April 9, 2003

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The Speaker

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

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

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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the anti-Israel petition that was filed in the House on March 31 by the member for the riding of Quebec.

There is no connection between Israel's struggle with suicide bombers and Saddam Hussein's many years of non-compliance with UN inspections. Israel is a democracy and an ally in our campaign on terrorism.

The fundamental cause of the ongoing crisis in the disputed territories is the reluctance of the Palestinian side to accept Israeli existence, to renounce a strategy of terrorism and compromise, something that I hope will happen with the new Palestinian prime minister.

Israel has the responsibility to protect its people from suicide bombers. It is careful to minimize civilian casualties, and the allegations of Israeli massacres are fabrications.

Israel proved its commitment to peace at Camp David in July 2000 when it put forward a two state solution. Yasser Arafat responded with a strategy of violence. Terrorism cannot bring peace to this region, and Canada must stand by its Israeli allies in our campaign against this global threat.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Middle East
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CA

Reed Elley

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I have been warning the Liberal government for six years that its policies were hurting the B.C. softwood lumber industry. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed. Thousands of softwood lumber workers remain unemployed in my riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan because the government has allowed the softwood lumber crisis to drag on and on and the export of raw logs continues to take jobs with them.

Meanwhile, our neighbours to the south in the Pacific northwest who want our raw logs continue to ban log exports from their own lands.

Recently the federal government raised the possibility of removing restraints on the export of even more raw logs. Canadian Alliance members of Parliament on Vancouver Island have taken a firm stand against this because of the loss of more jobs that would go with them.

I have stood at the gates of the Youbou Mill and talked with employees who lost their jobs when a profitable mill was being shut down. Meanwhile, the highway running past the mill is a continuous convoy of full logging trucks moving raw logs down to the dumping grounds to be mainly towed to American sawmills.

Shame on the government for even thinking of exporting B.C. jobs with B.C. logs. Shame on the Minister for International Trade for allowing his deputy minister to even contemplate the possibility.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber Industry
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LIB

Sarkis Assadourian

Liberal

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to join with the Sikhs in Canada and throughout the world in marking the 304th anniversary of Valsakhi .

I encourage all Canadians to join with Canadian Sikhs in a wonderful celebration of faith and pride in their culture. From its origins in the Indus Valley, the Sikh faith has spread throughout the world.

The first Sikh pioneers settled in Canada over 100 years ago. Today Sikhs are represented in every occupation and facet of Canadian life, including being elected as members of the House, provincial parliaments and municipal governments.

I wish to congratulate the bustling Canadian Sikh community in my own riding of Brampton Centre as well as Canadian Sikh communities throughout Canada on the 304th anniversary of Valsakhi .

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Sikh Community
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LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 86th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and today is the first official Vimy Ridge Day.

This day commemorates a massive offensive attack by the allies in the first world war. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was one of Canada's most famous military engagements of the 20th century. Vimy has become synonymous with sacrifice, with heroism and with heroes. It has become known as a nation-builder for Canada, as well as a major step toward the end of the first world war.

On April 9, 1917, the allies, for the very first time, had all four divisions of the Canadian corps attack this German site under unified Canadian command. The Canadians were met with great resistance but after three days of heavy fighting, the Germans realized the loss of Vimy Ridge was permanent and retreated.

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which includes preserved battlefield terrain, provides a lasting and tangible reminder of Canadians' sacrifice. The memorial honours the capture of Vimy Ridge and is a monument to all Canadians who died in France and have no known grave. Cut into the stones on the sides of the platform of the memorial are the names of 11,285 Canadians.

We honour those Canadians today. It is part of our--

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brampton West—Mississauga.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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LIB

Colleen Beaumier

Liberal

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton West—Mississauga, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, government critics have been twisting the truth in order to promote the arming of customs officers. They have consistently misquoted the Minister of National Revenue in a sorry attempt to promote a pro-gun lobby.

Let us set the record straight. The minister has noted a number of times that customs inspectors do not need to carry handguns to carry out their jobs. In fact, an independent study has shown that most customs inspectors agree with that position.

The minister has noted that in the unlikely event of armed confrontation at the border, the minister wants the confrontation to be treated in a similar fashion to bank robberies or police hot pursuit policies, and avoid a dangerous situation. The minister does not want customs inspectors to put themselves or the public at risk. The health and safety of officers and the general public is a priority.

Furthermore, it was not the minister who said that arming customs inspectors was simply giving accidents an opportunity to happen. It was an independent study.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Customs Officers
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CA

Leon Benoit

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, Bernard Gooden was a Canadian, born in Jamaica, serving in the American Marine Corps and fighting for democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people. He was killed in action last Friday.

On behalf of all members of the House I want to send our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Gooden.

Corporal Gooden took his oath and became a Canadian citizen only last summer. He loved this country, its way of life and its values. He served in defence of those values, first in the Canadian army and then in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Many Canadians are serving this same cause in Iraq, including the son of the member for Wild Rose, who also serves in the U.S. Marine Corps.

I ask all members of the House to join me in honouring the sacrifices made by men and women like Corporal Gooden in defence of the values that we as Canadians share with our American neighbours and with freedom loving people everywhere.

May God bless and protect them all.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bernard Gooden
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LIB

John Godfrey

Liberal

Mr. John Godfrey (Don Valley West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in the gallery today are two outstanding Canadians: Carolyn McCool, a public interest lawyer; and filmmaker Moira Simpson, both of Vancouver, who are here for the Ottawa premiere of a National Film Board production, entitled Kosovo: Fragile Peace , to be hosted tonight at the National Archives by the World University Service of Canada.

Carolyn McCool recently completed a Government of Canada sponsored secondment as a director of democratization in Kosovo for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and her work is featured in the film. She is one of over 140 Canadians who have been involved in a program administered by WUSC and funded by CIDA working toward lasting peace in the Balkans.

For over 60 years, WUSC has been active on campuses across Canada and communities around the world. I am delighted that through the work of the NFB, Canadians from coast to coast will see that Canadians are making a difference in peace building and strengthening democracy.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Peacekeeping
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BQ

Sébastien Gagnon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Sébastien Gagnon (Lac-Saint-Jean--Saguenay, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois is strongly opposed to Canada's participation in the war that is currently being waged against Iraq by the United States and Great Britain, because a military intervention was totally unjustified.

However, we do recognize that the participation of the Canadian Forces in an armed conflict has been, at certain times in our history, perfectly legitimate.

Such was the case with World War I, in which Canadian troops played a key role. Today we want to mark the 86th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. In capturing Vimy Ridge, the Canadian Forces won an important victory that changed the course of the war.

On April 9, Vimy Ridge Day, let us all remember these acts of bravery, and the dedication and courage of our officers and troops, almost 3,600 of whom gave their lives on the battlefield.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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LIB

Janko Peric

Liberal

Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, each spring Forum for Young Canadians organizes a study tour of Canada's system of government for 600 high school students from across the country.

Students interact with parliamentarians and take part in simulations of question period and federal-provincial conferences. Through this program the future leaders of Canada gain a deeper insight into the governance of our nation.

This year Megan O'Neil, Anthony Pereira, Andrea Hunniford, Bethany Suzanne Maus and Taylor Selig from my riding of Cambridge are taking part in this incredible learning experience.

I join all members in welcoming these young Canadians and I wish them success as they gain insight into our system of government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Forum for Young Canadians
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CA

Roy H. Bailey

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, 86 years ago today Canadian soldiers took Vimy Ridge. Today, for the first time, we officially celebrate April 9 as Vimy Ridge Day.

Canada came into its own at Vimy Ridge. Our men went in as British and came out as Canadians. It is said that nations are born of war and, if that is the case, the death of nearly 4,000 men gave birth to Canada.

Vimy Ridge marks our birth, but it did not end there. My friend, Michel Gravel, reminds us that our brave Canadian soldiers kept going strong. The liberation of the village of Cagnicourt by Canadians months afterward, signalled to the Germans the beginning of the end of the World War I.

Our soldiers were there at the beginning and they stayed and fought until the end. That is what has made Canada great then and that same courage will make Canada great today.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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LIB

Gurbax Malhi

Liberal

Mr. Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this month Sikh communities around the globe are celebrating the 304th anniversary of the founding of the Sikh nation, the Khalsa. The founder of the Sikh nation, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, preached equality, truthfulness, tolerance, honesty, brotherhood and human rights.

Members of the Canadian Sikh community are deeply grateful to the Prime Minister and all members of Parliament for their continued involvement at Vaisakhi celebrations on Parliament Hill.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating the Sikh community on the birth of the Sikh nation and in recognition of the tremendous contributions to our country.

I would like to encourage all members to attend this reception, immediately following question period this afternoon, in the Commonwealth room.

I thank the House for its continued support and involvement since 1993.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vaisakhi
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, today marks the first official Vimy Ridge Day, although Canadians have been marking this day ever since the first anniversary of April 9, 1917, the day that Canadians all fought together under Canadian command for the first time, and in so doing achieved a victory that had eluded other armies.

To paraphrase a hymn often sung on Remembrance Day, time's ever rolling stream has born the Vimy vets away, but time should never take away the pride that Canadians feel in what their fellow Canadians did that day. Nor should we ever forget the carnage and horror of World War I.

May I also say, on a personal note, that my grandfather, Robert Blaikie, fought at Vimy Ridge with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, a regiment raised in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Coincidentally, the tunnels that are preserved at the Vimy Memorial are the same tunnels through which my grandfather moved that morning, as part of the 8th Brigade, 3rd Division, the same tunnels in which some 80 years later, his great granddaughter Rebecca Blaikie, would act as a young Canadian guide explaining the significance of what happened on that unforgettable day.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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BQ

Ghislain Fournier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Ghislain Fournier (Manicouagan, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on April 1, I welcomed, here in Ottawa, a delegation representing the Lower North Shore fishery.Together, we met with officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, and the Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, who was accompanied by his team.

All these government officials are now well informed about the situation of fishers, since it was explained to them in detail. Therefore, they are fully aware of the urgency and seriousness of the economic and social situation. This situation is such that the federal government must urgently provide the funding necessary to come to their assistance.

The government must also quickly give its approval so that the various projects in the recovery plan submitted on that occasion can be implemented at the earliest opportunity, because these people will not have any income as of April 15.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Brent St. Denis

Liberal

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, with the adoption of Bill C-227, today, April 9 is the very first Vimy Ridge Day. On this day I wish to express my gratitude to everyone for their support of this initiative, including parliamentarians in both the House of Commons and in the other place. In particular, I wish to express my appreciation to Robert Manuel, a Korean veteran and constituent of mine from Elliot Lake, Ontario, who initially inspired this idea and provided many letters and petitions of support throughout the process.

With the passage of the bill, the Parliament of Canada is honouring all veterans, those who lost their lives or were wounded in past wars or peacekeeping missions, and those who now serve or are retired from active service. We thank and honour them all.

The spirit of remembrance is alive and well in our nation but can always be made stronger. Vimy Ridge Day will help us remember the heroism, the tragedy, the valour and the loss associated with war so peace may be our constant goal. Let it be the greatest gift of our fallen soldiers that for us peace be our future.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vimy Ridge Day
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PC

Greg Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest, PC)

Mr. Speaker, April is Daffodil Month and the peak fundraising period of the Canadian Cancer Society. Thousands of volunteers will be knocking on doors and organizing events across Canada. The goal for this year's campaign is $18 million.

The Canadian Cancer Society uses the funds it raises for research in all types of cancer. The society supports healthy public policy promoting strategies for reducing cancer risk, providing comprehensive information about cancer care and treatment and supporting people living with cancer.

Last year, an estimated 137,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Canada and 66,000 Canadians died from the disease.

On behalf of the members of this House I extend heartfelt thanks to all Canadian Cancer Society volunteers, and I urge all Canadians to give generously to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Cancer Society
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, I was going to ask about the government's position on regime change in Iraq, but whether or not the government has made up its mind, it is apparent that with the support of the Iraqi people the regime of Saddam Hussein has fallen.

We know that although our government sat on the sidelines, we join with the silent majority of Canadians in congratulating our American and British friends in celebrating with the Iraqi people on the day of their liberation.

Has the government now informed Saddam's front man in Ottawa that his services are no longer required?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

This matter will of course, Mr. Speaker, be dealt with in accordance with the traditional way in which the international rules apply to changes of government. The government has often dealt with this type of situation and we will continue to do so in the normal way.

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, I think that was less than a yes.

The government was a spectator to the diplomacy before the conflict. It was a spectator to the war. To ensure it is not also a spectator to the peace, has the Prime Minister been on the phone to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to say that Canadians will help with reconstruction in Iraq, regardless of whether it is under the auspices of the United Nations or the allies?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Iraq
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April 9, 2003