September 25, 1997

BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the speech of my colleague from the Conservative Party with interest and was unable to detect, in the part I was able to hear, any personal opinion on the matter of the amendment to the amendment by the Bloc Quebecois.

I have two questions for my colleague from the Conservative Party. Does the hon. member acknowledge that the Government's legislative program denies the existence of the Quebec people and its culture? In responding to this question, can he tell us whether he will in fact vote in favour of the amendment we are proposing? And even more fundamental than that, does the hon. member acknowledge the existence of the Quebec people as a people? Such recognition would make it possible to reach a solution to the constitutional problem which has been with us for more than 30 years.

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Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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PC

Greg Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

I believe that one of the best things the government could do for Canada—and obviously Canada in my eyes includes Quebec, a healthy Quebec, a Quebec that is as vibrant as we want to see the rest of Canada be—would be to get the economy moving in a way that brings everyone in.

As I mentioned before, the government is taking a lot of pleasure in the growth in the stock market and how well Bay Street and Wall Street are doing, but it has forgotten that consumer confidence in Canada is at an all-time low. The sustained rate of unemployment is hurting us. Ordinary Canadians have no confidence in the future. That includes the citizens of Quebec.

Anything we can do to help in creating a healthy, vibrant economy and anything that we can do to improve the lot of all citizens in the province of Quebec, English as well as French speaking, I am in favour of it and this party is in favour of it.

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LIB

Paul Szabo

Liberal

Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I know that time is short so I will simply move to one of the member's statements and that was that there is only one taxpayer. The member probably will know that in the province of Ontario the Mike Harris government has extended a 15 percent tax decrease to the residents of Ontario.

The member believes there is only one taxpayer. Would he not agree that the impact of so-called downloading has not been as severe as he might suggest simply because the government feels it is important to have given that tax break notwithstanding any changes from federal transfers?

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Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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PC

Greg Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson

Mr. Speaker, if I were a member from Ontario I think I could stand up here and boast about the economy of my home province, but unfortunately I am not from Ontario. Obviously that is one of the reasons why the Liberal Party won every seat, with the exception of one, that of my colleague just in front of me. It is because the people very seldom reject a government if the economy is moving well as evidenced in just about every election in the United States and Canada in the last 100 years.

If I were living in downtown Toronto or Oakville, Ontario I would agree 100 percent with what the member has stated. They are basically satisfied with the government.

This country as a whole is what I am worried about. That wealth and industrial prosperity has not spread across this country in the directions that we would like to see it spread. It has not spread north, east, or west in some areas. As I mentioned earlier in my speech, even places in British Columbia and Alberta have their problems, but in Atlantic Canada we have serious problems.

One of the things that the government does have to take a look at is a reduction in taxes. We are proposing a reduction in payroll taxes, those employment insurance taxes of which the government today is sitting on a bank roll of somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion and using that for goodness sake to reduce the size of the national debt, which is ridiculous. The government is putting the problem right on the backs of the unemployed, the very people it should be helping.

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PC

Diane St-Jacques

Progressive Conservative

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate you on your appointment. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Shefford for the confidence they showed in me in the recent federal election. I want them to know that I will work with all my heart to defend their interests.

To return to Tuesday's speech from the throne, the government has revealed its political intentions. Satisfied with the current state of the country and unable to offer Canadians a national vision with clear objectives for the country as a whole, the Chrétien government has certainly set out its intentions, but without structure or time frame.

Not only does the speech not put forward any creative vision enabling us to move into the 21st century, but it fails to respond to Canadians' real concerns. The speech is a Liberal speech, the same one they have been dishing up for years. It says nothing to me and enables them to improvise, as they always have. They turn whichever way the wind blows, taxing, cutting, taxing, spending.

Tuesday's speech from the throne contained at least one piece of good news. The government will soon have a budget surplus. The bad news is that Canadians will not see a cent of it. The Liberal government now has to repair the damage it did in its first mandate and reinvest in the programs it had previously cut.

You know, we should not be surprised, this is the Liberal style. We are here in the House of Commons to work together to build a better future for our country. The challenge facing Canada is of significant proportions and warrants all our energies and creativity.

We must build for our children a country in which they can grow and develop without going hungry and without lacking quality health care, in a context that will encourage them to excel.

My party, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, has developed a plan providing Canadians with a vision for the future that meets their aspirations and expectations, a simple, down to earth and unifying plan. Time has come to take new approaches and to offer new solutions. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada has already come up with a plan that will give Canadians a vision, a down to earth plan for the future of our country.

However, a vision and a plan are not enough. Leadership is required to achieve key priorities. Our program for growth has three main thrusts: sound management of taxpayers' money; quality of life for our fellow citizens and, finally, initiatives for a brighter future. Quite simply, what sound management of taxpayers' money stands for is the need for any responsible government to introduce legislation to make fiscal balance mandatory, lower employment insurance premiums and reduce personal income tax. What people want is not rhetoric and empty promises, but action.

The government was in a position to act, but once again it sat back and did nothing. There is also a need to improve the quality of life of all Canadians. Our social safety net, which is the envy of many nations around the world, cannot be expected to withstand much longer the drastic cuts made by the government across the way.

Concerned with putting its financial house in order, the government, during its first mandate, brought all existing support programs and the Canada Assistance Plan together under a single umbrella called the Canada health and social transfer. Once again, concern about saving money took precedence over common sense, and government assistance was cut by $7 billion over four years with the results that we know.

Instead of federal transfers leaving the provinces at the mercy of the federal government's goodwill, we are proposing a tax point transfer to the provinces and territories to ensure stable funding. This way, provincial and territorial governments would be forever protected against cuts like those imposed by the Liberals. In addition, the public would receive services from governments that are closer to them and their situation.

We applaud the government's desire to end child poverty. Unfortunately, its efforts are directed more at the consequences of the problem than at the problem itself. There are 1.5 million children living in poverty in Canada. These children are poor because their parents are poor. Their parents are poor because the government has focused all its attention on one thing: the deficit. And all the while, Canadian workers, children and the elderly have been paying the price.

The government even admits in the throne speech that it has the means to improve our children's lives and that it intends to invest in their well-being. Let us remember that the money referred to by the government in its speeches has already been committed in the two previous years' budgets. Let us be clear: the government is promising us money it has already invested and it is promising to invest at least that much again.

Is this another of those elusive promises, like the 150,000 day care spaces, or will the federal government actually make a commitment this time? Of all the promises made by the Liberals during the election campaign, let us hope that those concerning children will be kept, and kept a little better than the motion passed in the House of Commons in 1989 to end child poverty by the year 2000. If the current trend continues, the child poverty rate will have doubled by then.

At the present time, over 1,500 food banks and hundreds of soup kitchens are waging the fight against hunger. Under the present government's plan, millions of children will still go to school hungry tomorrow. It is unfortunate that this sad reality is only brought home to us during electoral periods.

It is not surprising that election-minded politics like this have undermined the credibility of our institutions. When the public has regained faith in its public institutions, we will have the stability and confidence necessary to move forward. The country needs leadership with the courage to renew and revitalize the federation in order to show that it can work to everyone's satisfaction.

The premiers have agreed on a work plan and on the main areas of discussion. I am convinced that it is possible to find a basis for agreement. Canadians from all walks of life will not waste much time in extremist rhetoric, and they will demonstrate their attachment to Canada, I am sure.

It is time again for us to join forces around a common ideal. the polls clearly demonstrate that Quebecers have Canadian values at heart and want to remain within the country they helped build. Let us not get hung up on the words, the reality is clear. Quebecers are Quebecers, and just as proud to be Canadians.

What is less clear is that, in neither the last referendum nor the last electoral campaign, not even in the meeting at Calgary, was there any manifestation of leadership by our Prime Minister. I apologize for not mincing any words, but his leadership is worn out.

Our dynamic team, representing a new generation of politicians, will advance some constructive ideas which will rally the population. Rest assured that the only leader with a vision of the future for Canada is the man you heard yesterday, Jean Charest, and the true opposition which can speak on behalf of all Canadians is the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

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Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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LIB

John Cannis

Liberal

Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I remember in 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and 90 percent of the team was made up of older players who brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Punch Imlach was able to bring the Stanley Cup to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Similarly, this administration and its leaders with a wealth of knowledge and expertise has done many things.

I congratulate the member on her election. She referred to damage done by the Liberal government's first mandate. I would like to talk about that damage for a minute: damage such as 900,000 jobs created in its first mandate; damage such as inheriting a deficit of $42 billion which her Conservative Party left us with—and it is now said to be anywhere from zero to $5 billion; damage such as creating the fastest growing economy in the G-7; damage such as creating opportunities for youth in the programs outlined in the throne speech and before; damage such as, as the national health forum indicated before the election, the need to make the ceiling $12.5 billion. Immediately the government restored it.

I have a question for the hon. member. She talked about lowering payroll taxes. Is the member aware that when the Liberal government took over in 1993 the Conservative government had it pegged at $3.30 per $100? Does she know what the Liberal government did from day one until now?

If she does not know, I will be glad to remind her. If she does know, I would like her to point out what the payroll taxes are today as opposed to what they were under a Conservative government.

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PC

Diane St-Jacques

Progressive Conservative

Ms. Diane St-Jacques

Mr. Speaker, I will try to respond. I did not understand everything the hon. member said, but I think the deficit he is talking about was created by the Liberals. We too had to deal with that deficit, and, had the Conservative government not introduced free trade, we would not be where we are today.

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BQ

Maurice Godin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Maurice Godin (Châteauguay, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the remarks of my colleague from Shefford.

She spoke on a number of subjects, including finance, programs, children and the deficit, but the most important point the Prime Minister raised yesterday was Canadian unity. I heard no mention of that, particularly with respect to the people of Quebec.

I would like to ask her a question, because it is all very well to talk of the economy, but I think the most important thing is simply to reach a common understanding. What is the role of each province in the Constitution?

Does the hon. member acknowledge that the government's legislative program denies the existence and the culture of the people of Quebec? Does the member acknowledge the existence of the people of Quebec?

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PC

Diane St-Jacques

Progressive Conservative

Ms. Diane St-Jacques

Mr. Speaker, my answer to the hon. member is that I am a Quebecer, I am proud to be a Quebecer and a Canadian, and that if we consider the latest polls, many Quebecers still want to be part of Canada. We must keep talking to try and find a solution.

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LIB

Paul Devillers

Liberal

Mr. Paul DeVillers (Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate at the beginning that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Windsor—St. Clair.

It is a great pleasure to speak to this House in reply to the throne speech, which outlines the government's priorities for the first session of the 36th Parliament.

I would like to start by thanking the people of Simcoe North for renewing their vote of confidence by granting me a second term in the federal election last June. I would also like to mention the inestimable support I have received from my wife and family.

There are many positive elements in the throne speech. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the federal government and the support of Canadians, we can at last enjoy the fruits of our collective labours. Optimism is no longer the exception but the rule, since we now have regained the ability to address the priorities of Canadians fairly and equitably.

I would like to expand on three themes we find in the throne speech: social reform, economic reform and national unity. The legislation that will be introduced to implement the proposed changes to the Canada Pension Plan and the non-taxable seniors benefit will, I believe, ensure that our public pension system will remain sustainable for generations to come.

I may point out that when the seniors benefit comes into effect in 2001, benefits for our neediest seniors will increase. In fact, about 75 percent of seniors, which includes nine elderly women out of ten, will have an income that is either equal to or higher than their present income.

I support unconditionally the government's commitment to maintain a comprehensive public health care system that provides universal access to high quality care for all Canadians.

After the National Forum on Health tabled its report this year, the government had to acknowledge its conclusions, and it did so in the throne speech. Canadians, including many of my constituents, were worried about the restructuring of our medicare system.

The announcement that the government, working with its partners, will develop a national plan, time table and fiscal framework for setting up a system that guarantees access to medically necessary drugs, and will also support home and community care, shows that the message sent by Canadians about public health care has been received and understood by this government.

I am very proud of the government's economic record. The throne speech reflects our commitment to thoughtful economic management. I would like to mention some examples of this commitment, for instance a balanced budget no later than 1998-99.

This will be the first time in almost 30 years that the country has had a balanced budget. With a surplus debt to GDP ratio the current account balance has gone from a deficit of 4.2 percent of GDP to a surplus of .55 percent in 1996. The government achieved the first annual surplus since 1982.

All the spending contained in the throne speech is funded by budgetary surpluses. I want to be crystal clear on this point. The budgetary surpluses during this mandate will be the source of funding for new programs.

The government will not be relying on borrowing moneys. We will not be spending our children's inheritance. Fifty per cent of budgetary surpluses will go to investments in social and economic priorities and fifty per cent will go to tax reduction and debt repayment. This 50:50 split ensures that the Liberal commitments to sound economic planning and to social responsibility will go hand in hand.

In the second mandate the government will do more on job creation for young Canadians. In February 1997 the government announced the youth employment strategy. This strategy consolidates over $2 billion in new and existing programs and services for young people.

The government will also work with the business community and the provinces to forecast areas of job growth. This planning ahead is a concrete example of how the government will help young people meet the challenges of the job market.

I recently lead community consultation on job creation in my riding of Simcoe North. The citizens of Simcoe North felt that apprenticeship and training programs would help young people get into fulfilling and well paying jobs. They also felt that the perception of various kinds of jobs needs to improve. For example, the skilled trades should be valued for the contribution they make to a vibrant economy.

The government will be initiating measures similar to those suggested by the people of Simcoe North. Internship programs will be extended and expanded. The government will provide enhanced funding for student summer placements. A Canada-wide mentorship program will be created in partnership with the provincial governments and the private sector.

Once again the government has shown that it is listening to Canadians and working with them to secure a better future for young Canadians.

I am particularly encouraged by the government statement on national unity. As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, I have had the opportunity to discuss national unity with Canadians from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia. The government's approach to national unity reflects the concerns I have heard from these Canadians.

First, the government is committed to the recognition of Quebec's unique language, culture and legal system. The government will work closely with provincial and territorial leaders to advance the progress made in the Calgary declaration. Recognition of Quebec's unique character, language and legal system will not entail any new powers, privileges or rights. This message must be carried to all Canadians in every province and region.

Second, the government will ensure that the national unity debate is conducted with clarity and frankness. It is critical that Quebeckers, especially francophone Quebeckers, understand the consequences and the implications of separation. It is equally fundamental that Canadians outside Quebec understand the same consequences and the implications.

In the words of the throne speech:

—the government will bring frankness and clarity to any debate that puts into question the future existence or unity of Canada. It will create a better understanding of the true complexity and difficulty for all of us in severing ties—

I congratulate the government on the commitment to deal assertively to bring clarity to this debate.

None of this government's programs could be carried out if our national unity initiatives were not successful. The government therefore views its mandate in that area in a global and encompassing fashion. Any measure that strengthens the country will have a unifying effect on Canada.

That having been said, we pledge to work in partnership with the provinces and territory. Our federation as we know it is flexible. This needs to be repeated over and over in the presence of separatists. Far from being fixed and immovable, our federation is one that keeps evolving.

During this second mandate, we will continue to reflect and meet the demands of every province and region. I am confident that, with such flexibility and the synergy fostered by this government, we will enter the new millennium with a new invigorated Canada.

I realize that Canadians have done a great deal to help the federal government put its financial house in order and strengthen the social and political fabric of Canada. We have come a long, hard way, but the end is in sight.

To conclude, I want to reaffirm my solemn commitment to represent my constituents to the best of my abilities and to co-operate with all members of this House to ensure our government reflects and is sensitive to the needs of all Canadians.

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Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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PC

Scott Brison

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be here today. I feel privileged to represent the constituents of Kings—Hants.

Kings—Hants includes the Annapolis Valley where we grow the best apples in the world as well as the Hants Shore where the Minas Basin provides the highest tides in the world. I am sure the members of the government will recognize the strength of tides in the recent election.

The recent electoral tides in Atlantic Canada sent a signal that Atlantic Canadians were not simply frustrated with cuts but instead were frustrated with the lack of vision demonstrated by the government to the needs of Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canadians want a future where they have access to the free enterprise system and can utilize the tools of the free enterprise system to build a stronger, more self-reliant Atlantic Canada.

I am a Conservative, an Atlantic Canadian and a small business person. None of these are mutually exclusive. Earlier today the member for Medicine Hat referred to the member for Saint John as a New Democrat because she expressed compassion for the underprivileged.

Compassion is not partisan in principle. Compassion is something we all should have within the House. While some members in this House prefer to talk about fights for the right, there are some of us who prefer to simply work hard for what is right.

In closing, I look forward to working with the members of this House and to making a difference in the lives of Canadians. I would like to ask this government what, over the next four years, it intends doing to demonstrate vision for Atlantic Canada.

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LIB

Paul Devillers

Liberal

Mr. Paul DeVillers

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to indicate that the hon. member has some tremendous shoes to fill in representing the riding of Kings—Hants. The former member, John Murphy, served that riding extremely well. I visited the riding with John and know it well so I wish the member the best of luck in that endeavour.

His question concerned the vision the government intends to show over the next four years. That is the subject matter of this debate. The Speech from the Throne is the blueprint. There is much that I and others have pointed out in our speeches which addresses that question. For instance, the new commitment of another $850 million to the child tax credit is something that will address the concerns that were addressed by the member in the prelude to his question. That is but one example of the vision that we need to show.

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BQ

Antoine Dubé

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Antoine Dubé (Lévis, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Acting Speaker.

I wish to draw your attention to the speech made by the hon. member, who is an experienced member of this House, and who speaks in English in a certain way and in French in a different way. I heard him speak in English about being firm. When alluding to the issue of national unity in English he advocated the hard line, because he was addressing English Canadians, of course, but he used a much more conciliatory tone in French.

The hon. member for Simcoe North speaks good French since he is a francophone, but he is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I want to ask the hon. member if, as the assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, he does recognize the people of Quebec. Is he prepared to say, in this House, that there is a Quebec people? Is the hon. member prepared to do that?

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LIB

Paul Devillers

Liberal

Mr. Paul DeVillers

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois' strategy in this debate is clearly to ask all Liberal members the same question. Of course, we use inclusive terms such as “society”. The word “people” has several connotations which may give rights in international law, but we use the word “society” because it is more inclusive.

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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

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

Congratulations, Mr. Speaker.

Before commenting on the motion before this House I would like to take the opportunity to thank the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair for their support in the June election. I am honoured to be asked to represent them once again and their faith in our government is not misplaced.

I wish also to thank the many volunteers who supported our campaign and whose friendship I cherish very much.

Windsor—St. Clair, which is basically the east end of Windsor, Tecumseh and the village of St. Clair Beach, have once again placed their faith in our government. Throughout the campaign they told us loud and clear what they were concerned about. Those things included health care, education, unemployment and in particular, youth unemployment.

These were local concerns but we would be mistaken to think that the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair have only local concerns. Indeed they were also concerned about national unity, Canada's role as a trading nation and Canada's role as an international broker of peace, her role generally in the global village.

The throne speech and the subsequent address yesterday by the right hon. Prime Minister indicate that the government has listened to Windsor—St. Clair. Not only did we listen but we are putting in place programs to alleviate the concerns that I have outlined. All the while we are maintaining our steady attack on both the deficit and the debt. Canada will never under a Liberal government, in any event, return to the financial crisis that we faced when we came to power in 1993.

In addition to funds for health and education, we will continue our attack on unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular. Programs like Youth Services Canada are already operating in Windsor—St. Clair to give young people work experience and a wage while they serve our community.

The focus of this government is such that we can be assured that the concerns of the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair will be met.

I would like to urge the government to work with us on more specific areas which will help our community to prosper even more. It is my belief that an economically prosperous community is able to better overcome other social problems. It is my belief that economic prosperity will lead generally to a better quality of life, to lower crime rates, to a lack of other social problems, to lower welfare rates and to a generally better lifestyle.

One way to do that is to offer more support to our local industries. It is no secret that Windsor is Canada's motor city. I like to say that Windsor is effectively the centre of the universe, but that may not be the case for some of my colleagues. I can say however that it is urgent and very important for our community to see support from the government for the automotive industry.

The automotive industry employs directly or indirectly approximately half of working Ontarians. It is the biggest employer in our province and as an industrial group the most important employer in our province. It is of the utmost importance for the Government of Canada to focus on issues like tariffs, apprenticeship training for skilled trades and on other areas that will offer support to our domestic automotive industry.

Canada is a trading nation and in the 1960s under the leadership of Prime Minister Lester Pearson and my predecessor in Windsor—St. Clair or Windsor—Walkerville as it was then, the Hon. Paul Martin, Sr., the auto pact was signed. The auto pact has reached an almost sacred position in our community because the auto pact is the engine that allows those industries to exist, to prosper and employs our citizens.

In my view it is important that the government continue to focus on agreements like the auto pact, to give them support and strength so that we will have more employment, more prosperity and therefore a better quality of life in Windsor, Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and in the province of Ontario generally.

It is important also that we support other industries. In the last five or six years the tourism industry has become vital to our community. Tourism and particularly the gambling industry fuelled by Casino Windsor have become extremely important. However, there is a fly in the ointment. That fly comes from the Conservative government of the province of Ontario which has consistently refused and neglected to take the steps necessary in order to allow the government to legalize some aspects of gambling which would help the casino to prosper. I am talking specifically about games of dice.

In the near future we will be faced with competition from gambling facilities in the city of Detroit. Those gambling casinos will have dice games. It is important that Windsor have the opportunity to compete but the initiative has to come from the attorney general of Ontario. In spite of consistent promises to the mayor and citizens of Windsor who want this to happen, nothing has been done to approach our attorney general in order to start the dice rolling, as we say in Windsor.

Tourism is a very important part of what our community can provide to Canada. It is a very important part of the puzzle that is unemployment. The more tourism there is, the more service jobs and jobs in tourism there will be. It seems to me that it is just a simple matter of a member of the Ontario government picking up a pen and writing a little note and whisking it off to the Attorney General of Canada. Once it gets here I am sure the Essex County lobby and others can make sure that the request gets the significant attention it deserves.

I hope members do not think this is too much about my community, but I would like to talk for a minute about the heavy taxation on distilled spirits. We are a town that provides what I like to think of as one of Canada's basic food groups, Canadian Club whisky. Canadian Club is an agri-food product and is also a great symbol of our country in my view.

The federal government has been trying to initiate discussions with the provinces. However, it is time for all of us to take a look at this commodity which provides hundreds of jobs in my community. The factory is a historic one and it is very important to the community that this serious problem be discussed.

In general foreign trade is very important to Windsor. I would encourage the Prime Minister to continue his trade missions and to continue to invite businessmen and women from Windsor, Tecumseh and St. Clair Beach to join him as he promotes Canada around the world.

As Windsor prospers economically our other problems subside. Our crime rate is lower than it has ever been. When one is downtown in the evening going to a movie or to one of our wonderful restaurants there is a sense of vitality and prosperity there that I challenge any other community in Canada to meet.

I would urge the government to take a look at those things I have outlined that are specifically of importance to Windsor. I would also urge the government to continue on the track it is on, and I would ask all members to support the motion of the hon. member from Parkdale with respect to the throne speech.

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NDP

Peter Mancini

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Mancini (Sydney—Victoria, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member across and I listened with interest to her colleague who spoke before her as they say they will continue to build on the financial successes of this government.

I think she indicated she would continue to attack the employment situation. I come from a region of the country that has suffered unemployment rates of between 15 percent and 20 p. cent for the continual life of the Liberal government.

Will the hon. member recognize that there is nothing in the throne speech to address the urgent needs of Cape Bretonners and Newfoundlanders and people in Atlantic Canada who have persistently suffered under this economic policy?

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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen

No, I will not acknowledge that, Mr. Speaker. I think my hon. friend misses the point here. The point is this is a throne speech which leads us down the track of prosperity.

Just as I am disappointed that they did not mention Windsor, Tecumseh and St. Clair Beach, the virtual centre of the universe, I am sure he is disappointed that his towns were not mentioned specifically either.

The fact is this is a good general plan. Within that plan there will be solutions for Sydney, for the Cape Breton Island, for Windsor, for Tecumseh, for St. Clair Beach. The plan is there. The plan is working and the people of Canada have sent us back to continue with it.

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BQ

Ghislain Fournier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Ghislain Fournier (Manicouagan, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I too wish to congratulate you on your appointment as acting speaker of the House.

Since I am a new member, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents in Manicouagan. Manicouagan is one of the loveliest ridings in Quebec.

I listened with great interest to the hon. member's speech and I have two questions for her. Does she admit that the government's legislative program denies the existence of the people of Quebec and of their culture?

Does the member recognize the existence of the people of Quebec, and if so, is she going to support and vote in favour of the amendment presented by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois?

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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen

Mr. Speaker, I see a theme evolving on the Bloc benches. There is a theme on the government benches too. We recognize that there is a Canadian people made up of a great many diverse groups.

I am proud to be a Canadian. I am pretty much satisfied that the majority of Quebeckers are proud to be Canadians as well.

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REF

Philip Mayfield

Reform

Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo—Chilcotin, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, sir, on your appointment to the Chair. You look great.

I appreciate the comments that have been made but I wanted to raise a question about the throne speech opening up a pathway to prosperity.

The difficulty I see in my riding is that I talk to elderly people who are having to sell their homes because of clawbacks. They have small incomes and they cannot afford to pay the taxes. Youth cannot get enough money for education. Men and women are losing established jobs from established companies and those jobs are not being replaced.

I see nothing in this throne speech which would offer hope to these people. Is there some mechanism which the Liberal government has in mind to guarantee that taxes will not be raised and to give Canadians relief from the taxation which is killing us economically and destroying the social fabric of the lives of so many families?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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September 25, 1997