October 6, 2004

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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 Brampton—Springdale.

[Members sang the national anthem]

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LIB

Michael John Savage

Liberal

Mr. Michael Savage (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today for the first time as the member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Howe, the father of responsible government in Canada. Born in Halifax, he resided for a key part of his life in Dartmouth, where his great work is being remembered this week in a series of events, including symposiums, citizens' forums and the naming of the Joseph Howe Park.

His fight against colonial control and corruption led to his famous six-hour speech defending himself on a charge of libel. As the most influential reformer in what became the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, Joseph Howe in 1848 was the architect of the first responsible government ever elected in a British colony.

Today, Michael Bawtree wonderfully recreates the life of Joseph Howe and he reminds us that responsible government was, in the words of Howe, “achieved without a blow struck, or a pane of glass broken”.

As we embark upon this historic 38th Parliament, I hope all members join me in saluting the father of responsible government in our country.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Joseph Howe
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as you know, it has been my great honour to represent the people of Medicine Hat, but I doubt that I was ever more proud than when Medicine Hat's Kalan Porter won CTV's Canadian Idol competition just under three weeks ago.

Kalan is not just a phenomenal talent. More important, he is a humble and phenomenal young man, a tribute to his upbringing on a buffalo ranch just outside of Irvine, Alberta.

I wish to extend congratulations to Kalan's parents, Rick and Janet, and special congratulations, too, to his grandparents, Bob and Donna Lee Porter. Bob, of course, was the member of Parliament for Medicine Hat until 1993. Clearly Kalan comes from very good stock.

I know I speak on behalf of the people of Medicine Hat and of course this Parliament when I say congratulations to Kalan on a job well done. Look out world, here comes Medicine Hat's Kalan Porter.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Idol
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LIB

Gurbax Malhi

Liberal

Hon. Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea—Gore—Malton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, education is the responsibility of each province and territory in Canada. There are many challenges facing education in our country.

Access to quality education across the realm of childhood and adulthood allows individuals to achieve self-supporting status for life.

We need quality elementary and secondary school programs. We need quality community colleges to fill the gap for people who did not acquire needed skills in high school. We need quality universities that attract top students, endowments and researchers.

Colleges and universities can be huge economic engines in this country. I call upon my colleagues in Parliament to join me in supporting the work done by Canada's provinces and territories to ensure that we do not shortchange our children. They are the future of our country. They need access to a quality, affordable educational system.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Education
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BQ

Monique Guay

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Monique Guay (Rivière-du-Nord, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on June 28, Quebeckers spoke as a people, mandating the Bloc Quebecois to act as guardian of their values, defender of their rights and advocate of their difference in the federal political arena.

We are grateful to Quebeckers for placing their trust in us. We are aware of the responsibilities it entails as we reiterate our commitment to making their voices heard. A special thanks to the people of Rivière-du-Nord, who have supported and re-elected me for a fourth term.

With an effervescent yet balanced approach, we will stand in this House for Quebec's distinctiveness. With vigour and renewed faith, we will continue to ensure respect for the powers of the National Assembly and the indefeasible right of our people to develop to their fullest.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   2004 Federal Election
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LIB

Denis Paradis

Liberal

Hon. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, mayors gathered in Quebec City today after the closure of several RCMP detachments was announced. They want to make clear that they totally disagree with this decision. And I share their view entirely.

This decision affects not only my riding but several areas of Quebec: Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Coaticook, Baie-Comeau, Lac Mégantic, Granby, Saint-Hyacinthe, Roberval, Rivière-du-Loup and Joliette. The detachments involved are located in remote areas. This is sad news. Once again, the biggest losers will be the people living in regions of Quebec.

At a time when the cultivation of marijuana is at its height and our borders require closer surveillance, the closure of these regional RCMP detachments is announced. This is an unjustified decision, and I ask that it be reversed.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West—Glanbrook, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour to stand here today. I am grateful to the people of Niagara West--Glanbrook for their faith in electing me to express their views in this Parliament. I trust that I will be a worthy representative.

The future of the greenhouse industry in my constituency is at risk because of delays and complications at select border crossings. U.S. customs has now implemented a policy of inspecting 100% of Canadian cut flower shipments for potential infestations. Ever increasing numbers of shipments are being unjustly turned away. Our grape growers are also experiencing difficulties due to extreme waits at border crossings.

I would ask that the government address both of these issues immediately.

Agriculture industry exporters are particularly vulnerable because of the perishable nature of their products. It is time for federal intervention. Whatever negative comments some government members may have about our neighbours to the south, we need to establish a better working relationship with the U.S. government, specifically in this regard. Quick action must be taken to resolve the barriers to efficient agriculture exportation.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Liberal

Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday I joined 160,000 fellow Canadians participating in the largest single day fundraiser in Canada dedicated to eradicating breast cancer.

Cancer is one of Canada's worst killers, and when breast cancer strikes a woman, this killer strikes at an organ which symbolizes nurturing and life itself.

What is especially tragic is the frequency of this killer. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among Canadian women.

The eighth annual CIBC Run for the Cure will support breast cancer research, education, diagnosis and treatment. The five kilometre run, and I can still feel it in my legs today, or the one kilometre walk was held in 40 communities nationwide and raised over $18 million.

I join all members in congratulating the volunteers, organizers and participants in the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Breast Cancer
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BQ

Marc Lemay

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Marc Lemay (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the constituents of the riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue who put their trust in me to represent them in the House of Commons.

As the Bloc Quebecois critic for sport, I wish to bring to the attention of the House the performance of Quebec and Canadian athletes at the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Athens.

To participate in competitions at this level, athletes must train hard over a long period of time. Despite the lack of financial and technical support to help them prepare and train, these athletes persevered and constantly pushed their limits. The results they achieved are therefore all the more impressive.

On behalf of my fellow hon. members, I congratulate and thank these women and men who are models of courage and commitment for everyone.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Athens Games
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LIB

Robert Thibault

Liberal

Hon. Robert Thibault (West Nova, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I know it would sadden this House to learn that a home fire kills one person every day in Canada. I would like to inform the House that this year Fire Prevention Week takes place from October 3 to 9.

This year's theme reminds us to test our smoke alarms. If properly powered and tested regularly, smoke alarms can save lives. These efforts can minimize the suffering and loss that can affect not only our citizens, but our brave firefighters and their families.

On a more positive note, I was pleased on the weekend to bring greetings from all members of the House to two volunteers of the Yarmouth Fire Department, Mr. John Murphy and Mr. Robert Reid, who each celebrated 50 years of service in volunteer firefighting in rural Nova Scotia.

I wish to congratulate, and thank them and their families for a lifetime of sacrifice.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Fire Prevention Week
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CPC

Diane Ablonczy

Conservative

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the promised Liberal appointments process turned out to be just a ghost.

The revenue minister quickly broke the shiny new guidelines that were supposed to stop Liberal cronyism. Why? To appoint his crony, Gordon Feeney, as chairman of Canada Post. Then the minister tried to make Canadians believe he had acted “in the spirit of the guidelines”.

So welcome to the Liberal spirit world, a world where former cabinet ministers like André Ouellet can claim millions from taxpayers with phantom receipts; a place where the sponsorship scandal casts its dark spell; and a place where shady dealings haunt the corridors of Liberal government.

Those who wonder how much to trust yesterday's throne speech promises should pay close attention to the chilling tale of the revenue minister, his good buddy Gordon Feeney, and the case of the disappearing guidelines.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canada Post
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LIB

Marcel Proulx

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the constituents of the riding of Hull—Aylmer for electing me. I wish to reiterate to them my commitment to represent them to the best of my ability and to continue to actively protect their best interests.

I intend to pay more particular attention to certain issues. One such issue is that of employment, in order to ensure that 25% of the federal jobs in the national capital region are in the Outaouais, and another is the public servants disclosure protection act.

Access to better social programs for our seniors and the establishment of social policies for the young and the poor are priority issues to which I will pay particular attention.

I will also strive to ensure that the McConnell-Laramée highway is completed and promote the building of a bridge between Aylmer and Kanata.

It is a privilege and an honour to represent the constituents of Hull--Aylmer, and I thank them for their confidence.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Riding of Hull—Aylmer
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NDP

Jean Crowder

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank the people of my riding of Nanaimo--Cowichan for their confidence in electing me to be their member of Parliament.

I rise today to congratulate our leader, the member for Toronto--Danforth, and the members of the NDP women's caucus for insisting that the House establish the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. It is appropriate that this committee will get started during women's history month.

As the recent federal report on pay equity in the public service proved, we still have a long way to go. It is time to recognize that despite the great strides that women have made with respect to their qualifications and experience, women still earn less than men.

Women make up over half the population of this country and finally we will have a committee to address the issues on our behalf. I look forward to being a part of it.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Status of Women
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CPC

Belinda Stronach

Conservative

Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, my first time addressing this distinguished House, on behalf of the remarkable people of Newmarket and Aurora.

Yesterday we learned the broad lines of the Liberals' priorities. The language sounded so familiar and it paled when compared to what has actually been done over the past 10 years.

I am looking ahead now to the allocation of adequate resources and strategic planning. When the spending estimates are presented soon, then Canadians can judge whether the grand words of the throne speech are real or not.

Trade is not about abstract numbers, but rather about quality of life. It is our lifeblood. The throne speech yesterday described the status quo and the status quo is not good enough. Border delays are still a major problem, exports are falling, and Canada's productivity is judged mediocre.

There is no indication that trade will be given the resources it needs from the government. It then ceases to be a priority and the country will pay the price.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Trade
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BQ

Nicole Demers

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in anticipation of the Speech from the Throne, the Bloc Quebecois had come up with five priorities involving employment insurance, the fiscal imbalance, health, the missile defence shield, agricultural supply management, parental leave and child care.

The message sent by Canadians and Quebeckers was ignored right from the first day. Liberal arrogance and thoughtlessness are back in full force, and every Bloc recommendation has been ignored.

In case the Liberals have already forgotten that they are in a minority position, they can count on the Bloc to remind them. With such a scornful attitude to Quebec's demands, the Prime Minister might have been calling an election next week, which he would otherwise not have done.

Unless he makes some adjustments soon, he may be in for a rude awakening.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Speech from the Throne
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Nepean—Carleton, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, since taking office the Prime Minister has engaged in a smorgasbord of patronage that is so impressive it would make even his predecessor blush.

Gun registry bungler Allan Rock becomes UN ambassador; ivory tower Liberals Sophia Leung, Sarkis Assadourian and Yvon Charbonneau get cushy vacations as foreign advisors and ambassadors; Liberal yes man, John Harvard, hit the jackpot as Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. The revenue minister personally appointed his banking buddy, Gordon Feeney, as the chairman of the ad scam plagued Canada Post.

Why is the Prime Minister turning back on his promise to do politics differently? He promised to condemn to history the practice and politics of cronyism. If this new king of cronyism will not stop the Liberal bonanza, the only thing Canadians will condemn to history is his government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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LIB

Yasmin Ratansi

Liberal

Ms. Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, health care is a key commitment that was outlined in yesterday's Speech from the Throne.

For a long time Canadians have been telling their governments to stop arguing about funding and to get down to the business of fixing the current state of our national health care system. All Canadians therefore welcome the work of the Prime Minister, the provincial premiers, and the territorial leaders to agree on the 10 year plan to strengthen health care.

The plan holds all governments to account by setting clear targets to achieve meaningful reform. It will ensure better access to key tests and treatments, reduce waiting times for critical services, and increase the number of doctors and nurses and other health care professionals, including faster assessment and integration of those trained overseas.

As a newly elected member of the House, I look forward to working with my colleagues from all parties to ensure that Canadians receive the benefits of a strengthened and revitalized health care system.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Health Care
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LIB

Roy Cullen

Liberal

Hon. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay respect to a dear friend, the late Nidhan Singh Banwait.

Sadly, on the morning of July 16, 2004, Mr. Banwait was taken from his family and friends when he succumbed to an illness. My condolences and sympathies go out to his wife, Malkiat Kaur and his sons, Kiran Singh Parkash and Kamal Singh Parkhash. All of Etobicoke North feels this loss.

Nidhan Singh Banwait was a selfless person who always put others ahead of himself. In the early 1980s he formed the South Asian Seniors Association. He was that organization's president and guiding light. Nidhan Singh Banwait also served the community as a director of the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ontario Council of Senior Citizens Organizations and Panorama India Canada.

He was the first in his community to receive the Caring Canadian Award from the Governor General of Canada. Nidhan was a leader and a great Canadian who bettered the lives of those around him. He will be truly missed.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Nidhan Singh Banwait
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for all members of the House when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with the crew of the HMCS Chicoutimi and their families. There are apparently nine injured crewmen and the crew remains stranded in the north Atlantic. Contrary to the defence minister's claims yesterday, weather conditions there are not good and the fire apparently was more severe than first announced.

Could the Prime Minister properly update us on the condition of the ship and crew and on when we can expect them to be returned safely?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to the Leader of the Opposition for asking the question and for his expression of regret. I know he speaks for this side of the House, as well as all us in the House.

I spoke to Commodore Pile this morning. It is difficult to maintain radio contact with the sub but he has assured me that in terms of heat and food, which at one point were in doubt, there is no problem. Medical personnel have now arrived on the ship and those who suffered smoke inhalation are being taken care of.

A British escort ship is alongside the Chicoutimi and as soon as the seas calm down it will be able to undertake the tow back to port.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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October 6, 2004