March 17, 2000

BQ

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-20 is undemocratic. We already know this and have said so on many occasions. Now it is the turn of the French political community to point out that this bill is an affront to democracy.

“If this bill is passed, Quebecers will lose, within Canada, their right to self-determination” says Jacques Julliard, in the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur . “There is an inexorability about the Anglo-Saxon steam roller. Hegemony is not enough—it wants the other to disappear”.

The Bloc Quebecois echoes Jacques Julliard, who is calling on French parliamentarians to come to the defence of democracy by “pointing out publicly that passage of Bill C-20 would an affront to the francophone community”.

In the land of liberty, equality and fraternity, democracy involves respect for the people. Bill C-20, unfortunately, proves Canada's lack of respect for the people of Quebec.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bill C-20
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am certain that all members of this House will join with me in expressing our gratitude and admiration to the 250 or so military personnel, most of them members of the 3rd battalion of Valcartier's Royal 22nd Regiment, who will soon be returning from East Timor.

Despite the dangerous conditions to which they were frequently exposed, despite numerous natural and man-made hazards, our soldiers have established and maintained a sizeable peace zone. They have also affected the lives of thousands of East Timorese by providing them with the basic necessities of life: medical care, food and drinking water in particular.

We acknowledge the exceptional job that our military personnel have done in this distant part of the world, with the support of their family members back in Canada. We congratulate both them and their families and wish them a safe journey home to their loved ones.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   3Rd Battalion Of Royal 22Nd Regiment
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REF

Grant Hill

Reform

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the pictures of yesterday's tragic highway accident near Nicolet are horrifying and terribly sad. Seven young children lost their lives in this terrible accident and others are in serious condition.

Accidents like this, particularly when the victims are so young, remind us just how precious life is.

There is nothing more painful for a parent than to lose a child and nothing can fill the void left within the family. Our prayers and thoughts are with all the survivors, as well as with the families and friends of the children who lost their lives. We extend our deepest sympathies to them all.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Highway Accident In Saint-Jean-Baptiste-De-Nicolet
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LIB

Ted McWhinney

Liberal

Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, next Monday, March 20, a group of talented young musicians from Lord Byng Secondary School in my riding of Vancouver Quadra will offer a noon hour concert in the Hall of Honour from 12 noon to 12.45 p.m. Their performance on Parliament Hill is part of a millennium tour across Canada organized by the group for March 16 to March 24.

I invite all members to drop by and take part in this special concert by one of Canada's finest secondary school orchestras.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Lord Byng Secondary School
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, today I call the attention of the House to a growing concern on the part of many Canadians that the issue of compensation for aboriginal victims of the residential school system is not being dealt with adequately by the government.

In their view, the government should be showing more leadership and more willingness to share the cost with the churches. Surely it is important to make sure that the churches involved do not go bankrupt or are so severely economically damaged that much of their social service and social action work will have to be eliminated just to survive.

It is also important that justice be accomplished swiftly for those who have legitimate claims. This cannot be done if this issue drags on for years, claim by claim.

The churches must and will take their share of the responsibility, but let us not forget that they participated in this social and cultural tragedy at the behest of and in co-operation with the federal government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

Mr. Speaker, this is St. Paddy's Day and it is a very special day. I come from the most Irish city there is in Canada. That is why I am wearing the green.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   St. Patrick's Day
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BQ

Stéphane Bergeron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, St. Patrick's Day is a time to remember that many Irish people left their country over 150 years ago to escape famine.

After a long and difficult voyage across the Atlantic ocean, during which several of them died, these courageous men and women found in our country a generous new land where they settled, and a friendly new community which they joined.

Far from being indifferent to the debates that were taking place in their new community, the Irish generally espoused the political aspirations of that community, as witnessed by the participation of a number of them in the noble cause of the Patriotes, in 1837-38.

While maintaining a very strong emotional link with the land of their ancestors, that far away Ireland that achieved political independence or that is still on the way to emancipation, Quebecers of Irish origin, and I am one of them, have developed very deep roots in America.

Because of history, these people are now in a unique position to see how similar the situations of the Irish and Quebec people are.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   St. Patrick's Day
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?

The Speaker

Yesterday we had a Standing Order 31 and today we had a Standing Order 31 by the member for Macleod. I understand that there has been at least some cursory questions about the next standing order that we are going to hear, at which time I will take an action that for us is not regular, but I know that all members will want to hear this standing order.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   St. Patrick's Day
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LIB

Robert Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. Robert Bertrand (Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I pay tribute to the seven young children who died yesterday morning in a tragic traffic accident, in Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet, a small town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, across from Trois-Rivières.

Two other children are still at the Centre hospitalier in Trois-Rivières, and one of them is in critical condition. We wish to offer our sincere condolences to the families struck by that terrible tragedy. Our prayers are with them in this time of great suffering.

I now ask the members of this House to observe one minute of silence, out of respect for these seven young victims.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Highway Accident In Saint-Jean-Baptiste-De-Nicolet
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, for five weeks we have been repeatedly asking the Minister of Human Resources Development to justify her billion dollar boondoggle. For five weeks she has stonewalled with non-answers, conflicting lists and image consultants.

There are now 19 police investigations, three in the Prime Minister's riding, that we know about. She has dodged this before, but let us try again. How many cases, as of today, have been referred to the police for further investigation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

George Baker

Liberal

Hon. George S. Baker (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the majority of the so-called 19 investigations concern ACOA. Four of them involve investigations when grants were given by the Tories when they were in power.

Three of them involve only provincial government shares in those particular grants. Only two of them involve money that was only from ACOA. In both those cases no money was disbursed. The question is in the application, so the opposition questions are full of sound and fury but the racket signifies nothing.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I note the new minister of human resources development did not mention the fact that he has failed to call in the police about the violation of the Financial Administration Act.

Departmental Q and As and briefing notes refer to widespread disregard of this law. Let me quote from one of them: “It would appear that this section of the FAA was not respected”. In other words, the minister's department thought that the law had been broken.

Was it the fact that the Prime Minister was involved that kept the police from being called?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes reference to something that we have discussed in the House on a number of occasions. I talked about the trust funds on November 4 and 5 and on several other days subsequent to that.

I repeat again that it was an administrative error which was made in establishing the trust funds. It was an error done in good faith by an employee. In such a case the appropriate remedy is to correct the mistake, and that is what we have done.

If the hon. member thinks that the employee was acting in bad faith, that it was corrupt, that somehow there was fraud involved, then let him bring forward that information.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister should be held responsible for the actions of her department.

The Prime Minister's riding got more money from this minister than whole provinces with populations 32 times the size of Shawinigan. Fully one-third or 33% of the recipients donated to his campaign. This is all about political interference.

If she does not believe me she could listen to her own employees' radio ads. I ask again was it her boss' interference that kept her from calling the cops.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, these questions are absolutely incredible. If there was political interference then why did we invest $77 million in the riding of Saskatoon—Humboldt? Why were there $57 million of grants and contributions in the riding of Prince George—Peace River? Why were there $52 million in Nanaimo—Cowichan?

As I have said time and again in the House, the grants and contributions from the Department of Human Resources Development Canada are invested in ridings of all members of the House. They are there to support Canadian individuals who have disabilities, young people, those who want—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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?

The Speaker

Sometimes when members are standing either to ask a question or give an answer the microphones are on at the next desk and are sometimes are picking up your voices.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, what is amazing and surprising is that the minister defends good faith errors instead of lifting a finger to do something about that kind of incompetence. There are very few places where that kind of incompetence is applauded. I am sure she will get—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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?

The Speaker

Order, please. We will hear the question from the member.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Grant McNally

Reform

Mr. Grant McNally

Mr. Speaker, there are very few places where incompetence will get applause but there will be a lot of it this weekend, I am sure, for the minister at the Liberal convention.

Her own employees have taken out radio ads to distance themselves from the minister's incompetence. They warned against illegal trust funds in the Prime Minister's riding because, as they said, it would appear the Financial Administration Act was not respected.

If the minister were really concerned about rule breaking in her department, why did she not call the police when she found out about these trust funds?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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March 17, 2000