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Results: 1 - 15 of 122
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lindsay Kinsmen Band.
Formed in 1954 by a group of interested parents under the leadership of Lloyd McMullen and Earl and Muriel Kennedy, this boys and girls band has performed all over North America.
Teaching children to play a musical instrument, read music, march, and be part of a respected musical organization has been the focus of everyone involved in the Lindsay Kinsmen Band.
Congratulations to the instructors, the executive, the parents, the auxiliary and the Kinsmen Club of Lindsay for a job well done. We wish the band continued success.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present various petitions from people in Haliburton and area.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present four petitions from the good people of Haliburton—Victoria—Brock.
One petition prays that Parliament take all necessary measures to protect the rights of Canadians to freely share their religious and moral beliefs without fear of prosecution, which is in regard to the hate motivated attacks, and that promoting hatred toward any person or groups is wrong.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the other three petitions pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your thought and wisdom in this matter. I am prepared to move the motion that:
This House refer the matter in question on privilege to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for study and report back to this House on its findings.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this is a serious question of privilege. It affects all members of Parliament. This question of privilege arises from a meeting in Room 253-D on March 3, 2004. My position as chair of central Ontario caucus is to report to Ontario caucus and in turn to the Prime Minister at national caucus.
Sun Media received a tape from the broadcast service, by whatever means, which remains to me a mystery for sure. I want to know how it was made, why it was made, and how did the media receive it? I believe Parliament, and all members of Parliament, should have an answer to this.
I have no argument with the media. Of course, to quote Churchill, never make enemies of people who buy paper by the ton and ink by the barrel. My problem is, who made the tape and how was it obtained? The damage it caused me is incidental. Politicians love to have publicity; the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity. The damage to the manufacturers that I represent in my riding is reprehensible.
An auto parts manufacturer had to defend my statement in the Sun Media, and I am sure everyone here believes everything they read in the Sun Media. He had to explain the statement and that pitted them against their only customer. The damage is the basis of my intervention. I believe my rights of privacy in this precinct of Parliament have been violated.
I would like opposition members to think about it. If this incident happened to any opposition party, would they feel their right to privacy was violated? Would, for instance, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, speaking to his caucus, feel aggrieved if in fact it had been taped and broadcast?
Section 193 of the Criminal Code of Canada clearly favours my point, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consult it.
Who does a member of Parliament of this House of Commons turn to for justice in this matter? Do we go to the Sergeant-at-Arms, which I did? Do we go to you, Mr. Speaker, which I am doing? Do we go to the RCMP, who have no authority in this particular incident? Do we go to the House of Commons security? Do we go to the Senate security? Do we go to the six or seven security agencies that operate within this precinct? Do we go to the Ottawa police? Or do I go to a local crown prosecutor, which would be in fact in the Ottawa court system, which does not cover the House of Commons?
Mr. Speaker, there is damage. I want to be able to know that I can speak out in private on behalf of my constituents without the fear of their right to privacy being invaded, or my right to privacy.
These same facilities that I used are used by ministers of the crown at all levels. They are used for government briefings. They are used for opposition party members' meetings. Do they now feel secure that their meetings can be taped and sold to the press or obtained by the press? Do the opposition worry that they are being recorded in their private meetings?
Mr. Speaker, when we look for your guidance as the person with overall authority not only for the employees of Parliament Hill but with the responsibility for a secure environment for members of the House of Commons to carry out their parliamentary duties with confidence that their rights are not violated by criminal activity, we ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider the rights of every member of the House of Commons. I would like you to consider their rights to privacy under section 193 of the Criminal Code. Was that violated?
I am sure other members would like to comment on this. When the chair of a caucus goes to a private meeting and reports to the chair of the next caucus up and the next caucus being recorded, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that even you would want to ensure us that right of privacy, that right of being able to bring our constituents' problems forward without fear of being taped by someone. Was it taped? Was it broadcast? I have heard of four different ways as to how this happened.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this was criminal activity and I would ask you to investigate it, to look into it, and to ensure me that my rights as a member of Parliament are secure in this environment.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I vote no.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we know the Canadian economy has experienced some unique challenges during 2003.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development provide the House with an update on the latest job numbers published today by Statistics Canada?
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as we approach Remembrance Day, there is one item that stands out. The treatment of the widows of veterans must be equal for all.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs tell us today that this situation has been addressed?
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, today is a historic day for the member for Nipissing.
Yesterday he tied the record in his riding for being longest consecutive sitting member. Today of course he is in total possession of that record. He broke the mark set by Mr. Joseph Hurtubeise who served Nipissing from 1930 to 1945.
The member for Nipissing was first elected in 1988 and will make it an even 15 years in November, 2003.
I know I speak for the constituents of Nipissing and all members of Parliament when I say congratulations to the member for Nipissing.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I certainly also want to join in on the debate on Bill C-13 at third reading, even though basically there is now a move to invoke closure on the bill.
I think we have to take some time because the bill actually does represent life itself, and the information on this technology is certainly evolving. As time goes on, there is more and more in the technology coming forward that causes us to stop and to be concerned. The intent of the bill two years ago was certainly not the technology that is available today to support it.
I think the legislation could be passed very quickly if the bill were split and the controversial items in it taken out; they are very few and I do not understand the minister's reluctance to do this.
It bothers me that a committee of the House of Commons would make recommendations that would be completely ignored by the minister.
As we looked at changing the structure of the House of Commons, something in which I have been involved in the last few years, I was looking forward to the fact that committees would actually have some relevance, that they would not be partisan and that they would not be just carrying out the wishes of the government. I thought that committees would actually follow the recommendations that come from all parties during the debate and upon listening to the various witnesses who came forward.
In looking at this particular legislation, I notice that pretty nearly all the recommendations of the committee have been ignored, not necessarily on the things we all agree with, but on the things we disagree with.
The committee conducted very extensive hearings on the draft bill. It presented 34 recommendations, some of which the member for Mississauga South recommended and brought forward and which I seconded. I thought the recommendations had some basis for and merited discussion. I am sorry to see that the minister chose not to appear before the committee or not to listen to the committee. The minister chose instead to blindly go forward without any basis in fact on the actual bill itself.
As the committee went through clause by clause at report stage, the minister basically proposed three motions that reversed all three of the committee recommendations. I think that maybe the committees of the House of Commons in the next Parliament should be re-examined, reformed and looked at in the light of their relevance. Because if the government is just going to blindly pass legislation without input from the committees, if it is not going to refer the bills to committees and then take the recommendations of expert witnesses, I find I am in a quandary about how I can support such legislation going ahead.
Mr. Speaker, you will know that it was a legislative committee which did some of the work on the anti-terrorist legislation. Many of the recommendations came forward from witnesses, some of which were questionable witnesses, the ethics counsellor and some others, but the fact is that those recommendations were taken into consideration. Changes were then made to some of the 22 pieces of legislation before that committee.
We now have a bill with 28 areas in which regulations have to be developed, and the bill itself is flawed in many instances, to say the least.
I find that this is a bill dealing entirely with what I would consider the life of a baby. Even the Minister of Health, in recommendations on when life begins, has now come out with labelling on cigarette packages which states, “Smoking during pregnancy can harm the life of a baby”. That does not say a fetus. That does not say something which does not exist. It says a baby. So on one side of its recommendations the department admits that life begins at conception, and on the other side it is saying it does not.
I find a contradiction here. I am at odds with the minister on this, because as a pro-lifer, which puts me in the “God squad” as I am told, whatever that means, it means to me that I stand up for what I believe. I do not intend to change my mind. I do not have any science to indicate that I should change my mind. Nothing has been brought forward to indicate that I am wrong, in my mind of course, as in some people's minds I am dead wrong on almost everything. That is what happens when one is in an adversarial situation with the Government of Canada and representing a large rural riding.
On Bill C-13 and the actual closure legislation that has been brought forth, it allows us an hour to debate a bill that should be debated at far greater length. Speakers should have been allowed to come forward, as the member for Mississauga South has indicated, like many groups appearing before the committee that have not been heard in Parliament and have not had their views brought forward.
Members of Parliament are uninformed about the bill. They have made up their minds based on what the minister has told them to say. I find that reprehensible in regard to the way I operate. I believe we should look at every bill, examine bills as members of Parliament, listen to all the evidence or at least have the courtesy to read the evidence, come to our own conclusions and then be judged based on our conscience as to how we in fact vote on a bill.
I was not prepared to speak on the bill this morning. I felt that it would follow its normal course. It would have a lot of debate on both sides, there would be input at third reading and I would be able to represent the views of my riding, which are, by the way, mixed. I think the views are mixed because the evidence brought forward is not evidence that in fact has reached a conclusion and it is not a basis for fact.
The difference between a disease and a syndrome is an inconclusive body of evidence. I believe that what we are dealing with here is indeed an inconclusive body of evidence. Technology changes almost hourly as laboratories do more work on reproductive technology and as people delve into the problems that come with this type of legislation, in which, as I said earlier, we deal with life itself.
We are facing a moral dilemma as to how we should deal with reproductive technologies, particularly the related research that goes with it. I believe there are medical doctors on all sides of this legislation that would allow for a difference of opinion and allow more technology to be considered. Also, not splitting the bill and not listening to the committee troubles me. I think that committees should have more input and more relevance and should be able to function separately from the House, bring back their reports and have those reports considered.
I am disappointed that the minister has chosen, first, not to appear before the committee, which I think is a travesty of justice. I think all ministers owe it to committees to appear, to put their voices forward and to explain to the committees why in fact they support a piece of legislation or why in fact they brought it forward. That bothers me.
I will conclude by saying that there are certain parts of the bill I support wholeheartedly, but there are areas that need further study and need to be looked at in their entirety, and the technology that is coming forward needs to be studied.
Therefore, I want to express my disappointment that this process has in fact been instituted by the minister.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the motion brought forward by the member for Ahuntsic. It is well timed and well received by the House. We are certainly going to support it.
It gives me great pleasure to address Motion No. 395 in regard to indexing of the family supplement. Motion No. 395 represents everything that the government stands for. It represents our firm belief in supporting children and families. It represents our commitment to providing financial support to those in need and it represents the government's effort to ensure a fair society.
These claims are not an idle boast. Since forming the government in 1993, there have been a number of measures on a number of fronts that have improved the lives of families and children. In 2002-03 alone federal investment and child benefits through the national child benefit and the Canada child tax benefit amounted to $8.2 billion. Approximately $5.9 billion of this sum went to low income families.
The Canada child tax benefit is already indexed to inflation. This indexing indicates that the government is not adverse to the idea presented in Motion No. 395 with respect to the family supplement. Budget 2003 also reflected that support to children and families as a fundamental plank in the government's program. The budget increased the national child benefits supplement to $965 million a year by 2007, and committed $900 million over five years to improve early learning and child care programs and services.
Employment insurance also plays a major role in providing families with low income support in their time of need whether it is owing to job loss, sickness or temporary maternity or parental leave from work. The current employment insurance program is a reflection of the government's willingness to take action to keep government programs and services in tune with the current needs of Canadians.
When the government replaced unemployment insurance with employment insurance, after extensive consultation with citizens, it committed to monitor and assess the new program to ensure that it kept abreast of the changing needs. That is precisely what we are doing now in discussing this motion on indexing the family supplement.
The family supplement was implemented as part of the major 1996 reform. It replaced the UI dependency provision and was designed to provide more targeted support to unemployed low income families. Under the previous legislation, eligibility was based solely on the income of the claimant and not total family income or the earnings of the spouse.
The EI family supplement, however, is based on family income. Only one spouse in a family can receive the family supplement at a given time. This method has been proven by the EI monitoring and assessment report to be a more effective targeting to low income households than the dependency provision under UI.
The family supplement tops up the benefits to employment insurance claimants in low income families with children whose annual family income is less than $25,921, thus providing these families with added support.
As well, for those who receive the family supplement, the employment insurance benefit rate is 80% of insurable earnings compared with the regular rate of 55%. Recipients of the family supplement also receive the Canada child tax benefit. The 2002 employment insurance monitoring and assessment report indicated that the family supplement was effective and was responding as it was designed to do.
The 2001-02 family supplement benefits amounted to $176 million. The number of low income people receiving them was 187,000. This translates into 10% of all employment insurance recipients receiving a higher benefit as a result of the family supplement.
Indeed, the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and as a result of the introduction of this reform, benefits for families receiving the family supplement are 38% higher than they were under the old system prior to 1996.
There is no argument that the family supplement works. The question then is, is it working as effectively as it might? The income ceiling for receiving the family supplement has been frozen at $25,921 since 1996. In the intervening years, inflation and salary increases have eroded the number of recipients eligible for this benefit.
Let me close by congratulating the member for Ahuntsic for bringing forward this motion. I know it will receive broad support. Certainly the people of Haliburton—Victoria—Brock support it 100%.
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Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I always enjoy listening to the member for Kings—Hants. He brings a whole different perspective into the fiscal reality of Canada. I know he calls himself a fridge magnet in a different sense of humour. As an entrepreneur in university, he invested in small fridges. Every student took him up on it and he made his first million or two there, and I congratulate him for that.
When he was talking about winners and losers, I hope he was not talking about the recent convention that he just went through. If he was, then he is suggesting that they picked a loser and that he was really the winner. I hope he will clarify that.
On the serious side of it, I hope he would take some time to expand on his theory on the elimination of capital gains because I believe that elimination would generate a lot of money and investment in the country. I wanted to give him an opportunity to expand on that.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, June 6, 2003, marks the 59th anniversary of the Canadian participation in the liberation of Europe.
On June 6, 1944, under the code name Juno, Canadian troops advanced on the shores of Normandy, France despite heavy resistance and accomplished their intended goal. On June 6, the Juno Beach Centre will open to the public on the same beach where Canadians came ashore 59 years earlier.
Celebrations will occur at over 25 locations across Canada so veterans may take part in what has been the dream of many, particularly Mr. Garth Webb, the president of the Juno Beach Centre.
Canadians have shown their gratitude by donating generously to this project. The Government of Canada can be proud of the sponsorship it provided with the help of all parties in the House.
I wish to extend congratulations to the Juno Beach Centre and to our veterans.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions between parties have taken place and I believe you would find consent for the following motion. I move:
That, when the House is in Committee of the Whole later this day in order to deal with the business of supply, no quorum calls, nor dilatory motions shall be entertained by the Speaker as of 9 p.m.
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