Sarmite D. BULTE

BULTE, The Hon. Sarmite D., P.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 27, 1953

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
  Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
  Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
  Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister responsible for the Status of Women (July 20, 2004 - February 5, 2006)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (July 20, 2004 - February 5, 2006)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, with special emphasis on Women Entrepreneurs (October 19, 2005 - February 5, 2006)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for the Status of Women (October 19, 2005 - February 5, 2006)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 112)

November 3, 2005

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women and Minister responsible for Industry (Women Entrepreneurs), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House the report from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the 51st Commonwealth parliamentary conference that was held in Nadi, Fiji, from September 1 to September 10.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Interparliamentary Delegations
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October 20, 2005

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have this opportunity to remind the House of Commons that our crown corporations serve an important role and act with the interests of Canadians in mind.

As public institutions, crown corporations strengthen the economic, social and cultural fabric of Canada. I would also like to remind the member opposite that it was this government that just this year launched the most comprehensive review of crown corporation governance in the last 20 years. The review went far beyond addressing the issues raised by the Auditor General. Since then the government has made significant progress toward implementing the 31 measures announced in the governance review.

In fact, seven of the measures are now completed and the rest are well advanced. For example, the Auditor General is now the external auditor for all crown corporations. An additional 10 crown corporations now fall under the Access to Information Act. This has strengthened the governance accountability and transparency of crown corporations and it will continue to do so until the review is fully implemented, which is anticipated by mid-2006.

As for the Royal Canadian Mint, it has already implemented at least 16 of the 31 measures identified in the crown corporation governance review. This past June the Office of the Auditor General conducted a mandatory five year review of the Mint's financial and management control and information systems, as well as management practices. The Auditor General concluded that based on the criteria established for the examination, there was reasonable assurance that there was no significant deficiencies in the systems and practices that she examined.

Furthermore, the Mint already has made progress on a number of other fronts, including the development of a charter to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the board. Work has begun on a framework so that partners distribute circulation coins and expanding the application of the lean enterprise methodology is ongoing.

All this has led to a quick turnaround in the Mint's fortunes. In 2004 the Mint turned a profit of $16 million before taxes and for the first time in a decade, the Mint issued a dividend of $1 million to its shareholder, the Government of Canada.

I also would like to mention to my hon. colleague that at the end of September the corporation posted its 23rd consecutive month of profit. In 2004 the Mint hired 198 new employees to support a substantial growth. Most of these jobs are based in Winnipeg.

I am also pleased to speak here today as it will give me an opportunity to address some erroneous information that has been put forward by the opposition.

Some of the recent allegations on the spending of the former president of the Royal Canadian Mint were falsely taken out of context. The majority of the reported expenses were not personal expenses but expenditures allocated to the cost centre of the office of the president. This needs to be recognized. The overall cost centre of the office of president for the year 2004 was $747,597, with 72% of that total being for salaries and benefits of four staff, including the president.

We anxiously await the independent review of the expenses of the office of the president of the Mint. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been engaged by the board to review all expenditures incurred by the Hon. David Dingwall during his tenure as president. We also are awaiting a review of the approval process of expenses by the former president and CEO. However, the facts cannot be denied that the Mint is a thriving crown corporation that has made a remarkable recovery in the past two and a half years, giving it a stellar reputation, both at home and abroad.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Firefighters
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October 20, 2005

Ms. Sarmite Bulte

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at my hon. colleague. Having listened to Mr. Dingwall's testimony yesterday and to the Minister of National Revenue who responded today, it was quite clear that Mr. Dingwall resigned for the sake of the Mint.

We have to remember that crown corporations are integral to the government's delivery of programs and services to Canadians, day in and day out. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that they be managed as effectively and efficiently as possible with the needs of Canadians in mind. That is why the President of the Treasury Board has taken such tremendous steps to ensure that crown corporations operate effectively, transparently and are accountable to the government and Canadian taxpayers.

I believe we are succeeding. We have made the appointment process for crown corporate presidents and CEOs more transparent. We have strengthened the audit regimes of our crowns. We have made 10 more crowns subject to the access to information.

We have seen the government take action on this file and our crown corporations today are stronger and more accountable than ever.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Firefighters
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October 20, 2005

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Canadian Library Week/Semaine nationale des bibliotheques which runs from October 17 to October 24, 2005.

Canadian Library Week highlights the many roles a library plays in our communities. Libraries offer services that promote literacy, access to information, innovation and productivity among our community members.

This year's theme is “Lifelong Libraries -- Discover Us”. It focuses on the lifelong contribution that libraries make to the everyday lives of community members. Libraries provide a broad range of information, regardless of one's age, religion, social status, race, gender or language. They also maintain the history and culture of our communities and our nation.

Libraries will be holding events across the country to raise awareness of the services they offer to the public. I stand today to encourage all my colleagues and all Canadians to discover their local library.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Library Week
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October 20, 2005

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to give support in principle to the motion proposed by the hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster to recognize all firefighters who have died in the line of duty in Canada.

To all of us, firefighters are indeed a symbol of noble self-sacrifice, courage and service to the community. Thousands of Canadians owe their lives, their limbs, their families, their homes, their businesses and livelihoods to the efforts of firefighters who have stepped in to save them.

I know that my family and I are personally greatly indebted to the Toronto firefighters who stepped in to save our home when it was set afire in May of this year.

Whenever and wherever there is a call for help, firefighters respond. They run toward situations most of us instinctively run away from. In their efforts to help, sometimes firefighters are injured and sometimes they make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

It is time for this country to recognize these great individuals who gave their lives. There should be no objection to formalizing this recognition in terms of reserving space in a prominent location in the national capital for a memorial to fallen firefighters.

In fact, I am happy to note that this step has already taken place. The National Capital Commission has already reserved a location at LeBreton Flats, close to the new Canadian War Museum, for the placement of this important new memorial.

This brings me to the one point in the motion on which the government must convey its reservations: the specified location of the memorial. The motion presently notes a location in the parliamentary precinct.

Public Works and Government Services Canada has developed a policy to carefully restrict commemorations on Parliament Hill to “groups and individuals of significance to our constitutional and parliamentary institutions”, in other words, nation builders and heads of state.

The area covered by this policy extends north of Wellington, from the Rideau Canal to Kent Street. These boundaries are defined in the Parliament of Canada Act of 1985 and subsequent amendments.

We need to recognize the sacrifice of firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. At the same time, for all the generations of Canadians to come, we need to leave some of the small precious space left in the parliamentary precinct to those groups and individuals, past, present and future, who must be recognized for their contributions to shaping the democratic foundations of our nation.

The National Capital Commission and the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation have agreed on a much more appropriate location outside the parliamentary precinct. LeBreton Flats, near the new Canadian War Museum, is indeed a high profile location which will be highly visible to and easily visited by all Canadians and other visitors.

Furthermore, in the LeBreton Flats location, there will be fewer restrictions on the size of the monument, what type of materials can be used and what style the monument must reflect than there would be if it were located on Parliament Hill.

The website of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation itself advocates the LeBreton Flats location, stating:

The space is large enough and will have an infrastructure which can accommodate large groups for both the annual memorial ceremony as well as any major event which could draw many thousands of firefighters and citizens.

The foundation states further:

The site is historic in that it lies on the ground involved in the great Hull-Ottawa fire of 1900.

The website goes on to extol some of the other advantages of the LeBreton Flats site with regard to space, future development and security restrictions other than Parliament Hill, but erroneously states that the LeBreton Flats site lies within the parliamentary precinct.

The confusion over whether or not LeBreton Flats lies in the parliamentary precinct aside, there should be no disagreement over the appropriateness of a monument to fallen firefighters being placed in the national capital.

Across this country every day, firefighters are called upon to teach fire safety and fire prevention, to check out false alarms, to pull accident victims out of their vehicles, and to put out fires, big and small, in homes and businesses, fields and forests. Every day they show up for work knowing that they may be called upon to put themselves in situations where, in spite of their training and in spite of their protective equipment, they are at risk. Most of them, most of the time, go home to their families at the end of their shifts.

As the stories of the fallen show, however, sometimes these quiet heroes do not get to return to their families. Volunteer firefighter William Thornton was killed by a piece of falling stonework at a fire in Toronto in 1848. Vancouver's Captain Richard Frost, Lieutenant Colin McKenzie and firefighters Otis Fulton and Donald Anderson were killed when a streetcar struck their fire truck as they responded to an alarm in 1918. Alex Davidson and Paddy Moore of Flying Fireman Ltd. were killed when their water bomber crashed on Mount Finlayson north of Victoria in 1967. Firefighter Kevin Brent Olson and Lieutenant Cyril R. Fyfe were killed when a roof collapsed during a fire in Yellowknife, just three months ago. The Canadian firefighters memorial will honour all those who have paid the ultimate price in serving their communities.

It is wonderful to know that in spite of the danger, there are thousands of Canadian men and women who remain committed to serving their communities as firefighters. It is terrible to contemplate that as long as there is a need for firefighters, there will continue to be dangers and the list of the fallen will likely grow.

Let us not compound these tragedies by forgetting them. The proposed memorial for Canadian firefighters will honour these brave souls. It will help all Canadians to remember the vital work of all firefighters, past, present and future.

I hope that the House will give unanimous consent to support in principle the creation of a monument to Canadian firefighters in the national capital region.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Firefighters
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