May 14, 2004

LIB

Andy Scott

Liberal

Hon. Andy Scott (Minister of State (Infrastructure), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have had great success on both housing and infrastructure projects in the province of Quebec. In fact we have had more success in housing particularly in Quebec than any other part of the country. The province of Quebec has the money to participate in our programs and we are pleased to share in those investments.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. It has to do with the ineffectiveness of the justice department in enforcing legislation aimed at protecting migratory birds.

Despite clear evidence of a 116 kilometre-long oil slick found near the Teacam Sea ship, could the Minister of Justice explain why the department did not prosecute, given that the ship's engineer was not able to account for 15,000 litres of used oil captured by satellite imagery and Coast Guard surveillance?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Teacam Sea event which occurred in November 2002 was dealt with last year. The problem of course was using new technology, that is radar satellite technology, and the general reluctance of the courts to accept new technology without corroboration.

What we are doing now, however, is using the increased surveillance that is coming with the new security measures to improve surveillance, not just for fishing, but also for oil spills at sea on the east and the west coasts. In addition, we have before the House Bill C-34 which will change some of the penalties.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CA

Larry Spencer

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. The minister is constitutionally bound to provide proper equalization payments to the provinces. Saskatchewan has a low PDI and a low GDP and still receives the least in equalization transfers per capita.

In spite of the $120 million pay back, he still owes for excessive clawbacks on oil and gas revenues and other crown lease clawbacks, sometimes as high as two for one on the dollar.

When will he stop robbing us of our resources and failing to adequately fund health care and other services and when can I--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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?

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would inform the hon. gentleman that the anomalies identified in the equalization formula were presented by Professor Courchesne from Queen's University. We examined his material in that critical period between 1999 and 2001 and found that indeed there were some corrections that needed to be made. We have made those corrections and $120 million is on its way to Saskatchewan.

Interestingly, every member of the opposition voted against sending the money to Saskatchewan, but we are going to send the money to Saskatchewan and we are looking to see if there are any other mistakes and we will correct--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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NDP

Pat Martin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, here is some Liberal public health policy. First Liberals tell us it is okay to put toxic trans fats in our food as long as it is properly labelled. Now they are slashing the budget of the national anti-smoking campaign and instead the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is forking out $71 million to tobacco farmers to help promote their product in the third world.

How can this government defend the hypocrisy of cutting funding to the anti-tobacco strategy while suddenly finding $71 million for the tobacco industry to promote itself?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Bob Speller

Liberal

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has recognized that governments over the past number of years have taken action to reduce tobacco smoking across this country. We recognize that those actions have had an impact on rural farm families and rural communities in both Ontario and Quebec.

The Government of Canada has taken responsibility for its actions that it signed on to under the international protocol on the reduction of tobacco and to fulfill that protocol by doing what the international community told us to do to ensure that these people can adjust.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would request unanimous consent of the House to make a brief statement celebrating the commitment of our colleague, the hon. member for Hamilton East.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the hon. federal member for Hamilton East, a true steel town fighter, a passionate partisan, a devoted wife, mother and daughter, and a ferociously patriotic Canadian.

When she presented legislation to protect gays and lesbians, a rock was thrown through her office window but she did not back down. When her hometown steel companies were angry about her outspoken support of widowed pensioners, she did not back down. When she was under fire from Mulroney's Conservatives, the rat packer did not back down, although she did jump over a chair or two.

When her critics, among them New Democrats, forced her resignation over the GST, she did not back down, although I backed down from running against her in Hamilton East because I knew that would be folly.

When her own party conspired to oust her, she did not back down.

The hon. member for Hamilton East launched her leadership campaign in Canada's first Tim Horton's to demonstrate her commitment to speak for ordinary people.

In her beloved hometown of Hamilton, she is best known for her devotion to new Canadians, always seizing the opportunity to lobby for family reunification, to amend Canada's arcane immigration laws and to open doors to employment and education opportunities. For this alone, her presence on the national stage will be sorely missed.

I know the member for Hamilton East loves this place, and she should leave knowing that more members than she knows, love her, will miss her and celebrate her compassion, her chutzpah and her devotion to our Canada.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me say, on my own behalf and on behalf of colleagues on this side of the House, that today is a very significant day in the history of our country as it may be the final appearance, for now, of the hon. member for Hamilton East in this Chamber.

She has been associated with many vital causes over the course of a very long career in public life, both provincially and federally. I think of her role in defending the steel industry, perhaps not one that one would naturally associate with a member of her kind, but she took that issue and every issue related to it on with great verve and determination.

Her defence of Canadian culture is something that must stand out in a very colourful career. She took on all comers in terms of making sure that Canadian culture was defended and promoted, not just within Canada but internationally.

She always argued for inclusion, for making people of various backgrounds, cultures, languages and heritages feel at home and included in her country.

The member also spoke with passion about her love for Canada. That is a love that she wore on her sleeve everywhere and all the time. She was always able to mount a passionate public speech at the drop of a hat in the defence of her country. She was always anxious to find the practical tools and vehicles by which all Canadians could tell our colourful Canadian stories to each other and to the rest of the world.

Most recently, in terms of cabinet roles, the hon. member was the minister of Canadian Heritage. I can think of no other legacy that would be more important or perhaps more appropriate to her than to be associated in a lasting and very profound and memorable way with Canadian heritage. She has been a defender of it and a promoter of it every minute of her life. We are proud of her.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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CA

Chuck Strahl

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is also my pleasure to rise to pay tribute to the member for Hamilton East today in case this is her last appearance in the House.

I arrived here in 1993 and already the member for Hamilton East was an icon in Liberal circles at the time and certainly was a focus of attention.

I will tell a quick story, if I may. In those days there were no time limits on the responses that ministers gave in the House. While we were all kind of new, sitting down at that end of the House, I remember she got up and tore a long strip off all of us in the Reform Party and told us all what was wrong. At the end of it all, most of us were kind of shaken and upset. Herb Grubel, a member at the time, turned to us and said “You know, I like her, she's feisty”. It was a great moment, and it is true.

If I could summarize from my perspective the things that I remember about the member's career it would be feisty, fighter and passionate. Although sometimes we had disagreements on this side of the House with some of the policy initiatives, we never doubted her commitment to Canada or to her constituents of Hamilton East. That was never in doubt.

We thought we had the first example of a publicly driven recall campaign when the hon. member resigned her post and then had to run for re-election in a byelection in Hamilton East. We thought that was our moment but it ended up being another lesson for us to learn at that time, which was that one does not take on the member for Hamilton East at the drop of a hat and that one does not do it lightly.

I know we have not seen the end of her public involvement and her public commitment but we will miss her in this place. She added a certain dynamic that is not here in spades. We appreciate her commitment to Canada, especially her passionate defence of women's issues, ethnic minorities and Canadian culture.

I wish her well in whatever may come. I know her family will appreciate seeing her a little bit more but we will be the lesser for not having her in this place.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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BQ

Monique Guay

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to pay tribute to the hon. member for Hamilton East, whom I did not know before being elected here, in 1993. For the 10 years that I have known her, she has shown, through her work, that she could face all kinds of challenges.

I remember that when I first came here, I was my party's critic on environmental issues. She must also remember it. She showed me how energetic a person she was. She is a tremendous fighter. I learned a lot from working with her. Even though we do not necessarily share the same vision regarding Canada, colleagues still respect one another.

I want to congratulate her on her work in promoting the cause of women, in ensuring that more women enter politics. I hope that, even if she does not sit in this House, she will continue her work, because there should be more of us women here. I know that she cares a great deal about this issue.

Again, I congratulate her for her work in this area and I wish her good luck and a happy life.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me thank the member for Halifax for her thoughtful initiative today. I want to add my words of thanks to the member for Hamilton East for the fine contribution she has made to Parliament and to the development of good laws for Canada and the global community.

In her role as minister of the environment, I cannot think of a more exciting period in the last 10 years on the Hill because of the measures that she introduced at that time, particularly the one that dealt with the removal of manganese from gasoline.

She then went on to become the minister of Canadian Heritage. I would like to thank her for the tremendous work that she did in strengthening Canadian identity, in strengthening cultural policies and for the respect that she had for all of us at UNESCO in Paris by putting Canada on the map on culture.

I join my colleagues in this tribute to pay homage to her and I want to say how glad I am that in her remarks today she said “au revoir” and not “adieu”.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me. I sent you a little note and I said I would like to speak on behalf of the rat pack caucus.

I was elected at the provincial level in 1981, at the same time as the hon. member for Hamilton East. As luck would have it, we shared the same office at Queen's Park and the same facilities. My children grew up with their drawing books on the corner of the desk of the hon. member for Hamilton Centre, as the riding was then called at the provincial level. In a way, we grew up all together. My children grew up, but she and I also grew up. I have only one sister, but I feel as if, over the past 25 years, I have had two. I also feel that I will still have two in the future.

The people of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell and all those who represent minorities in Canada, whether it is linguistic minorities or any other minority, were well served by the hon. member. Whether it is the Alfred College in my riding, which was threatened with closure following certain measures taken by the then Harris government, or other groups which needed her help, she was there. And I am only referring to one riding.

It was the same thing from coast to coast. The minister, and now hon. member, always had time for these minorities. Groups were never too small or unimportant. She was always there for them.

As she begins these next years, I for one, on behalf of my entire family and my constituents, wish her our best. She left once before and came back. Members may recall that on the day of her return I put a bouquet of flowers on her desk. I have a feeling I will do that again.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for Hamilton East
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LIB

David Price

Liberal

Hon. David Price (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the 2002-03 annual report of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Canadian Forces Housing Agency
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LIB

Joe Jordan

Liberal

Hon. Joe Jordan (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Response to Petitions
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May 14, 2004