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37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 008

CONTENTS

Wednesday, October 9, 2002




1400
V         The Speaker
V STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
V     Governor General's Performing Arts Awards
V         Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.)
V     Ridge Meadows Youth and Justice Advocacy Association
V         Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)

1405
V     2002 Niagara Grape King
V         Mr. John Maloney (Erie—Lincoln, Lib.)
V     Justice
V         Mr. John Harvard (Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia, Lib.)
V     Dick Hopkins
V         Mr. Larry McCormick (Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Lib.)
V     Look Good, Feel Better
V         Mrs. Carol Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, Canadian Alliance)
V     Suzanne Rochon Burnett
V         Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.)

1410
V     Breast Cancer Awareness Month
V         Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ)
V     Census Records
V         Mr. Murray Calder (Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Lib.)
V     Grain Transportation
V         Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance)
V     National Rail Days
V         Mr. Paul Bonwick (Simcoe—Grey, Lib.)

1415
V     Softwood Lumber
V         Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)
V     Foreign Affairs
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)
V     Canada Savings Bonds
V         Mr. Gérard Binet (Frontenac—Mégantic, Lib.)
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)
V Oral Question Period
V     Government Contracts
V         Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

1420
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V     Taxation
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1425
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     Coast Guard
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)
V         Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)
V         Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)
V         Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

1430
V     Government Contracts
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     Kyoto Protocol
V         Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     Government Contracts
V         Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ)

1435
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)
V         Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)
V     Social Insurance Numbers
V         Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
V         Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
V     Government Contracts
V         Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)
V         Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

1440
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V     Pulp and Paper
V         Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.)
V         Hon. Claude Drouin (Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)
V     Electoral Boundaries
V         Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP)
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1445
V     Correctional Service of Canada
V         Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V     Softwood Lumber
V         Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

1450
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V         Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V     Airline Industry
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Speaker
V         Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     Biotechnology
V         Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

1455
V     Persons with Disabilities
V         Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     Immigration
V         Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ)
V         Mr. Mark Assad (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)
V     Heritage Canada
V         Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)
V         Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)

1500
V         Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V     Softwood Lumber
V         Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V     Employment Insurance
V         Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
V     Fisheries and Oceans
V         Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)
V         Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

1505
V         Mr. Joe Peschisolido (Richmond, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         Mr. Joe Peschisolido
V         Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Privilege
V         Oral Question Period
V         Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)
V         The Speaker
V ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
V     Government Response to Petitions
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V     Species at Risk Act
V         Hon. Don Boudria (for the Minister of the Environment)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported concurred in read the third time and passed)

1510
V     Specific Claims Resolution Act
V         Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)
V     First Nations Governance Act
V         Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)
V     Pest Control Products Act
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time, referred to a committee, reported concurred in, read the third time and passed)
V     Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
V         Hon. Don Boudria
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)
V     An act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.)

1515
V     Copyright Act
V         Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.)
V     Physical Activity and Sport Act
V         Hon. Paul DeVillers (for the Minister of Canadian Heritage)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)
V     Assisted Human Reproduction Act
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V         The Speaker
V         (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)
V     Interparliamentary Delegations
V         Mr. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.)
V     Criminal Code
V         Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

1520
V     Canada Labour Code
V         Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Terry Fox Day Act
V         Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton West—Mississauga, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Zimbabwe
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Speaker
V     Petitions
V         Child Pornography
V         Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.)

1525
V         Stem Cell Research
V         Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)
V         The Speaker
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne
V         Stem Cell Research
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)
V         Government Contracts
V         Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ)
V         Victims' Rights
V         Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mr. Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon—Humboldt, Ind.)
V         Stem Cell Research
V         Mr. Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, Lib.)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.)
V         Gasoline Additives
V         Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC)
V         Stem Cell Research
V         Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, Canadian Alliance)

1530
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mr. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, PC)
V         Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance)
V         Softwood Lumber
V         Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance)
V     Questions on the Order Paper
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Motions for Papers
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V Speech from the Throne
V     Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
V         Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ)

1535

1540
V         Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

1545
V         Mr. Robert Lanctôt
V         Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.)

1550

1555

1600

1605

1610
V         Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. John McKay
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)
V         Mr. John McKay

1615
V         Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)
V         Mr. John McKay
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. John McKay

1620
V         Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance)

1625

1630
V         Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)
V         Mr. Gary Lunn
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

1635
V         Mr. Gary Lunn
V         Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Gary Lunn
V         Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance)

1640

1645
V         Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.)

1650

1655
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)

1700
V         Hon. Andy Scott
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V         Hon. Andy Scott
V         Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

1705

1710
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)

1715
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Mr. Bryon Wilfert
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ)
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

1720

1725
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

1730

1735
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold
V         Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.)
V         Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

1740
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

1745
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne
V         Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.)

1750

1755
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

1800
V         Mrs. Sue Barnes
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V         Mrs. Sue Barnes

1805
V         Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.)

1810
V         Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)

1815

1820
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

1825
V         Mr. Chuck Cadman
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Mr. Keith Martin

1830
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)






CANADA

House of Commons Debates


VOLUME 138 
NUMBER 008 
2nd SESSION 
37th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.


Prayers


[S. O. 31]

*   *   *

  +(1400)  

[English]

+

    The Speaker: As is our practice on Wednesday, we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Lethbridge.

    [Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]


+STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[S. O. 31]

*   *   *

[English]

+Governor General's Performing Arts Awards

+-

    Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards recognize Canadian artists who have enriched our lives by virtue of their talent, vision and generosity of spirit. This group includes: international rock superstars The Guess Who; prima ballerina Karen Kain; Joy Coghill, for her remarkable contributions to the world of theatre; Phil Nimmons, jazz musician, educator and composer; theatre director André Brassard, for bringing to life some of the best loved plays in the canon of Québécois, Canadian and international theatre; and Jean-Pierre Perreault, an accomplished choreographer.

    Father Fernand Lindsay receives the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for over 50 years of voluntarism in the performing arts.

    The National Arts Centre Award is presented to pianist and virtuoso Angela Hewitt.

    Congratulations to all of this year's recipients.

*   *   *

+-Ridge Meadows Youth and Justice Advocacy Association

+-

    Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in 1994 Lola Chapman led in the formation of the Ridge Meadows Youth and Justice Advocacy Association. It grew from her experience with the youth court monitoring program that made her think there must be a better way to deal with first time minor offenders. Lola asked me to speak with young people who it was felt were in danger of moving on to more violent activity. I have been involved ever since.

    This volunteer based organization diverts young first time minor offenders away from the criminal courts. The process includes meeting with their victims in order to understand and to accept the impact of their actions and make restitution where applicable. Participation by parents is mandatory.

    Key to the program's success are the dedicated volunteer mentors.

    On September 28 Lola Chapman received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General. Ever modest, Lola will say that it is the community volunteers who make the program work. That may be so, but without her vision and her dedication, it would never have happened at all.

    Well done, Lola. She is a very special lady. We thank her.

*   *   *

  +-(1405)  

+-2002 Niagara Grape King

+-

    Mr. John Maloney (Erie—Lincoln, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and I were honoured to attend the crowning of Daniel Lenko of Lincoln as the 2002 Niagara Grape King of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.

    To become the grape king or queen, one must be nominated by one's peers and fellow growers for having an outstanding vineyard. Mr. Lenko was chosen as grape king by a panel of distinguished judges for the exceptional quality of his vines.

    Mr. Lenko is a third generation grape grower whose family farm was one of the first in the Niagara area to plant a block of Vinifera grapes in 1960 and now boasts its own cottage winery.

    Mr. Lenko is also part of the second father and son team to have been named grape king, as his father Bill was honoured with the title in 1990.

    I congratulate Daniel Lenko on being crowned the 2002 Niagara Grape King. He is a young grower who is making a difference in the industry. I have no doubt that he and other Niagara region growers will continue to honour the Niagara region with their hard work and exceptional grapes and wine.

*   *   *

+-Justice

+-

    Mr. John Harvard (Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the International Association of Prosecutors has awarded its Special Achievement Award to the joint federal and provincial prosecution team that successfully prosecuted 35 members of the Manitoba Warriors street gang. This was the first significant prosecution under the anti-gang legislation.

    Also, it was the first time in Canadian history that a joint team of prosecutors from both the federal and a provincial government conducted a major case together. This kind of intergovernmental teamwork and the prosecutors' success convinced the International Association of Prosecutors to offer this prestigious award to the prosecutors involved.

    Organized crime is indeed a global challenge, one that requires a global response. Governments, both foreign and domestic, must cooperate closely in partnership to fight this threat. The Manitoba Warriors prosecution is an eloquent example of this type of cooperative effort that will yield beneficial and fruitful results.

*   *   *

+-Dick Hopkins

+-

    Mr. Larry McCormick (Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is with both a spirit of sadness and joy that I pay tribute to Dick Hopkins. A beloved teacher, Mr. Hopkins died suddenly on Sunday. As we mourn, we must also celebrate his achievements.

    When he taught at Napanee District Secondary School, Dick Hopkins won the Prime Minister's Teaching Excellence Award for technological education. After moving to Sydenham High School in 1999, Mr. Hopkins was named Teacher of the Year by the Limestone District School Board.

    With a $50,000 grant from the Canadian Rural Partnership, Dick Hopkins, along with his colleague Brian Rombough, successfully created the first rural online high school in Ontario.

    Mr. Hopkins was an exceptional teacher who was skilled at transforming theory into practice, from online learning to robotics to video conferencing.

    I am honoured to recognize the many personal and professional accomplishments of Dick Hopkins.

    Please join me in extending condolences to the family, friends, students and colleagues of Mr. Hopkins, and in celebrating the life of an exceptional teacher and innovator.

*   *   *

+-Look Good, Feel Better

+-

    Mrs. Carol Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we all know that we should not judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, many Canadians who suffer from cancer know all too well that people often judge them by their looks alone.

    The Look Good, Feel Better program is now celebrating its 10th anniversary; 10 years of helping people improve their appearance and in turn, their confidence. It was an honour for me to volunteer in this program at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon which helps patients overcome these challenges. It was rewarding to see the smiles and laughs return to the faces of these courageous people.

    As a person living with cancer, I know all too well how uplifting this program can be. It provides the positive focus we all need in the recovery process. Not only does it help the patients, but it also helps the families who desperately seek a sense of normalcy and reassurance during these tough times. These patients are proof that if they look good, they feel better.

    Generous donations from the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association makes this program possible. On behalf of all cancer patients who have participated in this program, I wish to say thanks very much.

*   *   *

+-Suzanne Rochon Burnett

+-

    Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House of Commons today to offer congratulations to Mrs. Suzanne Rochon Burnett, president of R.B. Communications Limited, who will be awarded an honorary degree from Brock University. This honour is for her outstanding contribution to Canadian cultural life and her support and encouragement of aboriginal art in Canada.

    Suzanne is a Métis born in St. Adèle, Quebec. Since the age of 18 she has been involved in the field of communications. She has worked as a freelance journalist and broadcaster. In 1994 she became the first aboriginal person licensed by the CRTC to operate a private radio station. Suzanne purchased a local station which eventually became Spirit 91.7 FM. Spirit FM has enjoyed excellent ratings since going on the air in 1999. Its name honours its aboriginal heritage.

    Well done, Suzanne. Suzanne serves as a symbol of what can be achieved when one strives to fulfill one's potential.

*   *   *

  +-(1410)  

[Translation]

+-Breast Cancer Awareness Month

+-

    Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the month of October is devoted to breast cancer prevention and to increasing public awareness of this disease.

    The mortality rate for this cancer has decreased 25% since 1985 among women aged 50 to 70. Every year, however, over 5,400 Canadian women still lose their lives to this disease and 20,500 are diagnosed.

    It is therefore important to make women more aware that they need to take regular advantage of existing screening techniques, both personal and clinical, to protect themselves from breast cancer or ensure the best possible response to treatment. We know that early detection can boost the survival rate to 80%.

    Let us spread the word so that increased awareness will mean an increased chance of a cure.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Census Records

+-

    Mr. Murray Calder (Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are about 7.5 million Canadians engaged in genealogy. This is one of our most popular hobbies. Thousands of genealogists, historians and medical researchers have asked the House to allow access to the post-1901 census records.

    I was delighted last week to hear the House leader say that the government plans to introduce legislation this fall to allow researchers access to these records after 92 years. This move is very welcome. I note that 162 members of the House are now on record as supporting their release.

    The census records up to and including 1901 have been a very valuable source for researchers. These are available on microfilm through archives and libraries across the country. I urge the government to ensure that later census records be just as accessible to researchers.

*   *   *

+-Grain Transportation

+-

    Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, grain handlers at the port of Vancouver have been locked out since September 3, causing the shipment of grain to come to an almost complete halt. Our grains and oilseeds producers are already facing financial hardships from years of rising foreign subsidies, continuous years of drought and poor grain prices. Now our producers are about to be hit again with another labour dispute.

    We have seen this situation over and over again. It was not that long ago that grain handlers were on strike hurting the economy and innocent third parties, namely farmers.

    The government goes from one crisis to another with no vision as to what the future may hold. Where is the long range planning on the government side? The Alliance has given the government an effective strategy that has been totally ignored.

    When will farmers see a dispute resolution mechanism so that their products can be shipped uninterrupted to overseas customers? Will the government wait until more damage is done before it takes action?

*   *   *

+-National Rail Days

+-

    Mr. Paul Bonwick (Simcoe—Grey, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to extend an invitation to all members of the House to participate in Canada's National Rail Days on October 30 and 31.

    The House realizes that our national rail industry plays an integral role in Canada's economy and well-being.

    Further, as the House contends with such important issues as sustainable management of our environment and our competitiveness as a nation, few sectors within Canada have the ability to play such a positive role as the rail industry.

    I must also state that in spite of these tremendous opportunities there are also some policies and other challenges that are restricting the railways' ability to deliver further benefits for Canadians, recognizing of course that these challenges can be overcome with the collective will and support of the House.

    It is in this regard I would invite all members of Parliament, who have an interest in the rail industry, to participate on October 30 and 31 in addressing these challenges and seizing these opportunities.

    I look forward to seeing all of my colleagues there.

*   *   *

  +-(1415)  

+-Softwood Lumber

+-

    Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last night, while defending his inadequate aid package for softwood lumber, a package he did not have the nerve to introduce in this House itself, the Minister of National Resources said “We want to make sure it is not countervailable”.

    The minister just does not get it. What the forestry workers facing job loss and the communities facing devastation needed to hear was that their government was going to stand up and fight for them. Like so many other times, vulnerable Canadians were not supported by the government.

    The minister needs to stand up for Canada and to show the Americans that he will not kowtow to their obstructions. The Canadian government needs more than short term solutions. We need long term action on this important issue.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Foreign Affairs

+-

    Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Israel-Palestine conflict has been going on for what seems like forever, and is dragging the entire region into a terrifying spiral of horror. The toll in human lives since the start of the second Intafada in September 2000 has been 1,898 Palestinians and 615 Israelis.

    This past October 7, this absurd escalation of violence led to another bloodbath, this time in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the south of the Gaza Strip. This particularly bloody raid by the Israeli army left no fewer than 14 dead and some 110 injured. In particular, the Israeli soldiers targeted the camp hospital, leaving one person dead and three injured, among these a teenager and a member of the nursing staff.

    The international community did not hesitate to condemn this brutal agression against Palestinian civilians. The Prime Minister of Israel even issued an apology for this unfortunate error in judgment, while adding in the same breath that the State of Israel was entitled to defend itself... This butchery must absolutely stop and the belligerants must comply with the UN resolutions.

*   *   *

+-Canada Savings Bonds

+-

    Mr. Gérard Binet (Frontenac—Mégantic, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, since last week, employees of the Quebec government are no longer able to purchase Canada savings bonds through payroll deductions because Quebec's minister of finance decided to put an end to the practice. Canada Investment and Savings denounces the Government of Quebec's decision, and so do I.

    Canada savings bonds enjoy a very good reputation. Given the state of the markets, they provide a good return. By its actions, the Government of Quebec is depriving thousands of Quebeckers of a safe, risk-free investment, that will never lose its value.

    My colleagues and I denounce this action that has ended a 55-year partnership and prevented close to 5,000 employees of the Government of Quebec from purchasing Canada savings bonds easily.

*   *   *

[English]

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General reported yesterday that the Liberal government has wasted $65 million as part of another untendered contract, this time with Bombardier for the training of helicopter and fighter pilots. The $65 million was to graduate 216 pilots, but actually graduated only 61.

    To add insult to injury, the Department of National Defence has tied us to the contract. DND must make 40 payments of $31.4 million per year for 20 years for a total of $2.8 billion, unconditional and irrevocable, regardless of whether it uses the training or not. The Auditor General has summed it up best:

    “To date, this program has not been able to train enough pilots, and we're paying for services we're not receiving”.

    Despite the bleeding of a few government sheep, every member of the Liberal flock is guilty of disrespect and hypocrisy toward the military.


+-Oral Question Period

[Oral Questions]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Government Contracts

+-

    Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General has defended his actions in the past by stating he is the political minister for P.E.I. APM Group, a firm run by the P.E.I. Liberal party president Tim Banks, was handed an untendered contract for work done on the Confederation Arts Centre.

    The ethics counsellor is going to P.E.I. to investigate the Solicitor General's handling of the Everett Roche affair. Will the ethics counsellor also be investigating this untendered contract to APM?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is not a contract from the federal government. It is a contract by a private organization that has an independent board. The ethics counsellor is looking into this file and he can look at that.

    However, if my information is right, I am pretty sure this organization is independent from the government. The centre has been operating since 1964, with members of the board who are very well known, like John Crosbie and Tom d'Aquino.

+-

    Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, and also David Nicholson who just happened to do the work on the other untendered contract.

    I will try again with the Solicitor General.

[Translation]

    There are four exceptions for sole sourcing a contract: it must be valued at less than $25,000; there must be an emergency; only one supplier can do the work; or it is not in the public interest to solicit bids.

    Can the Solicitor General tell us which of these four exceptions was cited when the contract was awarded to his friend's firm?

  +-(1420)  

[English]

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I indicated many times in the House, the Treasury Board guidelines were followed. It was publicly posted. Also, Mr. Wilson is looking at the situation. Let us wait for his review.

+-

    Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I do not know why we should wait for Mr. Wilson's review. We should be able to get straight answers from the man who is the top cop in the country.

    The Solicitor General is supposed to be the man in this country responsible for the RCMP, so I am going to ask him something. If he will not answer these questions directly in the House, instead of being on the most wanted list, will he go out the front door today and answer questions from the media instead of sneaking out the back door?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have answered the question many times for my hon. colleague. I do not know what the man wants. I issued a statement, gave him the facts, got the facts to the public and indicated quite clearly that it followed Treasury Board guidelines and that it was publicly posted. What do they want?

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, after admitting last week that David Nicholson was providing “advice regarding Prince Edward Island, and in particular advice regarding Confederation Centre”, and as well as we know, advice on criminal justice issues, the Solicitor General's office said that half of the moneys paid was paid through the ministerial account.

    My question is for the Solicitor General. Were there then in fact two separate contracts?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding there was a contract and then the contract was renewed. My hon. colleague has asked many questions concerning the contract. I have indicated quite clearly and I have issued a statement that we followed Treasury Board guidelines. I have said it was publicly posted. I have said it here in the House and I have said it publicly in a statement.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the contract that was renewed was the contract with the department of the Solicitor General's office. The terms of the contract, of which we are in receipt, clearly state that contractor agrees to provide advice to senior officials in the department and in the office of the Solicitor General on issues concerning the portfolio of the Solicitor General. Therefore, one can only assume that the advice on Prince Edward Island was contracted for separately.

    I ask the Solicitor General again. Was there an additional contract? Yes or no. If there was an additional contract, will he provide that contract to the House today?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have already answered the question. There was a contract. The contract was renewed. Mr. Nicholson provided information to the department. He provided a lot of advice to me. In fact, I was very fortunate and so was Prince Edward Island to have a man as capable as Mr. David Nicholson giving us advice.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Taxation

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the three political parties represented in the Quebec National Assembly and Quebec civil society as a whole unanimously agree that there is fiscal imbalance and that it is hurting Quebec.

    Instead of continuing to deny the problem, will the Prime Minister admit that a fiscal imbalance really does exist and that the time has come for him to sit down with his counterparts from Quebec and the other provinces to tackle this problem, which is particularly acute in the areas of health and education?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I remember that, just a few years ago, the people in that party were advocating separation from Canada because it was bankrupt.

    We have managed this country well since 1993. As a result, we have a budget that has been balanced for the past five years, and interest rates are low in Canada, which benefits all the provinces.

    If the provincial governments feel they need more money, they have the same taxation powers as we do. We have substantially reduced the taxes of Quebeckers and other Canadians these past two years.

  +-(1425)  

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister and the former and the new finance ministers have done is reduce taxes on the backs of the provinces and the unemployed; that is the reality. What he has done is stop paying what he used to pay and had agreed to pay for years toward health and education, leaving the provinces and Quebec with huge problems.

    I ask him today if he will be responsible enough between now and the end of his career to sit down with his counterparts, face the reality and stop taking action on the backs of Quebec and the provinces.

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in September 2000, we signed an agreement on health with the provinces, and then Premier Bouchard was very pleased with the offer made to him under the circumstances.

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, there is a fiscal imbalance to the extent that a government which has direct responsibilities toward the public does not have the necessary financial resources to provide services such as health and education, while the other government, which has no direct responsibilities toward the public, has monetary resources that it does not absolutely need.

    Will the Prime Minister admit that this is essentially what the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces is about?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the financial situation of the Canadian government is better, it is because in recent years management in Ottawa has been better than that in Quebec.

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the fiscal imbalance is so obvious that even after reducing taxes, the federal government still has enough money to constantly get involved in areas that do not come under its jurisdiction, as we saw in the throne speech.

    Will this government realize that when one has surpluses and more leeway every year, and when one uses them to invade the jurisdictions of other governments, one clearly demonstrates the existence of a fiscal imbalance?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, all the proposals that we are currently making to improve the standard of living of Canadians and address their social problems are joint responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments. We have agreements with the provinces and we keep investing more money in these areas. The only thing is that we have better control over our spending than does the provincial government, which continues to open so-called Quebec embassies all over the world.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Coast Guard

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. On August 13 in British Columbia five people died in the sinking of the Cap Rouge II. Tragically coast guard divers on the scene wanted to enter the ship but were blocked from doing so by coast guard policy. Internal documents now confirm that the minister and senior coast guard officials have been derelict in their duty to save lives.

    Will the minister accept his responsibility, do the honourable thing and resign?

+-

    Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again I want to express my condolences to the families of those involved in that tragic accident. I also want to express the government's pleasure in the activities of the men and women of the coast guard and the excellent work they have done.

    The government and the commissioner of the Coast Guard have understood that there were shortcomings in managerial communications and those have been remediated.

+-

    Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about shortcomings. These shortcomings were the responsibility directly of the commissioner and the minister.

    The minister has been hiding so far behind a policy of the Canada Shipping Act that clearly was not invoked in the day of the Cap Rouge II sinking. The conditions that day were absolutely excellent for a penetration dive.

    I want to ask the minister this. Will the minister and the commissioner at least step down while an independent public inquiry gets at the truth of these tragic deaths and at the record of incompetence, of cover up and deceit by this minister and coast guard senior officials?

+-

    Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I met with the joint rescue coordinator who was on duty that day and he well understood the regulations of both the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Shipping Act. He was not of the belief that anything different could have been done that day. He advised me that he believed the coast guard divers did an excellent job.

    The Transportation Safety Board is reviewing the incident of that day. The B.C. Workmen's Compensation Board is reviewing it. A search and rescue operations report is being prepared and a B.C. coroner may request an inquiry.

    I believe that those will suffice, and we will wait to see what those reports say prior to taking further action.

*   *   *

  +-(1430)  

+-Government Contracts

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. The Confederation Centre in Charlottetown received a grant of more than $5 million from ACOA and Heritage Canada to renovate the centre. Of that federal grant, $120,000 was then awarded in an untendered contract to APM Group, a company owned and operated by Tim Banks, president of the Liberal Party of P.E.I.

    Did the Solicitor General or anyone on his behalf have any contact or conversation with Mr. Banks or anyone on Mr. Banks' behalf about this transaction?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I told the House that this corporation, which has been in existence since 1964 to celebrate the Centennial, has an independent board. It is a corporation which has no association with the Government of Canada.

    The contractual policies of this organization are made by the board. Mr. John Crosbie and Mr. Tom d'Aquino are on the board. I presume they applied the normal business attitude to ensure that the work was done in the interests of the centre, for which they have the responsibility to administer.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, it is notable that the Solicitor General was not allowed to answer that question. On May 6, 1999 the ethics counsellor told the industry committee, “if there's any question that comes up on a minister's office or the minister, the Prime Minister will discuss this with me in advance”. Yesterday the Prime Minister said he had not talked to the ethics counsellor about the investigation of the Solicitor General.

    Why did the Prime Minister make an exception to his rule in the case of the Solicitor General? Did Percy Downe or anyone else speak to the ethics counsellor on this matter on the Prime Minister's behalf?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Not at all, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Wilson himself decided to look into the matter. He decided to go to P.E.I. After he was active in that, I did not feel obliged to talk to him because he was doing his job without asking me if he could do it. He was doing his job appropriately so I saw no need to talk to him. I am waiting for his report.

*   *   *

+-Kyoto Protocol

+-

    Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, article 3, section 2 of the Kyoto protocol states, “Each Party included in Annex I shall, by 2005, have made demonstrable progress in achieving its commitments under this Protocol”. The Prime Minister said we have 10 years to develop a plan.

    We are already close to 30% over our 1990 levels. How can the Prime Minister continue to say that we have 10 years to develop a plan?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Action Plan 2000 would give 80 megatonnes. When the ministers meet in the next few weeks with their provincial counterparts, they will look at the program that was put forward in the year 2000. They will adjust it to what is the reality today. A report will obviously be made in 2005.

    I know that Canadians will be able to meet their international commitment and be in a position to respect Kyoto in 2012.

+-

    Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that the Prime Minister knows that when he does not even have a plan.

    The Prime Minister and the environment minister stand up day after day in the House and say they are consulting with the provinces and industry. In reality, eight out of ten provinces and seemingly most of industry are saying that we should not ratify without a plan.

    If indeed these consultations are meaningful, why is the government not listening to the provinces and industry and developing an implementation plan before it considers a motion in the House to ratify Kyoto?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was in Calgary a few weeks ago and I spent almost two hours with the industry discussing that very problem.

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien: Yes, I was discussing that myself. They made their points and I made the points of the government. The ministers are working with their provincial counterparts and the private sector and by the time we will be voting by the end of this fall Canadians will know what can be done and what will be done.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Government Contracts

+-

    Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ): Mr. Speaker, a former vice-president of Groupaction appeared on television in Montreal yesterday to denounce the close political ties between that company and the government.

    Who is investigating the political responsibilities in the sponsorship program scandals? No one. Is this not just one more reason to initiate an independent public inquiry into this entire affair?

  +-(1435)  

[English]

+-

    Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is not only a matter of official knowledge, it is a matter of very public knowledge that the RCMP is conducting a very thorough investigation with respect to Groupaction.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we are told that Groupaction has apparently contacted former employees and forbidden them from revealing anything to anyone, or in short, has imposed the code of silence.

    Is this not additional proof that only a public and independent inquiry will shed light on this and get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandals?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have absolutely no knowledge about what Groupaction may or may not have said to its employees.

    The point is, if one wants a thorough, professional and comprehensive investigation one gets the best investigators in the world and that is the RCMP.

*   *   *

+-Social Insurance Numbers

+-

    Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in 1999 convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam used a forged Quebec baptismal certificate to obtain a Canadian passport. The Auditor General says that in 1999 the Quebec government told HRDC to stop allowing the use of baptismal certificates to obtain social insurance numbers because of that case, yet HRDC did nothing until August of 2002, three years after he was caught.

    Why did the Minister sit and do absolutely nothing for three years while SIN numbers were being abused by illegal immigrants and terrorists?

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the Auditor General herself pointed out, we were taking action. In that timeframe since 1998 we more than tripled the number of investigations of SIN numbers fraud. We have provided new technology for our workers to use in identifying fraudulent documents and, indeed, we have disallowed the use of baptismal certificates from Quebec and Newfoundland.

+-

    Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, disallowed in August 2002, and yesterday she said that the world had changed on September 11, but that was 13 months ago. It took her until last month to make any changes.

    Could the Minister tell us how many of the five million extra social insurance cards that are out there were fraudulently obtained in the last three years while she sat and did nothing?

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to answer that question because the vast majority of those five million were in fact already flagged as being dormant or deceased. The Auditor General suggested that they be deactivated and they have been deactivated.

    The hon. member will also be interested to know that there were close to a million Canadians living outside the country, retired, working or studying, who did have social insurance numbers legally.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Government Contracts

+-

    Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on the issue of sponsorships, there have been two important developments in the last week.

    First, Chuck Guité, the official responsible for the program, clearly established the ties that exist between himself and the Prime Minister's office.

    Second, Alain Richard, the former vice president of Groupaction, said very clearly that there were ties between the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, the government and Groupaction.

    My question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Is it not true that the mandate of the RCMP investigation focuses only on the irregularities that occurred in the program's administration, and will not focus at all on the ties between the government, the Prime Minister's office and the political approval of this whole affair?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that there are absolutely no limitations on the RCMP. They will follow their investigation wherever it takes them.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, two years ago, the RCMP was called in to handle the investigation into the Human Resources Development Canada scandal, specifically with reference to what happened in the riding of the Prime Minister. We have called the RCMP, and were told to call HRDC. We called HRDC and we were told to call the RCMP, or use the Access to Information Act.

    Two years later, it is impossible to get any details about what happened in the Prime Minister's riding.

    Is the government not trying to bury the sponsorships issue by handing it over to the RCMP, so that we will never hear anything about it again?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, an internal audit, with an audit implementation plan, independent steps taken by my predecessor, my own internal department review, time billing verification audits, a deputy minister's administrative review under the Financial Administration Act, and ultimately the Auditor General's government-wide audit, this is hardly a cover-up.

*   *   *

  +-(1440)  

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, our military does not have enough money and it does not have enough trained pilots. So what does the government do? It pays money not to train pilots, with $65 million of taxpayer money that has gone into the pockets of Bombardier for our pilots to sit on the ground, and the situation is only getting worse. To top it off, we are the only country not filling all of our flying times.

    Why has the government paid money for a service we have not received?

+-

    Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a little bit odd to hear an hon. member from the Prairies attacking a fantastic pilot training program in Moose Jaw that creates thousands of jobs. Had it not been for this program, the base at Moose Jaw would have closed down. As one who has lived four years in Manitoba, I know that jobs on the Prairies are not always that plentiful.

+-

    Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is embarrassing when he gets the facts wrong so often. The minister used to be a banker so he should know about long lines, but this situation is getting ridiculous. Our pilots are waiting years just to get the training they need. Canada's old training program produced 64 graduates a year. The new program has not been able to match that in the last two years.

    How will training be increased when the government actually has fewer pilots, fewer planes and puts in less money?

+-

    Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this program has brought in more than a billion dollars of training from five different countries. It has received high praise from, for example, the British minister of national defence, my counterpart.

    As for the $65 million, it has not been wasted. It is just a question of how that money is spread over time. We will get every dollar of value in that contract over the life of the contract.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Pulp and Paper

+-

    Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on October 8, a series of measures, including financial assistance for the development of the Centre intégré en pâtes et papiers in Trois-Rivières, were announced to help the workers and communities affected by the softwood lumber dispute.

    Could the hon. Secretary of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec tell us what added value such a centre has for Canada?

+-

    Hon. Claude Drouin (Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are 2,000 jobs to be filled in the pulp and paper sector, and there is a lack of training.

    The announcement I made in Trois-Rivières yesterday on behalf of the government concerning a $23.5 million investment will fill this gap. Thus, the centre will become the leading francophone pulp and paper centre in North America, and this was done in partnership with industry.

    This is excellent news for La Mauricie, for Quebec, and for all of Canada.

*   *   *

+-Electoral Boundaries

+-

    Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was here in 1964 when major readjustments were made to federal electoral boundaries.

    A basic tenet of those readjustments was the assurance that the government's involvement in the process would not be any greater than that of the other parties. Unfortunately, at least three of his ministers have stuck their noses into the process.

    Will the Prime Minister explain why the impartiality and independence of the commissions were jeopardized?

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that the commissions are independent. As he surely knows, two commissioners are selected: one by the Speaker of the House of Commons, in whom we have total confidence, and the other by the chief justice of the province concerned.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the office of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has confirmed that the two Saskatchewan appointees were indeed recommended by that minister.

    Since the act establishing these commissions states that any two members constitute quorum, would the Prime Minister not agree that the whole process has been tainted, that any veneer of independence has vanished, and that whatever the report recommends will be viewed with suspicion and skepticism by what not only looks like but smells like complete political interference?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is an attack on your integrity. These people have been named by you and you have been elected by all members of the House of Commons. It is completely unacceptable that people question your integrity. I think you have used your judgment and you have proven that you have had good judgment in the past.

*   *   *

  +-(1445)  

+-Correctional Service of Canada

+-

    Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, officials at Dorchester penitentiary have told me that the operating budget for that maximum security facility is being reduced by over $1 million and the money is being diverted to the addictions research facility in the Solicitor General's riding where there is not one prisoner.

    How can the minister risk the safety and security of a maximum security penitentiary like Dorchester by reducing the budget and diverting money to his own riding?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague indicated that he was going to ask me that question. The fact of the matter is that no money was diverted from the institution to Montague for the Addictions Research Centre, but of course the Addictions Research Centre is a very important facility when we look at addictions being the number one problem for people in our federal penal institutions.

+-

    Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot deny that the budget of Dorchester and the budget of Springhill have been reduced and that is where the prisoners are. Meanwhile, the facility in the Solicitor General's riding has grown, first from zero to 20 people, and now to 25, and there is not one prisoner there.

    Will the minister restore all the money diverted from the budgets of Springhill and Dorchester to ensure the safety and security of these communities?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, of course the Addictions Research Centre is in place in order to deal with addictions and anger management, two very important things in the corrections field. What we want to do is make sure that when people are in our institutions they are returned to society in a safe manner.

*   *   *

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, our military personnel have made an outstanding contribution to the war on terrorism, yet as we are sending our troops to war the government has seen fit to increase the rents on their homes by as much as $840 for somebody making less than $35,000 a year.

    My question is simple. Will the government reverse this decision and not raise the rents on the homes of our military families?

+-

    Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think we all owe a debt of thanks to my predecessor, who over the last five years achieved very major increases in improvements in the quality of life of the military: improvements in housing, improvements in salary, improvements in family centres, and improvements in the treatment of stress disorders. One of the things we are doing is gradually moving to a market price basis for our rentals.

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, let us look at those improvements. Canadian Forces Base Kingston has the worst housing in the entire country. Right now in Downsview and Oakville our soldiers have to boil their water as we speak.

    I cannot believe the minister would support such a heartless, bean-counter, woolly-headed decision.

    My question is simple: Will the government reverse the decision on these rents and stop increasing soldiers' rents? Yes or no.

+-

    Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the fine work of my predecessor, I did not say that we had yet reached a state nirvana

    Problems remain and we are addressing them as best we can. Seventy per cent of the military live in the private sector. It is a matter of fairness between those who live in the private sector and those who live on military bases. We should have equality in the rent for all of them.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Softwood Lumber

+-

    Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the criticisms of the government's aid package for the softwood lumber industry have made it very clear: the government has not delivered the goods, and it is a matter of too little, too late. The U.S. strategy is becoming increasingly obvious. It consists in playing for time, hoping the Canadian softwood lumber industry will just disappear.

    How can the government, and the Minister of Industry in particular, be satisfied with their intervention plan, when it gives no direct assistance to the industry to counter the American strategy, as loan guarantees would have, for instance?

  +-(1450)  

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the measures announced yesterday will help workers. The training courses and job sharing arrangements will help communities to diversify their economy. The package will also allow major investments in research, in order to make this sector more competitive in the future.

+-

    Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Mr. Speaker, according to Carl Grenier, spokesperson for the softwood lumber industry and international trade expert, these loan guarantees to affected companies would not have cost the government anything extra.

    Why has the government rejected this solution, which would have cost it almost nothing, and would have been so effective? Has it thrown in the towel?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, said yesterday, we are going to keep working on this with our partners in Quebec and elsewhere. For the moment, however, we are confident that the $250 million we have allocated are going to improve the situation for workers and for communities.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Airline Industry

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the finance minister tells the House and Canadians that he will “study the reduction of the air tax”, but we have all the evidence we need to prove that it is bad public policy.

    WestJet is cutting back on routes. Bay Chaleur Air, an air carrier out of New Brunswick, has declared bankruptcy and Atlantic Canada is being left behind. Its routes are being cut.

    What more evidence does the government need to show that this is bad public policy? Why will the government not simply listen to its own backbenchers, to Canadians and to the air industry and commit to eliminating or cutting the air tax today?

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not think we disagree between parties on the requirement for increased security measures. What we disagree on is whether the user should pay for them. If that is not to be the case, I presume the Alliance is suggesting that the funds should be taken from general revenues, in other words, tax increases or a reduction in spending in other worthwhile things.

    I think the principle that the user should pay is a sound one. What we are reviewing is whether the level of the charge should be reduced to make it roughly revenue neutral with the expenditures.

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the constituents of cabinet ministers are also affected by this.

    The Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific are from Edmonton. Their constituents are being hurt by this through the loss of service. With regard to the ACOA minister, Stephenville, Newfoundland is losing all Air Canada service. The Minister of Labour from Moncton is losing air service. With regard to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, his constituents are being left behind by the loss of air service.

    Is the reason those cabinet ministers are not standing up and publicly defending their constituents that they are scared to stand up and speak out against the largest tax increase in the final budget of Paul Martin?

+-

    The Speaker: I think the hon. member meant the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, but I am not sure. The hon. Minister of Finance, in any event, will answer.

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the truth is that a number of factors have been buffeting the air industry in every country in the world, particularly since September 11.

    I think for a thoughtful member of Parliament to suggest that the only factor affecting services in Canada is the charge for additional security measures is really a little disingenuous. He knows that passenger levels are down, not only in Canada but elsewhere as well. Those factors all have to be taken into account when we levy a charge to ensure that people getting on an aircraft are confident that they will be safe.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Biotechnology

+-

    Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in March I asked the Minister of Industry a question about patenting for human genes.

    In his answer, the minister said he was awaiting a report from the Canadian biotechnology advisory committee, which he received this summer.

    Last week, a senior official was quoted as saying that “the government was prepared to reaffirm its opposition to patenting forms of life”.

    Does this opposition to patenting life forms also apply to patenting human genes?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the document we received from the advisory committee is currently being studied, along with another very important report on the same subject recently published in England. We are also awaiting the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on the same issue. This is how we plan to respect our commitments while promoting research in this field.

*   *   *

  +-(1455)  

[English]

+-Persons with Disabilities

+-

    Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister got to the root of the disability tax credit problem. The source of the problem is that he sees people as numbers on a tax return rather than as real people. He says that he does not want us to personalize the disability issue.

    Let me tell the minister from personal experience that disabilities are a very personal issue and the government needs to face that reality.

    When will the finance minister do the right thing and change these oppressive tax laws?

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would be very happy to listen to any suggestions the hon. member has on what he would like to see changed specifically.

    As we pointed out yesterday, since 1996 there has been about a 70% increase in the amount of benefits being made available to disabled people in Canada. In addition, there is an indication in the Speech from the Throne that we intend to deepen and broaden that support.

    What is it that he wishes to have changed?

+-

    Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, if the minister would listen to his own committee, which sent recommendations to his department, and the calls and letters from many groups and individuals from across Canada who are angry and upset at the proposed changes to the disability tax credit, perhaps he would do something. Certainly the finance minister must be getting the same reaction as many members of Parliament are.

    When will the finance minister start listening to Canadians and instruct his department to change these oppressive tax laws which hurt disabled Canadians?

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will take that to mean that he does not know what changes he wants.

    These are issues that I have worked on for a lot of years, everything from the support for assistive devices that we have created in a program in Industry Canada, through to the most recent initiatives that involve the Speech from the Throne.

    I suspect the he may be concerned that some taxpayers are being asked to verify that they still qualify. Surely he would agree that the resources should be made available to those who are most in need. On that we surely can agree.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Immigration

+-

    Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the safe third country agreement between Canada and the U.S. has apparently been approved by the federal cabinet.

    All that remains for the agreement to come into effect are a few formalities and yet it has not been discussed at all in the House of Commons or by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

    Will the minister promise today to submit the text of this agreement to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, so that we can debate it and hear from experts who could inform us about the many risks entailed if this agreement were to come into effect in its current form?

+-

    Mr. Mark Assad (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will be able to answer the hon. member's question when she returns.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Heritage Canada

+-

    Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Bill Reid was, without doubt, one of the most famous and influential northwest coast artists of our time. His work is the result of his magnificent talent and a very precious part of Canada's heritage.

    Would the Minister of Canadian Heritage provide the House with an update of her department's efforts to ensure that the Reid collection remains a source of pride for the Haida people and for all Canadians?

+-

    Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as a result in large measure of the work of the member for Vancouver Quadra, in November 2001 we were able to certify the collection for donation purposes at an appraised value of $3.4 million.

    We are establishing a tax credit process. I have to say that this is a collection that should never be lost to Canada. As a result of the work of our government and, in particular, the British Columbia caucus, we will be acquiring the necessary financing to make sure this collection stays in British Columbia and in Canada.

    I want to thank, in particular, Herb Auerbach who has been an incredible supporter in this incredible initiative.

*   *   *

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence overlooks the fact that the pilot training contract was sole-sourced without proper justification to Bombardier following an unsolicited proposal from that company.

    After two years and hundreds of millions of dollars this innovative program managed to graduate 61 Canadian pilots from basic training, three less than the old tutor program graduated every year.

    Once again, would the minister tell us the reason we needed this contract?

  +-(1500)  

+-

    Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, the fact is that Bombardier was the only Canadian company with the capabilities to undertake this project.

    The second fact is that it was joined by a consortium that included all potential Canadian bidders.

    The third fact is that the only alternative to this is that all the training would have been done in the United States. Is that what the member wants?

*   *   *

+-Softwood Lumber

+-

    Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we have heard what Canadians think of this government's softwood lumber aid package. Quebec's natural resource minister said that it was a joke. The B.C. forest minister said that it was insufficient and inadequate. The paperworkers union said that it was little more than welfare for workers who this government has given up on.

    The minister announced that this was simply a work in progress. Well this work has progressed once again into a disaster on this file.

    When can we expect the government to come up with a decent aid package so that this forest industry has some chance of survival?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are others who have spoken about this package and let me quote them. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, representing hundreds of municipalities across the country, says:

--but this announcement demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to work with municipal governments to strengthen communities that have been hit hard.

    Mr. Trevor Wakelin of the Alberta Forest Products Association Lumber Trade Council said:

    We welcome the news. We're very pleased that the federal government has come forward to take care of our workers.

    Those Canadians understand that this package is good for them, it is good for the industry and it is good for Canada.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Employment Insurance

+-

    Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ): Mr. Speaker, a while back, the government introduced transitional measures to help the people of the North Shore and Lac-Saint-Jean region swallow the bitter pill of boundary readjustment for economic regions used for the purposes of employment insurance. With these measures, the EI eligibility rules will soon be tightened at a time when the region is hard hit by the softwood lumber crisis. Spokespersons for the Comité des sans-chemise have met with the federal minister responsible for Quebec to tell him about the problem and have expressed deep disappointment over his lack of interest.

    Will the minister undertake to ensure that his government honours the commitments made in the last election campaign, when it promised to loosen up the Employment Insurance Act?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me a chance to remind her that yesterday $70 million in new money were allocated specifically for workers in the softwood lumber industry. That includes workers in the member's home province.

    In addition to that, I have enjoyed working with community groups in the Saguenay along Saint-Jean, with the hon. member who was there, and a number of announcements where community groups identified opportunities to expand the seasons and make sure that Canadians who want to work can work.

*   *   *

+-Fisheries and Oceans

+-

    Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

    Earlier today I released a confidential coast guard document written by the director of operational services for the coast guard that states “...penetration of submerged or capsized vessels...is prohibited... This is not open to interpretation.”

    Diver Rick Foreman, who was on the scene at the sinking of the Cap Rouge II, said:

    Conditions were absolutely perfect to penetrate that vessel. With something like low visibility, it would have been dangerous. But it wasn't, it was perfect. We just couldn't do it. And for those people, for those kids, that was bad. It was all bad”.

    How can the minister possibly justify the cover up that the JRCC had the discretion when nobody in the coast guard knew about it at all?

+-

    Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, I spoke with the coordinator of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre who advised me that he was well aware of our Coast Guard policy as well as the Canada Shipping Act and its stipulations, and that he knew he could authorize the penetration dive if there was a reasonable chance of saving lives.

    It has also been indicated that on that day there was no reasonable information to say that vessel should have been penetrated.

    Further, the memo the member refers to dates back to September 3, 2001.

  +-(1505)  

+-

    Mr. Joe Peschisolido (Richmond, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. As of Thursday, October 3, 2002--

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

+-

    The Speaker: I know the hon. member for Richmond is a popular member but we have to be able to hear the question. The hon. member for Richmond has the floor.

+-

    Mr. Joe Peschisolido: Mr. Speaker, as of Thursday, October 3, 2002, the Sea Island Base aging hovercraft CG 045 was decommissioned.

    Could the minister please tell us about his department's contingency plans and also his plans for purchasing a replacement hovercraft?

+-

    Hon. Robert Thibault (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Richmond for his constructive interest in this matter.

    The government is committed to maintaining search and rescue coverage in the Vancouver area using a combination of commercial vessels and hovercraft.

    I am pleased to report to the House that the Coast Guard has initiated the procurement of a used hovercraft in the interim to replace the existing back-up vessel. We are also initiating a project to procure a new hovercraft through the department's capital planning process.

    The government takes maritime safety very seriously. We remain committed to providing world class service to the people of British Columbia and the rest of Canada.

+-

    The Speaker: Before we proceed to tabling of documents, I have a notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Dartmouth.

*   *   *

+-Privilege

+Oral Question Period

[Privilege]
+-

    Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise with you a question of privilege coming out of today's question period in follow-up from yesterday's question period.

    The Minister of Finance in response to the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan said that with respect to the disability tax credit we should not try to personalize these issues.

    Mr. Speaker, the personal is political. Many Canadians are affected by the decisions of the government to put persons with disabilities through the trauma of reapplying for benefits.

    Many other members of the House, as in this population, have members of their own families with disabilities, including myself and the member for Winnipeg North Centre. We take great offence with the comments of the minister. It is personal and it is an offensive public policy measure.

+-

    The Speaker: I am afraid the hon. member is on debate. I do not think there is any question of privilege in the statement she has raised.


+-ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Government Response to Petitions

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the 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.

*   *   *

+-Species at Risk Act

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (for the Minister of the Environment) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-5, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-5 of the first session of this Parliament. In accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-5 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, pursuant to special order of the House of October 7, 2002, the bill is deemed approved at all stages and passed by the House.

    (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported concurred in read the third time and passed)

*   *   *

  +-(1510)  

[English]

+-Specific Claims Resolution Act

+-

    Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-6, an act to establish the Canadian Centre for the Independent Resolution of First Nations Specific Claims to provide for the filing, negotiation and resolution of specific claims and to make related amendments to other acts.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-60 from the first session of this Parliament. In accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

[Translation]

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-60 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[English]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, the bill is deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources.

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

*   *   *

+-First Nations Governance Act

+-

    Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-7, an act respecting leadership selection, administration and accountability of Indian bands, and to make related amendments to other acts.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-61 from the first session of this Parliament. In accordance with the special order of this House of October 7, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

[Translation]

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-61 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[English]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, the bill is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources.

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

*   *   *

+-Pest Control Products Act

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-8, an act to protect human health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the control of pests.

    She said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-53 from the first session of this Parliament. In accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-53 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, pursuant to special order of the House of October 7, 2002, the bill is deemed approved at all stages and passed by the House.

    (Bill read the second time, referred to a committee, reported concurred in, read the third time and passed)

*   *   *

+-Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (for the Minister of the Environment) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-9, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-19 from the first session of this Parliament and it is in accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, 2002. Therefore, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that the bill is in the same form as Bill C-19 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[English]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, the bill is deemed read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

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

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-An act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-10, an act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-15B from the first session of this Parliament and it is in accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, 2002. Therefore, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that the bill is in the same form as Bill C-15B was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[English]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

    (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.)

*   *   *

  +-(1515)  

[Translation]

+-Copyright Act

+-

    Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-11, an act to amend the Copyright Act.

    She said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-48 from the first session of this Parliament and, in accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, 2002, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

[English]

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-48 was at the time of the prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament. Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

    (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.)

*   *   *

+-Physical Activity and Sport Act

+-

    Hon. Paul DeVillers (for the Minister of Canadian Heritage) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-12, an act to promote physical activity and sport.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-54 from the first session of this Parliament and, in accordance with the special order of the House on October 7, 2002, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-54 was at the time of the prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, 2002, the bill is deemed approved at all stages and passed by the House.

    (Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

*   *   *

[English]

+-Assisted Human Reproduction Act

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-13, an act respecting assisted human reproduction.

    She said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-56 from the first session of this Parliament and, in accordance with the special order of the House of October 7, 2002, I request that it be reinstated at the same stage that it had reached at the time of prorogation.

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

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same for as Bill C-56 was at the time of the prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

[Translation]

    Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Monday, October 7, 2002, the bill is deemed read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

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

*   *   *

[English]

+-Interparliamentary Delegations

+-

    Mr. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the great pleasure of reporting to the House, in both official languages, the visit of a Canadian parliamentary delegation to Taiwan which occurred from August 4 to August 10, 2002.

*   *   *

+-Criminal Code

+-

    Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, an act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial review).

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce my private member's bill to amend section 745.6 of the Criminal Code. This section, the so-called faint hope clause, allows those convicted of life in prison without eligibility of parole for 25 years to use a legislated back door and apply after only 15 years. Some 82% of those applicants are successful. Murderers are walking on our streets early as a result.

    My amendment would increase the period for judicial review from 15 years to 100 years. This would effectively eliminate this ill-considered and insulting law.

    It is time we stopped obstructing justice and started obstructing this terrible criminal loop-hole.

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

*   *   *

  +-(1520)  

[Translation]

+-Canada Labour Code

+-

    Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-224, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code.

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill amending the Canada Labour Code and banning the use of scabs.

    It is high time that workers were given the opportunity to negotiate in a fair and equitable manner. It is also high time that conflicts such as the one at Cargill for the last 30 months and at Vidéotron for the last five months were ended so that both parties can get their fair share.

    I hope that all members of this House will vote in favour in this bill.

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

*   *   *

[English]

+-Terry Fox Day Act

+-

    Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton West—Mississauga, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-225, an act respecting Terry Fox Day.

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to once again introduce my private member's bill which would designate the second Sunday after Labour Day each and every year as Terry Fox Day.

    Terry Fox fought cancer with dignity. His determination and courage left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of all Canadians. Canadians celebrate his life and in his memory run to continue his quest to find a cure for this devastating illness each year. He is a national hero and deserves to be recognized for his contribution to humankind and to his country, Canada.

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

*   *   *

+-Zimbabwe

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in order to avoid the holocaust taking place in southern Africa, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take immediate action against the brutal regime of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, including: (a) expelling the Zimbabwean High Commissioner from Canada, and asking the international community, and especially the Commonwealth members, to do likewise; (b) calling for the indefinite expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth; (c) freezing the personal assets of President Robert Mugabe and other identified members of his regime; (d) banning all international travel by Mr. Mugabe and his Ministers; (e) calling for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe; (f) leading an international mobilization of food aid for southern Africa; and (g) request the Union Nations initiate a special tribunal in the Hague to indict President Robert Mugabe and Field Marshal Perence Shiri for crimes against humanity for having organized a systematic, state-sponsored effort to murder, torture and rape innocent civilians, having created a famine that is endangering six million lives in his country and millions outside, and having ordered the massacre of 16,000 Matabele civilians in the early 1980s.

    I ask for unanimous consent to save six million lives in Zimbabwe and a further seven million lives outside.

+-

    The Speaker: Does the member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed

    Some hon. members: No

*   *   *

+-Petitions

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have five identical petitions on the subject of child pornography. There are 266 signatures on these five petitions. They petition Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials that promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

    I am pleased to table this petition.

*   *   *

  +-(1525)  

+-Stem Cell Research

+-

    Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have a further petition concerning adult stem cell research, with 39 signatures from the area of London. The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

    I am pleased to table this.

*   *   *

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have a petition concerning child pornography from my riding. There are 166 signatures and it states as follows: “We the undersigned residents of Canada draw the attention of the House--

+-

    The Speaker: Order please. The hon. member for Saint John knows that she cannot read petitions, she can give a brief summary. I know she would want to comply with the rules in every respect.

+-

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Sorry, Mr. Speaker. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

*   *   *

+-Stem Cell Research

+-

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition which has 302 names on it. The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Government Contracts

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition on behalf of my colleague from Longueuil, who is not here because she is expecting a child very soon.

    Because of the continuing saga of the sponsorship scandal, the petitioners ask that the government launch an independent public inquiry to shed light on this whole sordid business.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Victims' Rights

+-

    Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am pleased to present a petition signed by hundreds of citizens from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

    The petition was spearheaded by Miss Sharista Smith, a victim of violent crime. Far too often we have witnessed the failure of restraining orders and peace bonds and as such this petition calls on Parliament to provide for greater protection for victims from their offenders by way of the no contact order once a sentence has been served.

*   *   *

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mr. Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon—Humboldt, Ind.): Mr. Speaker, I have petitions here from one of my constituents in Cudworth. The petitioners are requesting that Parliament take all necessary steps to protect our children from sexual predators by outlawing materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activity involving children.

*   *   *

+-Stem Cell Research

+-

    Mr. Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present the following petition on behalf of my constituents. The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

*   *   *

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex who call upon Parliament to protect children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

*   *   *

+-Gasoline Additives

+-

    Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I pleased to present a second petition on behalf of the constituents of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex who call upon Parliament to protect the health of seniors and children and to save our environment by banning the disputed gas additive MMT, as it creates smog and enhances global warming.

*   *   *

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today on behalf of the constituents in my riding of Fundy--Royal. Both surround the issue related to the Sharpe case in British Columbia.

    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to make adjustments in the Criminal Code to ensure that our children are protected from any way, shape or form related to child pornography.

    Both these petitions have been duly certified by the Clerk and they are on behalf of Pastor Stephen Little from Faith Bible Baptist Fellowship in Sussex and also led by Reverend Harold Bubar from the Wesleyan Church in Norton.

*   *   *

+-Stem Cell Research

+-

    Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to present two petitions dealing with the subject of stem cell research. More particular, the petitioners draw the attention of hon. members to the fact that research in adult stem cells has the potential to assist in cures and therapies for a variety of debilitating illnesses.

    The petitioners encourage Parliament to focus its attention upon this promising field of research and not upon embryonic stem cell research which is fraught with ethical problems.

    They also point out, and this point is particularly emphasized in the petition, that embryonic stem cells will always face problems of immune rejection. The only way to avoid the immune rejection response is to transplant stem cells from the patient's own body. Such transplantations will occur from research that takes place on adult stem cells but not from research that takes place on embryonic stem cells.

  +-(1530)  

+-

    Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I too would like to present a petition on behalf of my constituents of Mississauga South in regard to ethical stem cell research. The petitioners draw to the attention of the House that Canadians do support ethical stem cell research that already has shown encouraging potential for therapies and cures to illnesses and diseases.

    They also want to point out that the non-embryonic stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or lifelong anti-rejection drug needs of embryonic stem cells.

    The petitioners call upon Parliament to support legislative efforts that support adult stem cell research to find those therapies and cures.

*   *   *

+-Child Pornography

+-

    Mr. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, PC): Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today on behalf of my constituents calling upon Parliament to take all necessary steps to protect children against pedophilia.

+-

    Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 217 residents of Saskatchewan, wherein the petitioners call upon the House to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

    The petitioners draw attention to the House that, among other matters, the courts have not applied the current child pornography law in a way which makes it clear that such exploitation of children will always be met with swift punishment.

*   *   *

+-Softwood Lumber

+-

    Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions. The first is related to the softwood lumber dispute. There are some seven pages of signatures. The majority come from Port Alberni which is typical of many coastal communities. Last Friday, four mills closed in Port Alberni, putting another 500 people out of work. Nobody knows when they will reopen.

    The spinoff from the softwood lumber dispute is killing coastal communities. The petitioners are calling for a solution that will keep their mills open. They also call for a ban on the export of Canadian logs to the U.S. while the American tariff wall closes down our mills.

*   *   *

-Child Pornography

+-

    Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with the subject of child pornography. There are 39 pages of signatures or nearly 800 signatures from Nanaimo, Nanoose, Errington, Coombs, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni and Bowser. They are all communities of Vancouver Island.

    The petitioners are protesting that the courts are not taking sufficient efforts to enforce existing laws. They call upon Parliament to protect our children by ensuring that materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

*   *   *

+-Questions on the Order Paper

+-

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

+-

    The Speaker: Is that agreed?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

*   *   *

+-Motions for Papers

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

+-

    The Speaker: Is that agreed?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

-Speech from the Throne

[The Address]

*   *   *

[Translation]

-Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply

    The House resumed from October 8, consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.

+-

    Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the most recent throne speech.

    The throne speech we heard is not only very disappointing, it is also a rehash and it is redundant. There is nothing new in it for the public. In fact, it does not even propose a vision. After the previous throne speech, I was very disappointed. This time, I am not discouraged, but rather annoyed.

    The previous throne speech was remarkable because its obvious lack of vision, but this one does not fare any better. The government not only forgot but it categorically refused to take concrete and long term measures to help all Canadians. It is sad to see that, with this speech, the government has once again managed to overlook the imperative needs of Canadians and Quebeckers.

    There was reference in the speech to the fact that we live in uncertain times. This government had a duty to reassure the public, but it did just the opposite. There is nothing new and, more importantly, nothing to reassure us. In fact, the main theme of this speech is that the timeframe is extended. Everything is being postponed. Why make a commitment? This is the true redundancy in this throne speech.

    The public is well aware of the reason why everything is being postponed. This government cannot even manage and govern the way it should, because of an internal leadership crisis. We now know that the Prime Minister will resign. Has the leadership race begun, yes or no? We see that the race is on right here in front of us, in this chamber.

    The speech indicates that the federal government will continue to work with its allies to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and Quebeckers. For several months now, we have seen that the attempt to ensure our protection has been detrimental to our freedom and our democracy.

    I am annoyed by the fact that, in this speech, the government is not proposing anything better than continuing on the same path of denying rights and freedoms.

    They only talk about the priorities we can afford. But the Liberals were elected because of the commitments they made on those so-called priorities. What are we to conclude? That their commitments were nothing but empty words? How can a government that passes itself off as strong and successful back away from its promises? I think the government missed a unique opportunity to make good on its commitments and promises. We should not underestimate the public. We have to respect the people and meet their expectations and their needs.

    We can only conclude that the government has no real governance program, no real vision in terms of public affairs management. For instance, an internal investigation carried out at Public Works and Government Services showed some wrongdoing in most large contracts awarded to communications firms. However, the report that could shed, for us and for the population, some light on this situation has yet to be tabled.

    I do want to remind the House that 13 contracts were referred to the RCMP for criminal investigation. Also, indications of wrongdoing were found in at least 130 contracts awarded by the department, that is 20% of all contracts awarded under the sponsorship program. It is important, however, to point out that these 130 contracts accounted for 80% of the value of all the sponsorships during the three year period under investigation. Imagine that. There is a problem, there was some wrongdoing in 20% of the contracts. But that 20% accounted for 80% of all the money handed out under the program.

  +-(1535)  

    From the beginning of this story, each new piece of information has given us one more reason to doubt the transparency of this government and has confirmed that the Bloc Quebecois is right about the need to hold an independent public inquiry.

    Today again, during oral question period, it has come out, in connection with questions asked by myself, that a former Groupaction vice-president has finally opened Pandora's box. This is all connected to the statement by Mr. Guité that there is a political connection between these communication companies and the government. It is necessary for the government to immediately launch an independent public inquiry into this sponsorship program.

    The people of Quebec are entitled to know what went on. In the coming months, we will continue to call for an independent public inquiry in order to get to the bottom of this.

    There is one other truly shameful example. As I have said, I cannot help but regret the total absence of any commitment on the part of the Liberal government to keeping its promises. In the last campaign, the government made a great deal of its promise to build two bridges in connection with highway 30. Unfortunately, that promise quickly turned into a mere commitment to do the work.

    Still today, they are saying that it is a priority, that something will be done soon. Last week, the MInister of Transport responded to our query by saying that it is currently carrying out environmental studies. Signature of a memorandum of agreement with Quebec is far from a reality, although Quebec has been ready to sign since January 2001.

    When will this government come up with the necessary funds to keep its promise to finish highway 30 and build those bridges?

    There is no longer any doubt about it, the government has no intention of investing in Quebec, as promised two years ago. It is, therefore, up to the Bloc Quebecois to keep after the government about following through on its promises. That is what we have done so far and what we will continue to do, for as long as it takes.

    The Bloc Quebecois has questioned the government about this on numerous occasions, and every time we have been given evasive answers.

    In the House on October 1 of this year, the Minister of Transport told us there would soon be an agreement with the government of Quebec and the private sector. He did not, however, specify the timeframe nor the intention of signing the agreement in question. I can well understand how confused the public must be hearing such double-speak, and I can understand as well that some people are getting bitter about this backing down.

    One day, the government tells us that the extension of highway 30 and the building of two bridges are priorities, but the next day, it is a total void. Who can we trust? Certainly not this government. Certainly not those who have reduced this promise to a work commitment, and certainly not those who have so casually put aside the development of a region and the development of all of Quebec as a a priority. It is incredible that they make such promises and fail to keep them. We hear that environmental studies have just begun. In Quebec City, we are ready. I ask the federal government to put some money in.

    I remember very well that, in the last throne speech, the strategic infrastructure fund was created. We know where the government got the money. The money was taken from the surplus. We know that, in March 2002, there was a surplus of almost $10 billion. Until the last minute, we asked that money be put into the strategic infrastructure fund to finalize highway 30, but none was.

    My colleague from Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques is also still waiting for money from the fund to finalize highway 185. This is a matter that should not be forgotten. However, to come back to highway 30, the promise that was made should not be forgotten either.

  +-(1540)  

+-

    Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the remarks made by the member for Châteauguay. I see that solidarity is very important, and this kind of solidarity exists between our ridings. We were both victims of the same thing in our ridings. Promises were made in the 2000 election campaign with regard to federal contributions to the highway system. Both regions were promised massive investments. We are talking here about huge amounts of money that are necessary for highway improvement. However, two years later, that money has yet to be found. It is a bit of an odd situation.

    I would also like to say a few words about the concern expressed by the member for Châteauguay with respect to inquiries. How will the issue of political responsibility in the sponsorship scandal be resolved? Today, we are being told that these inquiries can be conducted by the RCMP.

    I would like to ask the member for Châteauguay if he thinks that the government's position seems to be that the RCMP will now conduct political inquiries in Canada. Does the government want to turn the RCMP into a political police because it has to conduct inquiries on the political implication of certain people in the system?

    I would like to hear what my colleague from Châteauguay has to say on that subject. Is there not another solution than that of an independent public inquiry to clarify these issues? Even though it conducts the best police investigations in the world, the RCMP is not mandated to conduct inquiries into the political behaviour of the government. This must be done at another level that is totally independent from the government.

    I would like my colleague from Châteauguay to share his views on that.

  +-(1545)  

+-

    Mr. Robert Lanctôt: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

    Today we heard a ridiculous answer regarding this ridiculous situation. We are calling for a public inquiry that would be transparent and independent to look into all the problems associated with the sponsorship program. We heard the comments made by the former vice-president of Groupaction on a Montreal television station. Now we are being told that these matters are the subject of a police inquiry, which will become a judicial inquiry.

    However, a police and judicial inquiry is not a political inquiry. The RCMP's mandate will not be changed to transform this police inquiry into a political inquiry. If a conflict of interest does exist, then we are not talking about a political inquiry, but about a police and judicial inquiry.

    The problem is this. When there start to be serious connections, the only way for the people of Quebec and the rest of Canada to realize how complex and strong the connections are between the politicians and these communications firms is to simply and immediately set up a public, independent and transparent inquiry. Every time we raise this issue, we are told “A police investigation is under way”.

    Let us not forget, as I mentioned earlier, that there were irregularities in 130 contracts. That is the figure we have? Again, the internal report prepared by Public Works and Government Services was not made public.

    In other words, we are dealing with the same people who carried out the internal investigation in 2000, and nothing has happened. The opposition, especially the Bloc Quebecois, and even the media had to carry out their own investigations before the government decided to act.

    The people watching us have seen several heads roll. I will not go over the list of ministers who were brought down. Another minister was linked to this issue and he cannot tell us that he is not aware of the situation. When we started to ask questions after his appointment, we gave him enough time to look into this. But all he is doing right now is referring the contracts to the RCMP and setting up internal investigations.

    Yesterday, the day before and last week, we heard from the vice-president of Groupaction and from Mr. Charles Guité that the Prime Minister's office was involved. This speaks for itself.

    We need a public, independent and transparent inquiry. Only then will the people of Quebec and of Canada find out what really happened.

[English]

+-

    Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the debate. This is a great opportunity to respond to the Speech from the Throne. There are a number of really good initiatives in the speech. The Prime Minister in his wisdom has laid out some direction and encouragement, which I think Canadians need to take note of.

    In the few minutes available to me, if I may, I will talk about one aspect, which is the environment and the challenge of climate change. We have had quite a summer in Canada. In Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan we have witnessed very severe drought conditions. In southern Manitoba we have had flooding. In southern Ontario we had an extended hot and dry summer. Average Canadians, much like those of us in here, feel there is something wrong about the weather but they are not quite sure of the cause, because respected scientists dispute the cyclical patterns of weather.

    There does, however, seem to be mounting evidence that there is an accelerated rate of change which will result in exponential impacts beyond straight line graphs. Heretofore we thought that weather change would go up slightly or in a straight line fashion. In fact, the effects start to heap on the effects and the result is that it ceases to be a straight line graph and we end up having accelerated change in weather patterns, which gives respected scientists and ordinary Canadians alike cause to be concerned.

    In Toronto, we had pretty well lousy air for most of the summer. It was hot, sticky and polluted. Hospital admissions were up and puffers sold briskly. That brings me to the subject of Kyoto. A lot of people seem to think that if we sign Kyoto suddenly the air will be clean, the sun will shine and all will be right with the world. Regrettably, however, that is not true.

    Kyoto is a treaty that is designed to deal with CO2 emissions and, while polluting in and of themselves, they are by no means the only contributor to smog. Smog is made up of a lot of things, not only CO2. Even if today we were able to magically cleanse the air of CO2 emissions, we would still have a significant smog problem in Toronto.

    The treaty is designed to reduce emissions and therefore reduce the effect of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere. That in turn would reduce the environment in which smog is created, but it would not eliminate smog in and of itself. Unfortunately, even if the treaty were implemented and had an impact, it would not have a huge impact on cities like Toronto. Half of our emissions come from across the U.S. border. Canada's entire emissions constitute only 2% of the world's total. So it is important to remember that even if Kyoto were implemented today, Toronto's air would not be substantially different. So why forge ahead? Why put the treaty in front of Parliament for ratification?

    The simple answer is that we are part of the world community. Because we are part of the world community, we cannot carry on doing what we are doing. We cannot continue to send these kinds of CO2 emissions up into the atmosphere without some major, significant impact upon our environment.

    At one level Kyoto is about the environment, but at another it is really about an economic impact and a wealth redistribution. Unfortunately, we have enough alarmists on both sides of the debate to scare us into apocalyptic paralysis. It makes it very difficult to see the truth and to respond in any rational form.

  +-(1550)  

    While the environmental impact of such a treaty may be modest, we also have to ask ourselves whether the economic impact will also be modest. The answer seems to be that it depends. That is not a very satisfactory answer at this stage, but it really does depend. It gets very difficult for the government to lay out a plan because it really depends on a whole bunch of variables that are not easily quantifiable.

    In some manner, it becomes almost an article of faith. Is one a Kyoto believer or a Kyoto atheist? Personally I am more in the category of agnostic, which I think is probably an atheist without any courage. It appears to depend on the mixture of regulations, incentives and new technologies.

    Let me give the House a picture of what Canada is facing and then talk about some of the representations that have been made to me over the course of the summer by very able people and which I hope may set us upon a path of enlightened self-interest.

    Kyoto requires Canada to reduce its emissions to 6% below the 1990 levels. That means 240 megatonnes of CO2. About 50 megatonnes will be taken care of by current programs and another 24 megatonnes by carbon sinks. That leaves a shortfall of about 165 megatonnes and this is where it gets controversial.

    The first controversy is the credit for clean fossil fuel exports such as natural gas. In other words, the argument is that if we export clean fuels, why should we not get the credit for it? I suppose the counter argument, though, is that if we export dirty fuels such as coal then possibly we should be penalized.

    What our target will be will depend on the outcome of that debate and those negotiations. The gap between 165 megatonnes and the argument about whether we get credits for these fuel exports is quite substantial. It is the difference between 165 megatonnes and 96 megatonnes.

    The second controversy is the pace of economic growth. If the economy leaps ahead, way beyond predictions, then the CO2 emissions will actually increase and all of our assumptions will be skewered. Similarly, if the economy does not grow at predicted rates, the burden of Kyoto will become even more than it is presently predicted to be.

    The third controversy is in the wild and whacky world of trading emissions. The genius of Kyoto is that it forces CO2 emissions into the bottom line. Every country and every company, one way or another, is going to have to account for the cost of its emissions. Some will be able to research their way out of the problem by actual emissions reductions, but some will have to trade their way out and purchase credits either domestically or internationally. This will lead to some bizarre consequences. Domestically, companies will have to purchase credits from companies that have credits even if that means feeding the competition's bottom line.

    Good, we might say. Not always. Without credits, some companies are simply not viable. It actually may end up distorting another market by propping up a company that is otherwise not viable and should have been out of business years ago but survives because it has credits to sell. How much sense does that make?

    Internationally, it is even crazier. Our companies or Canada as a nation will have to go on the open market and buy credits from countries like Russia or Mexico, both of which will have credits to sell even though in the case of Russia it is arguably the most environmentally degraded country in the world. We also know about Russia's somewhat casual regard for government integrity and the rule of law. The likelihood is that we will be buying our credits from the Russian mafia to meet our Kyoto requirements. How much of that money do we think will actually go to environmental cleanup or the re-industrialization of Russia? Try to explain that to the ladies in the church basement.

  +-(1555)  

    Recently the General Motors representatives were in my office. I thought they had a fairly enlightened approach, but they also had a very realistic approach. As we know GM is a very important company, both internationally and in the economies of Ontario and Canada. GM will be faced with Kyoto. Of course any company immediately asks what this will cost, what the targets will be and how we will achieve those targets.

    The setting of the targets will have to be fairly nuanced. If we set it too high, GM may ask itself why it does not build those trucks or cars in the United States and then ship them back to Canada. If the target is too low then it is business as usual and the goal of Kyoto will not be achieved. It becomes a bit of a bean-counter's delight. If the target is x million dollars, GM can do several things: research and application of the research, which is good; retrofit car factories, which sounds good; move to Michigan, which does not sound so good; get government credits and grants, which can be good or bad; buy credits from the Russian mafia, which is not so good; or buy credits from Mexico, which is not so good either. It is reasonable to expect that GM will act in its own self-interest. Unfortunately, that may or may not coincide with Canada's self-interest.

    Let me give another example. Suncor is a large company involved in the tar sands. Members may or may not know that Suncor is a large retailer of gasoline in Ontario. It has 16% of the Ontario market. It is also the only retailer in Ontario that ethanolizes its gas. Every litre we buy at a Sunoco station has 10% ethanol in it. For the purposes of emissions that is the equivalent of removing 20,000 cars a day from Ontario's roads. It is very significant and is something to be pursued because transportation is the second largest source of Ontario's emissions after the pollution from the United States is accounted for.

    Ethanolizing fuel is a very attractive idea. We should just ask the farmers, who would love to sell more product to Suncor. It is a win-win situation. It does something for the environment, we have happy farmers, and it is a good alternative technology. But here is where it gets tricky. At the present time Sunoco is able to add its voluntary 10% ethanol because of the forgiveness of excise tax. However, if we mandate a level of 5% or 2% or whatever, the price of the product will immediately shoot up because refining capacity and resource capacity will have to be created.

    The result would be that Suncor would have to import more corn from places like Iowa and reduce its voluntary commitment down to the mandated level, i.e. from 10% down to 5% or 2%, as the case may be. If the mandated level were to be 5% ethanol, for the purposes of emissions that would be the equivalent of Suncor putting 10,000 cars back on the road. So much for good corporate citizenship. Importing from the U.S. to meet our Kyoto requirements is, I am sure we all agree, quite ironic, and putting 10,000 cars back on the road for the purposes of emissions makes no sense at all.

    I have indicated that I am an agnostic because frankly I do not know how the concerns of General Motors and Suncor will be addressed. May I emphasize that in both instances they want to be Kyoto compliant? They are very concerned.

    Another example is that of a chemical based industry in my riding. It does about $1 billion a year in business and accounts for about 500 to 700 employees, with 70% of its product exported. That is not insignificant. The company wants to know how the Kyoto guidelines will apply to it. It is heavily into research and development because, frankly, it costs money to shoot the emissions up through the smokestacks. However, it is getting to the point where cost effective research gains are getting to be more and more difficult to come by. The company is worried that it will have to buy emissions credits.

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    Where will the company get the money to buy emissions credits? Presumably from all areas of the company, including the research budget.

    How ironic that research into emissions reductions will be curtailed by the necessity of purchasing credits from the Russian mafia.

    That brings me to another problem. All these companies in my riding are branch offices. Canada will be the only country in the western hemisphere to be under Kyoto obligations. It is very difficult to understand how, in the short term at least, that will help with our competitiveness.

    My colleagues think that we can be faster, smarter and cleaner. I hope they are right. Unfortunately, corporate Canada's productivity numbers do not support such an optimistic blind faith. I am still an agnostic.

    I have another example. Members may or may not be aware that Ontario Hydro is on its way to privatization. It does seem to be something of shall we say a jerky road, but one thing we know as consumers is that as of last month our bills are a great deal higher.

    Ontario Hydro basically generates its electricity from four or five sources: hydro, which of course is water and gravity; nuclear; natural gas; coal; and alternative sources. The cheapest form of electricity obviously is hydro but hydro is limited in Ontario so there will not be any more significant capacity brought on stream through hydro.

    For the purposes of Kyoto emissions, nuclear power is probably the best alternative because it has no emissions of CO2. However, as we well know, there are other problems.

    One-third of OPG's capacity is due to fossil fuels and that accounts for 7% of Ontario's emissions. Ontario Hydro is in a very difficult situation because it does need to address the fossil fuels. It cannot really turn to nuclear as a viable alternative. Hydro does not have a greater capacity available to it. Alternative sources, which we all hope for, such as windmills and things of that nature, can address part of the problem but not nearly all of the problem.

    Finally, the economic modelling suggests that Canada's economy will be 0.6% smaller in 2012 if Kyoto is adopted. This does not sound like a great deal of money but it translates into $7.2 billion over 10 years. In Ontario's case, its economy will be reduced by 0.4%. Members will have to pardon me but I am from Missouri when it comes to economic modelling.

    The finance department projections, for instance, going forward one year, are very suspect, let alone 10 year projections. For instance, the economists that the minister of finance turned to last year to project as to the economic growth in Canada for the year 2002 predicted that Canada's economy would grow between 1.1% and 1.5%.

    The numbers are almost in and in fact the economy grew at something in the order of 3.3% to 3.5%.

    An hon. member: Bravo.

    Mr. John McKay: My hon. colleague says bravo and we all applaud the strength of the Canadian economy. Put two economists in a room and we will probably get three opinions. It is sort of the same with politicians.

    Many of the assumptions are necessarily unknowable, particularly with those new technologies that are coming on stream.

    In summary, climate change appears to be on us. The problem is that Kyoto may not do what Canadians expect it to do, namely, to reduce smog. It may reduce conditions that create smog but it will not necessarily reduce smog. This is an economic treaty as much as it is an environmental treaty. There needs to be a mixture of incentives, credits and tax concerns.

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    The matter of the law of unintended consequences prevails in all matters. It is very hard to produce a clear and precise plan because so many of the variables are unknown. There is a tremendous upside to this treaty.

    I think the Prime Minister has done us a great favour and has shown terrific political courage in putting this issue into the Speech from the Throne. If he had not set this target, I do not think any of us would be here today debating the matter.

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    Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the comments made by the member for Scarborough East and we need to deal with a few things.

    If the U.S. is not going to be involved in this treaty, what effect will that have on our economy? What exactly does non-compliance mean? What is the penalty to a country that does not comply with this treaty? Regarding the purchase of credits, would it not be better to take the money that is going to be sent outside of Canada to reduce emissions in foreign countries and spend it in Canada and thereby have a Canada made solution to this issue?

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    Mr. John McKay: Madam Speaker, I will answer my colleague's questions in the reverse order.

    I think the purchase of credits is the absolute last thing we want to do. The last thing we want to purchase is an international credit because the money is gone. Domestically that is not a terrific idea either but at least the money is staying in the country. I agree with my colleague on that point.

    With regard to non-compliance and what it will actually mean, the treaty will mean nothing whatsoever for countries that do not sign. However for those countries that do sign the treaty the non-compliance provision presumably will have some financial penalty to it but I am not aware of what the exact penalty might be.

    His other question concerned the effect on our economy if the United States did not sign. As I said in my speech, Canada at this point will be the only country in the western hemisphere that will have signed the treaty. That will create some difficulties for us, although, interestingly, both Michigan and California are ahead of the federal government and ahead of the Bush administration in terms of expecting Kyoto compliance with respect to a lot of the things they are doing. It may be Kyoto by the back door rather than Kyoto by the front door.

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Madam Speaker, I note that my hon. colleague dealt with the Kyoto accord but I would like to ask him another question with regard to the Speech from the Throne.

    Reference was made in the throne speech to the possible decriminalization of marijuana. This would be one of the biggest mistakes Canada could ever make for our young people.

    I worked with young people. I took some of them out of the alleyways and brought them into the building in which I was working. I talked to 32 young students who told me they were being given marijuana to smoke during their lunch hour.

    About four Christmas Eve's ago a young man came to my door and thanked me for taking him out of the alleyway. He said that if I had not done that for him he would still be on cocaine. He told me that his mom and dad asked him to thank me.

    Decriminalizing marijuana would be a very dangerous way to go with our young people. What does my hon. colleague think about the possible decriminalization of marijuana in Canada?

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    Mr. John McKay: Madam Speaker, I certainly expected to cover a variety of topics from Kyoto to marijuana.

    I have not had the opportunity to read the report produced by the Senate, nor have I read the report that is being produced by other colleagues. Having said that, I am also from Missouri on the point of decriminalization and/or legalization of marijuana.

    I am not overly persuaded that the gains of decriminalization will actually translate into a lesser criminal activity. It may well be argued that what will actually happen is that low level marijuana will be decriminalized but those involved in organized crime will actually increase the potency of marijuana thereby creating a greater addictive effect.

    Decriminalization might or might not be part of the answer. I would like to see the reports and the evidence before I come down firmly on that point.

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    Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, the hon. member actually gave a sincere presentation in the House with regard to Kyoto and at least thought it out in terms of the pros and cons.

    Before I get to my question, I did note that three times during his presentation he noted that we would be trading with the Russian mafia. With all due respect, I was wondering why the Russian mafia was brought up three times and whether that was where we were moving in terms of trading partners.

    I want to specifically address his points on Kyoto. He noted that there would be negotiations with regard to green credits and exporting that to the U.S. Who will the Prime Minister negotiate that with seeing that the agreement itself does not call for that? He has told the international community and has put his word on the line that he will sign the agreement. How will he then be able to come back to this country and say that there might be this clause for green credits? How does he reconcile that?

    How does the hon. member stand with regard to the agreement? Will the Prime Minister turn his back on the promise he made to the international community or will he introduce new rules that we make up in Canada? If that is the case, does every country get to make up new rules?

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    Mr. John McKay: Madam Speaker, on the issue of the Russian mafia, the way the treaty works is that there was a freeze date, which I think is 1990. The happy circumstance for Russia was that its economy and its industries had collapsed. For the purposes of Kyoto, it has a huge number of credits to sell, which will be a valuable market commodity. We have seen what happens to valuable market commodities in Russia. If people want oil, they go see this person. If they want diamonds, they go see that person, et cetera. Hence my three references to the Russian mafia.

    As to green credits, the member raised an interesting point. I believe he was referring to the issue of exporting clean fuels and trying to obtain credits for that. As I said in my speech, there is an enormous gap between 96 and 165. That is a lot of megatonnes to make up if in fact the Prime Minister's argument does not work.

    In some respects we should get behind the Prime Minister and try to get those credits, yet at the same time it does seem to be a bit of a disingenuous argument.

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    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the hon. member who has a degree in law, who is a lawyer and who must give a lot of people a lot of advice, which I hope is good advice in most cases. If any group of people or any business asked that gentleman what he thought about going into this venture, I am sure the first thing he would ask is “Exactly how do you plan to do it?”

    Is it a wise idea to ratify something without a plan on how it will be implemented? It sounds very strange to me that someone would want to do that.

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    Mr. John McKay: Madam Speaker, as a practising lawyer I had one rule and one rule only: Never give away free advice. I will speak to the hon. member afterward.

    He raises a good point, which is where is the plan. I say to the hon. member that even if the Prime Minister tabled the plan in Parliament today, it would be highly suspect and for the reasons that I went into.

    Necessarily the economic assumptions and variables are very suspect. It is very difficult to predict what the economy will be doing next year, let alone alone 5, 10 or 15 years out.

    I have a lot of sympathy with the government in its difficulties in arriving at a plan, arriving at an economic modelling and arriving at an environmental modelling. Even the environmental sciences are changing as we speak. If we were debating this six months ago, we would be talking about straight line graphs on environmental degradation. We are now talking about exponential graphs on environmental degradation.

    I have a lot of sympathy with the government trying to wrestle, not only its own head around these issues but also other jurisdictions that have to be brought onside. I am little more sympathetic to the position that the government finds itself in than possibly the member on the other side.

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    Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Surrey Central.

    I am pleased to reply to the Speech from the Throne and represent all the constituents of Saanich--Gulf Islands.

    Let us remember why we have a Speech from the Throne. It is because Canada is a constitutional monarchy, one with a proud and democratic tradition of elected representation.

    I remain a strong supporter of Her Majesty and her successors. In becoming a member of Parliament I swore an oath of allegiance to the crown. I take that oath seriously. I support the monarchy as a strong and positive part of our heritage binding us together as one people. Our constitutional monarchy has changed over the centuries. It holds relevance and value to everyday Canadians to this day.

    The Minister of Finance's behaviour during Her Majesty's visit has been a complete disgrace. Such blatant republicanism from a minister of the crown is reprehensible at the best of times and during a visit from our Queen, it is beyond reproach.

    The apology for his insult came five days too late and was both evasive and insincere. Canada loves Her Majesty but it is her office we stand for, not just her person. The finance minister could not support the woman and could not support the throne.

    There is an awful lot not to like in the throne speech but I will keep my comments limited due to the constraints of time.

    I will begin with Kyoto. I listened to the member for Scarborough East who raised significant concerns all through his speech. I hope that those concerns will be enough that he cannot support it and he can convince his colleagues not to as well.

    Throughout the throne speech the government promised to ensure a clean water supply and to protect Canada's abundance of potable water but I question its commitment to the promise. The United Nations estimates that by 2015, 40% of the world's population will have an inadequate supply of drinking water.

    As the world's largest source of drinking water, Canada must be a careful steward. It is estimated it could cost anywhere from $27 billion to $30 billion over the next 10 years to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of drinking water in Canada. Unfortunately the government is also committed to signing the ill-considered Kyoto accord.

    Unlike water quality issues, there is considerable scientific uncertainty about the Kyoto accord and whether it would have any effect on preventing global warming. The costs of Kyoto are estimated anywhere from $40 billion and up and up to 450,000 jobs could be lost. For a fraction of $40 billion, we could do a lot of environmental good.

    We could ensure Canada's long term needs for drinkable water. We could be investing in alternative fuel sources and cleaning up harmful particulates in our air and water. Instead the government wants to score cheap political points through grandiose schemes like Kyoto, which might suit the Prime Minister's legacy but do nothing for Canadians and next to nothing for the environment.

    A strong environmental policy is only possible with a strong fiscal climate. Kyoto will damage our industry but not rescue our environment. It is the worst of both worlds. Working Canadians simply cannot afford to lose $40 billion in such a pointless exercise. Kyoto will spend money needed to solve real environmental problems with real environmental solutions like water quality and air pollutants.

    The member for Scarborough East talked about the Russian mafia, buying tax credits and how there is no plan. He raised a lot of concerns and I agree with those concerns.

    If we asked people whether they wanted us to clean up the air, I am sure every member in the House and virtually every Canadian would raise their hand. We must do that but the Kyoto accord is not the way. I would argue there is a much better way. We should be looking at legislation, which is being completely ignored, to protect things like our potable water.

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    Another issue which is very important is the softwood lumber dispute and trade. The throne speech says the following:

We are better positioned than at any time in the last three decades to seize the opportunities of the global economy and to weather a short term slowing of growth experienced by Canada's major trading partners.

    Really. Our biggest trading partner is the United States with 85% of our trade, something like $1.5 billion a day. Frankly, we have been anything but successful in competing with it. Throughout the 1990s the productivity gap between Canada and the United States has widened to 19%. In 2001 Canada was only 81% as productive as the United States, down 5% since the government took office.

    This productivity gap has caused a decline in our dollar and an overall reduction in our standard of living compared to that of our friends south of us. In 1965 real per capita income was equal to our American friends; now we are 40% behind. We have a Canadian peso thanks to the government.

    U.S. lumber tariffs are costing Canada over $2 billion annually. My home province of British Columbia has been hit hardest. The government's response has been to give up on our forestry workers.

    We should be helping our forestry workers get through these tough times. As we pursue our cases at NAFTA and the WTO, we should be providing forestry companies with loan guarantees. We should be standing behind them just as we stood behind Bombardier and the aerospace industry when it was facing unfair trade practices with Embraer in Brazil.

    When the major part of the problem is out on the other side of the country in British Columbia, where is our government? It is not there. Instead it has come up with a plan but I think it is the wrong plan. Yes, it will help some and there will be some retraining. It is like what we saw with the collapse of the fisheries on the east coast. The government spent $3 billion paying fishermen to sit at home and wait for the fish to come back instead of looking at the real problem. Again, with the forestry workers the government is trying to offer a retraining package and juggle some money that is already in some departments, put it back in and say people will be taken out of the forestry industry.

    Canada can compete. We have some of the best people in the world. We have the talent. We have the resources. We just need government to get off its backside and create an economic climate and provide the legislation. We need a government that will go to the wall.

    We need a Prime Minister that does not sour our relationships with the Americans at every turn in the road so that we do not lose the favoured trading status with our American friends. Unfortunately, we have a Prime Minister who prefers to poke a stick in the eye of the President of the United States of America every chance he gets.

    I want to mention something very important about the military. The military has served our country so proudly and admirably, but guess what? It is missing from the throne speech. Regarding the state of our military, the Auditor General has been warning the government for years that our military infrastructure is close to collapse.

    Our forces fly around in 40-year-old helicopters simply because the government refuses to admit, not that it made a mistake but that for pure political reasons it cancelled the contract. The helicopters needed to be replaced. It was the right thing to do at the time. Now the contract has been split, the political masters are interfering on how this procurement should happen and it is turning out to be a disaster again.

    The 443 Helicopter Squadron is based in my riding in Sydney. These good men and women put their lives on the line for our country. They deserve our support.

    The Canadian Alliance would commit to an immediate increase of $15 billion to $20 billion over the next 10 years to address the Canadian Forces structural and personel deficits. The leader of our party has made this point very clear. The Canadian Alliance cares about the lives of our troops and we care about the longevity of the Canadian Forces.

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    In conclusion, I would like to offer Canadians a different vision than the one that was set out in the throne speech.

    Canadians are looking for practical solutions to the challenges we face, including: lowering our taxes, not just talking about it or claiming that is the case when there is no real tax reduction on our paycheques; looking at the debt; government waste, which is a huge problem; promoting economic growth and jobs; reforming health care; protecting our sovereignty; and strengthening our families. These are the values Canadians are looking for. Sadly, our government has failed them in the throne speech.

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    Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, the hon. member throughout his dissertation mentioned the United States trading practices and what has been happening lately. Other than softwood lumber, there is the dumping of steel into the United States. There are ongoing Wheat Board issues. There are border staff issues with regard to the supply of appropriate people to move the traffic through our communities and to trade expeditiously. As well there is the racial profiling of Canadians who actually have their citizenship in our country and are practising in different professions in the United States.

    There are massive subsidies in the United States. It is competing and taking auto jobs from Canada by dumping millions of dollars and taking the factories out of our communities. Softwood tariffs, as the hon. member has noted, are up to 27%, and a number of companies have moved causing a loss of jobs in our communities.

    What specific actions would the hon. member take to improve the U.S. trade relations with Canada so that these actions would not happen?

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    Mr. Gary Lunn: Madam Speaker, again I emphasize that 86% of our trade, $1.5 billion a day, causes our economy to be directly dependent on the United States. I would start by creating a good relationship with the U.S. administration, unlike what we see today. Many people out there who are experts in this matter have said that our Prime Minister is the absolute worst at Canada-U.S. relations. It is something we have to work on.

    When there are unfair trade practices as was mentioned regarding some of the agricultural issues, softwood lumber and the steel file, and there are a lot of them, we need people who will go down to Washington and fight for Canadians to make sure that we are successful. Unfortunately it all stems back to the relationship our Prime Minister has or has not developed with the U.S. administration. It goes back to the election of the current U.S. administration when the Prime Minister's own nephew was cheering publicly for the Democrats. It goes on and on from there.

    When the Prime Minister pokes a stick in the eye of the U.S. administration, one would ask why should it give us the time of day. The United States has other countries it can trade with. It has an excellent relationship that it is developing with Mexico. Unless we work at the relationship, unless we fight hard for Canadians but also develop that relationship, there could be a very serious, long term economic impact on the country and it will all rest squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister.

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Madam Speaker, I am sure the hon. member knows that in my riding we have the most modern shipyard there is in Canada. That shipyard built the frigates for our navy. The shipyard has sat idle now for over two years. The men that all worked there, and almost 4,000 people were working there, are now on welfare and their hearts are broken. The government is stating that it wants to purchase or rent ships from another country.

    Does the hon. member think that we should be building our own ships right here, not just frigates but all of the ships that we need, for the Coast Guard, for our navy and for our armed forces?

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    Mr. Gary Lunn: Madam Speaker, aside from the member's great charm that we have in common, I also have shipyards in my riding, in greater Victoria.

    The member will also know that we have some of the finest and the most talented shipbuilders anywhere in the world. We can compete. It is an utter disgrace that the government would go outside our sovereign country to purchase ships.

    The government has not done its job not only in procurement for our own shipbuilders but in creating an economic climate where we can be the best in the world and shipping ships all over the world. Again, it rests squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and his administration. It is an absolute utter disgrace.

    The shipbuilding industry out on the west coast has also been hampered as it has been in Saint John and there is no need for it. Again, we have the resources and the talent. We have some of the finest and the best shipwrights in the world but unfortunately, we have a government that would rather send them a welfare cheque than have them shipping ships all over the world.

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    Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague on the issue of the Kyoto, to which he and other speakers have referred. Two per cent of all greenhouse gases are caused by Canada, but countries causing 65% of greenhouse gases are not even signing on to this accord, notably China, India, the U.S., Mexico and so on. On the whole issue of buying credits from third world countries and so on, there are proponents of the agreement who have said that this is really more about transferring wealth to third world countries, whether intentional or inadvertent, that this is the whole outcome of the thing. I would appreciate the member's comment on that.

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    Mr. Gary Lunn: Madam Speaker, the whole issue of trading credits is just a bad idea. The whole agreement is bad. We have to go 6% below 1990 levels. Big countries like Australia are going 8% above. Countries like Russia are good because of their economic state. It is just a bad, bad mess. It was ill-considered. We went there with the objective to just one-up the Americans. When Canadians know the facts about the Kyoto accord they will rise up, I believe very strongly, and tell our Prime Minister what a bad deal this is. Time will be the test.

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    Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central to debate the Speech from the Throne.

    Throne speeches ought to be the Liberal Government of Canada's vision for the future, a vision that should provide guidelines and inspiration for the future, a vision that sets a framework around which budgets can be developed. However, this throne speech has no plan or no details. It is simply recycled from past Liberal agendas. It is a recycling of promises that were broken in the past and that I am sure will be broken in the future.

    This throne speech shows so many empty promises. The Liberal government's so-called legacy seems to be the repackaging of past failures, but one thing I absolutely agree with is that the Prime Minister and the former finance minister seem to be policy soulmates.

    The Liberal government's vision appears to be absolutely unclear and blurred and its priorities are misplaced. Therefore, the Liberals' ad hoc, unfocused, undisciplined approach to spending will not benefit Canadians. The highest quality of life and economic prosperity can be achieved if spending is applied to those initiatives and Canadians get value for their money. No wonder Canada's relative standard of living has fallen from the fourth highest of OECD countries in 1990 to eighth in the most recent OECD survey.

    In Canada taxes are already too high and affect our competitiveness, work effort, productivity, savings and investment. Health care, defence, agriculture, the environment and many other issues will continue to suffer and be ignored. Patronage, scandals, corruption, subsidies and pork barrelling will not stop.

    As official opposition critic on the scrutiny of regulations and in fact the past co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations, I will be dealing with a particular issue. I believe that the vision of the government and getting its priorities right is related to listening to Canadians and their elected representatives. In other words, we need to implement democratic reforms. The Canadian Alliance and its predecessor party have been raising the issue of democratic reform for a very long time. There is too much concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office. Our elected dictatorship rules, not governs, the country. During the last election 68% of Canadians did not approve of the government's vision.

    This leads me to the other issue of parliamentary reform. The influence, input and the role of Parliament and parliamentarians is diminishing. Free votes in Parliament are very rare. Efficiency, effectiveness and the work of standing committees are in disarray. An elected, effective and equal Senate is not in sight.

    Also, private members' business is counterproductive. It continues to be like a pacifier given to quiet a baby. The baby keeps sucking and nothing comes out of it. Similarly, members of Parliament keep working hard on their private members' business but no meaningful result comes out of it. The most important job of the 301 members of Parliament in the House and the 105 senators in the Canadian Parliament is to formulate and update legislation.

    It is still Parliament's duty to hold the executive branch of the government accountable, but perhaps only 20% of Canadian law is made in Parliament. The remaining 80% is added through the back door by way of thousands of regulations made by the executive branch of the government. Regulations are neither debated nor subjected to public scrutiny. Many regulations contain matters of policy that are never even debated in parliament. Therefore, in democratic reform, parliamentary reform is an integral part, and in parliamentary reform, regulatory reform is the most important component, which has been ignored for far too long by everyone, including the media.

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    There may be many Canadians, including parliamentarians, my colleagues, and the members of the media, who are not aware of the direct and indirect costs of the regulatory burden, or what is commonly called red tape. According to a report, Canadians have to spend $103 billion per year to comply with federal, provincial and municipal regulations. That is 12% of our GDP or $13,700 per household, an expense second only to shelter. This cost exceeds total personal and corporate income taxes collected by the federal government.

    Red tape is hidden taxes and is a costly impediment to productivity and growth. In addition to restricting people's freedom to make their own choices, rules and regulations dampen innovation, discourage investment, stifle entrepreneurship, weaken competitiveness, curtail jobs and lower the standard of living. According to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey, businesses believe that government regulations have had a negative impact on their ability to run a profitable and productive operation, with 66% of respondents saying they felt that it was the federal government's fault.

    Provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia already have recognized this limitation in our democracy and have been working hard on moving from red tape to smart tape, and from smart tape to smart government. They have eliminated duplicate, expired and counterproductive regulations. Countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, New Zealand and France already are on the path to regulatory reform. It is the federal Liberal government that is lagging light years behind other jurisdictions. Scrutiny of regulations is thus an essential task in protecting democracy, restoring transparency and legitimacy, and controlling bureaucracy.

    I have reintroduced my private member's bill, Bill C-202, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act, calling on the House to give the disallowance procedure for regulations a statutory footing. It is a votable bill, a non-partisan issue and a necessity, and many members from all parties enthusiastically support it. It was even seconded by a colleague from the Liberal side of the House. I have raised this issue of regulatory reform on many occasions both in the House and outside. The Speech from the Throne briefly mentioned it and I am waiting to see what action the government will take and how soon.

    Let me suggest or recommend the following to the Prime Minister for his to do list. Draft regulations and other statutory instruments should be tabled along with legislation and debated in the House. They should also be referred to the appropriate standing committee of the House. The realistic alternatives to regulations, such as negotiated compliance, should be explored. The focus of regulations should be results-based outcomes. Regulations should be written in transparent, simple, clear and easy to understand language.

    Cost benefit analysis should be done and published. The regulatory process should be harmonized within various departments as well as with other jurisdictions, including with provincial and municipal governments, for example, environment, fisheries, agriculture, health, labour and transport. Regulatory proposals must include a sunset clause or performance review. Public awareness, consultation and input should be encouraged.

    Since my time is limited, I will go over a few more recommendations. No international regulatory commitments should be entered into without careful regulatory impact analysis to ensure that international proposals are in tune with Canada's interests, for example, the Kyoto protocol. Many times penalties are too low, for example, in relation to the proceeds of crime. Sometimes that nullifies the effects of imposing those regulations in the first place. Canada should introduce a regulatory flexibility act, similar to that of the United States.

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    I have many recommendations, probably 20 more. Since my time is over, I would like to conclude that I regret that the address to Her Excellency has recycled an empty vision, has restored to grandiose rhetoric and intends to implement expensive programs at the cost of Canadians looking for practical solutions to challenges we face, including democratic, parliamentary and regulatory reforms among others.

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    Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Oak Ridges. Since I am likely to get carried away, I am sure Madam Speaker will bring my attention to the limits so that I do not deny time to my colleague.

    I would like to acknowledge and commend the government on a number of things that have been identified in the throne speech, I do not intend the list to be exhaustive, and I would like to touch in particular on some that are very important to me. I also will, at the end, want to bring the attention of the government to the limitations in the throne speech and some of the things that I would like the government to consider between now and next February, when I assume we will see a budget.

    First, in the area of R and D and learning and innovation, I welcome the increase in funding for the granting agencies, although I would bring attention to the fact that there is a need for more research in the social sciences. The social scientists have lagged behind the NSERC and the Medical Research Council, now the CIHR, in the past. I would like to see that remedied as the government attends to reacting to that part of the throne speech before February.

    I welcome the reference to literacy. I support the proposal of the National Science Centres Association to establish a federal program for science centres so that we can encourage kids to be more interested academically at an early age. We have a science centre in Fredericton that is a very useful tool in the community and is deserving of federal support.

    I would like to highlight an issue that is very important to me, and that is access to post-secondary education. There is reference to learning, as I said, in the throne speech, but I would like to the money in scholarship program enhanced. Right now it deals with approximately 10% of students. It simply does not do enough to ensure that young people who have the credentials to go to post-secondary education can do that on an equity level. At the same time it will deny the nation of some of the best minds on the prosperity level. The universities should have a share in the debate around the CHST, which I will speak to around health care in moment.

    There is a reference in the throne speech to the indirect cost program that was introduced in the last budget. It is very important to small and medium sized universities across the country. It deals with the fact that most of our programs require matching funds and not all institutions or regions are allowed to do that.

    Health care is mentioned, and I welcome that. The increased long term funding to the provinces on health care, first ministers meetings and reforming the system are all important. They have had a number of forums in my constituency on the subject. However I think the federal government has to command of the provinces in return for that certain things.

    I would like to see support at both levels of government for a third party audit of some kind so that we can get away from the finger pointing and the backing and forthing on the politics of this and allow the Canadian public to be represented by an impartial third party who can say that the feds are or are not doing enough or the provinces are or not doing enough.

    I welcome the commitment on aboriginal issues. We need to work up a new, more respectful relationship with the first nations and the aboriginal peoples of Canada. In the meantime, while we do that, we have to recognize there are serious social problems across the country for our first nations.

    I also welcome the reference to the importance of environmental issues. I will be supporting the ratification of Kyoto. I welcome the reference to cleaning up some of the heavily polluted sites in Canada.

    I see my colleague from Sydney paying particular attention to this item. I congratulate him for everything he has done, in terms of the cleaning up the city tar ponds.

    On the infrastructure program, I like the idea that the infrastructure program will be longer term and more predictable. I would urge the government to include both universities and heritage and cultural sites as part of that.

    On the question of Canada's place in the world, I welcome the doubling of development funds by 2010, half of which would go to Africa.

    I welcome the international and defence policy review, but this leads me to the weaknesses in the throne speech, as I see them.

    I do not think that we can afford to wait until that review is over before we increase the national defence budget. I have a large military base in my constituency. I deal with the men and women who represent this country well.

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    We all stand up here all the time to talk about that. It is time for us all to recognize it in terms of an increase in the budget. The largest impact is on the men and women who represent us. They are being deployed too often because the size of national defence is shrinking. The reality is that we are not giving back as much as they are giving us and it is time that changed.

    I support my colleague, the chair of the defence committee, for all the work he has done and all the interventions he has made.

    I would like to see us do more for Canadians with disabilities.The disability tax credit is the subject of considerable discussion around this place right now. The government has to rethink its position on that review and it has to do it immediately. Not only that, but the disability tax credit should be refundable. The idea that one has to have earned income to be eligible for a credit that is supposed to recognize the cost of dealing with a disability means that the people who are at the lowest end socially and economically, those who do not earn an income or a taxable income, do not have access to a credit that is supposed to be for people who have to deal with a disability. That is quite unfortunate and it needs to be remedied. I suppose, given the debate taking place around the disability tax credit, this is as good a time as any to remedy that problem.

    I would also like to see more support for the CBC. Right now, as the globe is shrinking, we being pressured from around the world in the context of other influences in terms of how we see ourselves. I like that. It is important that we see ourselves as citizens of the planet and international people, but at the same time I want to hear about us. I want to see about us. I want to know about all parts of the country. As those pressures increase, I think we have to do more from within to ensure that we understand each other as Canadians. I would like to condition my support for an increase however in a more sensitive treatment of the regions by CBC television in particular. My position on that is well known.

    I would also like to see more commitment to regional economic development. There is a lot of reference in the throne speech to the fact that one of its intentions in terms of the Canada we want is to deal with the gaps that exist in Canada between those who are prosperous and those who are not. Some of that has to do with aboriginal Canadians versus the rest of Canada. Some of that has to do with Canadians with disabilities. I mentioned that. A lot of it has to do with ensuring that everybody has access to the education that their capacities and capabilities warrant, and I speak to that. However it also has to do with where we live. I will give an example by going back to the indirect cost program at universities to illustrate this example.

    We have a good program in the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. It is very important to universities in Canada. It is very important to R and D in Canada. However it will only go as far as 40% of the research project. If one lives in Alberta, as does my friend from Wild Rose does, the reality is that it is much easier for that province and the private sector to come up with the 60% that allows the University of Alberta, for example, to access the Canadian Foundation for Innovation as compared to the province of New Brunswick in terms of the private sector and the capacity of the provincial government, to be fair.

    I do not want to see us get rid of matching funds programs. They are important for the country. However, if knowledge is the future of the economic development in this country and innovation, and I believe it is, we need to put programs in place to ensure people will have access to those programs and opportunities regardless of where they live, or where they choose to go to university or where they do their research. That will require more investment in regional economic development kinds of initiatives. It is not stuff that goes back 20 and 30 years. It is research. It is pure. It will mean that we will take our place in Canada. I would very much like to see the national government do more on that front.

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    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, a lot of things the member said we are certainly thinking about, but I really wonder from where he is coming. What track is he at with making statements that apparently did not seem to make any difference in the past and why we would want to continue that trail?

    I am thinking particularly of his comments about how pleased we are that the help to Africa will be doubled, and I am sure that is in terms of dollars, yet we have done this year after year for many years. The member knows, as well as I do, that the problem is no better now that it has been for a long time; the tragedies that are taking place in these countries and the starvation. Yet we have one sector of people who are called the elite who fill their palaces with gold, their Swiss accounts with money, but these countries still have the starving.

    I will ask the member my first question and then a quick one after. Does he not agree that there is not a poverty or rich and poor deficit in these countries? There is a democracy deficit and until they get true democracy and rid themselves of tyrants and dictators, how is it ever going to change; with more dollars?

    Second, when we talk about the difference between some who prosper and some who do not in Canada, right now we have a group of farmers in my region who are not prospering. In fact they are losing their farms. There are bankruptcies as a result of the drought. I did not see the government step forward to the plate with any significant help in terms of this disaster as it has in other disastrous situations.

    Having been part of the justice system as solicitor general in the past, in the member's view is it right that farmers in half of the country go to jail if they sell their grain across the border without a Wheat Board permit when farmers in the other half of the country can sell their grain without a permit? Does that sound fair?

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    Hon. Andy Scott: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the member for Wild Rose, I could not disagree with him more on foreign aid and Canada's responsibilities. I recognize it is a difference of opinion but I believe that we are a prosperous country and I believe that much of our good fortune has been good fortune. That compels us to be citizens of the world and recognize that we have obligations to people who are less fortunate.

    On the question of farm aid, I think my colleague had it whispered in my ear that we had not done enough. He also mentioned also $5 billion. Therefore the reference to nothing is somewhat lacking in credibility when we talk about those kinds of numbers. It may not be enough but I do not think we can refer to it as zero.

    As for whether certain things having to do with the Wheat Board constitute criminality or not, notwithstanding the hon. member's reference to my former vocation, I do not think I ever had to deal with those issues and I do not feel particularly equipped to deal with this.

    However I recognize the member's opinion, but I really believe as Canadians that we do not do near enough internationally in terms of our privileged position on this planet and I do not think I could have my mind changed on that.

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    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank my colleague in the governing party, the member for Fredericton, for his comments and recognize that he was somewhat critical of the throne speech. It was nice to see a member from that side of the House have the gumption to speak out on what he believes to be failures within that speech.

    He mentioned the lack of support for the CBC. I know in the past few days we heard of appointments to CBC by someone whom we felt would probably undermine CBC, if not set it up for further problems. It is good to hear that there is a member on the other side who is willing to push for greater support for the CBC, as well as regional support for CBC.

    It is without question one of the greatest ties the country has had to bring us together. From the time that we were young people on the Prairies, we grew up respecting the culture and heritage of eastern Canada from numerous programs that we watched throughout the year as well as programs from the west coast. I think CBC was as much to Canada as was the railroad. It is crucially important that we continue to recognize that. As we grow as a country it is beneficial to have CBC there as part of that growth. I just want to congratulate him on his comments.

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    Hon. Andy Scott: Mr. Speaker, I will say that my affection for the CBC is commensurate with how well it has treated me.

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    Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on the Speech from the Throne, which outlines the objectives the government has for the coming years. We have to keep in mind that the real flesh, the real detail is in the budget. I will be concentrating my remarks on two areas, on competitive cities and on children and families, which are very important to the constituents of Oak Ridges.

    It is extremely important to remember that the government is committed to balanced budgets or better; to disciplined spending; to a declining debt to GDP ratio; and fair and competitive taxes. We are not on the cusp of spending money we do not have. We are not in the process of doing the things that some colleagues on the other side would suggest we might do.

    Fiscal responsibility is critical in any government. Having come out of that deep $42.5 billion debt that we saw over the years, the government does not intend to go back into it, no matter how much some members on the other side might suggest that we are going to do.

    We need some strong fiscal anchors and we have them. For example, in Canada the GDP growth averaged 5.3% in the first half of this year. In the United States real GDP grew by 3.1%. With respect to employment, over the first eight months the Canadian economy grew by 386,000 new jobs, while U.S. employment remains down 40,000 jobs since December 2001.

    On net foreign indebtedness, we are the only G-7 country paying down the national debt. We paid over $40 billion on the national debt over the last four years. This is something that is very important for members to keep in mind. The fact that Canada is the only G-7 state to be paying down the national debt at over $40 billion is a real accomplishment.

    Canada's net foreign debt as a share of GDP is down to its lowest level since the 1950s, from a peak of 44% of the GDP in 1993 to 19% last year. In contrast, U.S. net foreign debt has been increasing since the early 1990s and recently surpassed the Canadian level.

    Members should not take only my word for it; they should take it from the OECD. The OECD has come out with another report card. It indicates very clearly that Canada is doing extremely well in many fronts economically in terms of our openness to trade and in terms of our macro policies. We are a leader in the OECD, which is extremely important.

    Mr. Myron Thompson: Nonsense.

    Mr. Bryon Wilfert: A member opposite says it is nonsense. Unfortunately, the member probably has not read the OECD report and of course it is nonsense if it is something he has not read.

    Let us look at other issues. When we want to have strong fiscal anchors, private sector economists expect Canadian growth will average 3.5% this year compared to our friends south of the border where it looks like it will be about 2.3%.

    The fact is that we will lead the G-7 in economic growth this year and next. This is an important legacy. The opposition talks a lot about a legacy. The most important legacy under the Prime Minister has been the economic record of getting the fiscal house in order. I know my colleagues would agree that is what is extremely important.

    Regarding the debt, the fact is that by paying down the national debt, we save between $2.5 billion and $3 billion a year on interest, this year, next year and every other year. Why is that important? It gives us the opportunity to deal with some of the urban issues, rural issues, social issues, family issues in this country because the government has been fiscally responsible. That is something Canadians appreciate. That is something Canadians expect their government to do and we are doing it.

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    There are two areas I want to touch on briefly. One is with regard to urban areas, an area of particular concern to me. I live in a very fast growing area of Ontario, an area where there is a lot of congestion and development.

    Over the years I have spoken out very strongly about the need for a solid partnership of all orders of government and the private sector with regard to urban issues. When I was president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities I talked about the need for a 10-year program for urban infrastructure. In fact my good friend from Saint John was there with me. She also supported that and I know she is pleased to see that in the Speech from the Throne. The fact is the government has delivered.

    I would point out that between 1993 when this government came in and 2000, the government funded over 21,000 projects with over $15 billion in urban infrastructure along with our provincial, municipal and private sector partners. This is a major accomplishment. When there is a hole in the roof and it is not repaired, it gets bigger and the same is true with urban infrastructure. If we do not deal with it today, it is going to get worse. We have been responsible in working with our partners to deal with that.

    We also have announced $2 billion in major strategic infrastructure projects dealing with sewer, water treatment and local transportation. These are very important. The Speech from the Throne recognizes that. That is why there is a 10-year program for infrastructure, to accommodate long term infrastructure needs.

    Helping our urban communities respond in a fiscally responsible manner is important. It is important that we have cities that are safe, efficient and environmentally friendly. That is what the government is doing in helping to reduce congestion in our cities.

    Extending investments in affordable housing is extremely important. It is another area where the government is stepping up to the plate and doing its part. It is an important signal in the Speech from the Throne.

    Extending the supporting communities partnership initiative is something that cities have said is extremely important to them. The government has listened and responded accordingly.

    I would be remiss if I did not recognize my good friend the Minister of Labour and her tremendous work on the homeless file. Our government came up with the necessary dollars to assist communities across the country in dealing with the homeless issue, knowing that we alone could not solve it, but in partnership. In the Speech from the Throne we talk about partnership and helping Canadians help themselves. This is all in the context of the strong fiscal anchors that I have outlined.

    Canadian families are looking to the government. Families sometimes need the tools to care for family members. We are an aging society. There are family members who are getting older and responding to that issue is important. The government has recognized that in the Speech from the Throne. The government will continue to increase its support for families.

    One of the most important policy initiatives is the issue dealing with the child tax benefit. This is very important. The family will benefit by more than $2,500 for the first child in 2004. We had an early childhood agreement with the provinces and territories. Again we are working in partnership.

    These are not policies or programs that we are pushing on people. We are working and listening, and by listening we are able to develop these important programs. There is the Canada prenatal nutrition program with $27 million to help pregnant women at risk. Again, this is a very important program. We want to make sure we have strong families.

    I should not leave out tax cuts. We brought in the largest tax cuts in Canadian history, over $100 billion. This year alone we are seeing a $20 billion cut by the government. It shows that we are responding. We are bringing down corporate taxes. We are bringing down income taxes. At the same time we are responding to the social needs. A nation is not just a balance sheet of figures; it is about real people and real needs. We can be proud as a government in responding in that way.

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    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe what I just heard. Somebody sitting behind the hon. member should give him a slap on the side of the head and wake him up to reality.

    The member had the audacity to say it is such a frugal government that it does not waste money. Boy oh boy, I guess he did not read the Auditor General's report about the billions of dollars of waste. I could name a whole pile of things starting with the billion dollar boondoggle in whatever department it was. I am sure the hon. member would like this one. I do not know if he is a senior yet, but a committee was struck and was paid $165,000 to study seniors and sexuality. My gosh it makes me feel good being an old boy that the government would pour money into something like that. And the member says the government has not wasted money. What a bunch of utter nonsense.

    We heard today that shipyards have been closed and people have been thrown out of work. Then the government buys ships that will not float from some foreign country but that is not a waste of money. People were thrown out of work.

    I could go on after a speech like that which absolutely amazed me. The government would not have balanced anything had it not cut the transfer payments to the provinces so severely that every province today is suffering while trying to deliver health care. Those members do not have the guts--

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The hon. parliamentary secretary.

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    Mr. Bryon Wilfert: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if I heard any questions, but I did hear a lot of ranting. Let me see if I can respond at least in part to what I consider to be absolute nonsense from the member. He should know better.

    First of all, I never suggested anything about waste. Obviously every government has to be accountable. One of the ways we are accountable is through the Auditor General.

    Our good friend across the way mentioned money being wasted. When governments are held accountable, they respond. They say, “We had some shortcomings and we are responding”. The Auditor General said that in many cases.

    I hate to hear about a billion dollar boondoggle. It is utter nonsense. There was not a billion dollar boondoggle and the member knows that. Yes, there was a bad paper trail. Yes, there was bad accounting. Yes, we had to do better. The minister has responded in kind. In fact, the Auditor General said so, but the member does not want to say that.

    As far as the issue of health care is concerned, I have heard this argument from the member and other members before. I want to set the record straight. The provinces have the same taxing ability as we do. The province of Ontario cut taxes, which is its right, but at the same time it turned around and told this government it wanted more money for health care. It is about priorities. If the province's priority is tax cuts, then more power to it; but if it is health care, then make it health care. Do not make it both.

    The member said that we are not spending money on health care. In September 2000 the Prime Minister, who held no gun to anyone's head, received agreement from all the premiers. They said they wanted x number of dollars, and were handed $21 billion plus for health care. They said that was what they needed. The ink was not yet dry and suddenly early Alzheimer's set in. The provinces claimed not to remember any of this and said they needed more money. Why? Because they had money sitting in a bank in downtown Toronto. The Quebec government, the Ontario government, and the British Columbia government demanded more money.

    This government has said it supports a strong health care system. We will hear from Romanow and we will respond to Romanow. The Prime Minister has said there will be a first ministers conference early in the new year to put the system right in terms of the future.

    The national round table on health said a few years ago that health care is not just about money. It is about how money is spent. What we need in health care, and which the member did not mention, is transparency and accountability. When I give money to somebody, I would like to have it accounted for. I would like to know where the money went. Maybe that is what we should say to the province of Alberta. Maybe that is what we should say to the province of British Columbia.

[Translation]

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will use 15 of the 20 minutes that are allotted to me. I ask that the five remaining minutes be allotted to the member for Saint John.

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I understood the member, but the Standing Order indicates that a member cannot share his or her time with a member from another party. However, the member for Jonquière may seek unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion.

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to share my time with the member for Saint John.

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): Is there unanimous consent for the member of Jonquière to share her time with the member for Saint John?

    Some hon. members:Agreed.

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today, on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Jonquière, and to take part in the debate in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

    It is October 9, 2002. The Speech from the Throne was read nine days ago on September 30.

    All the commentators, English or French speaking, said that this September 30 Speech from the Throne was a mixture of old ideas. It is a patchwork assortment of ideas taken from the throne speeches of 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2001. Once again, the government of the Prime Minister has promised to take action on poverty and social housing. Unfortunately, the result is more and more negative.

    What can be said about child poverty? In 1999, we had almost 950,000 poor children in this country, while we had only 800,000 in 1989. Hence, this Liberal government did not take action. It is a failure across the board. Yet, in 1989, a unanimous resolution by all political parties was passed here in the House of Commons, saying that they were committed to eliminating child poverty by 1999, that is 10 years later.

    Today, in the Speech from the Throne, another project has been proposed for Canadians. The Speech from the Throne said that we must “—ensure that no Canadian child suffers the debilitating effects of poverty. Canadians and their governments have already taken significant steps in this direction”.

    This Speech from the Throne rehashes old ideas. The people of Jonquière I met with last weekend realize that this government is laughing at them. They listen to the news, they read all the information and they say to themselves, “What they are saying makes no sense. We know there are more poor children. They have done nothing for poor children”.

    When it comes to social housing, there has been nothing but inaction since 1993: no investments in social housing since 1993.

    As for the environment, the government promised that we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% from 1990 levels. That was supposed to be done by 2012. According to the Minister of Natural Resources, we have increased our greenhouse gas emissions by 35% since 1990. Inaction and failure across the board.

    With respect to health care, I just listened to the Liberal member's remarks. As far as I am concerned, he is totally out of touch or is blinded by rage and can only see part of what is going on in that sector. The federal government is now putting in only 14 cents on every dollar. In the throne speech, it promised to convene a health ministers summit early in 2003 to lay the foundation for a comprehensive plan for reform. As we know, these are the same Liberals who made massive cuts in transfers to the provinces for health upon taking office in 1993. They will have waited 10 years and suffocated the provinces before taking action.

    This means that, in return for the financial contribution it will make to the provinces in early 2003, Ottawa will give itself a free hand in deciding what the provinces should do in health care, when the whole area of health is a provincial jurisdiction.

    In the throne speech, the government also promised to put money into infrastructure. In 2000, there was a Canada-Québec infrastructure program, and $1.6 billion was earmarked for the infrastructure program. It is well known how popular the program has been.

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    For the three parts of this federal-provincial agreement concerning infrastructure, the Quebec government received applications totalling $4.3 billion. This means that there is a shortfall of $3 billion to carry out all the projects submitted, and the Quebec government had to review all them, which it did very professionally, while determining which were the most important ones.

    Again, instead of innovating, instead of creating new infrastructure projects in conjunction with the municipalities and perhaps looking after the provinces, this government says it will look after Canada's major cities. Why always major Canadian cities? The mayor of the major city in my region, Saguenay, says that it ranks sixth among Quebec's municipalities.

    Why target only major cities like Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto? There are still applications totalling $3 billion on the table. If the government is serious about taking action, it should immediately put money on the table. Quebec said it was prepared to follow suit.

    Last year, in the budget tabled by Ms. Marois, Quebec injected $500 million to allow municipalities faced with water problems to act quickly, should their projects not qualify under the Canada-Quebec infrastructure program.

    Instead of reinventing the wheel, this government should put money on the table. We do not have to ask for projects. The projects are there, they have been examined and they are awaiting funding. Immediate action is required. With this program, I would see that they want to do something, that they are prepared to take immediate action. But after what we heard in the throne speech, I realize that this government is still saying “Perhaps; perhaps we will take action; perhaps we will do this”. What the government should do is take concrete measures.

    Let us also talk about what they promised to do for public transit. During the last parliamentary session, I introduced a bill about which there was a consensus: the federation of urban carriers, the Canadian federation of urban carriers and the ACTU in the Outaouais region all supported this initiative. My bill went through second reading. It provided for a subsidy to public transit users.

    When it was reviewed by the Standing Committee on Finance, Liberal members decided that my bill did not make sense. This is strange, because what is the Prime Minister of Canada doing six months later? He is going along the same lines as what is proposed in my bill and saying that everyone should contribute to improving public transit in Canada.

    Why did the Liberals not take action when an opposition member made a similar proposal? Six months have gone by. During these six months, a lot could have been done to promote environmental issues, such as the plight of the increasing number of young Canadians who are suffering from asthma.

    I realize that this government is making meaningless commitments, saying perhaps. It says, “Perhaps we will take action. Perhaps we will do something”. The Liberals are always right. They never take into consideration the proposals made by others. This is strange. We too were elected by voters who have common sense. They too have good ideas. In a democracy, one cannot always be on the side of power. It is very good for a democracy to have opposition parties.

    Opposition members are intelligent, maybe more than those who are in office. We, opposition members, propose concrete measures to help society move forward, but because these ideas come from the opposition, the government thinks they cannot work. This is sad.

    What Prime Minister Chrétien, the Prime Minister of Canada, is proposing in the throne speech is to promote public transit.

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I see that the member corrected herself, but I will remind the House that members must not refer to one another by name, but by their title or the name of their riding.

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, I meant to say the Prime Minister of Canada.

    Several of my constituents from the riding of Jonquière asked me how much this cost, referring to the ceremonies surrounding the Speech from the Throne, everything that goes on that day and the next day, when there is a great celebration at Rideau Hall.

    I could not give them a precise answer, but I told them that it certainly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and that the breakfast club in Quebec would have been very happy to get this money to serve breakfast to children who go to school on an empty stomach because they do not have milk, bread, butter and fruit at home. I think that this money would have helped meet the needs of our children and of the breakfast club for several months.

    This shows how unreal what is going on right now in Ottawa is. The government is totally out of touch with reality. More and more children are living in poverty, and the need for social housing is increasing. We also need more money for health care.

    The Liberal who spoke just now said, “It's not true, there is no shortage of funding for health. The provincial governments have even got money hidden away”. But that is not true, as the Romanow report will tell us.

    All reports that have been tabled in recent months, along with the one that will be forthcoming once the Romanow commission report is finished, are going to say that health funding is lacking. Who has forgotten to put in its share? Always the same ones.

    Let us keep in mind that close to 40% of Quebec's budget is earmarked for health. So who is the one who forgot to pay into it? Again, the same government that is accusing the provinces of bad management.

    We have only to look at what is going on as far as fiscal imbalance is concerned. There was unanimity in the National Assembly, from provincial Liberals, ADQ and PQ alike, that there is fiscal imbalance in Canada. Then there was the premiers' meeting , where it was also said that there was a fiscal imbalance in Canada. In the past two days, the Government of Quebec has called together all those concerned directly or less directly by the potential effects of this fiscal imbalance, the civil community. They too have agreed that such an imbalance does exist. The only ones who deny this are the members of the Liberal Party.

    The feds have the money, and the provinces have the needs. Even the Conference Board—which I cannot imagine to be in favour of Quebec sovereignty or of breaking Canada up, or to hold any grudge against the federal government—says the same, and yet no reference was made to it in the throne speech.

    It is one thing to look after themselves, but they are saying that they want what is best for Canadians. If we look at the Speech from the Throne, we see they do not want what is good for Canadians, but what is good for the Liberals, the great Liberal vision, and the vision for Canadians is unimportant.

    The Minister of Finance said that Quebec has only to close its embassies abroad. I have taken part in international parliamentary meetings with people from Canada. There are nine English provinces and one French province in Canada and I did not hear many people praising the virtues of what is happening in Quebec.

    Personally, I think it is our right. We are a distinct society and we have the right, outside of Quebec, to promote Quebec and to say who we are. I think that what the Minister of Finance said is an insult to the intelligence of Quebeckers.

    I believe that the Speech from the Throne is a dull, insipid, flavourless and colourless speech. Fortunately the Prime Minister had appointed a new Governor General, if the former Governor General were still there, he would have said, “It seems to me I have already read this Speech from the Throne”. He read it in 1993, 1997, 2000 and again in 2001.

  +-(1730)  

    I think the Prime Minister of Canada did a cut and paste job on the computer, he cut and pasted it. That is what he did. He took parts of the speeches from 1993, 1997 and 2000 and only changed some of the wording.

    For all these and many other reasons, this Speech from the Throne does nothing for Canadian society. I think that the Prime Minister will not come out of this as a winner. Journalists are saying it, and everyone is saying it: the legacy of this Prime Minister is not very edifying.

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    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague on her excellent speech.

    I would like her to go over the history of the problems surrounding the decision made concerning the highway through the Parc des Laurentides. Earlier this afternoon, we heard the hon. member for Châteauguay remind us how the Liberals used somewhat wishy-washy election promises to score political points. Unfortunately, they were sometimes successful.

    I would ask the hon. member to tell us everything she has done in connection with the highway between Quebec City and Chicoutimi and everything the Liberals have not done.

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

    I have thanked all the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean for their involvement in the issue of this highway that we have managed to obtain. There was a consensus in my region. We managed to get this government moving. For so long, it was promising to take action, it would make us false promises and it would say “perhaps” or “this is a provincial jurisdiction”.

    The people in the region and the members of the opposition here in the House of Commons have done their job. They have demanded their due.

    I always say that the regions are the poor children of this system. The Liberals are always saying “We are helping the regions”. But they are not referring to regions such as ours. In Canada, there are five major regions. They are not sub-regions such as Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. The Liberals are currently involved in the race for the leadership of their party. The former Minister of Finance came to the Gaspé Peninsula to say that his priority was for regions such as the Gaspé Peninsula. Honestly. They should stop having us on.

    With highway 175, we have succeeded because everybody stood up. We confronted this government. We told it “You made promises; now it is time to deliver”. Everybody pulled together and there was unanimity.

    I am proud to have contributed to the achievement of this project and I am proud that my region is coming out a winner. Together, we believed in it and, together, we got it.

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    Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I listened to what my hon. colleague had to say and I had a bit of a chuckle.

    Some speeches are kind of special. The expression “cut and paste” was used. Listening to the hon. member, I think that if anyone has cut and pasted something, it must be her. Every time I listen to her speeches, I seem to hear the same old thing.

    I think we could easily predict what she is going to say several years down the road. She does not do much besides complaining. If the people in her riding are getting fed up, imagine how the people from my riding who are watching us feel. They are fed up with all that complaining and are eager for us to start building something.

    In the most recent throne speech, the Liberal Party showed that we want to start building. I think Quebeckers rely on us to build this country, as evidenced by the fact that support for the Bloc Quebecois is starting to slip in the polls, instead of increasing. It is now down to only 34% of the vote. Quebeckers have affirmed their belief in the Liberal Party.

    My colleague talked about a contribution of 4%, or 4 cents for every dollar spent on health. The figures I have are completely different. So, I would like her to tell us how she came up with 4%. She should back up what she says instead of babbling on all the time. My figures tell a completely different story. Can she explain how she came up with that 4%?

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    Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, I will gladly answer the question. That member has nothing to say. I say what the people in my riding say. I am the voice of my constituents. That is what they think of this government. I never said 4%. I said 14%, which means 14 cents on each dollar.

    Second, the member mentioned polls. The last federal election was in 2000. I would ask him what new measure can be found in this Speech from the Throne with regard to employment insurance.

    People can say whatever they want, but we must tell the truth if we want to make any progress. Right now, on the issue of employment insurance, it must be said that the government is putting the money in its pocket. It took $44 billion from the surplus in the EI fund to eliminate the deficit. These are the facts. This is not unfounded criticism. These are the facts. If the member does not want to hear the facts, why does he come to the House of Commons? Why does he not stay home?

    If we want to make any progress, we have to tell voters in Canada and in Quebec, “These are the facts. This is what they did with your money, and you are not getting it back”.

    It is the same thing with health care. The Liberals grab our money and we only get 14% back. These are the facts. They made the commitment to finance 50% of the costs, and they are now at 14%. Does the member not see those figures? If he does not, I can send him all the figures that were mentioned in the newspapers in the last few years. These are the facts.

    This throne speech should have contained measures to improve the employment insurance plan, to help the unemployed and to give them access to employment insurance. It should also have contained concrete measures to help regions.

    What is there in this Speech from the Throne? Nothing. It is a rehash of what we heard in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2001. That is what we have here.

    When the Liberals do something right, I do not hesitate to say so. However, do they ever tell PQ members and Bloc members that they have done something right? I have never heard them say that. It is easy to see the mote in someone else's eye and not the beam in one own's eye. These are the facts.

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[English]

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Jonquière for giving me five minutes of her time.

    When the Speech from the Throne was given I think most Canadians were very disturbed and disappointed, mostly because the government left out our military.

    We had hoped and expected that the Prime Minister would have taken into account the pleas of our international allies, the Secretary-General of NATO, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, the Auditor General and the countless men and women in uniform who have made the case that our military is in need of financial assistance. All of them have come forth in the last four years saying that it is time for the government to put some money into the military.

    We just have to look at what happened a year ago in the U.S.A. When the terrorists struck there were we prepared? No. When we sent our men over to Afghanistan they had to be airlifted by the Americans. They had to eat their meals at the American mess. If our men were out training and the mess was closed they had nothing to eat. I was getting calls from the parents of the young men who were sent over there. They did not even have their uniforms like the rest of them had.

    Look at us today, Mr. Speaker. Look at the Sea Kings. They are 40 years old. A pilot from just outside my city lost his life. His father called me because he had been a pilot. He said “Elsie, I flew those Sea Kings. Those Sea Kings should not be in the air”. They should not be in the air.

    I have to say that it is strictly politics. I can see politics being played by the government in the replacement of the Sea Kings. It wants to wait until the Prime Minister retires and then he will not have to worry whether the EH-101s become the replacement. However, while the government waits more lives will be lost.

    Let us look at our submarines. My God, we went out and bought used submarines. What happened? Just in the past month in London, England our Canadian people were ask to go over to England and test the submarine. They were fixing it over there. The men said that there was no way they would go out and test the submarine because it was not safe. It is still sitting over there because the men will not go out in that submarine. We have just wasted another $800 million on submarines that are now not useful and not good for the navy.

    Let us look at our air force and the numbers in the army. At one time we had 85,000 people. Where are we now? We are at around 30,000 people.

    An hon. member: It's shameful.

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: It is shameful. We have a lot to worry about in view of what happened in the U.S.A.

    When we look at President Bush, what is our stand on Iraq? I know we have had and will have some debate here but what is our stand on Iraq? Where are we? If Bush goes to war with Iraq where is Canada?

    I was in Bulgaria with the NATO committee and up on the big screen came the representative of the United Nations who said that Canada had to put some money into its military for it was down at the lowest end of the scale.

    An hon. member: It's embarrassing.

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Yes, it is embarrassing.

    Those men and women cannot come up here and protest. They cannot say a word. They have tried. I have talked to them personally and privately and they are truly worried.

    If the Prime Minister wanted to leave in February 2004 and he wanted to leave a legacy, he could have left the best legacy for him and for the government than any other government by putting the needed billions of dollars into the throne speech so that our men and women would be looked after and so that they would have the tools they needed to look after us, our children, our grandchildren and everybody else in Canada. It is a serious situation and one we must address.

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    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I just want to take a minute to thank the hon. member for stressing the feelings of literally thousands and millions of Canadians for the disgrace we have put upon our military.

    I have a son in the United States military. He lives on base now and pays $300 a month rent. He had to live off base for a time and he had to pay $700 a month but the government subsidized the difference and gave him a living allowance. Today there was an announcement that our military's rent on the bases was being raised to $840, or something like that, to match the rents in the civilian community in order to make them compatible. That is what the minister said.

    Does the hon. member agree with me that we have a government with only one mission in mind and that is to get its grubby hands on every single dollar it can from Canadians, including our military, and to heck with the results?

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for his question. I had the distinct pleasure of going to British Columbia. While I was there I went to the naval base. They took me there to show me the houses and the living conditions of those men and women. It was pitiful. Do members know that they were going to the food bank with their children? And here is the government saying to them that it is going to raise their rent. The same thing has happened over in Nova Scotia. I was over there as well, at the base, where people there said “We live in quarters here that are not fit for our families”. Then they turn around and the government wants to raise their rent. Glory be, there is no way the government should be raising their rent and there is not a Canadian who is in favour of that for our men and women in our military.

    In Nova Scotia at the base they wanted to have a counselling centre. Fathers, such as those in Afghanistan, are gone for many months and children are without their daddies, or their mothers, whoever is in uniform. So they wanted a counselling centre there. They were going to bring in a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister to help counsel the families. Do members know that the men and women had to go out and raise the money themselves? The government would not give them anything for their counselling centre. That is a shame and a disgrace.

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    Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today as the member of Parliament for London West. I have had an opportunity over the summer months before prorogation to consult with my constituents. I am very pleased that in the Speech from the Throne there are many areas that I know will be very important to members of my community.

    First, like just about everybody in the House, we are concerned with our health care, with financing our health care and making sure that in the future we will be taken care of like we have been used to from cradle to grave. There are responsible measures to be taken, with perhaps some changes in the way we go about it. The value system we share across this land means having good health care for all of us, not just because of a pocketbook that is fuller than that of our neighbour, but because we are entitled to good health and good health protection by way of prevention programs. These are some of the things that we heard in the Speech from the Throne.

    I would be remiss if I did not remind members of the House that London is a community that has health research. We are very fortunate to have many tens of thousands of our citizens working in the health care community and specifically in the health care research community. Not only do research dollars impact on the health of Canadians, but that knowledge is shared with literally the world. We were very fortunate to hear in the throne speech that we will be advancing more dollars for health research and in fact for research in general, because we are in need of a more innovative economy in order to be a more productive economy.

    It is especially important for the students. In London we have Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario. Representatives from both of those institutions constantly come to talk to the members of Parliament in our area to emphasize the real need for the upping of these resources. We have to go from where we were many years ago when we took over the government. We were down because we were not supplying sufficient research dollars. In fact, we were losing many talented young people in whom Canada had invested. We were losing their talents. Also, after their primary, secondary and usually first university education, we were losing them as graduate students as they fled to other countries. We have reversed that.

    Last week the president of the university visited me here in the House and reiterated how thankful they were that the climate for these young people has changed. I think we can even do better and improve it further. But that does not mean they get to do just the research and that is the end of it. There has to be a commercialization of the research, which I think is important.

    Many of our colleges and universities and in fact our hospital systems are strapped financially. There is a method for us to help the system. What we heard in the Speech from the Throne is that we are now talking about working with the universities in particular on the indirect costs of research. This is a promising way to deliver more funds. That will then prevent the graduate and research students literally taking the dollars away from the undergraduate students and their studies. It will help support the educational infrastructure throughout Canada. I am very pleased to see that this will be for all universities across every province. That formula is a necessary one and I am glad to see that we are headed in that direction.

    I want to talk about the physical environment of where I live. Unfortunately, there is something we are not proud of. I live in the area of Canada that has the most pollutants in the air. Lack of clean air is a problem. We had in excess of 27 smog days this summer in London. Combined with that, we had high humidity days. Not all of those pollutants were made in our backyard. We happen to live in a geographical basin. We get some winds from across our lake shared by our neighbour to the south. I am very pleased to see that this was addressed, because clean air is not an issue that we can take on as one country or one city. It is something we have to work at in collaboration with the United States. We have specifically said that and I think it is important.

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    Over the summer I talked with many people about Kyoto, climate change and reducing the necessity of getting those greenhouse gases down over time. I have heard the argument that Canada only produces 2% of the problem, but California only produces 2% of the problem. We have roughly equal populations. If we all were to say that we are just a bit of the problem so we do not have to participate, the problem could never be solved over time. I think we have to face reality. We are the potentially endangered species on this planet.

    I think this is a situation where, even though it might be more difficult in the shorter term, we can turn this to our economic advantage. I think we should be going into cleaner energy. We should be looking for those products, innovations and methodologies in our cities, on our farms and in our industries to support getting to our global solution, because we do share the planet and we are certainly affected as a northern country in a way that is not welcomed by many of us.

    I believe that doing this not only for ourselves but for our future generations is important. I appreciate that there may be bottom line costs to this and I also appreciate that they may not be known to the penny at this time, but sometimes there are situations in which we have to start on the solution and head in the right direction because it is the right and correct thing to do.

    I want to talk a little more about biotechnology, the clean energy and the health sciences, because these are opportunities for economic growth. Again, this is fed by the research and the changing environment. We have passed through different ages over time. The industrial age has created some of the problems we are faced with now. We now will be moving into an age of future science and we are going to have to look at some of the ethics of those potential problems. We are going to have to look at the science. We are going to have to marry the values of Canadians with the legislation. Around the table here we are going to have to take into consideration and listen to the concerns of people who perhaps do not represent my party but, I believe, represent Canadians, and those Canadians have shared values. I think it is important that we listen and that we try to move ahead for the benefit of all of us in this wonderful democratic society we have.

    One of the things that I feel very strongly about is palliative care. I read one part of the throne speech that was about a commitment to helping people who may have to serve outside the workforce while taking care of their family members during an illness. Palliative care is not just for aged people. It is for ill children and all ill people. I am glad to see that we are moving in this direction and I would encourage my government to move faster and with more strength in this area because I think there is a real need.

    Senator Carstairs from the other House came to my riding a couple of weeks ago when we put the health care professionals together in a room. I do not think there is a family among us that will not be dealing with these situations. Sometimes our health care system by itself will not be able to cope. We will be asked to volunteer our time and our physical and monetary resources to assist a family member. I think it is important that we take on this role, but I also think there is a place for government to assist us. I am pleased to see that line in the Speech from the Throne.

    London is in southwestern Ontario. We are on one of the busiest trade corridors the country has. U.S.-Canada trade is very important to the economy of the region. I am very glad to see the U.S.-Canada smart border accord coming to fruition. I am glad to see the money that we are adding and increasing in infrastructure over time. I am glad to see the security measures that make our trade safe. No one needs a bottleneck. We certainly need more dollars going into the facilitation of the trade that affects the jobs in our region and that tells our neighbours we are there to share in and increase each other's prosperity.

    Many things in the Speech from the Throne interest me. One is affordable housing. Another is helping Africans, because I have been there. I was in Sierra Leone within the last year. Perhaps I could encourage everyone to take the opportunity, when they can, to go and get the yardstick measurement, because I am proud of what we do with our foreign aid and I am glad to see that it will be increasing.

    I want to start working on these programs. I am pleased to do it with colleagues from the House. I am pleased to be a member of the House, and I look forward to getting on with the business of implementing over time, in a fiscally responsible manner, the issues that have been raised in the Speech from the Throne.

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member. I know there was mention of the infrastructure program. Back in Saint John, New Brunswick, which is my riding, we have the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, which needs to be refurbished. I think it will take over $400 million to refurbish it. New Brunswick Power has said it does not have the money. AECL, Atomic Energy of Canada, came to Fredericton, New Brunswick, for a dinner. It needs some money. AECL said that nuclear power has to stay. When we are looking at Kyoto and the environment, nuclear power and natural gas are of course priorities.

    Does the member agree that the government, through that infrastructure program or some other program, should be funding the refurbishing of the nuclear power plant to keep it going in Saint John, New Brunswick?

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    Mrs. Sue Barnes: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the hon. member across the way. Renewable resources and ways to get cleaner energy are important to the country, and there are many ways. There are wind tunnels, fuel cells and nuclear energy. We can do demonstration projects.

    Through various programs we can help our environment and keep the cost of energy relevant and reduced. I look at some of the areas and the way some fuels have helped pollute our environment and I think it is important that we go forward.

    I congratulate some of the oil companies that have moved forward positively in steps that realistically look at where we are today and how they can do it better. We had examples in the House this week of corporations that have come forward with better and cleaner sources of energy and better bottom lines for their companies. I congratulate all those companies and look forward to seeing the fruition in the priorities of the budget.

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    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, if everything in the throne speech played out as it should it would be wonderful but I think where the pessimism comes in is that we have heard it so often that we are starting not to believe it. Actually, we do not believe it. What can I say? After someone cries wolf so many times nobody listens. Certainly if the government followed through on some of the items in the throne speech it would be wonderful for Canada.

    With regard to my colleague's comments, I do not think there is any question that my time on the industry committee has led me to fully support the fact that indirect costs for research needs to be there. It is certainly important to go along that line.

    What I do want to comment on is the commercialization of research which, quite frankly, I do not think is the route to go. I think we have seen from a number of major companies in health care that the commercialization of research does not do a whole lot overall for the costs within the health care system.

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    Mrs. Sue Barnes: Mr. Speaker, budgeting is the balancing of priorities. I think it is a dream to say that we can do all these things in one budget or even in one session of Parliament but I think our goals have to be enunciated and that there are incremental ways we can move forward together.

    I am a fiscal conservative, believe it or not, but I consider myself a bit liberal on the social justice issues. I think my friend is surprised over there. With respect to commercialization, I do not want the member to believe that I am not in favour of basic scientific research. I believe there is a real need for basic scientific research but in my own city I have seen research that has been commercialized through our research park that had a connection to our universities and successful companies have resulted from that. That is what I am talking about. It is not that every piece of research has to have a direct result. I certainly do not want to leave the hon. member with that impression.

    We find by accident wonderful things from sometimes the most obscure titles of research papers, things with which we would never have associated to product lines. Yes, there are accidental beneficial consequences from new products so there is a need for the basic research but I also think we need the commercialization. Nobody wants to see research sit on a shelf.

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    Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a special pleasure and privilege to respond to the Speech from the Throne on behalf of the citizens of Mount Royal, one of the most multicultural and engagé ridings in the country, while giving expression to the cases and causes that underpin the involvement of my constituents.

    Indeed, I am pleased that the priorities and purposes that are represented in the throne speech reflect those of my constituents and I trust that they will, because the question has been raised, in fact be implemented. These include: first, a comprehensive reform and renewal of our health care system, anchored in the values of universality, accessibility, public administration and sustainability.

    Second, environmental protection, including an implementation plan to meet our climate change obligations under the Kyoto protocol; create 10 new national parks and 5 new national marine conservation areas; reintroduce legislation, and this is of particular to my constituents, to protect species at risk; strengthen the pesticides act to protect the health of Canadians, particularly children; accelerate the clean up of federal contaminated sites in Canada; and improve air quality and national water quality guidelines.

    Third, redress the disparity between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples while working with first nations communities to build their capacity for economic and social development, expand community based justice approaches and maintain our focus on first nations health issues at the same time.

    Fourth, enlarge and enhance our commitment to make Canada a world leader in skills, learning and research, of which I have spoken elsewhere in the House, anchored in the principle that knowledge, innovation and creativity are the measure of achievement in today's global village.

    Fifth, invest in our cities to help build and develop worldclass urban centres and healthy communities.

    Sixth, extend our investments in affordable housing, another commitment of particular concern to my riding, particularly in the Quartier of Snowdon and Côte-des-Neiges where the needs are greatest, while extending the supporting communities partnership initiative to help reduce homelessness.

    Seventh, to double our foreign aid and development assistance approach, particularly for those countries that are in desperate need in that regard.

    Finally, and most important, a sustaining and deepening commitment to our most important national resource, our children--a theme that runs through the speech from the throne which I was pleased to see--through a significant increase to the national child benefit to poor families; increased access to early learning opportunities and to quality child care, particularly for poor and lone parent families; targeted measures for low income families caring for severely disabled children so as to help meet the needs of the children and of the family; and early childhood development programs for first nations.

    I would like now, in the second part of my remarks, to address two issues in particular: one of a domestic character and the other of a foreign policy character.

    On the domestic front I will focus on health care because that continues to be the cross-cutting priority for my constituents and for the inhabitants of Quebec, as it is for the country as a whole. As I have said before in the House, Canada's health care system is a litmus test of our society, defining who we are and what we aspire to be: a caring, sharing, responsive and compassionate people.

    As I go about in my constituency and my province, as I did during our summer break and since, I am able to identify eight major concerns with our health care system which, for reasons of time, I will abbreviate rather than elaborate upon.

    First, there is an acute shortage in human resources, in health care professionals, including a critical shortage in family practitioners, specialists and, perhaps most important and which we do not address enough, our nurses, who are at the core of our health care system.

    Indeed a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated a strong correlation between the amount of professional nursing care that patients receive and health outcomes. For example, these studies demonstrated that patients with more hours of nursing care had shorter hospital stays, fewer infections, less internal bleeding, lower rates of pneumonia, fewer cardiac arrests and lower mortality rates.

    I need not reiterate the importance, not only for health but for sustainability and economic returns, of addressing and redressing this critical shortage in human resources, particularly with regard to nurses.

    Second, and not unrelated, is the critical situation in our emergency rooms.

    Third is the rise in pharmaceutical costs with its disproportionate impact on seniors. For example, as I was advised in my own constituency, the annual pharmaceutical costs for seniors is now about $885 a year, running the risks thereby of institutionalization, hospitalization and, tragically enough, even death because of the inability to pay.

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    The fourth and most important is a holistic approach to health care involving interdisciplinary approaches to primary and home care.

    The fifth concern is the lack of diagnostic instruments.

    The sixth is the lack of accessibility to health care in one's own minority language. I was interested in the proposal by the official languages commissioner to tie the question of transfer payments to the issue of accessibility to health care in one's minority language for francophones outside Quebec and anglophones within Quebec.

    Seventh is governmental accountability under the Canada health and social transfer.

    Eighth is ensuring the integrity of the principles of the Canada Health Act and the values that underpin it, particularly the concerns with universality, accessibility, sharing the risk on the basis of human need, and the timeliness of health care. One ought to make reference here to the impact of NAFTA on the integrity of the Canada Health Act.

    In conclusion, I would like to focus on one foreign policy issue: the humanitarian urgency of the African dossier. In this regard I want to heighten the fact that we are on the verge there of a humanitarian catastrophe, with a risk to the whole new partnership for African development, NEPAD, the blueprint for a sustainable Africa. This will founder and fail unless we address the six following priorities of the African dossier and thereby avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the making.

    The first is the pandemic of AIDS in the African continent, resulting in 2 million deaths a year and some 40 million projected deaths by 2020. In a word, a continent is dying. Unless the pandemic of AIDS is addressed with the urgency it warrants, NEPAD also may not survive.

    The second priority we need to address is the threatened starvation of some 13 million Africans, a horrific and unthinkable contemplation. Canada must take the lead in averting this humanitarian catastrophe in the making as I speak.

    Third is the convergence of the above two priorities in Zimbabwe, the crown jewel of Africa, where the pandemic of AIDS and the threatened starvation of 6 million Zimbabweans alone proceed amidst a Mugabe-led government of repression and corruption.

    Fourth is the continuing “genocide by attrition” in the Sudan, where intimations of a peace process belie the continuing slaughter of the innocents, forcing the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to once again reissue its genocide warning with respect to what is happening in Sudan, which regrettably has gone unacknowledged and unaddressed.

    The fifth is the African world war in the Congo, which is a passing blip, perhaps, on our political radar screen, but where a culture of impunity only encourages the killing fields.

    Sixth, and finally, is the recommendation by the newly inaugurated African Union that Libya, whose litany of human rights violations has been documented by the UN itself, be the new chair of the UN Human Rights Commission. The recommendation of a human rights violator country to chair the most important human rights body makes a mockery of NEPAD principles of peer review and accountability for human rights violations.

    In a word, and in conclusion on this second part, Canadian leadership at this moment is crucial. A sustainable Africa, at the heart of a sustainable planet, is on the line.

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    Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise and speak on the reply to the throne speech on behalf of the constituents of Surrey North. It is incumbent on me to express the disappointment Canadians are feeling after hearing what the Liberal government has planned for our nation for the next few years.

    First, I would like to address an issue, something that we learned that had not been contemplated in the throne speech. The federal cabinet appears to have approved that the government change its rules for refugees. Those claiming refugee status who arrived from a so-called safe third country, such as the U.S., will be denied refugee status. Why was this not in the throne speech? This is a major initiative. So maybe it is not going to happen. We will have to wait and see.

    During the date of my private member's Motion No. 422 in the previous session, calling on all western democracies to be listed as safe third countries, it was made abundantly clear that the Liberals had no real intention of ever stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into Canada. The government was giving Canadians its usual double talk of things like more study and international obligations.

    I will be sharing my time, Mr. Speaker, with my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca

    What that really meant was that the government wanted to do little, if anything, to turn back refugee claims in order for these claims to be heard in the first safe country in which the claimant landed. The issue of bogus refugees coming to Canada has been of significant public concern for decades.

    If average Canadians are asked what they thought about Canada's refugee system, we would find out that they are proud of the fact that we have assisted thousands of people who are genuinely, and I emphasize that genuinely, persecuted in foreign lands. I also think that we would hear that people are tired of Canada's generosity being taken advantage of by fraudulent refugee claims.

    My Motion No. 422 would have done much to eliminate the practice of asylum shopping and the use of our refugee system as a back door immigration method.

    The Liberal government thinks that most western democracies are too tough on refugee claims and that Canada should continue to be the favoured destination of people smugglers, criminals and terrorists. The government knows all too well that all western democracies are signatories to the UN convention on refugees and torture. The Liberals also know that no country is as accepting of refugee claims as is Canada, and until others relax their standards we will rarely ever consider turning back bogus claimants.

    Most Canadians agree that many people claiming to be refugees are not real refugees and some unfortunate attitudes have developed as a result. I believe that if Canadians were able to see that only genuine refugees were being admitted those attitudes would change greatly.

    It is vital for Canada to continue its tradition of helping those less fortunate and I truly believe that. It is equally vital that Canada not feel used. In my constituency some of the most vocal critics of our refugee and immigration policies are members of the immigrant communities themselves.

    By identifying certain nations as safe third countries, the government would restore a lot of confidence in Canada's refugee system.

    I hope that the debate on my motion last February helped to contribute to whatever the cabinet seems to have decided concerning this matter. Again, I remain extremely cautious that the government is only talking now and doing nothing later. We will see.

    In general on the throne speech, my colleagues have already laid out many of the shortcomings of the throne speech and put forward the official opposition's proposals to address the failings.

    The Prime Minister has no plan. He announced no details and no price tag on the initiatives announced at the beginning of this session of Parliament, and he has refused to bring in a budget this fall to address these issues. Most of what was in the speech was simply recycled from past Liberal agendas.

    Many of the government's new showpiece initiatives have been tried in one form or another and have failed miserably. Its agenda for children is an example of what I am talking about. Ask advocates of policies focused on children and they will say that they have been waiting for years for the government to deliver the programs required for the promises they make.

    The children's agenda is set out as a set of throne speech promises from throne speeches in 1996, 1997 and 1999. The government has resorted to repackaging past promises and announcing new attempts to address previous failures. What of the feeble attempt to address the ethical issues? Even the Prime Minister's own caucus is balking at his proposals.

    Of the 145 throne speech promises since 1993, 79 have been broken, unfulfilled or forgotten. That is a failure rate of 46%. In this throne speech we have 58 new promises, no less than 29 of them recycled from previous throne speeches or previous government announcements.

    As one of the justice critics for the Canadian Alliance, I would like to take a few minutes to enter into the record a number of fronts where the federal government is disappointing Canadians through the mismanagement of our criminal justice system.

  +-(1815)  

    With respect to a sex offender registry, we understand that the government now plans to develop one. My constituents will believe that when we see it. So far, for months the Solicitor General has insisted that CPIC is adequate. We know full well that it is not; 30,000 members of the Canadian Police Association have said that CPIC is not adequate. Province have been in the business of developing their own. We have devoted supply days and numerous motions to this issue, so I am hesitant to believe the promise. It was not in the throne speech. It was announced after the fact. Again, we will see.

    On the issue of child pornography, I welcomed the announcement in the Speech from the Throne that the government plans to move forward with legislation this fall that will tighten the defence of child pornography. We will hold it to this promise as will some government members who I know are extremely concerned about this issue.

    With regard to the age of consent, for years the official opposition justice team has been calling on the Liberal government to increase the age of sexual consent in Canada from 14 years to 16. I myself have tabled numerous petitions containing thousands of names on this issue. I refer to a lady at home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Diane Sowden, who is a mainstay in driving this issue and has been doing so for years. She is the mother who is a teen prostitute who knows all too well the problems around this issue.

    Unlike other western democracies, in Canada adults may legally have sex with children as young as the age of 14. The Canadian Alliance has consistently warned the federal government that this law is hampering the ability of law enforcement agencies to protect children from sexual predators. The current age of consent leaves children and teenagers open to becoming targets of pornographers, Internet sex scams, pedophiles and sexual abuse.

    We have received thousands of letters from Canadians from coast to coast asking for the necessary steps to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, however the Liberal government has failed to make the protection of children a priority. As I said, there was some lip service in the throne speech, and again, we will be watching.

    Another issue which has not been addressed and which is extremely important in my community is the issue of auto theft. There are real criminal justice issues that are affecting Canadians on a daily basis on our streets that have not been addressed in this speech. Unfortunately my community of Surrey is now the number one city for auto theft in North America. There were 6,100 vehicles stolen in Surrey in 2001. That is a rate of 1,743 cars stolen for every 100,000 people. This is hundreds more than the second place community in North America, which I believe is Phoenix, Arizona.

    This is a horrendous problem. Much tragedy flows from car theft. Often personal injuries accompany car theft. I know of one incident myself when I was coming home a few years ago from playing in a recreational hockey game. I came across the intersection two blocks from my house where a known car thief with a long record had outrun the police, waved by them, thumbed his nose at them, went through a red light, t-boned a car and killed a 34 year old woman on her way home from a church meeting. I witnessed that myself.

    These are some of the results of car theft that are becoming all to clear and all too frequent: vast amounts of police fire, ambulance workers and resources become involved; the criminal courts; increased insurance costs; and police officers and innocent bystanders hurt and killed in crashes while in pursuit of stolen vehicles. It is my information that a significant portion of vehicle theft is for the commission of other crimes, for example robbery.

    We have an incredible phenomenon now with ignition interlocks being built into current modern vehicles. There is a new phenomenon taking place where the people who want to steal these vehicles are breaking into occupied homes, conducting home invasions just to get the keys to steal the cars. Another phenomenon we are seeing is that they are stealing SUVs because these vehicles are built like tanks and they can use them to ram police cars when they are in pursuit.

    In the last session I introduced a private member's bill to try to do something about the laws governing repeat auto theft. It was made non-votable and was shot down by the Liberal government. Maybe now the government will start to pay some attention to it.

    Drug addiction, alcohol abuse, family breakdown, and children at risk are all contributory factors to auto theft which the government is ignoring.

    Another phenomenon that is related is street racing, another crime running rampant in the region I represent. The mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum, is saying that juvenile joyriders, young offenders in particular, should have their driver's licences suspended for five years.

    Harjit Kaur Atwal was killed when her car was rear-ended by another. The suspects charged failed to show up for trial. Two children lost their mother. Constable Jimmy Ng of Richmond, a Mountie, was killed recently by an allegedly speeding driver who was formally charged with alleged street racing. The government has said nothing.

    As for the throne speech, Canadians deserve much better.

  +-(1820)  

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member if he feels that the decriminalization of marijuana would make it more accessible for our young people? In my opinion, it paints a picture for our young people that there is nothing wrong with it. However I did a research paper on that, and I did it out of Berkeley university. The research shows that when people smoke their first marijuana cigarette, it enters the brain cells and stays for nine days. Of course, smoking it more often creates a major problem.

    Does the member know whether smoking marijuana first can lead to heavier drugs? Does the member feel that we should decriminalize it or make it a little tougher for those who give young people marijuana free until they get them hooked, then sell it to them after they are hooked? I think we have a major problem, if we go along with decriminalizing marijuana.

  +-(1825)  

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    Mr. Chuck Cadman: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief because I want my colleague to have an opportunity to speak. I am on record as opposing the decriminalization and certainly the legalization of marijuana.

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): If there are no questions or comments, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has five minutes before we call it a day.

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    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, could we have unanimous consent so I can finish my speech and have five minutes for questions and comments?

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): Is there consent to extend the sitting by approximately 10 minutes.

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

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    Mr. Keith Martin: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister had a great opportunity to build a legacy. Unfortunately, the Speech from the Throne is a massive missed opportunity. The Prime Minister failed in his ability to articulate a legacy that he could leave with pride. He had a great opportunity. He has nothing to lose. He is here for 12 months, maybe 18 months at the most. He had an opportunity to do that and he failed to do it. There is a list of things the Prime Minister could still do that would enable him to leave an enormous positive impact on the lives of Canadians.

    First, the biggest problem is our lack of democracy. The House is not a democracy; it is an elected dictatorship. It is not run by cabinet, it is not run by members of Parliament, and certainly it is not run by the public. It is run by a small cabal of unelected people in the Prime Minister's Office. That must change. If we fail to change that, the disengagement of the public that we see today will continue and the House will become a farce.

    What should the Prime Minister do? He should allow free votes on all non-money bills. All bills should go to committee first before they come to the House. In that way the public would have positive, effective input into the construction of those bills. All private members' bills must be made votable. We also need to have an elected Senate. There are lessons we can learn from Australia. Significant reform was implemented in Australia and the same could make this House far more democratic.

    My second point is with regard to health care. Few people would agree that the Canada Health Act in its current form can sustain the impact of an aging population and more expensive technologies. The Canada Health Act has been violated in every province across the country. Every single principle has been violated by every single province. The Canada Health Act is broken. The way to fix it is to modernize it.

    A headstart program should be implemented. That headstart program should be the cornerstone of the government's children's agenda. It would be the most effective measure for prevention. It would ensure that the basic needs of children were met and would strengthen the parent-child bond.

    My colleague from Montreal mentioned the manpower crisis. It could be alleviated by opening up more spaces for health care personnel not only in medical schools but in nursing schools and technical schools as well. A portion of those positions should be paid for in a cost sharing agreement between the feds and the provinces. Some of those individuals would have to spend an equal number of years in an underserviced area. That would enable us to deal with the incredible problem of getting medical personnel into underserviced areas.

    My third point deals with economics. The government should flatten the tax system, make it simpler and perhaps shave off a percentage point on the GST. It could increase the minimum amount of money that somebody makes before they have to pay tax. No one making less than $18,000 should be required to pay tax in Canada.

    Fourth, the government has been neglecting defence and as a result there is an absolute crisis. The government has been told about this repeatedly. Its failure to give economic and moral support to our military is eroding not only our standard here at home but our stature abroad.

    How do we fix it? We need to increase the manpower to 75,000. We need to put $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year for the next five years directly into manpower, training and equipment. We also need to stop increasing our military personnel's rent.

    Fifth, we need an integrated foreign policy and defence policy. How can we have a congruent foreign policy and defence policy if they are constructed in two separate silos? We need to take a leaf from Australia's book and ensure that we have an integrated defence policy and foreign policy so that our defence forces have the tools to do what our foreign policy dictates.

    I see that my time has run out, but I will finish the rest of my speech at the next sitting of the House.

  -(1830)  

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The hon. member will have five minutes left for his speech and five minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes tomorrow morning.

[Translation]

    It being 6.30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

    (The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m.)