December 10, 1987

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

THE ADMINISTRATION

PC

Barbara Jean McDougall (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of State (Privatization))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Barbara McDougall (Minister of State (Privatization and Regulatory Affairs)):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table in both official languages copies of the 1988 Federal Regulatory Plan.

* v *

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF 1988 FEDERAL REGULATORY PLAN
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HUMAN RIGHTS

PC

David Edward Crombie (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism; Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. David Crombie (Secretary of State of Canada):

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to inform all Members of this House that today is Human Rights Day and marks the 39th anniversary of the universal Declaration of Human Rights. This historic document on basic rights and fundamental freedoms was proclaimed on December 10, 1948, by the United Nations. Its philosophy of equality and personal dignity symbolized a new era in human understanding and tolerance. The member nations that signed the declaration in 1948 voiced their united support for individual liberty in all countries throughout the world.

For our part, we in Canada have continued to stress the importance of these principles within our own borders with a distinctly Canadian vision of a fair and harmonious society.

The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights affirmed the privileges which all Canadians enjoy as citizens of this country. Bearing the signature of the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker, this monument to freedom which we hold so dearly states, among other things: " . . . in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race,

national origin, colour, religion or sex, the . . . human rights and fundamental freedoms ... ".

Our Canadian Human Rights Act came into being in 1977, followed by the Constitution Act of 1982. This encompassed the social principles of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a statement in support of human dignity and equality that is the envy of many of our neighbours worldwide.

On December 1, I tabled in this House the Canadian Multicultural Act. When passed, this historic Bill will confirm the constitutional freedom of all Canadians of whatever origin to preserve and enhance their multicultural heritage and to share it with others. It will recognize that all of us are equal participants in our society, thereby reinforcing both our Canadian identity and the unity of this country.

Mr. Speaker, Canada has also heralded civil rights on a world-wide scale. The position we have taken against the injustices we see in South Africa, in Central America, and in a number of other regions of the world vividly attests to our firm determination to restore the kind of climate where all nations of the world will be able to feel like true equals.

[DOT] (UIO)

Another example of the Government's commitment to human rights lies in its plans to establish the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development as jointly announced by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark) and the Minister for External Relations (Mrs. Landry). This centre's important mandate will be to uphold human rights and strengthen democratic institutions by means of international co-operation.

International Humans Rights Day is a time for recalling the millions in the world who are denied their basic rights. It is also an occasion for solemn reflection, for some through prayer, for others through giving thanks, for the blessings we enjoy in Canada where human rights for everyone is a central pillar of our society's structure.

As Canada grew to maturity, its citizens displayed ever increasing openmindedness in mutual respect for one another. But we still have some way to go because it is always possible to improve the situation. Given the understanding which has

December 10, 1987

Statements by Ministers

developed between the people and the Government of Canada, I firmly believe that the principles underlying our hopes are that much stronger. Indeed, cultural or racial origins must not stand as obstacles to the free expression of fundamantal rights.

Allow me to conclude by quoting from the introduction to the Multiculturalism Act a week ago. It states:

.. . The Government calls upon all citizens to make a renewed commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and community and to continue the great task of building their homeland into a free and united country that will continue to be a symbol of hope in a fractious, turbulent world .. . The proposed Act should reinforce Canada's stature among the nations of the world, adding another page to the country's long record as a leader in matters relating to human and civil rights.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   ANNIVERSARY OF UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
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LIB

Roland de Corneille

Liberal

Mr. Roland de Corneille (Eglinton-Lawrence):

Mr. Speaker, I read the text of the Minister's statement which I received about an hour ago, and I have listened carefully in the hopes that it might be amended. On an occasion as important as International Human Rights Day, I am frankly disappointed that he would limit himself to painting such a rosy picture of human rights in Canada and, in a sense, publicize or promote his own legislative program when the world is in such agony and chaos. Instead of addressing the problems facing our native people, or the inequality affecting women, or the problems of discrimination faced by visible minorities, the disabled and handicapped, he has reviewed and rehashed generalities with which I am sure we all agree. I wonder if the Minister wrote the statement himself.

The Minister spoke about the Multiculturalism Bill, and of course we have all supported the multiculturalism concept for decades. Yet I would have liked him to have told us what it actually achieves. What does it do, for example, about racism and discrimination?

The Minister passed over the world's problems in several sentences, yet at this very hour burning issues exist. Let us take just one example, that of Haiti, where a brutal military regime has savaged its population for several years and sponsored or condoned death squads which have been murdering citizens lining up for an election. The election had to be cancelled for that reason and that Government has had the audacity to announce today that it is trying to call illegal elections for January 17. That is just one of many tragic examples of international problems. On a day of such importance and such solemnity as International Human Rights Day, I am disappointed that the Minister has not risen to the occasion and discussed with us the problems, instead of shovelling self-serving and self-congratulatory propaganda of sweetness and light for the Government.

Perhaps he would like to deal with the real human rights issues here in Canada. What about the failure to appoint a commissioner from the Atlantic region to the Canadian Human Rights Commission? What about the slow pace of dealing with human rights cases before that commission, some reputedly taking as long as a year to a year and a half or even two years? What about the failure to deal with the human

rights concerns of our native people? What about the aboriginal land claims? What about the way in which we deal with our native people in our system of justice? What about the human rights problems facing our native people with respect to housing? What about the problems faced by our native people with respect to medical care? What about youth programs? We know so many young people in the native communities are struggling to find meaning in life. What about the basic right to life? What about the fact that our native people have a higher mortality rate than others in Canada, particularly for their children? What about human rights issues in this country?

On International Human Rights Day, I was pleased that the Minister recognized the occasion but I have to ask him, on a day of this importance, can you not get serious?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   ANNIVERSARY OF UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-Walkerville):

Mr. Speaker, once again I rise on behalf of the NDP to add my voice to that of the Secretary of State (Mr. Crombie) and the Official Opposition spokesman in recognition of the thirty-ninth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This day marks the culmination of the recognition of a new ideal among nations in a world where, only a century before, slavery and the attitude that supported it were pervasive.

It is because of this new ideal that we have a better world, but not a perfect world. Even now, in the glow of glasnost, Jews plead for Russian refuseniks and Afghans for their land. In Haiti the people struggle for a blood-free vote. In southern Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala human rights lay victim to local tyranny and foreign conflicts. In Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere we see that religious intolerance is still a powerful force for suppression.

We in Canada, as the Minister says, can look with pride upon a nation striving to become a new model for understanding among an increasing diversity of people. As we increasingly reflect the many peoples of the world in our own citizenship, we are asked to become an increasingly powerful voice on the world stage for equality, justice and freedom. Whether it be in southern Africa, Central America or elsewhere, we must be sure that our voice will be heard above the cacophony of national or big power interests which tempt compromise. In our own land the recognition in legislation of the multiculturalism of our land is not enough unless equality is absolutely assured.

On this thirty-ninth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us not forget that, as we celebrate Meech Lake, we still have not dealt with the limits on equality presented in our Charter of Rights by the override clause. Those of us who have supported Meech Lake and those of us who look upon Canada as a multicultural nation insist that the first priority, as the provinces and the federal Government deliberate about the next constitutional change, be the elimination of the that clause which says to too many of us

December 10, 1987

who are not of English or French descent that we are not quite equal if there is a need for compromise for some purpose.

Let us also recognize that increasingly those of us who looked with hope upon the Human Rights Commissions of the federal Government and the provinces see now that they have virtually deserted us. When it takes not days, not weeks, but years all too often for complaints of discrimination to be processed by provincial human rights commissions or the federal Human Rights Commission, it suggests to many that we are willing to move too slowly on something which should have been completed long ago and for which there was so much hope not too long ago.

We join in celebration. We are proud of the contribution that Canada has made. We are pleased by the changes which make this country more representative of the world's population, but we cannot sit down on this day satisfied that we have achieved perfection domestically or internationally. We have done well, but we have much more to do.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   ANNIVERSARY OF UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement Government Orders will be extended by 14 minutes beginning at one o'clock.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   ANNIVERSARY OF UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
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STRIKING

PC

Thomas Scott Fennell (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott Fennell (Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, 1 have the honour of tabling the Forty-sixth Report of the Striking Committee.

[Editor's Note: For above report, see today's Votes and Proceedings.]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   STRIKING
Sub-subtopic:   PRESENTATION OF FORTY-SIXTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jim Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Shall all questions be allowed to stand?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Supply

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Since today is the final allotted day, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the Supply Bill. In view of recent practices, do Hon. Members agree that the Supply Bill be distributed now?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 82-CANADA-UNITED STATES TRADE AGREEMENT-EXTENSION OF DEADLINE
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 82-CANADA-UNITED STATES TRADE AGREEMENT-EXTENSION OF DEADLINE
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa) moved:

That this House condemn the government for its failure to allow an adequate period of review prior to the signing of a highly complex trade agreement with the United States pn January 2. 1988 and, as a result, this House calls upon the government to seek an extension of the January 2nd deadline by at least 60 days.

He said: Mr. Speaker, we are just three short weeks away from signing what has been described as the most significant economic agreement in the history of the relationships between Canada and the United States. That description is one which my Party shares. This deal is indeed very significant, if not quite comparable to the Magna Carta which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) would like to suggest from time to time in his highly exaggerated rhetoric, and will have an immense impact on the lives of Canadians, not only for the rest of this century but into the next century as well.

Yet, as serious as this is, the incredible fact remains that the Parliament of Canada has not yet seen the final text. This is absolutely outrageous.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 82-CANADA-UNITED STATES TRADE AGREEMENT-EXTENSION OF DEADLINE
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Shame, shame.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 82-CANADA-UNITED STATES TRADE AGREEMENT-EXTENSION OF DEADLINE
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December 10, 1987