATION ACT

 

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-367, an act respecting the release of credit information.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill would require federally regulated financial institutions, such as banks, federally incorporated corporations and credit bureaus, which intend to give credit record information to credit grantors or credit bureaus, to first advise the individual who it affects.

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

*  *  *

 

. 1215 + -

PETITIONS

IMMIGRATION

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first petition is signed by many people in my riding who call upon the government to eliminate the right of landing fee of $975, otherwise known as the immigration head tax. The petitioners feel strongly that this is a barrier to immigration and that there is no room for this type of thing in a democracy that seeks to attract new Canadians.

BELL CANADA

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by many Canadians from right across the country who call upon the government to intervene and call upon Bell Canada to stop subcontracting its work to American subcontractors. The petitioners cite that this is motivated by corporate greed and costs Canadians jobs. Many Canadian operators are being laid off and Bell Canada services are now being provided by American subcontractors in the United States.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed primarily by people in my riding who are concerned about increasing religious intolerance against Christians throughout the world today and here in Canada.

They call upon parliament to speak out more forcefully against atrocities being committed against Christian minorities around the world and specifically in China.

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Mr. Murray Calder (Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of the citizens of Ontario and Alberta, as well as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the RCAFWDs who call upon parliament to preserve the Rockcliffe station and keep it in the public domain.

The petitioners hope that the federal government will make Rockcliffe station a living memorial to the important contribution the men and women of the RCAF made to the history of Canada.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce the signatures of 349 petitioners in support of Bill C-246, an act to amend the criminal code to prohibit coercion in medical procedures that offend a person's religion or belief that human life is inviolable.

The petitioners want to ensure that health care providers will never be forced to participate against their wills in procedures such as abortions or acts of euthanasia. They note that Canada has a long history of recognizing the rights of freedom of religion and conscience. They lament the fact that health care workers and those seeking to be educated for our health care system often have been denied those rights in medical facilities and educational institutions. Some have even been wrongfully dismissed.

The petitioners affirm Bill C-246 because it would make these conscience rights explicit in law and would safeguard health care workers' fundamental human rights.

*  *  *

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

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

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

KANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT

 

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-24, an act to implement an agreement between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and Her Majesty in right of Canada respecting governance of certain lands by the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to amend an Act in consequence, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my remarks on Bill S-24 on an extremely important aspect of the bill and one that we should try to introduce into future pieces of legislation as we hand political and economic responsibilities over to first nations in Canada, and that is, the ability to pass laws for the first nations.

The bill would give the Mohawks of Kanesatake the power to make laws in a number of areas that were formerly made at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. It must be pointed out that the laws made by the Mohawks of Kanesatake could not be less stringent than existing municipal and provincial laws.

I was the critic for Indian affairs and northern development in the 36th parliament. This issue came up time and again in various legislation, especially in municipal legislation, in the Mi'kmaq Education Act and in the First Nations Land Management Act.

 

. 1220 + -

Each and every one of those times that aspect of those bills was refuted or ignored by critics of those bills. We cannot ignore that. We cannot give people rights and privileges without according them the powers to implement those rights and privileges.

What is important here, and it was extremely important in other pieces of legislation as well, is that the reins of political responsibility are being handed over to the Mohawks of Kanesatake. It ensures that the rights of individuals in the Mohawk nation are protected because the laws that will be passed in the areas over which they have jurisdiction will be no less protective of those areas than existing laws.

That does not preclude the Mohawks of Kanesatake from passing laws that are superior to existing laws, that are more protective of the environment, that are more protective of peace, good order and good government. However it guarantees a base from which they must start.

This is an extremely important part of this piece of legislation and others we have passed in the House. It is with pleasure that I stand on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party to support this legislation.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members: Question.

The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

*  *  *

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

 

The House resumed from May 30 consideration of Bill C-11, an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe this is the appropriate time for me to say that there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent of the House to have the report stage motions for Bill C-11 in the name of the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River transferred to the name of the hon. member for Surrey Central.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

Mr. Mark Assad (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, during the review in committee of Bill C-11, the hon. members for Laval Centre, Mississauga West, Dauphin—Swan River and other members of the committee truly co-operated to ensure that this bill would reflect the best interests of Canadians.

I am indebted to my colleagues, because during the clause by clause review, I learned a great deal about the Immigration Act and the immigration process as such.

I had previously had the opportunity to visit various offices abroad, where potential immigrants seek Immigration Canada's assistance. I was impressed by the work of our immigration officers. Again, I learned a lot.

Like many Canadians, I realize that we are a privileged nation and it is no surprise that a large number of people all over the world wish to settle in our country.

 

. 1225 + -

In the clause by clause study, several issues were addressed. Of course, many of these issues were debated in a spirit of co-operation. We really wanted to end up with a bill as in sync with the Immigration Act as possible.

Many things can be said and many comments can be made about the most positive elements of this bill, but three things caught my attention. The goal here is to make the Immigration and Citizenship Act much more effective.

When we try to make changes to legislation to make it more effective, people sometimes say “To speed up the process, you might have to scratch some significant elements. I do not think that is the case here.

The bill includes very positive measures for refugees, like new appeals to the Refugee Appeal Division. Measures are being taken to ensure that refugees have the opportunity to integrate into Canadian society. I do not think the changes proposed to the legislation ignore this issue. Quite the opposite, we have made access to our country easier for refugees.

Many concerns were raised during consideration of this bill, and rightly so. There are people who come to our country and apply for refugee status because, unfortunately, they have been victims of torture in their country of origin. Therefore, in response to initiatives by Canadian NGOs and the United Nations, we incorporated an element about torture into the bill, meaning that people who are or have been victims of torture, or who are at risk of being tortured, may be able to qualify to become Canadian citizens, provided that they meet other criteria.

We have also introduced a new measure: risk assessment before removal. There are occasions when, unfortunately, people claiming refugee status do not meet all our criteria, which are very compassionate. Nonetheless, such people have a second chance, as it were, to have their case reviewed. If the circumstances have changed in their country of origin such that it would be dangerous for them to return, that is one of the factors that could work in favour of their being accepted into Canada. However, I do not wish to dwell any further on this.

As I have already mentioned, several other members have comments to make on this bill. As a general comment, as immigration evolves in our country, we know that it is extremely important for our future and for the prosperity of our country. With this evolution, there will be changes in the regulations, and the parliamentary committees will be able to examine all these regulations. I am sure that this will be done in the future.

I am grateful to all those who helped draft this bill. I learned many things along the way. It should also be pointed out that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has been very open, always ready to explain or clarify elements of the bill. I believe that this bill is a great improvement, and that there will be others in the future.

 

. 1230 + -

[English]

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to join in the debate on Group No. 1 at report stage of Bill C-11. As the former spokesperson for immigration issues for my party, I was very much involved in the development of Bill C-31, which as we know is now known as Bill C-11. It will make changes to the Immigration and Refugee Act.

As is well known, our party has been quite critical of the shortcomings of Bill C-11 and the former Bill C-31. We were very open in our criticisms. We disagreed with both the tone and the content of the bill in many ways. We felt the bill dealt far too much with enforcement issues. We felt that the whole immigration policy dealt far too much with enforcement. It dedicated much of our time and resources to keeping people out of the country rather than trying to attract people into the country. This is the type of tone or the type of content that we now see in Bill C-11.

We pointed out that much of the impetus or rationale behind this tone found its origin in an overreaction to the Chinese boat people who drifted up on the west coast of British Columbia. The public hysteria whipped up by the Reform Party and by the Canadian Alliance Party would have us believe that the country was under siege or being invaded in some irresponsible way.

Many of us remember the reaction of members of parliament from the Reform Party in British Columbia when those boats started arriving. They were saying: “Turn them around and send them back in these rusty old tubs. Who cares if they drown at sea? They do not deserve sanctuary on our shores. They do not even deserve to have a hearing to determine if they are actual refugees”.

There were press conferences in which Reform members were saying such things. They used what was really an anomaly of 600 people within a relatively short time arriving on our shores for their own political purposes. It was an anti-immigration stance.

I am very critical that somehow the ruling party, the Liberal Party, seems to have allowed itself to be pulled around by the nose on this issue. This is the attitude or reaction that we found more and more. All they want to talk about in the bill is enforcement: how to keep people out, how to keep our borders secure, and how to stop criminals from getting in.

Mr. Gurmant Grewal: That is wrong. That is not true.

Mr. Pat Martin: Again the Alliance Party is fond of trying to whip up this hysteria that our borders are an open sieve, that we are allowing criminals in and that we are some kind of sanctuary for every criminal element, gangster and terrorist in the world. This is what the Alliance Party would have us believe about immigration. I find it frustrating.

We are dealing with the bill as it stands now. Flawed as it is, we are talking to it. I am very proud of the member of parliament for Winnipeg North Centre, the new spokesperson.

Mr. Ken Epp: Sure you are. You lie all the time.

Mr. Pat Martin: Mr. Speaker, I think someone just called me a liar.

Mr. Ken Epp: You lie all the time.

Mr. Pat Martin: I do not think that is very flattering. It is unparliamentary at the very least. I will continue anyway. I have fairly thick skin.

The member for Winnipeg North Centre has done an admiral job at the committee to try to move amendments and improve some of the shortcomings in the bill. One of the significant changes that she put forward, which was in fact passed, was having a gender analysis done of the bill.

 

. 1235 + -

This is something that should happen automatically. It is in keeping with federal government policy since 1995 that for new legislation an adequate gender analysis should be conducted to review whether there is a disproportionate impact of any piece of legislation we might undertake, to review whether it affects women differently.

We succeeded in that. We had that amendment passed and I think it will improve the bill, because there are issues. When we talk about family reunification and about income requirements to sponsor family members, there is a gender factor. As we know, women make 66% of what men make. If a person's ability to sponsor a family member is to be tied to their income, then certainly we must have some sensitivity in that regard.

The one thing not addressed in the amendments at the committee stage is a shortcoming we have pointed out many times, that is, there was no mention of eliminating the right of landing fee, which we believe is one of the biggest barriers to attracting new Canadians to our shores. We have been calling for its eradication ever since it was introduced by the Liberal government, to tell the truth. We finally convinced the government to eliminate the right of landing fee for refugees, but it still stands to this day for other classes of new Canadians. In fact, we are also calling for the elimination of the administration fees that are still being charged to refugees. We were not successful in that, but we will continue in our campaign to have those charges and fees eradicated.

We also pointed out a number of shortcomings in the bill. One of the flaws we pointed out and wanted to change is that too much in this bill is left to the regulations. We were very concerned that members of the House and members of the committee would have very little input into the drafting of the regulations. It was the member for Winnipeg North Centre who moved agreement at the committee stage that the regulations would in fact be put before parliament for approval. This is huge. This is a really innovative change.

Again, I compliment the member for Winnipeg North Centre for having the foresight to bring that forward, because it was glaringly obvious to all of us who read the bill that a lot of the details that will affect the day to day operation of the immigration department will be found in the regulations and not in the act. As members of parliament we want some ability to have some say in how those regulations are crafted. With the bill, they would come before the House of Commons.

There is another thing that should have been cleared up. I appeal to the minister and the department to address it, even after Bill C-11 passes. There is very little in the former act or in Bill C-31 or Bill C-11 that helps to clear up the definitions of terrorists, criminal activity, what level of criminal we are trying to bar from entry to the country and what sort of membership and what kind of terrorist organization one must have taken part in to be barred on those grounds. The bill is very vague. It leaves far too much to the discretion of officers who may have varying ideas of how this is to be implemented.

We pointed out that if we are too absolute in barring people who may have taken part in or may have been members of terrorist agencies, if we are too strict in our enforcement of this, we could be barring people like Nelson Mandela, who was a member of the ANC, which was called a terrorist organization. Now it is called the government of the day, but at the time it was a terrorist organization that took up arms to fight for freedom.

Surely this is not the intention that the architects who drafted the bill had in mind, but it is one of the byproducts of being negligent by not being very clear about what we are seeking to achieve when we try to bar people who may have been involved in some kind of terrorist activity at some point in their lives.

Also, the smuggling of people is a very top of mind issue. I have pointed out a number of times that sometimes smuggling of people is done for humanitarian reasons, in order to get people out of harm's way, to save their lives in many senses.

 

. 1240 + -

The underground railway through which American slaves were smuggled was a trafficking in human beings. When we talk about cracking down on smugglers, yes, we want to stop people from exploiting people and trading in human cargo but let us keep in mind that sometimes these actions take place for humanitarian reasons. Smuggling of people can be done with the best intentions of keeping people from harm.

I appreciate being able to add my remarks on Bill C-11. We will be voting against the motion as it stands.

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, we are talking about two sets of objectives. One set of objectives relates to immigration and the other relates to refugees. Some clauses in the bill in relation to the objectives are laudable, but when we go beyond the statement of objectives and get into the meat of the bill, we, like our friends who just spoke, have concerns.

Some of the objectives would permit Canada to pursue the maximum social, cultural and economic benefits of immigration. Who can argue with that? All of us in the House could be considered immigrants to Canada at one time or another. In my case, my ancestors on both sides came from another island called Ireland. They settled in Newfoundland about 150 to 200 years ago. Many of the people who lived in the area in which I live came from the same place.

Those people came to Canada when Newfoundland was not a part of the country. Canada joined us in 1949. They came here to settle in different communities and fish, because at that time they could make a living. Today we would not refer to it as a living. I guess we would refer to it as an existence, but sometimes we do not know the difference. As somebody once told me, we did not know we were poor until somebody told us. I guess that is it when we start comparing standards. It depends on how much we have and how well we deal with it. In those days people dealt with their lot very well.

However, today it is entirely different when people come to our country. We have an immense country. We just have to fly over it and look out the airplane window at the open spaces. I quite often think about that, having flown over places such as India where the population is so dense that there are very few open spaces any more. Even when we fly into mainstream Europe or over England, we can see that almost every inch of the land is cultured and cultivated. Then we fly over Canada and see what a difference there is and how people who live elsewhere in the world in crowded conditions could appreciate our openness, our fresh air and what we have to offer.

We do have a tremendous amount to offer, particularly in the development of the great resources in our country, if only government regulations would let us develop these resources for the benefit of the people without throwing in a lot of red tape and political jargon.

One of the concerns I have heard raised just recently by people who have immigrated to our country was that as new groups come in, new people who are perhaps not familiar with our customs and language, they are having a problem finding suitable employment. In a lot of cases they are not aware of the customs and do not speak the language very well. They find it very hard to get by the different industrial concerns, particularly in our large cities.

 

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That raises a major concern. First, I suppose it is idealistic to say there should be a crash preparatory course, something like a premarital course, for people coming to our country. Quite often people come not because they want to but because they need to depending on the conditions they leave behind.

When people come to Canada I do not know how well we are prepared to make sure that they fit into our society, that they are accepted and that they are nursed along so they can establish themselves without basically being rejected because they do not fit into the mainstream.

In our larger centres we have groups who are not brought into the mainstream and cannot find employment because of where they came from, the language they speak or whatever reason. There is a tendency for younger people in such groups to do what our own young people do when they are kept not active: get into trouble.

Some of the concerns raised in larger cities about such groups are not raised simply because there is an innate, built-in reason for them to rebel against society. It is because they do not fit into the new society in which they find themselves. The onus is on us not only to welcome people into the country but to make sure we have provisions in place to deal with them when they come here.

We talk about enriching and strengthening the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society while respecting the federal and bilingual character of Canada. It is an extremely important objective. The people who come here from all over the world add to the culture of our country. They add to the strength of our country. They all bring much with them and make a contribution.

We can look around the House on an ordinary day and see members who represent different districts in the country. Looking at the backgrounds of members we realize that they come from all over this great world. We are now living in Canada and are all Canadians. It does not matter what our backgrounds are. All of us in our own way have contributed to the growth of this great country.

One of the concerns is in relation to the second part, respecting the federal and bilingual characters of the country. One of the things we must realize is that when people come to Canada they ask to be Canadians. If people have problems where they come from, if they leave countries because of oppression, persecution, social conditions or whatever reason and choose Canada, as so many do, they must be encouraged as immigrants to make sure they are now part of this great country we call Canada. Quite often it means having to leave behind habits, customs and so on, but that is the choice people make when they come here.

Canada is a bilingual country whether or not we all accept it. A lot of people may say that is insignificant. However those of us who move throughout the country realize that the two founding nations are still extremely strong. The two languages are extremely strong and are the accepted languages of the country. We should make sure we know them and can communicate quite well in them.

We also must keep in mind that people who come to our country might find it hard to adapt. That again is where it is great to have objectives, but if we do not provide for the implementation of the objectives then people who come here will have no way of coping with what we require.

 

. 1250 + -

Again in relation to refugees, many people come here because they are forced to. Again, these are things we must deal with. The objectives are tremendous. The implementations in many cases are weak and that is what we must work on collectively.

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-11 today. There is no question that it has been a long time in coming and contains comprehensive changes. However, as my colleague from the NDP indicated, the bill does not contain enough changes for us to support it. We still have great concerns about many areas in the legislation and I will reflect on a few of those.

The people who work in Citizenship and Immigration Canada have been absolutely excellent for the most part when my staff and I have dealt with them. They are extremely helpful and go out of their way to try to resolve issues. Problems tend to arise not because they do not want to help or do their best but because of the policies and processes that have been put in place. As a result, some people have come into the country who should not be here. There have been instances where people have not acted their best while in Canada. As the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.

Those cases have not been blown out of proportion, but a number of them seem to have been. As a result, people immigrating to Canada, especially in the last few years, have been attacked by people with certain agendas. As a Canadian, I am disappointed to see that because I expect more.

I grew up in a Canada that was quite different. In rural Saskatchewan where I grew up there were often only one or two obvious minorities or other nationalities. Other than first nations people and the usual European mix of people and French speaking people whose parents or grandparents had come over, there was only the odd obvious minority.

However I grew up with a very great respect for multiculturalism in Canada. It was taught in our school system. I grew up respecting the diversity of cultures and not expecting everybody to be the same. I grew up respecting people's differences and understanding that we were all here to enjoy Canada and be active participants in the country.

As I said, my experience with departmental officials has been for the most part very good. However there are extreme failures in the system. One of those failures, which has not been touched on in this or previous debates, is the fact that changes within the department have led to case files of people who enter the country being dealt with by people who are not always the most qualified or experienced. As a result, we do not necessarily have the best outcomes.

I am not blaming the individuals. However the experienced people are not dealing with the files or not enough people are dealing with the files and as a result things do not flow as smoothly as they should.

I will comment on some cases I have personally dealt with within my office. I apologize to the minister because I have never discussed the cases with her. I often intend to because I have certain views of how things happen but I have not had the opportunity. These cases are not ones on which the minister has been made aware but it is obvious that there are other such cases or we would not have these clauses in the bill.

 

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One of the major issues is in relation to gender and race. I was quite surprised to get the impression, from a number of cases I have dealt with through my office, that women from certain countries do not get treated the same.

That has been hard for me to handle. The first situation was regarding women in Russia who want to come to Canada. In one case there were teachers in Canada who were willing to sponsor a young woman. The woman worked in Russia as a teacher. She was single and probably in her late thirties. The teachers had known her for some five years. They went over and visited regularly as part of an educational program in Russia. I had the opportunity to see how that program worked when I was in Russia so it was a great experience for me.

I think the young woman paid the equivalent of $50 Canadian to apply to come and visit the teachers in Canada. She was denied outright. The Canadian teachers told me this was an ongoing problem whenever they wanted to bring someone over for a visit, even when they signed on the person's behalf. There seems to be an impression that a Russian woman coming to Canada does so for only one reason: to somehow try to stick around, stay in Canada and not adhere to the rules.

Mr. Ken Epp: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations with the other parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the House to concur in the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member for Elk Island have unanimous consent of the House?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Mr. Speaker, because there is an impression out there that a lot of single Russian women only want to come to Canada for one reason, they all get painted with the same brush. I found that rather disheartening because I firmly believe someone is innocent until proven guilty. If someone has not committed a crime they should not be denied access to our country because they might commit a crime. To me there must be a justifiable reason. That was disappointing for me.

In Russia $50 Canadian is a whole lot of money. It might not seem like much to us but in Russia it is a whole lot of money. It was about three months' salary for that person. She applied and was denied and did not get her money back. Any time there is a new application the money is gone.

Another situation involved a woman from India who had to travel some 200 kilometres to apply to come to Canada to visit her first born grandchild. Her son had been adopted out to another family but had kept in contact with his biological mother. He had his first child and the biological mother—

Mr. Ken Epp: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations with the other parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the House to concur in the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

 

. 1300 + -

The Deputy Speaker: I will let the member for Churchill conclude her remarks and hopefully the negotiations will be brought to a conclusion the next time the matter is raised.

Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, there was a situation where a woman in India wanted to come to Canada to see her first grandchild. She travelled close to 200 kilometres to make her application only to then have it denied. She did not have a record so there was no reason for the denial. It was suggested that she would not return to India even though she had a husband there and they had a business. Once again it was presumed that the person would commit a crime before it was committed. I find that disheartening.

I will take this opportunity to admit to those who are not aware that I am a grandmother. For that reason it was especially upsetting for me to hear that this woman, who wanted to come and see her first born grandchild, was not allowed to. Again, there was no reason for it.

I know of another situation involving a young woman from China who wanted to visit her sister who is married to a Canadian. I am not sure if the woman's sister is working but the husband works in Canada.

This young woman lives on a very low income in China and I understand her family helped out by making sure she had enough money to visit Canada. Once again, she was denied the opportunity to visit Canada just because she might not go back.

In every case that I have seen like this it has always involved women. I have seen issues relating to men wishing to come over but there had always been some reason why they could not come. In most of the cases that I have dealt with dealing with men there was no problem. However, in each of the cases involving women there were no crimes committed but they were not allowed to come to Canada just in case.

The gender issue has to be recognized as a problem. I acknowledge that an amendment was passed that dealt with that issue. I hope when I do have the chance to speak to the minister in more depth about these cases that we are able to sort out some of those issues.

I also want to comment on an amendment that did not pass, which I was quite upset about.

I will talk about another situation involving an older woman from India. However at the age I am at now she is probably not all that much older than I am. The woman had some problems with her knees. We are all getting on and we might have a little bit of arthritis or something like that. She was denied access because of her health problem. As it was not a severe health problem, there was no justification for not letting her in. This was a minor health problem and she was denied entry. The family was willing to sign a form saying that they would look after any medical costs but she was still not allowed in. On those issues alone I have been extremely disappointed with the system.



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

 

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[English]

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

 

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Churchill for being so gracious. There have been consultations with the other parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move that the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member have the consent of the House to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

 

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-11, an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members: Question.

The Deputy Speaker: The question is on Motion No. 1. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:  

The Deputy Speaker: The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

[Translation]

The next question in on Motion No. 2. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:  

The Deputy Speaker: The recorded division on Motion No. 2 stands deferred.

The next question in on Motion No. 3. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:  

The Deputy Speaker: The recorded division on Motion No. 3 stands deferred.

The next question in on Motion No. 4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.  

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

(Motion No. 3 agreed to)

 

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[English]

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance) moved:  

    Motion No. 5

    That Bill C-11, in Clause 34, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 17 with the following:

      “(d) being a threat to the security of Canada as defined by section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act;”

    Motion No. 6

    That Bill C-11, in Clause 50, be amended by replacing line 6 on page 25 with the following:

      “50. A removal order is stayed according to recommendations as set forth by the Security Intelligence Review Committee established by subsection 34(1) of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act”

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ) moved:  

    Motion No. 7

    That Bill C-11, in Clause 64, be amended by deleting lines 32 to 43 on page 29 and lines 1 to 6 on page 30.

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC) moved:  

    Motion No. 8

    That Bill C-11, in Clause 64, be amended by adding after line 43 on page 29 the following:

      “(2.1) Subsection (1) does not apply to a permanent resident who has maintained permanent resident status for a three year period before being the subject of a report under section 44.”

Mr. Gurmant Grewal: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Surrey Central to participate in the report stage debate on the motions in Group No. 2 to amend Bill C-11, an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger.

While the bill contains much needed changes to the Canadian immigration system, it also has a series of serious flaws, no matter what the weak Liberal government tries to tell Canadians about the new legislation. It can participate in all the propaganda and sugar coating it wants, but Bill C-11 will not deliver what it intends to deliver without proper enforcement, management and accountability.

Earlier the NDP member from Winnipeg Centre spoke to the first group of amendments. I do not believe he believed in what he said in his speech. The lack of clarity, prudence and real enforcement behind the legislation, despite its wrong tone and content, would ultimately cause more troubles than the legislation it purports to replace.

There is far too much reliance on 89 pages of regulations to interpret the legislation. Much of what is in the regulations could be drafted into the new legislation. The regulations essentially give the minister the option of running the department any way that she or he sees fit. This is not accountability or transparency by government.

The weak Liberal government has a habit of governing not by legislation but by regulations. It not only makes legislation undemocratic but makes it complex and opaque. Being the past co-chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations I can say that with certainty. The regulations cannot be debated in parliament, so I call it governing through the back door.

Let me make it absolutely clear to everyone, including those who have taken the time to watch the debate on TV, that the Canadian Alliance policies are pro-immigration, but we do not want ineffective legislation passed in the House.

The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River, the hon. member for Blackstrap and I as members of the citizenship and immigration committee attempted to make amendments to make the legislation effective and workable, but the Liberals refused to co-operate. Most of our amendments were rejected by the Liberal dominated committee.

There is history to indicate that the arrogant Liberal government will not accept most opposition amendments to any bill. It has blatantly refused to accept amendments from the opposition to Bill C-7, the youth criminal justice act which we debated a few days ago.

Bill C-11 would replace the 25 year old Immigration Act, 1976. The previous act has been a mess. That is why in many of the constituency offices of MPs major workloads are arising from mismanagement by the department. Sixty to eighty-five per cent of the resources in constituency offices are utilized in many ridings by immigration alone, and that is not fair.

 

. 1315 + -

I have difficulty understanding why politicians have to be involved in visitors' visas, for example. MPs are elected by Canadians and represent Canadians, not people in other countries. It should be the responsibility of the immigration officers abroad to make fair decisions, not the politicians but those well-trained immigration officials.

Surprisingly the Liberal candidates, or even the failed candidates, made promises to people to get visitors' visas issued. They should be immediately stopped from making any representations on behalf of Canadians to the immigration officials in our embassies and high commissions abroad. Ministers continue to abuse ministers' permits to oblige their Liberal friends for political support.

In this group there are four amendments.

Motion No. 5, moved by the Canadian Alliance, deals with the inadmissibility clause 34 of the bill. It replaces line (d), “being a danger to the security of Canada” with “being a threat to the security of Canada as defined by section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act”.

There is no definition of danger or threat to the security of Canada in the act. It is left to the subjective judgment. Therefore, this amendment is very important.

The opinion of those government agencies and officials with expertise in security must be heard and employed. It should not be ministers or politicians who should decide on political lines. The decision should be made by experts, based on facts and logic.

CSIS, RCMP and other law enforcement agencies know who is a risk and who is not a risk. They should be the authority in the area, not the weak Liberal minister.

That is why the finance minister and the international co-operation minister should not have attended the fundraiser by the organization said to be the front for Tamil tigers based on advice from CSIS. That is why this weak Liberal government should not have ordered to shred the report called “Sidewinder” written by a frontline officer, Brian McAdam. He is contacted for advice on security issues by the United States, Australia and many other countries. However, at home the Liberal government applied political pressure and had that report shredded.

Bill C-11 is weak with respect to security risks. It allows for front end security screening, but it only applies to refugees, which in some cases is a physical impossibility. Front end screening does not apply to applicants in general.

The bill promises to deliver better enforcement of security measures for both refugee and immigrant applicants, but there is no plan of action set out in the bill to explain how this will work. No one should be allowed into Canada without proper checks as to his or her risk to the security of our country.

There are no provisions in the bill for improved communications between visa officers, law enforcement and international criminal investigative units. Communication among the RCMP, CSIS and other international criminal investigation units should be mandatory and employed immediately. The auditor general pointed out in his most recent report that this type of communication was imperative. However, without a more open system and a far more communicative department, the bill will not achieve these goals.

We have seen Lai Changxing, the accused kingpin smuggler, land in Canada through queue jumping. He was not detected by the visa officer by even a simple background check. Then there is the example of the fellow who came to Canada with an active case of tuberculosis and exposed some 1500 people to the deadly virus.

 

. 1320 + -

Motion No. 6 was also moved by the Canadian Alliance. It deals with loss of status by replacing line 1 in clause 50.

At present, there is no linkage between CSIS and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. Information from SIRC is presently not utilized. CSIS may make mistakes which oversights people's rights. The whole purpose of an appeal may be defeated just because of that. SIRC reviews cases, and it is an oversight committee over CSIS. It could take away power from the minister. Probably that is the reason why many Liberals will not support this. I urge them to look at the merit of the amendment and how effective this will make the bill.

Motions Nos. 7 and 8 were moved by other parties. Motion No. 7 deals with right of appeal. This amendment will delete some clauses and replace some others. Motion No. 8 will add something to clause 64 that a permanent resident would be allowed to state his or her case before being subjected to deportation or refusal of entry, when CIC that saw fit to allow them into Canada in the first place after due processing. These amendments are important.

[Translation]

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, all four motions in Group No. 2 have been put forward by the opposition parties.

I would love to be proven wrong and see at least one of these amendments supported by the Liberal majority. That is how naive I can be on any given Friday.

The first amendment is from the Canadian Alliance. This amendment, which we will support, clarifies the concept of security.

Reference is therefore made to the definition found in the act. I will not say more about this amendment, except to reiterate that we will support it.

The second amendment is also from the Canadian Alliance. However, I do have some reservations about this one.

This bill already involves many stakeholders. Since only a few stays are provided for in the bill, to set up a new committee to examine the merits of an application to stay a removal order has me a bit concerned. So, we will be voting against that amendment.

The third amendment is by far the most important.

Mr. John Herron: Oh, oh.

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): I would ask the Conservative member to control his enthusiasm.

Motion No. 7 aims at reintroducing what can currently be found in the legislation. Under the present legislation, there are two stages to the removal of a refugee or of a permanent resident to his or her country of origin. The adjudication division is responsible for the removal order, and the appeal division reviews the circumstances of the case.

Under clause 64 of the bill, the decision will be made by the officers, with no possibility that the case be heard by a court of law or an independent tribunal.

Everyone in this beautiful country recognizes the value of our justice system. I find it particularly troubling that a person would be denied the right to appeal a decision that went against his or her expectations.

What I am asking in my amendment is that clause 64 of the bill be deleted in its entirety since it is aimed at denying a protected person or a permanent resident the right to appeal a removal order.

That is the third amendment. Should that amendment be defeated, which is highly unlikely, we will support Motion No. 8 proposed by my colleague from the Conservative Party.

There is still hope.

 

. 1325 + -

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Mr. Speaker, I must begin by apologizing to the member for Laval Centre for my outburst during her speech.

[English]

I am sorry for making too much noise and distracting my dear friend for Laval Centre.

Having said that, it is imperative that we go forth with respect to this stage of Bill C-11.

[Translation]

I am pleased to have the opportunity to comment on this bill at report stage, and especially on the second group of motions, Motions Nos. 5 to 8.

[English]

I would like to shape the tenor of the debate on this motion in this regard, and I will recite from an editorial that was published in my name in the Toronto Star today. I do not know if the Chair has had a chance to read that particular publication, but given that you have been busy in his present place, I thought I would share some of those words.

    These days, the government of this multicultural, multilingual land built on immigration sounds disappointingly less welcoming than it should. The (immigration minister's) proposed to reform the 25-year-old Immigration Act, Bill C-11, falls far short of the standard which Canada should use in treating immigrants and refugees to this country.

    As Progressive Conservative opposition critic on an immigration committee, I sat and listened to the testimony of more than 150 witnesses and groups who almost all repeated the very same serious concerns that parts of the bill were “draconian” and in fact even “unCanadian”.

I am trying to utilize the language of this aspect of the report today to shape where I am coming from for my motions.

    At the end of the day, the same committee members on the Liberal side who had heard repeated testimony across the country (at the clause by clause stage) voted to allow only minor alterations to a to the flawed bill. While the legislation does include some very positive measures, such as increased fines for human trafficking, we should not settle for legislation that still has very serious problems.

    The minister has unleashed this series of “tough measures” which strip rights—including appeal rights—of permanent residents in Canada and removes protection from refugees, under the guise of making our system both fairer and faster. That's where the support of this flawed piece of major legislation falls apart.

We heard commentary that the issue of the expediency of existing legislation is more of a matter of application of the act as opposed to a fault with the act itself. I noted that members from the Canadian Alliance talked about the issue of enforcement.

Before I go into the actual motions and our position on them, I would like to share some language from a former prime minister, the right hon. Brian Mulroney. I would ask all members of the House to reflect on these particular words. He once said in the early days of taking office:

    There is no obligation more compelling, no duty more irresistible in Canada than to ensure that our minorities, linguistic and otherwise, live at all times in conditions of fairness and justice.

If we allow this legislation to pass as is, including a clause limiting refugee claimants to one claim per lifetime regardless of any drastic change in circumstance, we are not fulfilling the promise of Canada and living up to the legacy of our predecessors.

I find it extremely ironic that the party of Wilfrid Laurier, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Mike Pearson, which had a legitimate record on immigration, is now perceived to be the party the most reticent to protect these—

 

. 1330 + -

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. It being 1.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.


PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[English]

ARMENIA

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.) moved:  

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) recognize as genocide the killing of 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women and children in the period 1915 to 1923; (b) condemn the genocide of the Armenians and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of religious, racial and cultural intolerance; (c) recognize the importance of remembering and learning from the mistakes of history; and (d) follow the recommendations of the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, in the Second session of the 36th Parliament, regarding the establishment, within one year, of a research facility on genocide.

He said: Mr. Speaker, first I would like to acknowledge the members of the Canadian Armenian community sitting in the gallery, members of the Armenian Cultural Association of Ottawa, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia and of course His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey. This is not the first time these two ambassadors have come together. On May 28, when we had the independence day celebration, the ambassador of Turkey certainly was a celebrity in the crowd of Armenians. I congratulate him for attending the reception along with the Armenian ambassador.

Before I go further in explaining my motion, I would like to give a historical background of the Armenian nation. Armenians have over 3,000 years of recorded history. As a matter of fact, on May 16, in room 200 of the parliament buildings, the Armenian community celebrated the 1,700th anniversary of Christianity by Canada Post issuing a stamp commemorating that fantastic event.

In the last 2,000 years or so Armenians have had four kingdoms. The last king died in Paris when he went to Europe seeking the help of Christian Europe, so to speak, for the defence of Armenian rights in Asia Minor. Soon after that Armenians lost their independence of their kingdom in a region called Al-Ladhiqiyah, which is located on the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. From the 13th century to the 19th century Armenians had a good relationship, on and off, with their neighbours and communities.

However, in the early 1800s many Armenian intellectuals went to Europe to study and educate themselves further. They went back to Armenia at the end of the Ottoman Empire and asked for the same rights for their fellow Armenians in the region that they had had in Europe. The Red Sultan saw this as a threat. As a result of the activities of the Armenians who were demanding human rights, the Red Sultan decided to initiate the first major massacre of the 19th century, which occurred in 1895 and 1896.

That was followed, in the early stages of World War I in 1915, by what was known as the final solution by the party in Turkey at the time. I should point out that this was before Ataturk came to power in the early 1920s. As a result of the arrest of a group of intellectuals on April 24, 1915, Armenians were deported from their homeland. They were murdered and slaughtered. We acknowledge their murder and slaughter but we do not characterize it as genocide.

In Syria, in the Middle East, there is a town called Deir ez-Zour. Deir ez-Zour is the Auschwitz of the Armenian nation. Everyone knows about Auschwitz, but few people know about Deir ez-Zour, and fewer people yet have been to Deir ez-Zour to see the ruins and the remains of the Armenian nations as they were in 1915 to 1923.

The turning point for Armenian genocide was in 1965, the 50th anniversary of the genocide. At that time, despite the fact that Armenia was part of the U.S.S.R., the Armenian government was brave enough to establish the first genocide memorial in the world. That focused the attention of everyone in the world, especially the Armenians living in Armenia. They go there every year on April 24 to pay their respects to the victims of genocide.

 

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The year 1965 also happened to be a turning point in the diaspora for genocide activities to make sure they were recognized by the world community.

In this country in 1980 the Ontario and Quebec parliaments passed resolutions recognizing the genocide and asked the federal government to follow suit and recognize genocide. I am glad to say I have been involved with this activity since 1965, that is, for the last 35 years. So far our activities have been fruitless in this parliament and other parliaments around the world, but I have to admit that Armenians throughout the world are making progress.

A few years ago a United Nations committee recognized the genocide and what happened to the Armenians. International bodies recognized that what happened to Armenians was genocide. The latest parliament to recognize the Armenian genocide was Italy's. However, the most important thing at this stage is this: I want to acknowledge the national assembly of France, both its lower and upper houses, and the president of France, Mr. Chirac, for France's recognition of the genocide of 1915 and for passing a law. As I understand it, people cannot deny the genocide, just as the Holocaust cannot be denied. People who do can be charged with misrepresenting history.

At this point I would like to ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table documents from the French national assembly, the Zorian Institute and the Armenian World Alliance.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the House give its consent to the hon. member for Brampton Centre to table the documents?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: Mr. Speaker, on April 23, 1996, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion that stated:

      —that the House recognize, on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the Armenian tragedy which claimed some 1.5 million lives on April 24, 1915, and in recognition of other crimes against humanity, the week of April 20 to 27 of each year as the week of remembrance of the inhumanity of people toward one another.

This motion was passed unanimously in the House as a consequence of debate on the motion brought forward by the then Bloc Quebecois member of parliament for Ahuntsic.

Following the passage of that motion in February 1999, our colleague from Scarborough—Agincourt brought forward a private member's motion asking for similar recognition. I regret that the Department of Foreign Affairs came up with a totally unacceptable reply during that debate. As a consequence, the then minister of foreign affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, asked fellow Liberal members of parliament to form a committee to study this issue. It was more than a study. It was to confirm the fact that the genocide took place. For some reason the minister at the time did not see fit to call it genocide.

However, in reply to my question in the House on June 10, 1999, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:

    On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs I wish to inform the House that together with all Canadians we remember the calamity afflicted on the Armenian people in 1915. This tragedy was committed with the intent to destroy a national group in which hundreds of thousands of Armenians were subject to atrocities which included massive deportations and massacres.

Our government introduced Bill C-19, an act respecting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which was passed by the House on June 13, 2000. Subsection 6(3) defines crimes against humanity as intent to kill, in whole or in part, a national minority group.

 

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It is the same answer I was given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was defined in Bill C-19. It also happens to be the same definition of genocide as the UN's. I asked this question of the foreign affairs representative when I was on the foreign affairs committee. How come there is that same definition of genocide in room 705 across the street, but in the Chamber the same act of destroying national minorities, in whole or in part, is defined as a tragedy?

The answer that was given, which members can see in the minutes, of course, was that it had nothing to do with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. That gentleman could not answer my question about why it is that in this Chamber, destroying people in part or in whole is a tragedy, but across the street it is genocide. I am waiting for someone to give me the answer. Maybe we could all rest in peace, then, if we could know why there are two standards in the different rooms.

As I mentioned earlier, the Turkish ambassador was with us on May 28. He mentioned jokingly that he felt like a celebrity. There was a real celebrity in Toronto in the Scarborough area on May 25 when the Armenian General Benevolent Union, together with the Zorian Institute, organized a seminar. The speaker at the seminar was a Turkish scholar who accepts the fact that there was a genocide. He wonders when Turkey will do the same.

The scholar mentioned four reasons why Turkey cannot join the European Community: first, the treatment of national minorities, especially Kurds; second, the occupation of Cyprus; third, the Armenian genocide; and fourth, Muslim fundamentalists in Turkey who are getting stronger every day. His point was that Turkey will have to address these four issues before it joins the European Union.

He also said that in his mind many people such as scholars and intellectuals in Turkish universities and research centres have the same feeling, but they cannot speak up because of a fear of retaliation from the government, like we have seen in the past when even members of parliament were imprisoned. Scholars would be denied their chairs and funding and what have you in Turkish universities so that they would not be able to speak up on this issue. However, with Canada being a free country the gentleman felt free to express his point of view. I have to add that the hall was packed with 500 people who showed an interest in the gentleman speaking up. That was not the first time. There have been a few others in the past.

As I mentioned earlier, France recognized the genocide of the Armenians. The Turkish government was of course very angry and upset, which could have been expected. It was very disappointed and tried to cancel a contract with the French government. I have asked about a dozen people to tell me the monetary value of the cancellation, but so far no one can. Maybe there was an impact from it in the first few weeks, but I do not know of any dollar figure on how the French economy was damaged due to the fact that this recognition took place. The Turkish ambassador was called back from Paris to Ankara at the beginning of February this year, but I understand that he is now on his way back to France or is about to go to France. I think the issue is dead now. There are no more problems between France and Turkey because of France's recognition of this genocide.

If we recognize it in the House, I do not think there will be anything big. The House will not cave in. World War III will not be declared. It would simply be stating the historical fact that, yes, genocide took place.

I would like thank the leaders of all five parties who me gave unanimous consent to present this issue again. In that spirit I would like to ask for unanimous consent that the House accept Motion No. 285.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like some clarification from the hon. member for Brampton Centre. Is he seeking unanimous consent of the House to agree to the motion or unanimous consent to make the motion votable?

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: Mr. Speaker, it is unanimous consent to agree to the motion.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member for Brampton Centre have consent to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

 

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Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate on the debate on the four elements of the private member's Motion No. 285. I appreciate the sentiment, the emotion and the sense of pursuing research, education and remembrance, as well as learning from the mistakes of history, which is at the heart of the motion.

Our colleague, the hon. member for Brampton Centre, did a great deal of work on this issue in the last parliament. He even caused this matter to come before the Canadian heritage committee and forced the committee to issue a report. This was no small feat.

At my House of Commons office some weeks ago, I had a visit by a delegation from Canada's Armenian community that provided me with some information. I also received information from the Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations. I highly appreciate the interest expressed by both communities in the work we do as parliamentarians.

This is a very emotional and controversial matter. My heart goes out to the families, the relatives and the survivors of this dark era in human history.

Having previously spoken on a similar motion today, I rise with misgivings about what the Liberal government is going to do with this debate. I regret I cannot be more positive in my outlook, but I do not want to try to fool anyone. I do not want either the Turkish or the Armenian people to be hoodwinked by the weak Liberal government that lacks vision. I want to be very clear from the outset that the government is not going to recognize the genocide to anyone.

Let us consider an exchange between Brian Mulroney and the late Pierre Trudeau concerning the apology to Japanese Canadians for their internment during the second world war. Mr. Trudeau said, as recorded in Hansard, June 29, 1984:

    There is no way in which we can relive the history of that period. In that sense, we cannot redress what was done. We can express regret collectively, as we have done.

    I do not see how I can apologize for some historic event to which we or these people in this House were not a party. We can regret that it happened. But why mount to great heights of rhetoric in order to say that an apology is much better than an expression of regret? This I cannot too well understand.

    Why does Mulroney not apologize for what happened during the Second World War to mothers and fathers of people sitting in this House who went to concentration camps? I know some of them, Mr. Speaker. They were not Japanese Canadians. They were Canadians of Italian or German origin, or some old French Canadians who went to jail, who went to concentration camps during the Second World War. Why do we not apologize to them?

    I do not think it is the purpose of a government to right the past. It cannot re-write history. It is our purpose to be just in our time, and that is what we have done by bringing in the Charter of Rights.

On December 14, 1994, the Liberals' position on redress was articulated by Sheila Finestone, the then secretary of state for multiculturalism and status of women. She said:

    Seeking to heal the wounds caused by the actions of previous governments, six ethnocultural communities have requested redress and compensation totalling hundreds of millions of dollars. The government understands the strong feelings underlying these requests. We share the desire to heal those wounds.

    The issue is whether the best way to do this is to attempt to address the past or to invest in the future. We believe our only choice lies in using limited government resources to create a more equitable society now and a better future for generations to come.

    Therefore the government will not grant financial compensation for the requests made. We believe our obligation lies in acting to prevent these wrongs from recurring.

 

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This latter quote, I believe, is most significant because this is what the hon. member for Brampton Centre is up against. He is up against his own political party on this issue. I seriously doubt that he will be successful. The apology and compensation package given to Japanese-Canadians has set a precedent. Italians and Ukrainians interned in World War I and World War II have also demanded apology.

There are many other communities and groups asking the government to redress the historical past, the wrongs done in history. Let me also remind the House of another situation.

One of the political parties in the House was in power in 1914 when 376 passengers, who were British subjects, arrived on a ship named Komagata Maru. They were not allowed to land on Canadian soil because of an exclusionist immigration policy based on race and the country of origin.

The policy had its origin in the 1880s, when the Canadian government first imposed a head tax on Chinese immigrants. The government erected a variety of barriers until 1962.

The passengers on the Komagata Maru thought they had the right to enter Canada because they were British subjects, British citizens. Ninety per cent of the passengers on the ship were Sikhs. The rest were Hindus and Muslims, but they all came from Punjab. Sikh soldiers who had served throughout the British Empire thought they should be able to work wherever the British flag was flying.

After two months of detention in Vancouver harbour, the government brought in the cruiser Rainbow and aimed its guns at the Komagata Maru. That was the first time the Canadian navy used the ship for aggression. The ship was escorted with 352 passengers still on board. It was a bitter and disappointing moment for the friends watching the ship disappear.

A voyage that began on April 4 did not end until September 29 in Calcutta, Indian, where the police opened fire and killed 19 of those passengers. Others were arrested.

In a more tolerant Canada, the Komagata Maru remains a powerful symbol for Sikhs and one that should remind others of the historical past. As a consequence, we are beginning to reassess our past. Giving attention to the Komagata Maru is part of the process.

Will the government offer an apology? I do not think so. Still, some of the candidates of the Liberal Party in the last election shamelessly used all the propaganda they could without apologizing or redressing for their party's behaviour with respect to the Komagata Maru incident.

How about the Chinese interns who are demanding a redress along with 10 or so other groups?

As I said, the hon. member is facing unfavourable odds in terms of having his motion passed by the House. He already acknowledged that the government, his party which governs this country, has double standards.

Certainly the human race should recognize the importance of remembering and learning from the mistakes of history. We should make sure that such incidents are not repeated again anywhere on this planet.

 

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[Translation]

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that I have risen in the House to talk about the Parliament of Canada recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Over 1.5 million people were killed, disappeared, in the course of the Armenian genocide, a deliberate act of a government which had decided to eliminate this population.

The first motion in which I participated was in 1996. It was introduced by the member for Ahuntsic, Michel Daviault, and its purpose was the same as that of the motion today.

The motion back then was agreed to, but the government was very careful to replace the word genocide with the word tragedy.

We have now entered the third millennium. It is perhaps time that the Government of Canada followed in the footsteps of many international parliaments and had the courage to call a genocide a genocide.

There have always been governments who have taken it upon themselves to wipe populations off the map. Even here, in 1755, there was an attempt to wipe the Acadian people out of existence.

It did not succeed. It seems that, however great the desire to destroy, there is a life force which keeps these peoples alive and keeps them remembering. They remember that destroying a people is like destroying a person: it is a wound from which one does not recover.

There is a sizeable Armenian community in Laval. This is a community that never fails to amaze me, as its members are so well integrated into Quebec society, while at the same time ever mindful of who they are.

There are great-grandmothers in Laval who are survivors of the Armenian genocide and who have transmitted to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren the painful knowledge that someone once wanted them dead.

I believe that a country like Canada, which passes itself off in all international forums as a champion of human rights, has a duty of conscience to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Numerous motions have been passed, even in the Senate. One of the members of the Senate has proposed a similar motion.

Will this government have the courage to recognize the Armenian genocide? I do not believe that this government lacks compassion. What it does lack is the courage to differentiate between economic interests and values. I believe economic interests are important, but I also believe that, over and above economic interests, values must come first. If the economy is what takes precedence, we will be able to accept just about anything, and I do not believe that is what Canadians and Quebecers want.

Are there many countries in the world that have recognized the Armenian genocide?

Beginning with Canada, there are two provinces that have recognized the Armenian genocide. These two account for some 60% of the total population of Canada. Hon. members will realize I am speaking of Quebec and Ontario.

Thus, 60% of the people of Canada acknowledge that the Armenian genocide did indeed occur and must be recognized.

We will head south a little. In the United States, a number of individual states have also recognized the Armenian genocide. The ones close to us include New York, Massachusetts and Delaware. In the centre, things are quiet. However, it is not surprising to discover that California too recognizes the Armenian genocide.

What about Europe? France, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and Cyprus have recognized it.

In South America, Uruguay and Argentina have also recognized it.

 

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On June 18, 1987, the European parliament, in accordance with the guideline of the UN human rights commission issued two years previously, also recognized the Armenian genocide.

I am having a very hard time understanding why the Government of Canada is resisting what has become a matter of fact. We may well be in the third millennium, but genocides will continue. With the speed of communications, will international society let peoples disappear because a government has decided they should?

At the start of the 20th century, communications were much less sophisticated than they are now, as we know. The Rwandan massacre occurred not so long ago. There could be other ones, whether it is in Africa or in Asia. Do we not have a responsibility to act as a watchdog?

If the Government of Canada recognizes the Armenian genocide, will it not send a clear message that it will never again close its eyes on a future genocide? We cannot change the past, but we can recognize that a genocide took place and we can regret that it happened. In the future we may have to make decisions that will involve the respect for individuals, nations and our society's values.

I call on all parliamentarians to begin a personal reflection on values such as compassion and respect for individuals. None of us can reject out of hand the kind of reflection that we must make as parliamentarians and citizens.

The motion before us cannot be a votable item. I deeply regret it, but there will be other ones. I hope the next one will be a votable item, because I tabled one a few weeks ago, with the same objective: that parliament recognize the genocide.

I firmly hope that this motion will be a votable item and that parliamentarians will stand up and tell the world that Canada no longer tolerates genocides, because they are totally contrary to the human values of equality and respect.

[English]

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise to indicate my own support for Motion No. 285 and I can say with certainty that all members of the NDP caucus support this particular motion. It contains language, the use of the word genocide, to describe what happened many years ago, language that we find acceptable, language which we would urge the government to adopt in its description of those same events.

We also note, as have others, that many national parliaments in Europe have recognized the Armenian genocide. The Bloc Quebecois member who just spoke I believe noted the fact that the Ontario and Quebec legislatures have done the same.

 

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Frankly we do not understand the reluctance of the Canadian government to recognize the Armenian genocide. We think it would go a long way toward healing the hurt that the Armenian Canadian community feels.

I will speak a little later about how that hurt was aggravated not so long ago by the Minister of Foreign Affairs when he treated a question about the Armenian genocide in a very cavalier way.

Not only do I not understand the Canadian government's reluctance, but I do not understand the Turkish government's reluctance to accept that the Armenian genocide can be called a genocide without having the consequences that apparently the Turkish government would want the Canadian government to believe and without having the consequences for Turkey that the Turkish government would want people to believe.

This was something that was done a long time ago by the Ottoman empire. I do not believe that current regimes should be held responsible for what happened a long time ago, unless of course by their reluctance to call things what they were they seem to assume a certain amount of responsibility in an indirect kind of way.

I urge the Turkish government to drop its defensiveness and realize that calling a spade a spade, calling a genocide a genocide, is the beginning of a process of healing and reconciliation which we would all like to see between the Armenian community and the majority community in Turkey. This would be the beginning of a process which, in the end, would be of great benefit to their country. I urge that particular perspective to be taken seriously.

I also note that not so long ago the Canadian government, with respect to our involvement in Kosovo, was very quick to use the language of genocide when it was describing the ethnic cleansing that was going on in that community. It did not mind using the word genocide to describe what was going on and why it wanted to do something about it.

Why the reluctance to properly name something that went on a long time ago which was clearly of the nature and the magnitude that deserve the particular description?

It is sometimes said by the Turkish government that this was a civil war as if that excuses things. Recently there was a civil war in Rwanda. There was a struggle between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples. The fact that it was a civil war did not prevent the international community from saying that there was a genocide in Rwanda. The fact that something has the nature of a civil war does not mean that there are not things going on which also have the nature of a genocide.

There may be a civil war in which many people of the same ethnic or national community are killed and it does not qualify. It may qualify as a tragedy, a slaughter, a murder and everything else, but it does not qualify as a genocide. There may also be a civil war in which one group seeks to exterminate the other and it does qualify as a genocide. I submit the circumstances we are talking about warrant the use of the term genocide.

Finally I refer to what was a very regrettable day in the House of Commons. On April 25 my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs a question with respect to the issue trying, as we have many times in the NDP and as have other members of other parties, to get the Canadian government to use the word genocide to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs did not even answer the question.

He did not even address himself to the substance of the matter at all. Instead he referred to a story in the paper that day having to do with the participation of the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas in the protest against the free trade area of the Americas at the summit in Quebec City. He then made a joke about something that had happened at that time, something he should not have made a joke about anyway. The offence was even further compounded in the sense that it had nothing to do with the question that was asked.

 

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That would be bad enough in terms of parliamentary decorum and procedure, and the fact that we would expect ministers to try to pretend that they are answering the question. We know they often do not answer questions, but at least they like to appear that they are addressing the same topic, not the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

When asked a serious question about the Armenian genocide, he referred to something completely different. By so doing, he did not just insult the House of Commons, he insulted the Armenian Canadian community. He in effect made fun of and mocked the concern that the member for Burnaby—Douglas expressed on their behalf.

To my knowledge the Minister of Foreign Affairs has not made amends for that offence against the House and the Armenian Canadian community. I wrote to him today calling on him to do so. I hope other members would do so as well. I certainly know that the Armenian National Committee of Canada wrote to him to express its dismay at the insult it felt on his behaviour that day.

This debate could be carried on in a serious way, with serious arguments on both sides, although I happen to think the argument for using the word genocide is a much more serious and convincing argument, than the rather weak arguments that we sometimes get from the government side.

Thanks to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, we now have an element introduced into the debate which is entirely unfortunate. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has the responsibility to clear this up, to admit that he made a mistake and that his partisan political nature got the better of him on that day when he responded to the member for Burnaby—Douglas in a way that he should not have. That would go a long way to healing the offence that was committed that day.

The greater offence that we speak about here today is the offence against the Armenian people that was committed a long time ago. We say that offence was genocide and that is what the world should call it. We say that would be the beginning of reconciliation and that the Canadian government should use that word sooner rather than later.

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk on the private member's motion which is certainly an emotional one. I commend the member for Brampton Centre for bringing it forth.

We are often criticized, as members of parliament and politicians, that we do not do enough. This member has done a great deal to speak on behalf of the members of his community, protect their interests and try to take steps toward healing and reconciliation, especially over the Armenian crisis which happened between 1915 and 1923.

He is obviously deeply committed to this cause. I met with him yesterday to talk about it, because I was not that familiar with the issue. I wanted to get some direction from him. He spoke strongly about healing and reconciliation, and how the recognition that it was genocide would be a step in that direction. I commend him for moving the motion.

I also commend him for his recent involvement with establishing a national stamp in recognition of the Armenians. This is entirely unique. No one can say that the member is not earning his keep and doing his job. I have great respect for him and the approach he takes to all his causes.

Obviously the events between 1915 and 1923 were terrible and horrifying, resulting in the deaths of millions of people. Certainly the Armenian people suffered greatly and more than anyone else.

The Progressive Conservative Party is abhorred by any mass slaughter or killings, or anything that could be termed genocide by any country or any group, be it Rwanda or Europe. It is important that we remember these issues, and this is exactly what the motion has us all doing today. By discussing it, it will maintain public awareness to maybe help the healing process and reconciliation just by the fact that we have had this debate.

 

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We cannot go back and relive the era, or change it or change the results. It is just a fact. However, there are things in this motion that we totally agree with, and anybody could agree with them.

One part of the motion is that we condemn acts of genocide as the ultimate act of religious, racial and cultural intolerance. I am sure that every single member of the House would agree to that, even though the motion to pass it unanimously was just turned down. This section and another section certainly would be to recognize the importance of remembering and learning the mistakes of history.

That is part of what we are doing here today; remembering some of the mistakes of history and talking about them. Not all parties agree exactly on the circumstances between 1915 and 1923. We are here to talk about them. Many of us, myself included, have learned a great deal from the debate. It is motions and activities like this that will help us remember them.

The Government of Canada has the responsibility to voice the Canadian human rights standards around the world and to take these questions seriously.

The member for Winnipeg—Transcona mentioned earlier that the Minister of Foreign Affairs did not treat a question about this very serious issue with a great deal of respect. I too urge the minister to rectify that. It is not his usual practice to treat issues like that. Perhaps it was a moment of political weakness or something like that, when he disregarded the question presented to him. In my experience with the Minister of Foreign Affairs that is not the way he would consider issues of human rights and issues like this. I hope he will correct it.

I want to commend the member for his persistence in his ongoing efforts and initiatives to support his Armenian causes and the Armenian community. He has done a great job. We admire him for very much for that.

Mr. Gar Knutson (Elgin—Middlesex—London, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to speak today in the House of Commons. Let me say from the beginning, whether we use the words calamity or genocide, we should acknowledge that the government does take this issue extremely seriously.

I want to thank the hon. member for expressing his views on the events that took place affecting the Armenian people from 1914 to 1925. I congratulate the hon. member for Brampton Centre on bringing this matter to the attention of the House.

Canada acknowledges and deplores the fact that many Armenians and others lost their lives in wars that marked the end of the Ottoman Empire. Millions were forcefully displaced under terrible conditions, a situation that led to a large number of deaths and caused indescribable suffering.

We sympathize with these Armenian victims and with their descendants, many of whom have chosen to make a new life in Canada. Canada opened its doors to many displaced people during and after that period. We will continue our traditional practice of giving humanitarian assistance to victims of conflicts in this new century.

Following extensive consultation, the Government of Canada's position on these events was articulated by the hon. member for Halton on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a June 10, 1999 statement to this Chamber. At that time the hon. member for Halton said:

      —we remember the calamity afflicted on the Armenian people in 1915. This tragedy was committed with the intent to destroy a national group in which hundreds of thousands of Armenians were subject to atrocities which included massive deportations and massacres.

      May the memory of this period contribute to healing wounds as well as to reconciliation of present day nations and communities and remind us all of our collective duty to work together toward world peace—

Our remembrance of this calamity and the suffering of the Armenian people has not, and will not, change.

The theme of reconciliation mentioned in the hon. member's statement is one that bears repeating. The world looks to Canada as a nation where people from diverse backgrounds can live together in peace. Individuals from every conceivable nation and ethnic group make up our country, and we have learned to respect each other's culture, religion, race and ethnicity. We are therefore able to empathize with the pain of those Canadians who have at one time been victimized by bigotry and oppression.

Our experience as a nation of many peoples also enables us to understand the importance of moving forward, while remembering the lessons of the past. At home this means joining together, no matter what our background, to ensure that bigotry and prejudice are not tolerated.

 

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Every jurisdiction in Canada has enforceable human rights legislation designed to combat discrimination in areas such as employment, accommodation and the provision of goods and services. This legislation is important, but legislation alone is not enough. It must go hand in hand with a respect for the unique human dignity of every individual.

Our diversity is also one of the country's greatest assets. The strong foundation it provides has allowed us to build a Canada that is vigorous and dynamic, a Canada which has been rated consistently by the United Nations as one of the best places to live in the world.

Internationally, our heritage allows us to help lead the way toward a safer and more peaceful world. We can speak with credibility on the need to protect people from threats to their rights, their safety and their lives. We can fight for the creation of an international criminal court and know we will be listened to. We can sponsor a campaign to fight the scourge of land mines and feel confident that we will be heard. We can stand up in international fora, such as the United Nations, and talk about the need for people from different backgrounds to live together in peace with the knowledge that we speak from experience.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House and add to the debate.

I have a great deal of empathy for what the member is doing, since this also has to do with the history of my family. I suppose I cannot expect everyone to have heard everything I have said in the House, but I have made reference to this before. For those who have heard it before, I apologize for the repetition.

Only two generations prior to me my family suffered direct persecution, mostly because of religious reasons in what my grandmother always called the old country. Several of my grandfather's brothers were killed. Criminals came into the villages at night and shot men and older boys who were able to fight. Because they were participants in the revolution, they were considered to be enemies of the revolution and were therefore killed.

I have great concern about the fact that we should not in any way minimize the magnitude of that type of human behaviour, where people with guns and power ride roughshod over very basic rights, even the rights to human life.

As a result of our family history, we have had what I would call a privilege and an honour of having our son work in some of the wartorn parts of the world, including Rwanda. He has told us stories about some of the horrendous atrocities that took place there, including the atrocities against children. The stories are beyond imagination. It is almost evil to even think of some of the things they did, let alone acknowledge that these things happened.

In my support of what the member is saying, I believe it is so important for us to raise awareness of the fact that human beings are capable of doing these things to other human beings. Hopefully by increasing that awareness, we will somehow increase the level of conscience that would prevent people from doing this.

I know in this case the member is speaking of the Armenian people. What happened to them happened to a number of other racial and religious groups around the world. Indeed, it continues even to this day. I believe Canada should be one of the primary players or interveners in stopping these activities.

There is little doubt in my mind that we are not doing anywhere near what we could or should be doing. I know we have limited resources, but we ought to be involved, not only in the prevention, education and awareness side, but when it comes to sending in our peacekeepers to stop this kind of activity.

 

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I commend the hon. member for raising yet another example in human history in which these kinds of atrocities have taken place and for increasing awareness of them so that we do what we can to stop them in the future.

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank all members who joined in the debate, especially those who expressed themselves in a positive way. I did not hear anybody objecting to it, but I cannot say the support was 1,000%. However I am quite happy with the content of the speeches delivered in the Chamber regarding Motion No. 285.

I will read a message the Armenian community received on April 24 from the Prime Minister. The message stated:

    I am honoured to extend my sincere greetings to all those participating in the activities commemorating the 86th anniversary of the calamity suffered by the Armenian community.

    Canadians recognize and deplore the demise of such a large number of Armenians during the turmoil of the First World War and its aftermath. Many survivors subsequently immigrated to Canada, and the contributions they and their children have made to Canada has greatly enriched our country. Let us thus be reminded how important it is to work together to eliminate intolerance and fanaticism wherever it appears.

    Please accept my very best wishes.

It was signed by the Prime Minister of Canada. This is exactly what the Canadian Armenian community is asking for. Victims and survivors of the genocide and their children need a simple recognition that yes, a genocide took place.

I admit it happened in the last century. It happened 86 years ago in a place far away. However the Armenian genocide is the only genocide of the last century that has not been officially recognized as a genocide. Being the first, we would think people would recognize it in order to set an example for others from which to learn.

Even Adolf Hitler said “After all, who remembers the atrocities of the Armenians and who shall remember what happened in World War II to other minorities?” I regret that we did not learn from history. It was repeated from 1939 to 1945. It has been repeated since then in many parts of the world: Bosnia, the Balkans, Africa, Cambodia, all over the world. Someone gave me a figure that in the last century 95 million people died as a result of crimes against humanity.

Basically my point is that 93.5 million were recognized and 1.5 million were left out. I have no answer when people ask me why that is so, why everybody is recognized except the Armenian people.

At one point on one day we as representatives of the people of Canada must collectively come together to give the answer. We must set history right for future generations so that we can say proudly that the House spoke to the issue, spoke unanimously and spoke the truth without being revisionist and without changing history as it was in 1915.

As I said in my speech earlier, Deir ez-Zour is the Auschwitz of the Armenian people. I have been there and I hope members will get a chance to go to Syria and visit Deir ez-Zour so they will recall the conversations we have had in the House today and in previous years. I was hoping we would put an end to it today, but we will continue. We look forward to co-operation and to working together with the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey. After all, these two countries are neighbours and must live together.

My feeling was that Canada could play a positive role, but without a recognition of genocide by Turkey and the G-7 countries we cannot go forward and ask these countries to totally forget the past.

Armenians are prepared to forgive. However in order for one to forgive, someone must ask for forgiveness. We must go forward from there. Mr. Speaker, if one is to ask for it, this is the time.

I thank everyone for joining in the debate. I hope we continue the discussion after we leave this place, because we did not come to a conclusion. However I think it was a good exercise. I congratulate everyone for joining in and debating the issue.

The Deputy Speaker: The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired. As the motion has not been designated as a votable item, the order is dropped from the order paper.

[Translation]

It being 2.30 p.m., this House stands adjourned until Monday next, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 2.30 p.m.)