June 1, 1993

PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

There being no further members rising for debate, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired.

Pursuant to Standing Order 96(1), the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
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SUSPENSION OF SITTING


PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

In view of the fact that the late show will start in about 10 minutes, we will suspend the sitting to the call of the Chair.

The sitting of the House was suspended at 5.49 p.m.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
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SITTING RESUMED


The House resumed at 5.58 p.m.


PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


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


VETERANS AFFAIRS

LIB

George Albert Proud

Liberal

Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough):

Mr. Speaker, on April 29 I asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs to assure veterans that none of the benefits or programs they receive will be cut, especially in light of the fact that an official at the Privy Council Office called for a cut across the board of 10 per cent in all departments.

The reply I received that day was from the government House leader. Unfortunately it did not satisfy me nor did it satisfy the hundreds of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Charlottetown and across the country.

Please allow me to refresh the parliamentary secretary's memory. The government House leader said: "We in Canada have the most generous program of veterans benefits of any country in the world and we intend to maintain them". His response directly conflicts with that of the Privy Council director.

I then asked the government House leader to assure the people who deliver these programs that none of their

jobs would be cut. He then accused me-and I use that term lightly-of caring not only about the area of which I am opposition critic but also for caring about my constituents.

Let me say what he said. "I thought the hon. member was interested in veterans. Now I find out he is interested in his constituents' jobs". He went on to say: "Let me assure the hon. member that veterans affairs will continue to operate in Charlottetown. As long as veterans are still alive we will have public servants there providing the services they need".

The government House leader thought his response was a good joke. However veterans and employees of the department are not laughing.

I did not find the answers very useful when it came to settling the doubts and fears which have been raised about the long-term plans of this government and the future plans for veterans affairs.

It is a given that Canada has some of the most generous and beneficial veterans legislation in the world and we want to keep it that way. What is not so readily accepted by this government is that the Department of Veterans Affairs has some of the best employees in this government. However morale at this department is now low. As a matter of fact a recent departmental survey shows a great deal of employee dissatisfaction and low morale.

The survey showed that 91 per cent of the workers at St. Anne de Bellevue Hospital acknowledged they were worried about the hospital's future. The veterans and the employees both deserve to know what the future plans are for the department. Will there be staff cuts now or in the immediate future? Will there be cuts to programs? Will the political masters of the department still direct employees to treat the veterans with courtesy, generosity and speed or will there be a subtle change in that policy also?

Will there still be a Department of Veterans Affairs or will these deserving Canadians find themselves and their interests swallowed up in a larger department under the direction of a part-time minister?

Has this government formulated any long-term plans or will it continue, as it has been doing, adding more political appointees to senior positions while at the same

June 1, 1993

Adjournment Debate

time cutting back on clerks and stenographers and program officers who make the department work?

I asked the question on April 29 in good faith. I was asked to do so by both veterans and employees. They deserve an answer. We all agree that a program should be maintained but Canadians have come to learn that the words spoken by members of this government are often very hollow.

The answer I got effectively did not do what I wanted it to do. I ask the parliamentary secretary: What are the plans for veterans programs and what are the plans for employees of the department? I am sure the parliamentary secretary will stand in this House and assure us that neither programs for the veterans nor jobs in the department are in jeopardy.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
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PC

Marcel R. Tremblay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance; Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Marcel R. Tremblay (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to remind Canadians that our veterans have the most generous package of services and benefits of any veterans in the world, and to assure them that our veterans will continue to receive these programs and services. In fact, the proof can be found in our Main Estimates for this year. We have a record budget of $2.2 billion, which is $77 million higher than last year's budget. Despite strenuous efforts to eliminate wasteful spending and improve the efficiency of departmental administration, we are still committed to serving our veterans, as evidenced by our increased budget.

We are continually seeking ways in which to improve our services to veterans. For instance, at the end of this month we will begin implementing changes to the pension process which are designed to reduce, by as much as four months, the time necessary to rule on an initial pension application. I am grateful to the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to remind the House of this recent initiative.

However, I regret that he continues to alarm employees of Veterans Affairs, many of whom are his constituents. I know how important the Veterans Affairs headquarters are to the economy of Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island. I take this opportunity to repeat to

the hon. member that his claim that 400 headquarters jobs will be cut is simply not correct.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

NDP

Dawn Black

New Democratic Party

Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster-Burnaby):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today because I was dissatisfied with an answer provided to me by the government about violence against women.

I asked why the government was spending millions of dollars on research about violence against women while cutting back on shelters for battered women and women's organizations.

The research is telling the government that the problem is even more serious than it would admit. Yet it continues to cap billions of dollars in federal funds to the Canada Assistance Plan which funds shelters for battered women in addition to child care, social assistance and other programs. What is the point of putting millions of dollars into research when it takes billions of dollars out of much needed programs?

The minister answered that the panel on violence against women is necessary and is doing good work. If that is so, why has the government chosen to ignore the immediate challenges for action outlined in the panel's preliminary report?

Many of these immediate challenges such as mandatory violence prevention and education at every level of schooling and for judges and professionals are remarkably similar to the June 1991 report of the House of Commons Subcommittee on the Status of Women report War Against Women. Those recommendations have still not been implemented.

The minister answered that we should give credit for the work women have done over 20 years and the advancements we have made, and we should not be shouting at each other over these issues. Women do deserve credit for years of unsupported and poorly supported work in crisis centres and shelters. They have put this issue on the public agenda and now the government has punished women's organizations with deep and drastic cuts.

Her government has chosen, led by the member for Vancouver Centre, to spend almost $6 billion on 50 military helicopters while cutting shelters to battered

June 1, 1993

Adjournment Debate

women and child care. Women will shout as long as they try to justify this decision. We should be ending violence against women with public money and not funding more high-tech ways to commit it.

A government representative will shortly rise to justify the government's actions on violence against women. We do not want to hear how many communities the panel on violence has visited and we do not want to hear about more initiatives for research. We want to hear that the $1 million cut to the women's program has been restored and there will be no further cuts. We want to hear that the Court Challenges Program will be re-established. We want to hear that the cap is lifted from the Canada Assistance Plan and shelters for battered women will be fully funded again.

Canadian women want to hear that the recommendations of the War Against Women report and the panel's interim report will be put into effect soon. These recommendations include adequate long-term funding for advocacy and services for women. They include mandatory training for judges and all criminal justice and law enforcement officials on issues of violence against women and women's equality.

We want to hear that abusive men will be removed from the home rather than forcing the abused woman and her children to run for their lives. We want to hear that every child will receive a thorough education about his or her rights and responsibilities, about equality and about violence prevention.

We want to hear some concrete measures to promote women's economic equality so that women faced with abuse have a real choice to leave. We want to hear that these specific steps will be taken to make women and children safe, give them self-esteem and new lives and prevent further abuse. In short, we want to see a comprehensive program to achieve economic and social justice for Canadian women.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
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PC

Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question again asked by the hon. member.

I am quite proud and honoured to speak on this government's record in addressing the challenge of violence against women. As the hon. member knows and has indicated in her opening remarks, in August 1991 we

established the Canadian panel on violence against women. The panel's final report and a national action plan are expected to be released in about a month.

The government has not waited for the panel report to move ahead on this issue. We are working on several fronts, including research and education, laws to deter offenders, prevention and assistance to victims, to name a few and be specific as the hon. member requested.

The $136 million family violence initiative has funded over 1,300 projects since 1986. In the past two years over half the projects have been related to violence against women. Some of the money has been earmarked for new emergency and interim housing units.

Violence against women is a part of a larger societal problem of violence we are addressing. This year the Minister of Communications announced a five-point strategy to reduce media violence, including a code of ethics on television violence. The Minister of Justice is consulting Canadians to develop a national strategy on community safety and crime prevention that will look at the root causes for violence in society, an idea that is in keeping with the panel's philosophy.

As well, we have introduced legislation to deter offenders. The proposed criminal harassment legislation regarding stalking will hopefully be law before the end of this session. The rape shield law was passed last year and new regulations to tighten parole for sexual and other offenders now exist.

These initiatives are a testimony to my government's commitment to achieving zero tolerance of violence against women in Canada.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
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HOUSING

PC

Alan Redway

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alan Redway (Don Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, have you ever visited Tsulquate, Rae Lakes, Repulse Bay, Lac La Ronge, Tadule, Bearskin Lake, Chisasibi, Davis Inlet or Gabriel Elousing project? What do they all have in common? They are all on and off reserve native communities and housing projects. Some are in remote areas of Canada, some in rural areas of Canada and some in urban Canada. They are just a few of the thousands and thousands of similar communities and urban housing projects for natives across our entire country.

June 1, 1993

A great many of them need sewers and running water, but all of them need housing and repairs for existing housing. That is because there is a problem with overcrowding. There is a problem with a great backlog on the waiting list. There is a problem with damages caused by condensation as a result of the heating of these houses, cooking and indoor washing and drying of clothing because of the extreme temperatures in much of our country.

All of this housing has been built under programs either initiated by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development or by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This year or next CMHC apparently will have a total of some $41 million for new housing for non-natives and for natives off reserve. That is for 1993. In 1994 there are not going to be any new funds available for off reserve housing through CMHC unless it can generate some savings through efficiencies or through new financing arrangements. That is a real question mark.

As far as the department of Indian affairs is concerned its funding is going to be frozen as of the last budget at this year's level, in spite of the fact according to DIAND it is estimated in 1990 that there was a backlog of some 11,710 housing units.

The government has promised that we are going to have a new housing policy and presumably some new money for natives both on and off reserve and for the Inuit in the Northwest Territories. In answer to the question I asked on May 13, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said that the government was in the process of reviewing its policy which would be announced as soon as it was finalized.

By their own admissions various federal governments, not just the present one, have been reviewing this policy since 1975. In light of that is it any wonder that native Canadians across our country are truly worried about what is going to happen next year.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING
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PC

Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, the federal government recognizes that there is a critical need to resolve the housing problems in aboriginal communities and is committed to assisting First Nations in acquiring suitable, adequate and affordable housing.

Adjournment Debate

Over the past four years the Government of Canada has supported discussions and consultations with First Nations to address the issue of inadequate housing. It is not just the government that is reviewing. This is in consultation with the natives of whom the hon. member speaks. It is in their interests and with them that these policies are being developed.

More than 250 meetings were held across the country enabling the government and aboriginal leaders to identify the issues and recommend options for change. At the conclusion of this joint process it was agreed that a fundamentally reformed housing policy was needed.

The Government of Canada is now considering a new policy framework that will be developed jointly with the Assembly of First Nations using the recommendations contained in the report on housing prepared by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and the advice received directly from community leaders.

The immediate goal is to assist Indian communities in addressing the provision of adequate, suitable and affordable housing in a way that promotes Indian control and accountability in the management of activity, greater opportunities for home ownership, sound economic development and employment opportunities for First Nations and assures equity with other Canadians.

By working with First Nations the government has made significant progress in identifying the issues and options for change relating to on reserve housing. Access to affordable, quality housing for native people has been and will continue to be an integral part of the fulfilment of the native agenda.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HOUSING
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ENVIRONMENT

?

Hon. Chas. L. Caccia@Davenport

Mr. Speaker, as you probably know, the world community has agreed that it is in the interests of the population in five continents for their well-being, for their food security and for long-term stability of their lands to ensure that there be no changes in climate. The present trend in climate change must be reversed. It is caused by a number of gases which are being produced as a result of our activities on this planet. They are usually referred to as greenhouse gases.

Adjournment Debate

Having arrived at this conclusion some three years ago, some nations decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and some decided only to stabilize them. Canada is in this second group and made an announcement to this effect three years ago. It has said that by the year 2000 it will stabilize greenhouse gas emissions, taking 1990 as the base.

Having made this announcement we still have to see the Government of Canada produce a plan. It is a source of frustration and anger to see this government send the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister abroad where they make substantial speeches conveying the impression that Canada is moving on this item. Yet here at home not even a plan has been prepared.

By contrast, President Clinton announced in April that the United States will have a plan to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions by August of this year. This means that the United States will have a plan ready in five months, whereas we in three years have not yet been able to put one together.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the minister of energy seems to be standing in the way by not allowing a vigorous program in energy efficiency at least to be launched in order to achieve this carbon dioxide or this greenhouse gases stabilization. Why is the federal government creating the impression that it has to be dragged reluctantly into the 21st century in the last decade of the 20th century? It is hard to understand.

The facts speak for themselves. When he appeared before the Standing Committee on the Environment, Jim MacNeill, the former secretary-general of the Brundtland commission said: "For every dollar of the Canadian taxpayers' money the Canadian federal government spends to promote energy efficiency, it spends over $100 to encourage or support the fossil fuel industry and thereby incidentally encourages more acid rain and global warming".

Mr. MacNeill makes a very important point because it is the dependence on fossil fuels that leads to the creation of greenhouse gases which we want to at least stabilize if not reduce in the interest of the world community.

I have conducted studies on the 1991 income tax returns and the value of tax deductions by the oil and gas industry amounted to $4.9 billion. With these tax deductions the government lost at least $500 million in revenue. Then I notice that the current direct expenditures by the federal government to the energy sector are close to $700 million. Only 5 per cent of that amount goes to research and development on alternative sources of energy.

In essence the government has to introduce a plan that is based on efficiency in our use of energy. Based on adequate research and development it must permit the shift from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy. Neither of these is apparently taking place in Canada.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENT
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PC

Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lee Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, greenhouse gas emissions are associated with every aspect of the Canadian economy and in the everyday decisions of all orders of government, business, industiy and even individual Canadians. To be cost effective and successful Canada's national action plan must present and represent a national partnership to be developed in an open, transparent manner and define clear accountabilities for all the stakeholders.

In the green plan the federal government announced its initial contribution to a national action plan. A number of the provinces are bringing forward their initial measures, as are several municipalities, and we are listening. Canadian business and industry are taking many actions that will reduce emissions. We are assessing the extent to which these actions will take us toward our national goal of stabilizing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not controlled under the Montreal protocol at 1990 levels by the year 2000. We are putting in place processes to bring all stakeholders together to begin considering the nature and scope of further actions.

At the earth summit we made a commitment to prepare a national report on what Canada was doing to implement the terms and conditions of the climate change convention, including the actions being taken to reduce emissions. That report will be completed later this month.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENT
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NATIONAL DEFENCE

June 1, 1993