March 26, 2003

?

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Saint John.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

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LIB

Sarmite Bulte

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, March 27, marks World Theatre Day, a day which encourages the world to recognize the universal importance of theatre. It promotes the ideals of peace and co-operation, the importance of artistic creation to cultural development, and the exchange of knowledge and practice in the performing arts.

This year the International Theatre Institute has chosen Tankred Dorst of Germany to deliver a message to the world on this important day.

Theatre plays a special role in fostering humanity “as long as we feel the need to show each other what we are and what we are not and what we should be”.

Throughout Canada, theatre groups will be celebrating this occasion by sharing their works with the Canadian public, special awards ceremonies, world premieres of new Canadian works, public readings of cherished plays and book signings by emerging and established playwrights.

As the former chair of the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto, I can attest firsthand to the important role the theatre plays in my community.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   World Theatre Day
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CA

Roy H. Bailey

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the constituency I represent has a long and strong U.S. relationship. We have nine ports of entry which is the most of any constituency in Canada.

Farm machinery dealers on this side of the border are now suffering financially. Almost daily, U.S. customers are phoning and cancelling their orders. The reason is the anti-American verbal insults they see on Canadian television and they hear on Canadian radio.

Personally, my biggest disappointment came last night in a phone call with my uncle who had served in the U.S. air force during World War II. For years, we have alternated our family visits between Canada and the United States but the families in the U.S. do not want to enter Canada and therefore this family tradition will be discontinued.

Statements made inside the House and outside the House are putting stress on decades of good relationships, both family and business.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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LIB

Joe McGuire

Liberal

Mr. Joe McGuire (Egmont, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I recently received a petition from 600 constituents in regard to old age pensions. These petitions were spearheaded by the work of Mrs. Adeline Butler.

I have heard too many stories of senior citizens who are living in poverty in this country. With so many of our valued elderly citizens living with restricted incomes, it is increasingly difficult for them to stretch their old age pensions far enough to pay for day to day expenses and also afford the necessary medical treatments that often become increasingly necessary as we age.

Given the catastrophic cost of certain drugs, many of our seniors find themselves caught between paying $3,000 for pharmaceuticals to take care of their health and being able to buy basic groceries. This is a dilemma no one should have to face.

To this end, I support a $40 per month immediate increase in the old age supplementary cheque for seniors. I believe it is our government's responsibility to be more supportive in our financial assistance to seniors.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canada Pension Plan
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LIB

Claude Duplain

Liberal

Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the presence today and tomorrow on the Hill of CJSR, the riding of Portneuf's community television station.

Community television is essential because it contributes to community development and reflects local culture. With local access to the media, studios and equipment, community television also encourages individuals to get involved in programming.

CJSR is a very dynamic community television station that broadcasts 35 hours per week, 25 of which are devoted to local programming.

I wish to pay tribute to the perseverance and the creativity of the employees and numerous volunteers who work day after day to provide a quality local information network. I want to add that CJSR's personal style is helping the people of Portneuf to develop a true sense of community.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Community Television
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LIB

Massimo Pacetti

Liberal

Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 21, 2003, the students of Laurier MacDonald High School, situated in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, organized a one day celebration of multiculturalism entitled “One people, one destiny”.

The day's events included speeches from leaders of various community groups, as well as song and dance performers emphasizing the importance of respecting differences and sharing among all the cultural, ethnic and religious groups that together make up this great country.

Although recognition and appreciation of all cultures is important, it is imperative to partake and to actively promote culture acceptance in order for Canada to distinguish itself as a truly great nation.

I extend my congratulations, not only to the staff and administration of Laurier MacDonald High School, but also to the student members of the Multicultural Society who, under the guidance of their professor, Mr. Sookhdeo, have actively sought to promote acceptance and respect within their school and, in so doing, have modelled the very essence of what defines Canada.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Multiculturalism
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CA

Darrel Stinson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan—Shuswap, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has yet to provide Canadian taxpayers with a cost benefit analysis for the firearms registry program, or at least release the one that it has already done.

The new CEO of the Canadian Firearms Centre admitted last week that cabinet had refused to release the gun registry cost benefit analysis.

The Canadian public deserves to know why the government refuses to release this study. Could it be that the costs to go back and fix the gun registry are far too high?

Our frontline police officers and our hospitals are understaffed and poorly equipped. There are 1.5 million children in Canada living in poverty, yet the government continues to throw money at a gun registry that is totally out of control. Shame on it.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Firearms Registry
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LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in September 2002 Canada hosted an international conference on war affected children. It noted that two million children died in wars during the 1990s, an additional six million were permanently disabled or seriously injured, 20 million were uprooted from their homes and 300,000 were forced to take up arms as child soldiers. At the conference, war affected youth had this to say:

War destroys everything, our schools, our homes, our families, our communities, our jobs, our health and our souls. War destroys our childhood.

Forty-four per cent of Iraq's population is under the age of 15. A recent survey of Iraqi children by the NGO War Child found that 40% of Iraqi children surveyed do not feel that life is worth living. They are fearful, anxious and depressed. Many suffer from nightmares.

The Canadian government must work with the UN to provide not only food and medicine to meet the physical needs of Iraq's children, but also to provide support to address the psychological trauma these children will continue to suffer.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   War Affected Children
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BQ

Yves Rocheleau

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yves Rocheleau (Trois-Rivières, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend Oxfam-Québec for establishing a fundraising campaign to assist victims of the war in Iraq. I would also like to commend the Centrale des syndicats du Québec, the Fédération des caisses Desjardins, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec and the Union des producteurs agricoles for taking part in this humanitarian campaign.

The campaign organizers are counting on donations from the public and funding from international organizations.

The funds raised will help to provide drinking water, assist refugees as they arrive in the camps and build health care facilities, which Oxfam is doing in cooperation with various UN agencies in Jordan, Iran and Syria.

I join my hon. colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois and Oxfam-Québec in making an urgent appeal for Quebeckers to show solidarity and give generously.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Oxfam-Québec
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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, it gives me great pleasure and pride to announce Carleton University's recent athletic achievements.

Within the past week, the Carleton University women's ski team won its first national title, the men's ski team won its second national title, and the men's basketball team won the university's first Canadian interuniversity sports national title in 60 years of competition.

These achievements mark a great success not only for the teams' players and fans, but also for Carleton University's administration's strategy for excellence.

I am very proud of Carleton University's achievements. I invite my colleagues to join me in congratulating the athletes on a job very well done.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Sports
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CA

Charlie Penson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, last night the Liberal government approved another $59 million to be spent on the gun registration program. Meanwhile, a Library of Parliament research paper estimates the cost of enforcing the Firearms Act could easily reach another $1 billion.

When will this madness stop? The Liberals cannot and will not tell Canadian taxpayers what they have already spent on this program, yet they keep on approving additional funding.

The Liberal strategy of bafflegab is not working. Canadians are sick and tired of seeing their hard-earned dollars being sucked into the black hole otherwise known as the Liberal gun registry.

The Canadian Alliance demands that this legacy of misinformation and mismanagement stop now.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Firearms registry
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LIB

Paddy Torsney

Liberal

Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, all around the world people are united in their desire for peace. This desire was clearly evident on March 5 when my constituency office served as the Canadian presentation site for Poets for Peace.

Some 11,000 poets for peace collected 13,000 anti-war poems through the Internet. Poems were submitted by eight Pulitzer prize-winning poets, professors, business people, homemakers and war veterans from around the world and were presented to the government representatives in 12 countries. Yesterday it was my great pleasure to present these poems to the right hon. Prime Minister.

I am pleased that concerned citizens from my riding and from across Canada and people around the world are speaking out and letting their government representatives know of their desire for peace.

All of us hope for a speedy resolution to the current conflict in the world.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Poets for Peace
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NDP

Wendy Lill

New Democratic Party

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, deaf, deafened and hard of hearing post-secondary students are suffering due to government tax policy. They are being forced from school because of the double taxation they face for retaining sign language interpretation for their studies.

Deaf citizens pay their regular taxes as Canadians. They should not have to pay extra income tax on the money they receive from disability supports and out of country bursaries for funds used to pay for sign language interpreters.

This institutional discrimination can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per student, per year. That additional cost means many cannot afford to pursue their studies and the number of deaf students in the system is dropping quickly.

This is a clear violation of the government's duty to accommodate deaf citizens in public services as set out by the courts in the Eldridge case.

I call on the government to immediately change the tax system so that moneys provided for a student's disability supports are not taxed as income. I urge the government to do this before the courts force it to do it.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Post-Secondary Students
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BQ

Christiane Gagnon

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, at the Oscars Award Ceremony, Michael Moore denounced the war in Iraq. He described the Bush administration's attempt to establish a link between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the events of September 11 without any evidence as highly immoral. Other award winners such as Chris Cooper and Adrian Brody also called for peace.

In Quebec, the voices of artists are also being heard as they declare “war against the war”. During the Jutra Gala, artists proudly wore white ribbons indicating their opposition to a war against Iraq while others marched in various public demonstrations to show their opposition.

Actor Luc Picard organized a telephone tree to mobilize artists in an anti-war movement, saying he would like to see Quebec artists react through their works.

The Bloc Quebecois commends artists who have mobilized against the war, and those from all walks of life who are saying yes to peace.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Iraq
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Ms. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the war in Iraq and Canada's role in this unsettling and difficult situation. While Canadian ships are in the gulf supporting the coalition, Canada continues to fight terrorism with our American partners both at home and abroad and to seek diplomatic solutions to these issues. As a result of our long and close relationship with our U.S. neighbours and Commonwealth partners, Canadians feel immensely saddened by the loss of lives.

As a nation respected for its humanitarian aid and our common purpose for a better world, we are proud of our longstanding policy of peacekeeping and diplomacy, particularly in times of crisis. Together with thousands of Canadians across the country we are praying for our Canadian and American troops, for the coalition forces and for the success of the mission. Most of all, we are praying for a swift end to this war, peace to all of the regions in conflict and a safe return of all the forces serving in this conflict.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Iraq
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC)

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the Globe and Mail reported that over 20,000 Canadian seniors have lost their entitlement to CPP benefits because deadlines have passed them by. These seniors were largely unaware of their entitlement or the application deadlines until it was too late.

What is particularly dreadful is that so many of our senior citizens are forced to live on tight budgets and very modest incomes. The extra money that they are now being denied could give them a much greater standard of living.

This entire situation is unfortunately similar to problems that continue to exist with the guaranteed income supplement. Many seniors, most living with great hardship, are oblivious to the fact that they have access to these types of assistance programs. Moneys properly owed to Canadians after a lifetime of hard work are not being given out, but are instead being wasted on the gun registry.

The government needs to make senior citizens a priority. It must rectify this horrible situation. I call on the Prime Minister to have a minister for seniors before it is too late.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canada Pension Plan
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, let me quote a distinguished Canadian, the former U.S. ambassador from Canada, Allan Gotlieb. He said, “The plain fact is that our government has chosen not to be at the side of the United States in this epoch-defining conflict. The plain fact is that a number of members of the government are saying ugly things about the Americans. The plain fact is that these comments are not being dismissed or denied by the Prime Minister. The plain fact is that our leader has failed to grasp how deeply our stance wounds Americans”.

Why does the Prime Minister fail to grasp that his stance is deeply injurious to our national interests?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the people of the United States know very well that on September 11 in the first hour of their great difficulties, the Canadian people received in their homes 40,000 Americans who had no place to land.

The people of the United States and the government knew very well that when they asked us to fight terrorism, we were the first ones to go there and we put troops in to fight terrorism in Afghanistan.

The people of the United States are aware that we have had ships there for months protecting navigation in that very difficult place so that we can help in the fight against terrorism.

We disagree on one element but on most of--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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?

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, none of that overshadows what we know and what the Americans know. We should be there with our allies when it counts against Saddam Hussein.

It is reported today that some Liberal MPs are actually suggesting recalling Ambassador Cellucci to Washington because of the comments he made in Toronto yesterday. This is from a government that refuses to recall Saddam Hussein's front man in Canada.

When is the government going to expel the remains of Saddam Hussein's evil regime from this country?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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March 26, 2003