April 1, 2004

LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Hon. Roger Gallaway (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House a report from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the 53rd parliamentary seminar held in London, England from March 2 to 13, 2004.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Interparliamentary Delegations
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LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-Japan interparliamentary group following the inaugural general meeting of interparliamentarians for social services held in Seoul, Korea in August 2003; the 12th annual meeting of the Asia Pacific parliamentary forum held in Beijing, China from January 12 to 14, 2004; and the co-chair's annual visit to Japan held in Tokyo, Japan from March 1 to 6.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Interparliamentary Delegations
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LIB

Paul Steckle

Liberal

Mr. Paul Steckle (Huron—Bruce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today, in both official languages, the second report on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food entitled “Canadian Livestock and Beef Pricing in the Aftermath of the BSE Crisis”.

As all of us here know that the issue of May 19 last year created a crisis which we have never seen before in this country. The committee has spent a great deal of time in looking into the issue and investigating it.

I thank all committee members on all sides of the House for their diligence in attending meetings and making it possible for us to present this report here this morning.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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LIB

Bonnie Brown

Liberal

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour this morning to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Health entitled “Opening the Medicine Cabinet First Report on Health Aspects of Prescription Drugs”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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CA

John Williams

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present the third report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts respecting the peer review report on the value for money practices of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

Speaking to the report, on March 11, 2004, the Auditor General of Canada, Mrs. Sheila Fraser, together with assistant auditor general, Mr. David Rattray, appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to present the results of the February 2004 peer review of the Office of the Auditor General and to table a copy of the review and the Auditor General's management action plan.

In February 2003 the Auditor General asked the members of the international audit community if they would be interested in participating in a review of the office's value for money audit practices The purpose of the review was to assess the extent to which this practice was designed to reflect recognized standards of professional VFM audit practices and whether it was operating effectively to meet the office's goal of producing independent, objective and supportable information that Parliament could rely on to examine the government's performance and to hold it to account.

The peer review was formed in early 2003 to include members of the international audit community from the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands and France. The general accounting office of the United States participated as an observer. The peer review was conducted between June and November 2003 and was completed in February 2004.

Mrs. Fraser was pleased to announce to the committee that the results of the peer review were very positive. The report concluded that the office's VFM audit practice was suitably designed and operating effectively to achieve the office's value for money objectives. The peer review also identified a number of good practices in the office of the VFM process and quality management framework.

The peer review report also identified a number of opportunities for improvement in some of the office's value for money policies and practices, and suggested some possible areas of solution which the office should take into account to improve its VFM products.

Mrs. Fraser told the committee that her office would respond to these issues and table the office's management action plan for addressing the suggestions made by the peer review report.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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The Speaker

The hon. member for St. Albert is aware of the rules. I do not know if he is reading the report or what, but he is supposed to give a very succinct explanation of the report, which is what the rules require, not the whole thing. I hope this is going to end very quickly because he has had quite a lot of liberty from the Chair on the matter already.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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CA

John Williams

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Williams

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your indulgence but the Office of the Auditor General, as you know, is our servant and our officer and this is the first time that this kind of report has ever been done. This is a summary of the full document that I am tabling with this report. I have about three more paragraphs, Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence.

Both the peer review report and the management action plan are available at the office's website. Mrs. Fraser believed that it may be possible for the public accounts committee to table the report in the House of Commons, which of course I am doing.

Mrs. Fraser suggested that if the committee members wished to have the opportunity to examine the results, that it could be combined with the hearing, which we have done.

I am pleased to table this report on behalf of the Office of the Auditor General and on behalf of the public accounts committee. I commend the Auditor General for the fine work that she does on behalf of this House and, indeed, all Canadians.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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CA

Brian Pallister

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-511, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act (visibility of railway equipment).

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to present my private member's bill today, though it is as a result of a tragedy in my riding that I do so.

Last November a car, in which a young man was a passenger, collided with the side of a freight train that was not equipped with proper retro reflective equipment and therefore was not visible to the driver of the car. As a result of that accident, I learned that less than one in five Canadian rail cars is so equipped.

Every working day in Canada there is a collision between a car and a train, every week someone is killed and every week a Canadian is seriously injured as a result.

What the bill would do, quite simply, is require that the companies apply the proper retro reflective equipment to the trains, that it be repaired and maintained regularly and replaced when it is damaged.

This is a common sense proposal, which I have discussed with members of each of the other parties in the House. I have consulted with the critics of each of the parties and they are in support of the motion. I have also consulted with the House leaders. I think you would find, Mr. Speaker, if you were to ask, that there would be unanimous consent for the bill to be deemed read a second time and forwarded to the committee for consideration.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Railway Safety Act
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The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed with second reading at this time?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Railway Safety Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Railway Safety Act
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An hon. member

No.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Railway Safety Act
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-512, an act to provide fixed dates for the election of members to the House of Commons and to amend the Constitution Act, 1867.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move first reading of this bill which would provide for fixed election dates for members of the House of Commons. The bill would effectively remove from a prime minister the right to call an election whenever and however he or she wanted. Instead, it would substitute a fixed date of every four years.

The bill obviously could not come at a more opportune time, with election speculation rife and the Prime Minister polling overnight and deciding at his personal whim whether and when Canadians have a right to exercise their most critical democratic rights.

It is not the way it should be. Elections should be held based on the interest of the Canadian people, not on the whims of a prime minister.

The current power of the Prime Minister stands at the heart of the democratic deficit. It has been criticized by Mr. Kent, the stalwart Liberal, and changed by a Liberal government in B.C.

Passage of the bill would fix this problem and go a long way to fixing the democratic deficit.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Dissolution of Parliament Act
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LIB

Janko Peric

Liberal

Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 it is my privilege to present to the House a petition signed by 260 concerned constituents of mine in my riding of Cambridge.

The petitioners underscore that complete information on the health risks of abortion should be provided to all women when considering this action. The petitioners hold that physicians who perform abortions without the informed consent by the mother or perform abortions that are not medically necessary should face penalties.

Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament support legislation calling for a woman's right to know, and I agree with them.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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The Speaker

I have chastised the hon. member before for this. If he persists, he will find he does not get recognized for presenting petitions and then he will really feel the pain.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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CA

Charlie Penson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I have eight petitions to present today calling upon Parliament to recognize the institution of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

This topic has been the number one issue in my riding this past year. Combined, there are over 700 signatures.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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CA

Charlie Penson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, CPC)

I have one further petition, Mr. Speaker, to present, with 28 signatures. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that materials which promote or glorify pedophilia activities involving children are outlawed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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BQ

Caroline St-Hilaire

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a petition signed by civil servants from the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development concerning the complaint about the retroactive payments of pay equity adjustments in the public service.

After all the years it took to get a settlement on pay equity, it is totally unacceptable for interest to be charged on unpaid income tax.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Pat O'Brien

Liberal

Mr. Pat O'Brien (London—Fanshawe, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have received a petition signed by 25,000 citizens of London, Ontario and the district of London, Ontario. I present the latest 1,500 such signatures that have been appropriately certified.

These Canadians call upon the Parliament of Canada to uphold the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. The petitioners note the importance of the institution of marriage to the country. They note that the definition of marriage as a man and a woman has been the definition acceptable to Canadians since Confederation.

The petitioners call upon the government to uphold that definition and to take all necessary steps to preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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PC

Rex Barnes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition which calls upon Parliament to take all necessary steps to preserve the definition of marriage as one man and one woman with the exclusion of all others. I hope the present government listens to it.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Massimo Pacetti

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and have the honour to present to the House numerous petitions signed by close to 100,000 Canadians from not only my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel but from across Canada.

The petitioners, myself and other Liberal members, are asking that the CRTC approve and grant a licence to RAI International, a 24 hour Italian language broadcaster, to the CRTC's digital eligible list.

On August 8, 2003, myself and other Canadian Italian community leaders deposited with the CRTC over 106,000 signatures, again a record number of signatures on a separate petition, along with more than 330 letters of support from Liberal members of Parliament and community leaders of Italian origin supporting the RAI International application.

With approximately 1.5 million Canadian citizens of Italian origin living in Canada, the CRTC cannot ignore this unprecedented level of support.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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April 1, 2004