March 1, 2000

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The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada.

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LIB

Lynn Myers

Liberal

Mr. Lynn Myers (Waterloo—Wellington, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this month the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and several other volunteer organizations from coast to coast are hosting a variety of activities and events to raise public awareness about learning disabilities.

Approximately three million Canadians of all ages—children, youth and adults—are challenged with learning disabilities. My 20 year career as a teacher taught me that learning disabilities are not limited or confined to classrooms. Learning disabilities affect all aspects of human and social functioning.

Students with learning disabilities are twice as likely to drop out of high school than their non-disabled peers. Studies have also shown links between learning disabilities and the rates of adolescent suicide, young offenders, adult inmates and teenage mothers.

As we move into the new millennium it is vital that all Canadians obtain appropriate learning skills and we thank all those involved in this very worthwhile endeavour.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Learning Disabilities
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REF

Reed Elley

Reform

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to offer congratulations to one of Canada's stars, my favourite jazz musician, Diana Krall.

Diana, a native of Nanaimo, B.C., was recently nominated for three Grammys, including album of the year. On February 23 Diana won her first Grammy for best jazz vocal performance for her album When I Look in Your Eyes . This is an amazing achievement and a welcome acknowledgement of her talent.

Just listen to how the critics sing her praises: “A rapidly emerging jazz artist”. “She swings, she flirts, she makes you want to cry”.

Diana has the first ever certified platinum jazz album in Canada and six albums to date. She has made the often hard journey to jazz stardom and yet combines the inspiration of a child with the voice of experience.

Growing up in Nanaimo she was influenced by her father and family's love for music. Her music has taken her around the world but she has not forgotten her Nanaimo roots.

I congratulate Diana. We are all very proud of her.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Diana Krall
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Mr. Reg Alcock (Winnipeg South, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate a fine young company from Winnipeg which has been nominated to receive the Canadian Event Industry Award for best conference.

Strauss Communications has been nominated for this award for its efforts in organizing the Manitoba “Place to be, Place to Stay” conference.

The conference brought together over 350 students and 59 guidance counsellors to hear from 48 senior business leaders of Manitoba based companies. The idea was that Manitoba business leaders could best provide today's students with valuable information regarding the tremendous opportunities that exist within Manitoba, and that the future is there.

I stand to offer my congratulations to the entire team at Strauss Communications and to remind hon. members that Manitoba is the place to be.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Strauss Communications
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LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Ms. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to congratulate the federal government for its decision to support Toronto's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

These games are an occasion where athletes come together in the spirit of sportsmanship to compete for the title of the world's best. The Olympic Games would give Toronto the opportunity to host a celebration of world sport and culture in 2008 and create a legacy for our future.

The 10,000 athletes, 5,000 coaches and staff, 50,000 volunteers and an additional 50,000 sponsors and guests create a force for Toronto's bid which is undeniable.

With the strength of our team, the success of this bid would showcase our leading edge expertise, technology, creativity and innovation on the world stage. This would foster the excellence of Canadian talent and integrate our heritage and cultural achievements into all aspects of the vision of the games.

The engagement of Toronto's communities, neighbourhoods and residents would allow us to celebrate our athletes, city and country with the world. It is time to share Canada's best kept secret, the city of Toronto, with the rest of the world.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   2008 Summer Olympic And Paralympic Games
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LIB

Raymonde Folco

Liberal

Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on February 22, a report by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada revealed that the educational level in Canada, which already enjoys a very decent standing among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD, has risen considerably over the last decade.

In 1990, 43% of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 54 had completed post-secondary education, while in 1998 this figure had risen to 54%. The percentage of Canadians who had completed post-secondary education in 1996 was 48%, while the average in member countries was 23%.

The Canadian government is involved in the development and training of our youth. Whether through training or placement programs, we are aware of the importance of focusing energies and resources on equipping Canada for the challenges of the 2000s.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Educational Level
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REF

Jim Hart

Reform

Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan—Coquihalla, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla who are concerned that the federal Liberal government is not protecting consumers in light of the impending changes to the airline industry.

The merger of Air Canada and Canadian has resulted in significant reductions in service to the Penticton Regional Airport. Today Canadian Regional has given notice that it intends to eliminate Dash 8 service. That means more than 100 seats a day will no longer be available.

The Penticton Regional Airport is vital to the economy of the whole South Okanagan. It provides a direct link to our busy convention centre, agri-tourism industry and expanding high technology sector. When Dash 8 service is eliminated there will not even be enough seats servicing the region to meet current demand.

Air Canada made a commitment to the federal government that it would maintain air service to small communities for a minimum of three years. The people of the South Okanagan expect the Minister of Transport to enforce this commitment. The economy of the South Okanagan depends on it.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Airline Industry
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LIB

Claude Drouin

Liberal

Mr. Claude Drouin (Beauce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the federal budget is spectacular; that is not too strong a word to describe the tax cuts.

Our government is re-indexing personal income tax—a considerable departure from the policies and decisions of the previous Conservative government. This measure will protect Canadian taxpayers against inflation as far as taxation is concerned.

To give some examples of the impact of the tax measures contained in this latest budget, a typical four person family with one wage earner and a total income of $35,000 will not pay any net federal tax, while a typical four person family with an income of $40,000 will pay at least $1,623 less net federal tax, or 48% less.

The cuts made in our last three budgets, coupled with those in the five year plan, will bring down income tax for all Canadians by at least 22% by the year 2004. Families with children will benefit even more.

These are measures that will benefit Canadian families.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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BQ

Odina Desrochers

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Odina Desrochers (Lotbinière, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in his budget, the Minister of Finance finally announced reductions in income tax.

What reductions? This year? No, next year. Such election opportunism. However, the federal government had all the manoeuvring room it needed to introduce it this year.

What about the unemployed? Nothing, no change.

Will it be this year for regional development or the long awaited municipal infrastructures program? No, not before 2001, and with a budget of only $100 million. The rest will come later.

But this government does not need coaxing to establish new programs or new foundations, including in the area of the environment.

It even dared to give the Minister of Human Resources Development new responsibilities.

Whether in the case of this department or elsewhere, this government is clearly leaving the door open to political camouflage and patronage.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the budget continued federal support for higher education and research. Two thousand research chairs and increased funding for the CFI will help colleges and universities across Canada. The tax break for student scholarship income was most welcome.

The sustainable development technology fund, the Foundation for Climate Research and the green municipal investment fund will help researchers and our environment.

Further support for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will focus research on health in the national interest.

I urge the government to follow through in its support of basic research, especially social science research. I also urge continued support for the NRC, a flagship of federal science and an invigorated commitment to research in the north.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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REF

Myron Thompson

Reform

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, this week's lesson for the solicitor general focuses on a required attitude adjustment of one of his departments, which seems to have grown beyond his control. Once again Correctional Service Canada has been criticized by one its friends, the Elizabeth Fry Society, for being arrogant and unaccountable.

In its 1999 annual report it describes Correctional Service Canada as—

—very insular, insecure yet self-righteously arrogant governmental department, where prisoners or anyone who questions CSC's actions are similarly relegated to the margins and classified as unimportant and misinformed, regardless of the seriousness and implications of the matters raised. All energies seemed to be focused upon efforts to (confuse) the issues, discredit any perceived detractors and continue on with business as usual.

This analysis comes from an organization that works extensively with CSC. These attitudes come straight from the very top. The commissioner thinks he is untouchable. It is up to the solicitor general to show this man who is the boss.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Correctional Service Canada
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LIB

Beth Phinney

Liberal

Ms. Beth Phinney (Hamilton Mountain, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the tax reduction plan proposed in the budget delivers immediate and growing tax relief for all Canadians. In five years taxes will have been cut by at least $58 billion. Personal income taxes will be reduced by an average of 15% annually.

Members of the other side have been silenced by this budget, so let us hear what Canadians have to say, like Sherry Cooper, Nesbitt Burns' chief economist:

The middle class is the big winner...particularly middle class families with children—

Ken Battle of the Caledon Institute said:

Families with kids are the big winners in this budget.

They are right. This budget demonstrates our commitment to restore the nation's finances and build a stronger, more innovative economy.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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NDP

Peter Mancini

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Mancini (Sydney—Victoria, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has not been silenced by this budget. In fact, Nova Scotians, like all Canadians, are distressed that the Liberal budget ignored their number one concern: health care.

People from every region of the country called on the government to fix the health care system in this budget. Canadians from coast to coast and all the premiers, including the only Liberal one left, Brian Tobin, have condemned the budget for failing to address health care.

For every dollar in tax cuts there are two cents for health care transfers.

Nova Scotians will receive barely enough to cover the cost of health care in the province for three days, and it will do nothing to reduce waiting lists and lineups in emergency rooms.

Nova Scotians and Canadians can, however, rest assured that the NDP will not give one inch in its fight to defend health care from Liberal, Tory and Reform policies of downsizing and privatization.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Health Care
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in the latest budget, the Minister of Finance is ignoring the basic right of 1.7 million Quebec and Canadian families to affordable housing. These people are obliged to spend over 30% of their meagre income on rent.

By refusing to invest in social housing, this government is negating the major international agreements it is signatory to such as the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.

I add my voice to those of the hundreds of thousands of women, men and children who must do without food every day in order to pay for miserable housing. I want to make known my distress at the Liberal government's refusal to consider the problems of people with housing problems a national emergency.

A study by FRAPRU reveals that one woman in four spends 50% of her income on housing, when she is the main income earner. Worse yet, families in Shawinigan have the lowest income in Quebec.

We have to assume that the Prime Minister is more interested in making his political friends rich than in relieving human suffering.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Social Housing
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LIB

Sarmite Bulte

Liberal

Ms. Sarmite Bulte (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, next Wednesday, March 8, is International Women's Day. The theme for this year's celebration is “Women Taking Action to Make a Difference”.

To commemorate International Women's Day, on March 8 I will be hosting a breakfast to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in my riding. On this day I will be honouring and celebrating six local women who have not only taken action, but who have truly made a difference. My special guests will include Anne-Marie Gardner, executive director of the Redwood Shelter; Alexina Louie, composer in residence at the Canadian Opera Company and winner of the Jules Leger Prize for music; Madeleine McDowell, heritage advocate, educator, social and environmental activist; Alicja Pietrus, president of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Polish Congress; Piera Pugliese, owner of Vesuvio's Pizzeria and Spaghetti House; and Anne Wright-Howard, producer of CBC television's Undercurrents .

This is an occasion to reflect on the progress made to advance women's equality. But more importantly, it is a day to celebrate the lives of ordinary women as makers of history.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   International Women's Day
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PC

Bill Casey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC)

Mr. Speaker, today Premier Bernard Lord of New Brunswick announced that tolls are to be removed from the New Brunswick section of the Trans-Canada Highway, just as he promised months ago. The previous Liberal government created this toll highway and established legislation forcing all trucks from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland through the tolls, effectively transferring money from all the other provinces into New Brunswick.

Although it is a New Brunswick toll highway, the tolls affected all of the Atlantic provinces, and I would personally like to compliment the member for St. John's East for his tireless efforts to seek fair treatment for the citizens of Newfoundland and its industries. As well, the member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac was very much involved with this lengthy debate.

This now puts the focus on the only section of the Trans-Canada Highway in Canada that has a toll charge left, and that is the section through Nova Scotia. Again, a former Liberal government established this toll highway and it is now left to others to find a way to eliminate the last Trans-Canada toll highway.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Trans-Canada Highway
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REF

Preston Manning

Reform

Mr. Preston Manning (Leader of the Opposition, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, for weeks now the Prime Minister has been saying that there is nothing wrong with how the government handles grants and contributions.

However, as of today there are two RCMP investigations and a forensic audit under way in the Prime Minister's riding alone. They are not there investigating parking violations. They are investigating the misuse and misappropriation of public funds.

If the RCMP thinks there is a problem with grants and contributions, why does the Minister of Human Resources Development not?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to two or three matters out of some 30,000 applications. We do not treat the matter lightly. We want to see things looked into thoroughly. We want to see action taken on any problems.

When the Leader of the Opposition gets up like this without a word about the budget, not a question, not a criticism and not a concern, what an endorsement and what a vote of confidence. He may actually vote on our side on the budget speech. Thanks for the endorsement of our wonderful budget.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Preston Manning

Reform

Mr. Preston Manning (Leader of the Opposition, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the misspending of taxpayer dollars is precisely what HRD did with our taxes.

These two or three little investigations are taking place in the Prime Minister's riding.

I suppose we should not be surprised, given how many people close to the Prime Minister are involved in manipulating the grant handling process; people like Denise Tremblay and René Fugère.

How many RCMP investigations does it take before the Prime Minister takes some responsibility?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and all of us have taken responsibility for identifying problems and moving promptly to correct them.

The hon. member's misuse of the rules of the House to create unwarranted insinuations and innuendoes is not only demeaning him the parliamentary process, but above all, himself and his declining Reform Party.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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March 1, 2000