As is our practice on Wednesdays, we will now sing O Canada, which will be led by the hon. member and his phalanx from Victoria-Haliburton.
Mr. Bernie Collins (Souris-Moose Mountain, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the city of Estevan, Saskatchewan has recently completed its 20th anniversary of the United Way radio and television 36-hour fundraising marathon. Between October 18 and 19, Estevan helped to raise $144,000 for the United Way, exceeding its goal by $14,000.
After 20 years Estevan, a city with a population of 11,000, has contributed $1,750,000 and has collected nearly 100 per cent of its pledges through the years. The United Way in Estevan has been the first in Canada to reach its goal 19 out of 20 times since the drive was first established. No other community in Canada or for that matter in North America can beat this record of raising money for the needed agencies of the United Way.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the generous and hard working people of Estevan and area who donate so much of their time and money to the United Way.
Subtopic: United Way
Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the students and staff of the Vernon Barford Junior High School in Edmonton.
On October 27, in commemoration of last year's unity rally in Montreal, the western Canadian chapter of the Canadian Unity Foundation under the leadership of Peter Goldring, took part in Planes and Trains for Unity.
Front and centre on the unity train to Quebec City was a banner signed by over 200 students from Vernon Barford Junior High School in Edmonton. Along the way the banner inspired others to sign their names and lend their support for a united Canada. The banner became an important symbol in the drive for unity.
I applaud the efforts of the students and of their principal, Al Grossman. They are all, as we are all, strong supporters of the drive for Canadian unity.
Subtopic: Vernon Barford Junior High School
Mr. Stéphan Tremblay (Lac-Saint-Jean, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have goofed again with their strategy to denigrate the Government of Quebec by spreading falsehoods, which have reduced the little credibility they had in the eyes of the people of Quebec to zero.
On October 22, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of heritage stated, in connection with the program providing computers to schools, and I quote: "Quebec schoolchildren will not be able to take advantage of the program, as the PQ government has refused to take part in it." He went on to say that the duly elected Government of Quebec was "depriving young Quebecers of a privileged access to computer resources".
According to Department of Industry figures, as at April 1996, the Government of Quebec has received over 5,300 school computers under the program. Once again, the heritage minister, through her parliamentary secretary, is proving that the federal Government's campaign to denigrate the Government of Quebec is totally unfounded.
Rather than carrying out a disinformation campaign, the minister should discuss things with her Liberal colleague, the Minister of Industry, in order to get an update on this.
Subtopic: The Computers For Schools Program
Mr. John O'Reilly (Victoria-Haliburton, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to salute Canada's top guns. At the high profile international fighter pilots competition in Florida, Canadian fighter pilots won the world series of flying and beat the American team hands down.
I applaud the whole team but in particular Captain Steve Nierlich from the village of Sunderland in beautiful Brock township in my riding of Victoria-Haliburton.
The prestigious top gun award is the highest individual award in aerial combat. Canadians everywhere can be proud of this fighter pilot and look forward to the team appearing in the Remembrance Day fly past on Parliament Hill. The Canadian fighter pilots and flight crew of CFB Cold Lake have positioned Canada as No. 1 in the world in air combat. Canadians should be proud of their spectacular performance.
On behalf of all members of the House I would like to pay tribute to the Canadian fighter pilots and ensure that they get the recognition they deserve. Congratulations on a job well done.
Subtopic: Fighter Pilots Competition
Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (St. Boniface, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to an important event that will take place on the weekend in Winnipeg: the twentieth annual convention of the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers.
This convention will be attended by teachers, administrators, researchers, university professors and commissioners, all of whom will take part in a variety of workshops and round table discussions. The aim of the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers is to pursue bilingualism by helping immersion teachers in Canada meet their professional development needs by various means, including research, conventions, a newsletter, publications and active participation at the national and international levels.
I wish all of the participants an exciting and productive weekend in Winnipeg and I congratulate the association on their continuing support for French immersion and bilingualism in Canada.
Subtopic: The Canadian Association Of Immersion Teachers
Mr. Gurbax Singh Malhi (Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, this month Malton, Ontario is celebrating the start up of a new youth connection after school program, a project that will create school homework clubs, recreational activities and a mentorship program for children and youth in the community.
The sponsor is Malton Neighbourhood Services. A volunteer pool will be established and parents are to be included in the activities. The project will receive $96,881 in funding through Youth Services Canada under Human Resources Development Canada.
Youth Service Canada projects, which last up to nine months, recruit unemployed and out of school youth between ages 18 and 24. This program champions the ability of young people to make a difference in their communities.
Subtopic: Youth Services Canada
Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, as we come to the end of Breast Cancer Month in Canada, I would like to draw the attention of the House to another disease which affects the lives of woman, albeit in a little more indirect way.
Prostate cancer causes a great deal of stress and suffering, yet there is relatively little public awareness of the serious nature of the disease. In B.C., for example, while the breast cancer rate is 30 per 100,000 population, the prostate cancer rate is 177 per 100,000. The corresponding death rates are 25 per 100,000 for breast cancer and 121 per 100,000 for prostate cancer.
Just as we need to find a cure for breast cancer, we also need to find a cure for prostate cancer. Every one of us has a father, just as every one of us has a mother. Prostate cancer affects us all.
I urge all members of this House to actively assist in the raising of funds for prostate cancer research and to help raise public awareness of the warning signs of the disease. Call 1-800-263-6750.
Subtopic: Health Care
Mrs. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, a year ago today, the issue of Quebec's future was once again in the public spotlight. Quebec, with 49.4 per cent for the Yes side, said loud and clear that it was becoming more and more sovereign.
A year later, the federal promises of change which came late in the day have vanished as quickly as they were made. The Supreme Court has been asked to challenge the legitimacy of the plan for a sovereign Quebec and to contest the desire of Quebec to become an independent society.
The people of Quebec are watching all this very closely. Sovereignty is the only credible option for the future of Quebec and Canada. We must prepare for it. A partnership, an integral part of the plans for a sovereign Quebec, will be the basis for our future relations with Canada. As we approach the year 2000, Quebecers will choose the way of the future, when they will at last be able to develop their full potential.
Subtopic: Quebec's Right To Self-Determination
Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)
Mr. Speaker, this morning the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal , my local paper, reported that the Minister of National Defence, along with the former PC minister of international trade, Michael Wilson, have teamed up to lobby the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to try to drum up some business for our Saint John Shipyard.
The Saint John Shipyard is billed as a centre of excellence. It has an outstanding reputation as a world leader. Both the Trudeau and Mulroney governments were responsible for creating the most modern shipyard in the world in Saint John. The final frigate set sail this past summer and 4,000 workers are now out of work. There is a need for a new contract.
To the shock of many of the people on that side, I want to publicly thank the Minister of National Defence for taking this initiative. I wish him and Mr. Wilson all the best in their endeavours and I do hope that we hear good news for the shipyard in the future. I offer my full support.
Subtopic: Saint John Shipyard
Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, today marks the 22nd annual Baltic Evening which is organized by both the Canadian Parliamentary Friendship Group for the Baltic Peoples and the Baltic Federation in Canada. This event commenced in 1973 to bring together the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Canadian communities, members of Parliament, Senators and representatives from the diplomatic corps.
Since the independence of the three Baltic states in 1991, the Baltic communities have been working proactively to help build Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. These three countries are open for business and Canadians are encouraged to invest in trade with them.
In celebrating Baltic Evening we are acknowledging the great contribution made by the Baltic communities in building Canada. Our vibrant multicultural communities have assisted Canada in projecting a positive image to the Baltic states and all around the world. Félicitations à tout le monde.
Subtopic: Baltic Evening
Mrs. Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph-Wellington, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, Guelph-Wellington is home to Semex Canada which specializes in cattle genetics.
Through a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, Semex has been involved with a five-year dairy cattle breeding project in three locations in the People's Republic of China.
Semex Canada recently shipped beef cattle from Ontario to China for breeding purposes. This kind of effort is another example of a Canadian industry leading the way in China.
The Prime Minister has been a leader in Team Canada trade missions to Asia. He knows the importance of the Pacific rim for jobs and for growth in this country.
I congratulate Semex Canada on its recent successes in China. Semex is but another example of why Guelph-Wellington is the best community in all of Canada.
Subtopic: Semex Canada
Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, today is the first anniversary of the 1995 referendum.
On October 30, 1995, Quebecers chose Canada. They chose to continue promoting the French language and culture as well as Quebec's distinctiveness in the Canadian community. They asked us to continue improving the federal system to make it more sensitive to regional needs and differences.
Over the last year the Liberal government has been working to respond to the legitimate concerns of Quebecers. Our work is in progress but needs the support of the provinces in order to be completed.
The government understood the message that Quebecers gave last year, unlike the separatists who continue to ignore the facts. The facts are Quebecers are looking for effective government which will respond to their needs and priorities, not separation.
Subtopic: The 1995 Referendum On Quebec Sovereignty
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, Quebec's socioeconomic summit opened last night in Montreal.
This summit brings hope to all those in Quebec who think that political, social and labour-management co-operation is essential to find solutions to the employment crisis.
This event is a fine example of the Quebec co-operation model that is unique not only to Canada but to all of North America. It shows Quebec's vitality and what makes us different as a people.
I take this opportunity to urge the federal government to support the initiatives that will arise from this summit, while respecting the Quebec government's jurisdiction.
To all the participants, including the summit's instigator, Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard, we wish successful discussions and the best of luck.
Subtopic: The Quebec Socioeconomic Summit
Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, one year ago we came within a whisker of a yes vote in the Quebec referendum. Mr. Parizeau was ready with his plans but the federal government had no plan for a yes vote and, for that matter, no plan for a no vote.
What has happened since? Canadians overwhelmingly want to preserve this as a country of equals in a federal system. Yet the government persists in its concept of distinct society, appealing to the same kind of special status sentiment as Quebec separatists do. Little if any progress has been made on the reform of federal institutions or decentralization to the provinces or respect for their jurisdictions.
The federal government's plan B is also more words than action. It has referred the question of unilateral independence to the Supreme Court but has not developed plans of its own for the next referendum. It still has no contingency legislation to avoid the mistakes and ambiguities of the past.
We must all stand on guard and that must mean more than just standing still.
Subtopic: National Unity
Mr. John Solomon (Regina-Lumsden, NDP)
Mr. Speaker, the devastation of Liberal employment policies continue. The Unemployment Workers' Health and Counselling Centre in Regina is working hard to help those unemployed workers who have been unfairly denied benefits by this government.
This not for profit organization, in its first year of operation, assisted workers in getting back some $140,000 in benefits that were denied them.
However, this organization has a problem. It has applied to Revenue Canada for a charitable registration number so that it can raise funds to continue its work in helping the unemployed. The Liberal government says the centre cannot receive a number because its work does not qualify as charitable work.
I find it astounding that the Liberals refuse to provide a charitable registration number to an organization with a proven track record in helping the unemployed, yet gives $86 million in an interest free loan to a profitable corporation like Bombardier.
Even the Fraser Institute has a charitable number and everyone knows the institute does nothing to help the unemployed, working class or middle class families.
Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome-Missisquoi, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois will be meeting, this evening, with representatives of a number of embassies.
Will he take that opportunity to tell them about the ongoing mobilization in support of job creation? Will he tell them about everything the various levels of government are doing to get the economy going again? Will his speech address our business people's growing interest in export markets? Will he remind them that the quality of life in Canada and our highly skilled workforce make Canada an ideal place to invest?
There is every indication that none of this is important enough for the BQ leader. He will address the only issue he knows about and cares about: the separation of Quebec.
This new initiative shows once again the Bloc Quebecois' inability to represent the real interests of Quebec.
Subtopic: The Leader Of The Bloc Quebecois
Mr. Raymond Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the chamber of commerce as well as the four commissioners and the mayors of Verdun, LaSalle, Lachine and Montreal for organizing the business opportunity fair for the southwest end of the Island of Montreal.
This fair was held on Monday and Tuesday in my wonderful riding of Verdun-Saint-Paul. It was designed to introduce buyers from major public institutions in such areas as health, education, housing and municipal services to local business people. Let us hope that this event will become a driving force in the economic recovery of the southwest end of the Island of Montreal.
My congratulations to the organizing committee and the whole team for this successful event. See you next year.
Subtopic: The Economic Recovery Of Southwest Montreal
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, one year ago to the day, Quebecers voted on their future. We remember the result, a very slim win for the federalists, a win that changed nothing. We also remember the Prime Minister's promises in Verdun, just days before the referendum, meaningless promises that were never acted on. Since then, there has been an impasse, both in Quebec and in Canada.
Does the Prime Minister realize that, as the years go by and Quebec calls repeatedly for more power, so that it can be master of its own destiny, the offers made by the federal government and other provinces are shrinking almost to the point of insignificance?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to hear the hon. member mention that Quebec voted to stay in Canada exactly one year ago today. It was the second time it has done so in 15 years, despite the very confusing question.
Yesterday, for the first time, the Leader of the Opposition actually used the word "separatist", something he had previously avoided. After two attempts, I hope that the members of the Bloc Quebecois will one day respect democracy.
Democracy means recognizing, after two votes, that the people have spoken. As for what we said a few days before the referendum, we said that we were going to recognize that Quebec was a distinct society and that is what we did in this House in December. I would like everyone, particularly Quebecers, to know that all the members of the Bloc Quebecois voted in the House against recognizing Quebec as a distinct society.
When we passed legislation giving the regions a veto, members of the Bloc Quebecois voted against a veto for Quebec, and they are completely ignoring the whole series of changes we proposed in February, in the speech from the throne.