March 11, 1997

LIB

Morris Bodnar

Liberal

Mr. Morris Bodnar (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, just to remind the hon. member, Saskatchewan is under the Canadian Wheat Board, for his information. Maybe they do not look across the border but we know what the Canadian Wheat Board is. That may be a surprise to him.

He made reference to a strike in 1994 which dealt with the transportation and movement of grain in western Canada, and in Canada generally, and the extremely high cost which resulted, which was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. At that time the cost to the Canadian economy was in the range of $200 million per day as a result of that strike. As a result, the government decided that it was important to sit on Saturday and Sunday to pass back to work legislation to ensure that people got back to work and that less money would be lost to the Canadian economy. That was done and people got back to work.

Perhaps the hon. member can tell us why on the Saturday only 6 Reformers were present and why only 12 or 13 showed up on the Sunday to vote when there was no-

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Jim Gouk

Reform

Mr. Gouk

Madam Speaker, I would call to your attention the words the hon. member is using. If that is in order, as long as we know the rules of the game, we will certainly make reference to their attendance record. It is my understanding that attendance records are not brought up in debate in this House. However, if that is the rule of the Chair, I would be more than happy to play that game.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I have taken into consideration the point of order from the hon. member and I agree that members should not refer to the presence or absence of other members in the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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LIB

Morris Bodnar

Liberal

Mr. Bodnar

Madam Speaker, I will rephrase the question. With respect to the back to work legislation which required the House of Commons to sit on a Saturday and a Sunday, perhaps the Reform member can indicate how his party showed concern for western Canadian farmers on that particular weekend when we were dealing with that legislation, getting the workers back to work so

that grain could move in western Canada. How did Reformers show any concern on that particular weekend?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Leon Benoit

Reform

Mr. Benoit

Madam Speaker, if the hon. member would check the record he would see that we supported that back to work legislation. I spoke in favour of it, as did many of my colleagues.

For the hon. member to say that back to work legislation is the way to solve these continual disruptions in the grain handling system is asinine. I would like him to go to the rural areas around Saskatoon, where he is from, to tell farmers that back to work legislation is the way to fix the problem. Clearly it is not.

In terms of the House sitting over the weekend, let us end the charade. We know that if the government wants to put any legislation through the House it will put it through. Liberal MPs and opposition MPs could all go home and the Prime Minister and his little group of two, three or four people could continue to make the decisions, as they do now. It would not make one bit of difference. We could all go home.

The only reason for opposition members to be here is to impact public opinion. The hon. member and other government members may as well go home because they are not allowed to speak in opposition to anything the government proposes. Let us end the charade. They can ram this stuff through. They have invoked closure dozens of times in this House in record numbers.

The Prime Minister has let it be known how he looks at democracy. Only 3 Liberal members voted against the gun bill out of the roughly 60 government members who said there constituents wanted them to vote against the gun bill. What was their reward for representing their constituents? They were kicked off their committees. The Prime Minister said publicly after that if any government members in future dare to vote against a piece of government legislation he will not sign their nomination papers and their political careers will be over. That is the kind of democracy this party believes in.

Let us end the charade and start talking in an honest way in this House. If we have different opinions on issues, that is fine. If the Liberals have a different view of democracy, as clearly they do, then that should be expressed. We will continue to express our view of democracy which is giving our constituents real say in what goes on in this place.

Reform has proposed to do that through several mechanisms, for example, right of recall of an MP, the ability to fire an MP. There might have been some who would have been fired had that been in place. Freer votes in the House of Commons would have made it so that a government bill defeated does not necessarily defeat the government. It takes a separate non-confidence motion which passes to defeat the government. Another is the use of referenda on key issues like capital punishment and abortion. That along with a triple E senate would make this country truly democratic. Reform put forth legislation in all of these areas.

The member talks about doing things for constituents. Did he vote in favour of the gun bill? He voted in favour. Did his constituents want him to? They did not.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Blaikie

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I understood that we were debating the Canada Labour Code. If the Chair can demonstrate to me how the most recent exchange has been relevant to the Canada Labour Code I would be forever indebted.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

We have two minutes left in question and comments.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Leon Benoit

Reform

Mr. Benoit

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to explain the connection between a democratic process and this piece of legislation, Bill C-66.

If we had a true democracy in the House, if we had recall, the ability to fire MPs, if we had freer votes in the House of Commons which this government promised and has thrown out, if we had referenda to decide issues like capital punishment and abortion then I suggest that the legislation-

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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LIB

John Bryden

Liberal

Mr. Bryden

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to ask a relevant question of the hon. member for Vegreville if he would give me that opportunity.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Leon Benoit

Reform

Mr. Benoit

Absolutely, Madam Speaker. Let us have the question and I will give a quick answer.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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LIB

John Bryden

Liberal

Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Vegreville made reference to the one clause in the bill that pertains to grain shipments. I think we all agree on both sides of this House that is an incredibly progress step to limit the stopping of grain shipments as a result of third party work stoppages.

Because that clause is so important and so progressive and it is going to do so much to encourage the movement of grain, is he going to reject the bill because it does not do everything else he wants, therefore rejecting that clause as a consequence?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Leon Benoit

Reform

Mr. Benoit

Madam Speaker, while it is true that clause is important to grain farmers and will at least allow grain that makes it to the coast to be loaded, what about the rest of the system? They have done nothing to deal with the rest of the system. We proposed a substantive alternative, final offer selection arbitration, so there will be no stoppages in the system whatsoever.

They have counterbalanced that move which is positive with a negative move which would outlaw the use and prevent the use

through the Canada industrial relations board of replacement workers. This change will do farmers a lot more harm than good. On balance the legislation is going to hurt farmers a lot over the years. That change is positive. The other changes will actually do more harm than that change will do good.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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REF

Ray Speaker

Reform

Mr. Ray Speaker (Lethbridge, Ref.)

Madam Speaker, I would like to continue the debate on the matter before the House, the Canada Labour Code.

One major concern we have is the way the government has behaved since it took office in 1993. It does not always act on the problem or deal with the problem but after the problem becomes a crisis it reacts. It has always been that way. For eight years those members sat in opposition on this side of the House. According to Beauchesne the definition is when a party is the official opposition it is supposed to prepare itself for government.

We had the whole crew of Liberals sitting on this side of the House with the hon. Prime Minister as the leader and the House leader of the current Liberal Party sitting on this side of the House trying to prepare themselves. They did not prepare themselves to legislate and act as leaders of the country. What happened?

We came to Parliament and in 1994 there was a work stoppage. We had to sit over a weekend to deal with it and we co-operated as members of the opposition. We were here to help deal with the issue but the government came with crisis management. That is the point I want to make in the early part of my remarks.

Legislation was passed which brought in a system of arbitration to bring about a solution to the strike and force the workers back to work. That is what happened. They were forced back to work. It was crisis management. That is what we have had from the government since 1993, over and over again.

Now we are looking at Bill C-66. Are we dealing with a potential problem that will happen again in western Canada? Will farmers be able to sell their wheat with confidence to the international market? There is nothing in the bill that ensures or guarantees that in any way.

It says that if the wheat is at the coast, sitting next to the boat, the government has now put in an extra clause saying it will get it into the boat, which helps a bit, but what about the wheat sitting on the prairies and the farmers who are being injured by the lack of capability to deliver their product to the international market? It is not there.

These people across the way are more interested in being government and having power. However, in terms of planning and thinking through the legislation, there is nothing. They protect the vested interests of labour and big business and the Liberals. They continually protect their vested interests. In terms of really dealing with the issue, that is not the way it is.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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?

The Speaker

It is now almost two o'clock. We will proceed to Statements by Members.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Labour Code
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LIB

John Cannis

Liberal

Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Scarborough School Board on a successful program in the schools of the city of Scarborough.

Weapons related violence in Scarborough schools has dropped 61 per cent on a monthly basis since the board introduced a zero tolerance policy three years ago.

Under the Scarborough safe school policy, expulsion hearings are mandatory for a variety of violent weapons offences. School violence has decreased substantially since the policy was introduced.

Perhaps if amalgamation occurs this program could be implemented and used as a benchmark. The students of Scarborough have benefited greatly by the ability of the board to provide programs and services they need, while maintaining the lowest cost per pupil in metro.

I commend the Scarborough school board on taking this initiative to reduce violence and crimes in our schools. Once again, my congratulations to the board, its chair and the trustees.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Scarborough School Board
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BQ

Osvaldo Nunez

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the report released last Friday by the B'nai Brith showed that the number of antisemitic incidents in Canada had dropped substantially, by26 per cent, between 1995 and 1996.

In Quebec, whose Jewish community is one of the largest in Canada, the drop in the number of such incidents was 40 per cent. Renowned for its tolerance, Quebec has now become the region where the plague of antisemitism is the least widespread, with12 per cent of the incidents for 24 per cent of the population.

In September 1996, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington. There I saw the extent of the tragedy and suffering endured by the Jewish people during the second world war. I encourage governments to keep up the fight to eradicate antisemitism in our societies.

I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Jewish community for its remarkable contribution to the development of Quebec and Canada.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Antisemitism
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REF

Chuck Strahl

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, here is just a sample of the justice priorities of this Liberal government.

Make sure that the wheat board directors guilty of criminal offences cannot be punished. Make sure that farmers who sell their wheat for the best price go to jail. Prosecute people for refusing to fill out census forms. Protect senior Liberals by threatening Justice Krever at the blood inquiry. Shut down the Somalia inquiry so we will never know who covered up the murders. Promote alternative sentencing so that a rapist in my riding is let off because at times he showed compassion. Hit race car drivers with huge fines if they speak the name of a tobacco company on TV. Pay millions for lawyers and settlement costs in the hopelessly botched Airbus and Pearson airport deals. Allow known criminals deported from other countries to claim refugee status in Canada.

And the absolute worst justice initiative of this Prime Minister and the government is to allow killers like Clifford Olson a national stage and the right to further torment the families of the victims.

Shame, shame, shame.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Justice
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, last week behind the CN shops in the riding of Winnipeg Transcona a rail worker was accidentally killed as a result of a derailment.

I know I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in extending our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Dan McNeil and to his fellow workers in the United Transportation Union of Canada.

Mr. McNeil's death should remind us that every day of every week Canadians are working in potentially deadly circumstances and that we should be grateful for their service in such circumstances. The railway is one such industry, mining is another, police and firefighting are other such areas and of course there are many others.

Later this year we will mark a national day of mourning for workers killed on the job, a day that owes its existence to the work of the former NDP MP for Churchill, Rod Murphy. This is as it should be, but certainly we regret that from year to year there are so many new names to add to those we mourn.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Workers' Memorial Day
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LIB

Colleen Beaumier

Liberal

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, March 8, I attended celebrations held by the Lorne Scots, Peel, Dufferin & Halton Regiment in honour of Chief Warrant Officer Joe A. Sellors for 50 years of outstanding service.

Joe Sellors began his distinguished service with the Lorne Scots Pipe and Drum Band as a junior piper in October 1946. A combination of talent and hard work saw Joe Sellors to the highest level. With the support of his wife, Alice, and their charismatic family he became pipe major of the band in the early 1950s and in 1975 attained the rank of chief warrant officer.

Joe Sellors has fulfilled his duties with dignity and pride. It is with great pleasure that I extend my best wishes to Joe Sellors, his wife and their children on behalf of all residents of Brampton for 50 years of excellence.

O Canada, he stands on guard for thee.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Joe A. Sellors
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LIB

Ted McWhinney

Liberal

Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the agreement concluded between the Prime Minister and B.C. Premier Clark on March 6 ended some serious conflicts, notably the provincial government's three-month residency requirement on out of province people seeking welfare benefits in B.C. and the adverse differential treatment in federal transfer payments to B.C. to cover costs of integration of immigrants into community life.

The agreement is groundbreaking. First, it recognizes that most problems today need all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, to work together for their rational solution. It is not possible to continue outmoded confrontational federalism with separate, watertight compartments of sovereign power, federal or provincial, and no possibility for decision making in partnership.

Second, while the Constitution Act of 1982 may have erected major legal barriers against future amendments, constitutions can change by developing custom convention through intergovernmental accommodations and administrative adjustments based on ordinary common sense and reciprocal give and take.

This is the new, pragmatic co-operative federalism.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Federal-Provincial Relations
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March 11, 1997