As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Burlington.
Ms. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, today is World Water Day.
In 1993 the United Nations declared March 22 as a special day for water, with the aim of sensitizing people to the declining quality and quantity of the world's water supply.
Water constitutes one of the very basic needs of human beings, yet in many parts of the world, especially in Asia, people do not have access to a clean and safe supply of water. Today over one billion people are without access to clean water and over three billion people are without sanitation facilities.
Though 9% of the world's renewable fresh water is found within Canada, our water supplies are vulnerable to global pollution and climate change.
Unsafe or scarce water results in food shortages and serious health problems, such as diarrhea, skin diseases and hepatitis.
I commend the Government of Canada for its efforts to improve access to safe water in communities across Canada and abroad through CIDA projects and the Canada-wide six year green infrastructure program.
Subtopic: World Water Day
Mr. Leon E. Benoit (Lakeland, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-23, the Liberal bill which is before the House, will grant the same spousal benefits to same sex partners as those granted to married couples.
My office has been flooded with letters, e-mails and phone calls from people who strongly oppose this legislation. These are people who understand the importance of building and maintaining strong families.
There are two strongly opposed aspects of the bill. First, that the definition of marriage, which was reconfirmed by the House when a Reform motion was passed just a few months ago as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, is not included in the bill. This is quite a surprise, considering that the Liberal Party defeated a motion recognizing same sex marriages at its convention this past weekend.
Second, my constituents and many others oppose basing eligibility for benefits on whether couples have sex.
The fact that the government has tabled and will pass a bill which shows so little commitment to the family leaves no doubt about the value this government places on marriage and on the family.
Subtopic: Bill C-23
Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I was saddened last weekend to hear of the passing of one of Canada's great parliamentarians, the Hon. Michael Starr.
Mr. Starr represented part of my riding and I met with him on a number of occasions.
This feisty Ukrainian was first elected to the House on May 26, 1952.
Mr. Starr's compassion for the underdog elevated him to the position of Minister of Labour from 1957 to 1963. He later became interim leader for the opposition during the Diefenbaker years.
The appointment of Mr. Starr as Minister of Labour made him the first Canadian of Ukrainian descent to be appointed to the federal cabinet.
I can tell the House that I have run into a lot of his supporters on my rounds, and they all have a story to tell. I think the most interesting was when Mr. Starr went down to the Unemployment Insurance Commission and got in line with a lot of GM workers to see what it would be like. In short order he bellowed out from the end of the line that if it did not start moving, somebody would lose their job.
Subtopic: The Hon. Michael Starr
Ms. Eleni Bakopanos (Ahuntsic, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, March 25 is Greek Independence Day. For all Canadians of Hellenic origin, and all Hellenes throughout the world, this national holiday commemorates the most significant day in our history.
March 25 reunites all Hellenes around the world, including the 300,000 living in Canada, reminding us that we should be proud of our heritage and of our ancestors.
Our Hellenic ancestors fought for justice, for liberty, for democracy and for freedom of a nation, the same rights guaranteed by Canada's charter of rights and freedoms. They found the courage and the strength to say “Enough. We will free our spirits, our children and the memory of all our brothers and sisters who did not survive to see an independent Greece”.
I invite all parliamentarians and all Canadians to celebrate with Canadians of Hellenic origin.
Subtopic: Greek Independence Day
Mr. Paul Bonwick (Simcoe—Grey, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud to announce that March 23 is Pakistan's Republic Day. Celebrations will be held throughout Canada and Pakistan recognizing that on this day in 1940 the Muslims of the British-ruled subcontinent adopted a resolution to strive for an independent country which we know as Pakistan.
During the struggle for freedom the concept of an independent Pakistan was presented by the famous intellectual and poet Sir Mohammad Iqbal. His work and its underlining thought motivated the masses.
The political leadership of this movement was entrusted to Mohammad Ali Jinnah, or Qaid-e-Azam, meaning the great leader. His unwavering commitment, statesmanship, sincerity and belief in his cause won him the undivided support of Muslims in Pakistan.
It is for this reason I ask Canada's parliament to join me in recognizing and congratulating Pakistanis both here at home and in their native land on their special day, March 23, the day on which a great nation was born.
My friends, Pakistan Zinda Bad—long live Pakistan.
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, amid multimillion dollar deficits and cutbacks to our frontline correction officers, Correctional Service Canada came up with an ingenious idea of producing a glossy millennium calendar for our inmates and parolees.
If Correctional Service Canada is willing to waste $78,000 on calendars for inmates, then what is next?
I am very concerned that the commissioner has gone new age and we will soon seen mud baths, herbal wraps and yogi flying at the Kingston pen.
I honestly do not think the solicitor general knows what has been spent. From documents I have obtained I know that on October 12, 1999 his department needed $75,000, but was short $30,000, which was diverted from other areas to complete the project. To add insult to injury, no one wants the darn things. I have a box of returned calendars for the solicitor general.
Lesson No. 5 is a little fatherly advice for the solicitor general: get control over the commissioner or face my next lesson on basic government management. He knows the part. It says that cabinet ministers outrank department heads.
Subtopic: Correctional Service Canada
Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has just announced that the carding system for financial assistance to amateur athletes will be simplified.
Senior carded athletes will receive allowances of $13,200 annually, compared to the previous amount, which ranged between $6,720 and $9,720. Development carded athletes will receive $6,000 annually.
The government has also announced its intention to create a national training centre in Quebec City. Finally, starting in June, the minister responsible for amateur sport will begin a series of regional consultations leading up to a National Summit on Sport in February 2001 and to the development of a national sport policy.
Things are on the move in the world of amateur sport. With this good news, our government is showing its faith in Canadian athletes.
Subtopic: Amateur Sport
Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier—Montcalm, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, the Coalition pour la justice des mineurs, a group of major Quebec organizations working with young offenders, asked this question:
How will the 197 clauses of Bill C-3, this array of principles and objectives on tens of subsections, paragraphs and subparagraphs, these countless references to the Criminal Code, these 70 pages guiding the judge in determining the sentence and the custody provisions, these complex calculations about the release of an offender, in short this cumbersome semantic and legal document, help establish a more transparent judicial process?
What is the response of the Quebec federal Liberals to this question asked by coalition members? Are federal Liberal members blindly condoning a bill that is both complex and dangerous? When will federal Liberals from Quebec support the stakeholders who, for the past 30 years, have been working so hard to make our communities safer?
There is still time for them to wake up.
Subtopic: Young Offenders
Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the budget team of the town of Richmond Hill. The town recently received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
In order to receive the award, the town fulfilled nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines assessed how well the town's budget served as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.
Having worked with these financial professionals before coming to this place, I know that they are very deserving of this award. I would like to offer the town staff my congratulations on a job very well done.
Subtopic: Richmond Hill
Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians lament the murder of 36 innocent Sikh villagers killed in Kashmir.
The sovereignty over the Kashmir territory between India and Pakistan is the oldest pending border dispute in the world and the most dangerous place on earth, according to U.S. President Clinton.
Canada lost influence in the region when this government had a knee-jerk reaction and hastily imposed sanctions on India and Pakistan after their nuclear tests in 1998. This weak Liberal government is doing nothing to support the American initiative.
Canadians are concerned that the conflict between these two nuclear powers should not only be contained but resolved.
Both India and Pakistan should respect the line of control they agreed to in 1972.
Canada has spent billions of dollars trying to cure conflict in the world, but the Liberals do not have the political will to prevent conflicts. Canadians want the government to be concerned and proactive before it is too late.
Mr. Lawrence D. O'Brien (Labrador, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, Atlantic delegates came to the Liberal biennial convention this past weekend to put the ideas of Atlantic Canadians on the national stage. The delegates worked together to voice their priorities for the future of our great region with keen determination.
Their success was shown by many key priorities of Atlantic Canadians being adopted, concerning such matters as the Port of Halifax, P.E.I. potato inspection fees and employment insurance.
Additionally, the convention unanimously endorsed a resolution calling for the adoption of the economic strategies outlined in “Catching Tomorrow's Wave”.
I would like to thank Geoff Regan, John O'Brien, Jack Graham, Sandra Kromm, Lisa Lacenaire, Melissa MacInnis and Scott Andrews, who offered their candidacy for numerous voluntary positions within the Liberal Party of Canada.
Finally, congratulations are also in order for the Dalhousie Young Liberals who—
Subtopic: Atlantic Canadians
The hon. member for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton.
Subtopic: Atlantic Canadians
Mrs. Michelle Dockrill (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, NDP)
Mr. Speaker, last month the government released a damning report of its own lack of a comprehensive policy on home care. The report released by Status of Women states that there is an extreme gender imbalance in all aspects of home care. The study further condemns the government's inactions by stating that this government's policies and practices have a negative financial impact on women as home care recipients and as providers, whether paid or unpaid.
The report indicates that poverty is not uncommon among female home care providers, recipients and their families.
While the government is cutting back on health care, it is also causing enormous difficulties for those who are dependent on home care.
It is unthinkable that the government should continue policies which so clearly cause increased economic, social and medical suffering to so many women. Comprehensive standards for home care and home care providers must be developed now. At the beginning of the new millennium it is unthinkable that the government should allow conditions for an extreme gender imbalance—
Subtopic: Home Care
The hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry.
Subtopic: Home Care
Mr. Daniel Turp (Beauharnois—Salaberry, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the group Pro-démocratie launched an awareness and information campaign under the theme “With C-20 nothing holds any more”.
This action by the civil society is in the wake of the measures taken by Quebec political parties, both here in this parliament and at the Quebec National Assembly. The objective of the campaign is to bring the federal government back to its senses, so that it will withdraw this contemptuous legislation. But instead of giving up Bill C-20, the Liberal Party appears to be in the process of ditching its leader.
The Pro-démocratie spokesperson views Bill C-20 as an attack against Canada's democratic institutions. Gérald Larose and André Tremblay are saying that “the target today is Quebec, but when the federal government tampers with the democratic rules, it is the freedom of all Canadians that is being jeopardized”.
When will the Liberal leadership contenders pledge to withdraw Bill C-20 and restore Canadian democracy?
Subtopic: Bill C-20
Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the presidential elections in Taiwan offer concrete proof of the success of the constitutional amendments adopted in Taiwan in 1994, introducing direct presidential election.
After half a century in power, the original founding political party will be replaced in the presidency by the main opposition party. The verdict of the popular vote has been accepted. There will be a full constitutional succession in an atmosphere of political peace and goodwill.
The constitutional rules of the game, whose observance is vital for a free democratic society, will be respected in their full spirit as well as their letter.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today with pride to congratulate the St. Francis Xavier X-Men on winning the CIAU men's basketball title.
Sunday's 61-60 victory was a tightly contested match between the University of Brandon Bobcats and the X-Men, but for the second time in less than a decade, the X-Men came away with the national championship.
St. FX all-Canadian forward Fred Perry was named game MVP, while Randy Nohr, whose last second shot won the game for the X-Men, was the tournament MVP.
I invite all X-Men fans to join the thousands of St. FX students and alumni at today's rally in Antigonish to honour the champs.
Time and time again the young men who wear the X-Men basketball jersey have proven they are a class act on the court, in the classroom and in the community of Antigonish. This stems from strong mentoring from head coach Steve Konchalski.
The X-Men are number one. So is St. FX university as it continues to excel academically, athletically and spiritually as a world class institution of higher learning.
Hail and health to the national champs, an extraordinary effort.
Subtopic: St. Francis Xavier X-Men
Mr. Preston Manning (Leader of the Opposition, Ref.)
Mr. Speaker, millions of dollars of taxpayers' money has been funnelled into the human resources minister's riding even though Brantford does not qualify for transitional jobs fund grants.
For months the minister has been saying that there were pockets of unemployment that justified giving these grants. Yesterday, Mel Cappe, the minister's former deputy, told a committee of this House there were no explicit guidelines for directing these funds to pockets of unemployment. The question is very simple. Who is misleading us?
Subtopic: Human Resources Development
Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, again, there is no contradiction between what the clerk said and what we have been saying in the House for a number of weeks now. There are four clear criteria that guided the transitional jobs fund. There was also flexibility to ensure that we could make investments in regions in every part of this country.
Subtopic: Human Resources Development