May 18, 1995

LIB

Martin Cauchon

Liberal

Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me a few minutes to reply and maybe put a question to the member opposite. While listening not only to that member of the official opposition but to all the members of the official opposition today, I kept wondering if we were living in the same world. I must tell you that, sometimes, I think I am dreaming.

Today, these people are really speaking against Quebec's interests. They claim they want to protect the interests of the province of Quebec, but in fact they are trying to fool the people in Quebec, who are mature enough not to fall into the totally partisan trap the Bloc Quebecois has set.

The official opposition is asking the federal government to act irresponsibly, but this could have serious consequences at the political level. As the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said clearly this morning in the House, he has to manage the public funds, a good part of which comes from Quebec taxpayers. As a Quebecer, I am entitled to expect governments to efficiently manage public funds and also to maximize their benefits and manage them in the best interests of the population.

This is exactly what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is doing. He oversees the sound and responsible management of the public funds in the best interests of the Canadian population and also, needless to say, in the best interests of the people of Quebec. The minister told us this morning that he did everything he could. He helped Quebec as much as he could by providing advance funds. Basically what I would like to ask the member of the official opposition is this: From what I understand in the motion before the House, would he rather see the federal government act irresponsibly and foolishly and waste the taxpayers' money? I do not think that would be in the best interests of the province of Quebec.

When we look a little more closely at this motion tabled by the Bloc Quebecois, we find once again, and it could not be any clearer, that the members of this party are not defending the interests of the people of Quebec in general, but that they are-and I will have the opportunity to come back to this later today-putting forward their own agenda, which is the separation of Quebec.

I believe that the situation or the problem is clear: we have a responsible government versus people whose aim is complete negligence. When we look at the situation, and I am a Quebecer, the answer is clear. It is obvious that I support the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs whose aim is, first and foremost, sound management of the taxpayers' money.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Permalink
BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bachand

Madam Speaker, my colleague for Outremont is probably dreaming. He said so himself. I think it is just wishful thinking. As for us, we are having a nightmare listening to such remarks from a member who comes from Quebec. I would ask him to go back to his riding and ask his constituents, who also pay taxes to the federal government, if they agree that these services should be paid for by the Quebec government alone.

Can his constituents and mine say that they will give Ottawa $300 million less to pay this bill? The present system does not allow it. Therefore, it is Quebec which must pay and which comes up short. I find it sad that a member from Quebec would make such remarks.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is really acting in the public interest. I think he is acting in Ottawa's interest and that, as a member from Quebec, he is forgetting that, when the people of a province pay taxes to the federal government, they are entitled to certain services in return. That is what today's debate is all about.

We claim, with good reason, that Quebec was willing to honour this gentlemen's agreement but that the federal government has not honoured it. It owes Quebec $300 million and it must pay its bills. That is what it must do in the public interest. It has been five years in one instance and eight years in the other that all audits have been completed. Now the time has come to pay, and we are asking the federal government to do so.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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LIB

Nick Discepola

Liberal

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, today's debate covers a broad range of federal government activities, and this interjection shows how desperately the Bloc Quebecois is trying to bolster support for the scenario rejected by a

The Bloc is obviously hoping to discredit the federal government, but to no avail, for we are seeing a boomerang effect here again today. In fact, this debate provides an opportunity to appreciate the extent of the federal government's prerogatives and responsibilities.

One of these responsibilities is addressed through the fiscal stabilization program created under the federal-provincial fiscal arrangements and Federal Post-secondary Education and Health Contributions Act. The purpose of the stabilization program is to provide protection to provinces in the event of extreme downturns in economic activity.

More specifically, provinces faced with a year-over-year decline in revenues due to a downturn in the economy, such as the last recession, have access to financial assistance, subject to specific rules set out in the act.

The compensation authorized by the stabilization legislation is based on the province's year over year absolute decline in a province's eligible revenues subject to three constraints. First, changes made by the province in the rate or in the structure of its provincial taxes must be factored out when measuring revenue declines. The program compensates for revenue declines due to business cycles and not for declines due to provincial decisions to reduce taxes arbitrarily.

Second, declines in resource revenues are subject to stabilization only if and to the extent that the annual decline exceeds 50 per cent. Third, since 1987-1988 the maximum grant payable to a province is limited to $60 per provincial resident. Assistance above that limit is at the discretion of the Minister of Finance and would take the form of an interest free loan. The litmus test in assessing eligibility to the stabilization program is whether there is or was a drop in revenues due to general economic conditions.

The stabilization legislation and regulations provide very detailed rules about how to measure provincial revenues and how to adjust for changes in taxation. It is these very same rules that were applied consistently in dealing with all provincial applications as the act requires us so to do.

Stabilization is a program for exceptionally hard times, which explains why only three provinces have received federal stabilization payments up to 1990. British Columbia received $174 million for the fiscal year 1982-83; Alberta, $419 million for fiscal year 1986-87; and Ontario received $227 million for 1990-91.

In order to be considered for stabilization payments, a province must make a claim to the federal Minister of Finance not later than 18 months after the end of the year to which the claim should be applied.

Last December 7, the Minister of Finance, Paul Martin, announced payments totalling $782.4 million in response to applications from the provinces under the stabilization program, including $418 million for fiscal year 1991-92.

These were final payments for 1991-92 in the case of seven applications, and interim payments for 1992-93 in the case of five applications.

Despite all the insidious and unfounded insinuations of the Bloc Quebecois, these applications were processed according to the letter and the intent of the fiscal stabilization program legislation. All provinces were put on the same footing.

The Bloc Quebecois has implied that the federal government used delaying tactics in settling Quebec's claims.

I urge the hon. member who moved the motion before the House today to ask his own leader about the meaning of the term "delaying", since he is an expert on the subject.

With regard to the 1991-92 fiscal year, the Minister of Finance made final payments to five provinces: Newfoundland, $3.1 million; Nova Scotia, $55 million; Prince Edward Island, $5 million; Ontario, $284.4 million; and Manitoba, $42.9 million.

The claims made by two additional provinces, Saskatchewan and Quebec, were found not valid under this rule set out in the act.

Quebec's application for 1991-92 was not approved because there had been no decline in revenue due to the business cycle, which meant that according to the regulations, there could be no compensation. That is all.

There was no question of unfair treatment, political intrigue or partisanship.

The Minister of Finance also has the authority under the legislation to make interim payments to a province where applications are supported by currently available data.

For instance, on December 7, 1994, the finance minister announced that interim payments be made to five provinces based on fiscal year 1992-93, which included $125 million for Quebec. In this case Quebec's application was valid, and the federal government paid.

I dare the Bloc Quebecois to make the same fuss about the payment made to the Government of Quebec for 1992-93 that it made to discredit the federal government concerning payments for the fiscal year 1991-92.

In concluding, decisions by the Minister of Finance on all provincial applications for stabilization are made in accordance with the legislation and regulations. Furthermore, they treat all provinces in a manner that is consistent and fair. These decisions are final.

The stabilization legislation does not provide for arbitration mechanisms. If Quebec wants to challenge the legality of the federal decision, it has one recourse: to appeal before the courts.

Those who call this courtroom federalism do not know what they are talking about. This year, the Government of Canada will pay about $11.7 billion in federal transfer payments to the Province of Quebec. That is what I call constructive and positive federalism.

I will vote against the motion of the Bloc Quebecois because it denies the facts and adds absolutely nothing constructive to this debate.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Permalink
REF

Ian McClelland

Reform

Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest, Ref.)

Madam Speaker, we are speaking today on the opposition motion of the member for Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead regarding Quebec's financial demands. This should not be the greatest surprise we in the House have ever had when speaking to a Bloc supply motion on Quebec's financial demands, especially for those of us who come from Alberta, British Columbia or Ontario who have been well versed in Quebec's financial demands for quite some time.

The motion we are debating is at the core of discussions concerning why the Bloc is in Parliament in the first place. It is a sad situation. The vast majority of Canadians look to Canada as a home and a federation of 10 provinces because we are Canadians. We do not boil the reasons for being Canadian down to the bottom line on a balance sheet asking what is in it for us.

Many times when members of Parliament are debating in committee the Bloc Quebecois-in fairness it is doing exactly what it said it would do-is thinking solely about any policy or law as it directly relates to Quebec. The question for them is always how to protect what we have already while at the same time perhaps getting a little more, wanting complete independence but ensuring we get all the support we have had in the past and what we may want in the future.

To be spending a day of debate in the House on this motion is not a major surprise. The Reform Party came to Parliament with basically one overriding priority, to put the financial affairs of the nation right. The overriding priority of many people who supported the Reform Party and I am sure the government and the Bloc as well was to get our financial affairs in order.

That should still be the number one priority of Parliament. It must be the number one overriding priority of our colleagues from the Bloc.

When I say financial affairs I mean everyone in Canada including in Quebec. Unless we get our financial affairs in order what will we be left with? What is the point of having an independent bankrupt Quebec? There is absolutely no point in it. The whole notion of splitting the country and expecting the haves to have the same critical mass and to be as successful as we are as a combined unit is crazy.

There are areas which would benefit right off the bat, for instance those parts which have through equalization payments been pouring billions of dollars eastward, much of which found a home in Quebec for many years. We are not talking about sovereignty association, we are not talking about splitting up the marriage but retaining bedroom privileges. We are talking about a new house, a new street, the whole shebang. Would the people of Quebec think for one minute that equalization payments or transfer payments from the rest of the country would continue to flow into Quebec? Of course not.

Conversely, all the benefits Quebec brings to the country would also be denied the rest of the country. That is how we would be hurt dramatically by this notion of our colleagues and friends from the Bloc who would want to take Quebec out of Canada.

I have been talking about the financial implications because it is the gist of the Bloc's motion, the financial implications of Quebec in Canada. The bias of the motion, the bias of the Bloc is it wants to make darn sure it will get more out of it and not lose anything even if it splits.

If we go beyond the bottom line on the balance sheet and talk about what will happen to the country if Quebec takes a hike, the costs will be far more than financial. It will cost us a tonne in terms of our own sense of self-worth. It will cost us dramatically in terms of what it means and what it is to be a Canadian, the culture we share together. That we have been able to nurture in an island the French fact in North America in a sea of almost 300 million people, that we have a vibrant, strong, successful, exciting Quebec and French culture here in our midst would be lost.

A separate Quebec would find itself very quickly becoming far more worldly in its outlook and far more accommodating to speak the language of whomever would come in to spend money.

Since I have been living part time in Ottawa I have, as often as possible, taken the occasion to vacation and spend weekends in Quebec, particularly in Montreal. I have come to cherish the time I spend there. A couple of weekends ago one of my sons visited from Vancouver. I am trying to persuade him to go to university in Montreal. I want him to have a sense of what our country is all about. Quebec and the French fact and the Quebecois are so vitally a part of our collectivity as a nation I feel if he did not partake in that he would be losing something in his life.

He lives in Vancouver. We went to Montreal and he had some trepidation because although he has taken French in school for about nine years he cannot speak a word of French. If we do not use it we cannot learn it. He wondered how he would be received as an English speaking Canadian. He is 17 and he was a little nervous about it. Every experience he has had and I have had has been one of complete comfort. People bend over backwards to be accommodating, kind and generous.

That weekend in Quebec turned his mind around. I wonder how many unilingual French speaking people in Quebec who have travelled to other parts of Canada have been treated with the same compassion, understanding, care and politeness. I wonder if we could get more people to look beyond the balance sheet of what it is to be a Canadian and to look at the value of what English Canada and Quebec bring to this united body.

I ask Bloc members to consider what I have said as this great debate unfolds.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Permalink
?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest will have the floor when we resume consideration of the business of supply following question period.

It being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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LIB

Walt Lastewka

Liberal

Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to welcome to Ottawa several GM retirees and their spouses. They have come from Niagara to visit the House of Commons and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull and to enjoy the hospitality of our nation's capital.

My former colleagues and friends, some of whom are veterans, have come to join in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the second world war and to enjoy the magnificent tulip festival.

Today I pay tribute to the GM retirees and their spouses and wish them all the best during their visit here in Ottawa.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Gm Retirees
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BQ

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval-Centre, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on May 26, women of Quebec will go on a long march, which will end up in Quebec City. Hundreds of women from every community and every region of Quebec will gather to repeat the action taken by American women factory workers at the turn of the century.

Their slogan was: Bread and roses. The women of Quebec will use the same slogan this year. The bread represents the need to work and the roses, quality of life. The women will remind the people of Quebec of these two essentials.

To help them achieve financial equity, women are demanding a social infrastructure program, jobs, social housing and real access to programs providing general training and job training.

The Bloc Quebecois congratulates the women of Quebec on their initiative and wishes them a successful march.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Quebec Women's March
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REF

Bill Gilmour

Reform

Mr. Bill Gilmour (Comox-Alberni, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has been stonewalling Patrick Kelly's application to review his case for a year and a half.

Kelly, a former RCMP officer, is in jail for allegedly killing his wife but now the key witness admits that she lied on the stand. The review of Kelly's case has dragged on and now the justice minister wants Kelly's lawyer, Clayton Ruby, to sign a gag order before documents key to Kelly's case will be released.

The justice minister said:

We will disclose all of those records that are relevant to the issues raised in the application and that will be done.

Now the minister is placing roadblocks in front of Kelly's lawyer.

Why the secrecy? The information being withheld from Mr. Kelly was collected at public expense by a public agency for use in a public prosecution. What are the Liberals trying to hide and what is in the documents that the Liberals are afraid of?

Why is there no justice in Mr. Kelly's case?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Anna Terrana

Liberal

Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to welcome to Ottawa the hon. Darlene Marzari, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs; Mr. George Ford, her deputy minister; His Worship Greg Halsey-Brandt, mayor of Richmond and chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District; Her Worship Beth Johnson, mayor of Delta; Hew McConnell, manager of GVRD; and 15 young ambassadors of Canada.

Every year the Chinese Canadian Association of Public Affairs sends a number of students of Chinese origin to Ottawa for a week of meetings with parliamentarians and leaders of the House parties.

Yesterday, I was pleased to have a number of young men and women visit my office. They were accompanied by the organizers. I have encouraged young Canadian students to take part regularly in the political process.

Let me thank the Chinese Canadian Association of Public Affairs for offering young Canadians such a great experience.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Chinese Canadian Association Of Public Affairs
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LIB

John Finlay

Liberal

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, within every cloud there is a silver lining.

Over the past few weeks we have all been exposed to the realities of terrorism. The Oklahoma City tragedy has forced us to realize that terrorism can happen even in North America.

I am happy to say that two women in my riding did not just sit back in the wake of the bombing. Janice Koekebakker and Linda Mathews, nurses in Woodstock, Ontario, spent a week in Oklahoma City providing first aid treatment and consoling rescue workers. The city of Woodstock and the Woodstock Rotary Club should also be commended for helping to offset the expenses of these fine nurses.

The London Free Press wrote in its recent editorial honouring these two nurses: ``There are things all of us can do if we just decide to do them''. These women realized that there was something they could do and they were able to provide an important service in a difficult time.

I thank these women on behalf of all of us.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Terrorism
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LIB

Warren Allmand

Liberal

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to Hector Toe Blake who died yesterday in Montreal. Toe was the greatest and most successful hockey coach in the history of the National Hockey League. He was also a great leftwinger.

As a coach he won eight Stanley Cups in 13 seasons. As a player he played for 15 seasons with the Montreal Maroons and with the Canadiens. He was on three Stanley Cup teams, one with the Maroons and two with the Canadiens.

He won the scoring championship and Hart Trophy in 1938-39 and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1945-46. He was a leftwinger on the punch line with Rocket Richard and Elmer Lach, one of the most colourful and prolific scoring combinations in hockey history.

He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1966, was on the first All Star team as a player three times, on the second All Star team as a player twice, and as coach of the All Star team nine times.

Toe Blake will be missed and long remembered in Montreal. I think all Canadians will pay him tribute on this sad day.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Late Hector Toe Blake
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BQ

Nic Leblanc

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Nic Leblanc (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, since the Prime Minister's discussions with President Yeltsin, the Russian army has been relentlessly bombarding Chechen positions and is continuing to bomb civilian populations.

In an effort to have done with the Chechens once and for all, the Russian army is preparing to launch its elite corps in a final assault against Chechnya. We have a hard time understanding how the Prime Minister could say he was confident that the army had already been replaced by the regular Chechen police force, as President Yeltsin had assured him.

The Prime Minister claims he put pressure on his Russian counterpart, but he also said that his first priority was trade. Today we are seeing the results. In addition to undermining Canada's credibility, the government's double talk leads nowhere.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Chechnya
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REF

Jack Frazer

Reform

Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the situation in the former Yugoslavia has deteriorated to the point where it is surely time for Canada to take action which reflects the reality there.

The Prime Minister says that Canadians do not cut and run when the going gets tough. Reform supports that stance. We know that Canadian troops have proven this many times over the years in support of worthwhile causes.

Is it not time to consider the worthiness of the cause in Bosnia and Croatia? What we have there are three antagonists who show no interest whatsoever in achieving a peaceful resolution of their differences. Rather than having a positive influence, the UN has proven to be either a toothless tiger or perhaps has even become part of the problem.

Others may have larger forces there but Canada's contribution has been substantial, competent and reliable. Rather than sheep following the French and British ram, is it not time for Canada to lead by stating that unless there is immediate, unequivocal and verifiable movement toward peace the Canadian forces will commence preparations to withdraw from the region?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Bernard Patry

Liberal

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its Quebec counterpart issued a study concluding that Quebec benefits greatly from interprovincial trade. It shows that in Quebec, 470,000 jobs depend directly on interprovincial trade. Given these findings, it is disconcerting to see that the Bloc Quebecois and the PQ are still adamantly pursuing Quebec's separation, regardless of the huge economic impact such a course of action might have.

Canada is financially advantageous not only for Quebec, but also for all the other provinces. The recent signing of an interprovincial trade agreement by the ten premiers opens new opportunities for this important sector of Quebec economy. The Canadian economic union already exists and it has proven to be extremely advantageous for Quebec. There is no need to jeopardize everything for the sake of satisfying the sovereignist aspirations of the Bloc and the PQ.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Interprovincial Trade
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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen (Windsor-St. Clair, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, at 5 a.m. on May 18, 1970, francophones all over southwestern Ontario turned to 540 on their radio dials to hear: "Bonjour Windsor, bonjour Tilbury, bonjour Pointes aux Roches, bonjour Belle Riviere", the first French words on the most crowded radio band in North America.

CBEF 540 serves 50,000 francophones in Windsor, Tecumseh, Sarnia, London, Paincourt and other vibrant southwestern Ontario communities. For 25 years CBEF has provided a vital link between francophones in southwestern Ontario and francophones in the rest of Canada, indeed in the world.

The Right Hon. Paul Martin, Senior, helped along a hard working group of local francophones to make the station a reality.

I want to congratulate it on its 25th anniversary.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Cbef 540
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LIB

Eleni Bakopanos

Liberal

Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois has finally yielded to pressures from the powerful gun lobby. Yesterday the Bloc critic on justice issues, the member of Parliament for Saint-Hubert, stated:

"Unfortunately, as soon as the topic of firearms comes up, males get excited and agitated-And since women are not the majority in the Bloc, male members put a lot of pressure on the caucus".

And yet, it should be pointed out that the Bloc Quebecois was committed to supporting the bill, as mentioned by the Bloc member for Saint-Hubert, on May 6, and I quote: "It is a good bill which provides for the registration and control of firearms". Women in Quebec will be very disappointed to learn that the Bloc does not take into account their views which are overwhelmingly in favour of Bill C-68.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Gun Control
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BQ

Jean-Paul Marchand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean-Paul Marchand (Québec-Est, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is doing an about-face in the issue of the building of a new sport arena in Winnipeg. Two weeks ago, Ottawa did not have any money to help the Jets. Suddenly, the Minister of Human Resources Development seems to have discovered plenty of it in several federal programs.

There is no doubt that the pretext of the infrastructure program is simply a smoke-screen for an inescapable reality: Ottawa is about to give several millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to the Winnipeg Jets, and never thought about lifting one finger to help the Quebec Nordiques. There has never been such double standard before. It is obvious that the only thing flexible about Canadian federalism is fairness.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Winnipeg Jets
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REF

Chuck Strahl

Reform

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, imagine a place in which democratically elected members of a legislature are not allowed to propose changes to a law. Imagine then that they are not allowed to speak to the proposals of others and if they protest they are summarily cut off by the majority. Imagine a legislative body taking decisions without votes or ignoring long established rules of procedure in order to deny minority groups the right to be heard. Imagine a member of this minority group daring to challenge and oppose such autocratic rulings only to have the majority further restrict his rights by denying him the opportunity to even ask questions.

These types of governments exist around the world. We know that oppressive governments sometimes use the tools of democracy to choke off reasoned debate even while spouting false words about democracy and goodwill.

This kind of situation would be condemned by all members. I only wish we were describing a third world country, but I am talking about the standing committee on human rights and what it did last night.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Human Rights
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LIB

Ivan Grose

Liberal

Mr. Ivan Grose (Oshawa, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that everyone from Oshawa is in the nation's capital. It makes me wonder who is minding the store.

I am proud to acknowledge the presence in the nation's capital today of members of 420 Wing, the Royal Canadian Air Force Association from Oshawa, an organization of which I am a proud member.

Some of the members here today have just returned from V-E Day ceremonies in Europe. Incidentally they tell me that our Prime Minister was the hit of the show in Holland and literally moved everyone to tears. These are the men and women of Canada whose sense of duty, dedication and love of their country made that long ago victory possible.

We in the House would do well to exhibit the same patriotism and loyalty to this country that my friends and comrades showed in their youth and in truth to this day.

I will close with an admonition to all of us that was given to the airman son by his anxious mother: "My son, fly low and slow".

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Air Force Association
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LIB

Charles Hubbard

Liberal

Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this week in Ottawa we celebrate the Canadian Tulip Festival. It commemorates our friendship with the Netherlands and the important role that Canadians played during the dark years of World War II.

This month thousands of Canadians travelled to Holland. They participated in celebrations commemorating the liberation of Holland in 1945. They were welcomed into the homes, villages and cities by appreciative Dutch families.

Liberty and freedom are taken for granted in Canada. In Holland it is sincerely appreciated. The veterans who returned were received as liberators who restored freedom for those who had lived five long years under Nazi rule.

Canadian veterans, along with the Secretary of State for Veterans, visited Canadian war cemeteries and paid their respects to the many young Canadians who lost their lives in the struggle. Only those who were in Holland for the ceremonies could truly appreciate the tremendous respect, gratitude and emotion the Dutch people have for their Canadian liberators.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Tulip Festival
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May 18, 1995