Sarmite D. BULTE

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

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 27, 1953
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmite_Bulte
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=476c3953-0211-47f5-9f19-152383e70835&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Parkdale--High Park (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  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 5 of 112)


May 17, 2005

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about some of the measures contained in budget 2005.

As the Minister of Finance pointed out in his speech introducing the budget, Canada will record its eighth consecutive surplus in 2004-05, a record unmatched since Confederation. Indeed, Canada will be the only G-7 country to post a total government surplus in that year. Canada's much improved fiscal situation has allowed the government to make significant investments in our country's future.

In this year's budget, we committed substantial new funding for health care, seniors, child care, our cities and communities, the environment, while at the same time providing tax reductions and laying the groundwork for future progress.

I will focus my remarks today on the initiatives in the budget that build on our social foundations, especially the importance of the arts and culture in our society, because this sector is one which allows our country to define us as Canadians.

It should also be noted that the arts and culture form part of the government cities and communities agenda. In fact, the arts and culture are the essence of our cities and communities and they are integral to the safety, vitality and economic prosperity of our cities and communities.

I represent the riding of Parkdale—High Park in Toronto which is home to many of Canada's artists and creators. Indeed, the city of Toronto bears testament for my thesis of the role played by the arts in our cities.

In February of this year, thanks to the advocacy of the greater Toronto area Liberal caucus in supporting the city of Toronto's application, Toronto was named one of the culture capitals of Canada. The culture capital announcement specifically recognized Toronto's ongoing and long term commitment to the arts and cultural sector.

Toronto is a cultural city that truly reflects culture and creativity and showcases the work of professional and local artists of all ages from diverse backgrounds and cultures to successfully blend traditional art forms with the newest technologies.

The influence of the arts is integral to the health and vitality of our cities. Let us not forget that when the Prime Minister became leader the first thing he announced was that the cities agenda would be the government's top priority. He reconfirmed this in the Speech from the Throne where we provided for a GST rebate to municipalities. He went further than that and kept another of his promises to ensure that cities and communities would start sharing part of the gas tax.

Budget 2005 also confirmed the government's commitment for art and culture by stabilizing funding for arts and cultural programs in the amount of $860 million over the next five years. It is the single most important investment by the Government of Canada in arts and culture ever. This investment will ensure that more Canadian artists and creators are able to display their work to audiences at home and abroad.

Specifically, for those people who may have forgotten what is in the budget, budget 2005 committed the following: $5 million per year over five years to enhance the multiculturalism program; $10 million per year over five years to the celebrate the Canada program for community based events and activities that offer Canadians the opportunity to share their pride in our country; $56 million over the next five years for the implementation of a Canada for all Canadians action plan against racism; $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives to highlight the contribution that ethnocultural groups have made to Canadian society and to help build a better understanding among all Canadians; and one of my favourites, $60 million to CBC Radio-Canada in 2005-06 to help ensure high quality programming; $5 million for the aboriginal languages initiative; and $45 million in 2005-06 for the centre for research and information on Canada.

I want to underline that the CBC will receive $60 million for 2005-06 for Canadian programming. I can assure members that we will continue to press for additional funding for the nation's public broadcaster so that it can continue to provide quality programs in all parts of the country.

I am also delighted to announce that the CBC's budget will not be reduced as a result of the government-wide expenditure review allocation exercise.

At this time I would like to remind Canadians that when we started this Parliament the Prime Minister announced that he wanted all departments to look for ways to become more effective and to look at what we could do to reduce expenditures.

Well, we looked and we found a $12 billion saving, which was headed by the Minister of Revenue, to ensure we were more efficient and more accountable to Canadians. I am also pleased to say that in light of this government's commitment to the arts and culture and how integral it is to our communities, not one heritage portfolio was subject to expenditure review. That is a testament to this government's commitment to the arts and culture and to our communities.

One of the biggest programs, as I said, is the renewal of Tomorrow Starts Today, a renewal advocated by arts organizations across Canada and with a new ally I might add, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, because it, too, understands the important role that the arts and culture play in our communities and cities.

Let me just go through what those initiatives under Tomorrow Starts Today are and what would be lost if this budget does not pass.

First, we have the cultural capitals of Canada program that recognizes the excellence of municipal work in supporting special activities that celebrate arts and culture and their integration into community planning.

We also have the cultural spaces Canada program. I will bet there is not one member in this House whose community has not benefited from this. This is a program that helps to improve the physical conditions that enable artistic creativity and innovation and helps ensure greater access to the arts and heritage by all Canadians.

The arts presentation Canada program is comprised of five components that aim to strengthen organizational effectiveness and to build capacity in arts and heritage organizations so that funding our arts is no longer seen as a black hole. We are ensuring their sustainability because they are important to our society and our economy.

The Canadian arts and heritage sustainability program is comprised of five components that aim to strengthen organizational effectiveness and to build capacity in arts and heritage organizations.

The national arts training contribution program supports Canadian organizations specializing in professional artistic training, such as the National Theatre School in Montreal and, one of my favourites, the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto.

An increase in parliamentary appropriations has allowed the Canada Council for the Arts to support new areas, to enhance grants and improve the international presence and national profile of Canadian artists. In 2007, the Canada Council for the Arts will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

A new initiative and a very innovative one called the Canadian cultural online initiative provides funding for programs that focus on making Canadian content, in both official languages, readily available on the Internet, contributing to a better understanding of Canada and its rich diversity. It has five sub-initiatives, which include the virtual Museum of Canada, the Canadian Cultural Observatory and the Aboriginal Canada Portal.

I would like to share with members that last Thursday night when I went back to my riding I attended the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art which received funding under this program. The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, through its Canadian art database, offers the opportunity to view the works of close to 500 Canadian artists. It is a great program and it is a great success.

Another initiative concerns the music industry which I think is very important because it is one of our greatest successes. We define ourselves through our artists.

We also have the renewal of the Canadian music fund, which FACTOR is part of. FACTOR is the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, which is a private non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to the growth and development of Canadian independent recording industries.

When this funding was threatened, FACTOR initiated the save Canadian music lobby. It was successful in the fact that it was renewed in the budget. At the Junos, Heather Ostertag, the president of FACTOR, stood and thanked the minister and the government for their acknowledgement of the importance that our Canadian musicians and songwriters play. I hope Heather's thanks were not in vain.

In an increasingly integrated North American and a global environment, artists, creators and cultural industries help Canadians make their voices heard and assert their perspectives on the world in which we live. I am glad to have been part of this government that will continue to ensure that our artists and creators are heard, not only in Canada but around the world.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act
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May 11, 2005

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of the passing of one of my constituents, Don Jennison. Don was a committed activist for many causes both in my riding in the city of Toronto and across the country.

I first met Don in his role as a founding member of world 19, a community group that grew out of the campaign against the rushed amalgamation of the city of Toronto. Throughout the years, I had several meetings with world 19 and Don was always one of its most committed and passionate spokespeople. His concerns covered a broad spectrum of issues, from neighbourhood development to maintaining a fully public health care system.

I always found Don to be a challenging, well-informed and dedicated advocate for the causes in which he believed. This concept of public service from a private citizen is commendable. In this sense Don Jennison serves as an exemplar of the public spiritedness to which we should all aspire.

I wish to offer my sincere condolences to Don's family, his friends and his community. His passing leaves many lives emptier and diminishes the quality of our public discourse.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Don Jennison
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May 6, 2005

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Polish-Canadian constituents in my riding of Parkdale—High Park, who on May 3 celebrated the Polish constitution of 1791, the oldest written constitution in Europe and the second oldest in the world. That event unites Polish communities throughout Canada and the world in their proud tradition of defending democracy and civil freedoms, not only in their home country but also in their adopted countries.

May 3 was a day to reflect upon and celebrate the heritage and ideals of humanitarianism, tolerance and democracy. The constitution of May 3, 1791 was the instrument that gave rise to parliamentary supremacy. It also gave Polish citizens new-found access to parliament. Constitution Day is a proud heritage for Canadians of Polish descent and a confirmation of the basic values and freedoms of our own society.

I am proud to offer my best wishes for this very memorable anniversary.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Constitution of Poland
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April 19, 2005

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the massacre of about 20,000 Polish officers, prisoners of war and civilians by the Soviet authorities in the forest of Katyn in the spring of 1940.

Last Sunday I participated in the annual commemorative ceremony at the Katyn Monument in my riding, together with members of the Polish Canadian Congress and veteran and youth organizations.

It took almost 50 years for Mikhail Gorbachev to admit that the massacre in the Katyn forest was the work of the Stalin regime. However, in March 2005, Russian authorities ended a decade-long investigation into the massacre, but declared that it was not a genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity. Consequently, on March 22 the Polish parliament unanimously passed an act requesting the Russian archives to be declassified and requesting Russia to classify the Katyn massacre as genocide.

To this day, the Katyn massacre remains an open chapter in the history of the Polish community in Canada and a stumbling block on the path of building international relationships, trust and transparency.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Poland
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April 18, 2005

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is known around the world as a nation that embraces fairness, equality and respect for diversity as the very basic building blocks of our society. Those versed in Canadian history understand that this national strength is not an accident. It is a product of the deliberate collaborative work of the many Canadians who came before us. Our aboriginal, English and French ancestors laid the foundation of a diverse society. These roots have deepened with the arrival of generations of immigrants from around the world.

Our small population and vast geography dictated deliberate nation-building activities such as our pan-Canadian rail link. Our linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity necessitated a value system based on tolerance and understanding, ultimately giving birth to our first Citizenship Act, the Multiculturalism Act, the Official Languages Act and our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Just yesterday, April 17, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As members know, section 15 guarantees equality before and under the law and equal protection in the benefits of the law without freedom from discrimination because of race, ethnic or national origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. In the 20 years since its enactment, the very notion of equality before the law has become entrenched in our Canadian psyche.

The 20th anniversary of its entry into force is the perfect opportunity for all Canadians to stop and reflect on how far we have come as a nation, how far we have come since the dark days in our history when racism and discrimination dominated our society and how much we have achieved in building the legal framework that safeguards the values we hold so dear today.

The Government of Canada understands the strong feelings underlying requests for redress for Chinese Canadians. They risked their lives to help build Canada's railroad in the 1880s. More than 15,000 Chinese came to build the most dangerous and difficult section of the Canadian Pacific Railway. As soon as their work was done, however, Canadians wanted them gone. It was the beginning of a difficult chapter in history for Chinese immigrants to Canada.

Chinese immigrants to Canada came seeking an escape from the poverty and war at home. What they encountered here was prejudice, personal attacks and discrimination, but the Chinese in Canada persevered. Many chose to pay the head tax for the opportunity to have a better life in Canada. Many took on the most dangerous jobs in sawmills and fish canneries. Many bravely endured separation from family members they could not bring to Canada.

When some 600 men and women served in the military during World War II, Chinese Canadians contributed more manpower to the war effort than any other ethnic group. However, the community's contributions went well beyond providing manpower. In addition to Red Cross and other service work, the community is said to have contributed $10 million to the victory loan drive, more per capita than any other group in Canada.

Over the years, an incredible number of Chinese Canadian individuals have made extraordinary contributions to Canada: community leaders like Dr. Joseph Wong, who chaired the United Way and was bestowed the Order of Canada; artists like Chan Hon Goh or Xiao Nan Yu, who have distinguished themselves as ballerinas at the National Ballet of Canada; and champions like Jean Lumb, the first Chinese Canadian woman to receive the Order of Canada for her work on Chinese family reunification in Canada and her fight to save and revitalize Chinatown in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

There are also internationally recognized Chinese Canadian scientists like molecular geneticist Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, who helped discover the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Dr. Tak Wah Mak discovered the gene for the t-cell receptor, a major key to the working of the human body's immune system. Dr. Victor Ling is world-renowned for his discovery of the existence and mechanisms of drug-resistant chemotherapy. Sports stars like Norman Kwong, also known as the China Clipper, is a three times Sports Hall of Famer and Order of Canada recipient who helped the Edmonton Eskimos win six Grey Cups.

Clearly, Chinese Canadians are making important contributions to every aspect of Canadian life, in arts and culture, in science and medicine, in business and education and the professions, and I might also add, in politics. Our own hon. member and Minister of State for Multiculturalism, Raymond Chan, is a Chinese Canadian.

The Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, came to Canada as a Hong Kong refugee during the second world war, rose to international recognition as a Canadian journalist and then became the first Chinese Canadian Governor General of Canada in 1999.

One thing is very clear, Chinese Canadians have more than earned their place in Canadian history and society.

Canada's treatment of Chinese Canadians is one of those chapters in Canadian history that does not make us proud. However, we can be proud of the progress we have made since those days. We can and we must learn from our history.

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions made by various ethnoracial and ethnocultural groups, including the Chinese.

Already the Department of Canadian Heritage and cultural agencies in the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure that the story of the Chinese in Canada is known to all Canadians.

Canada's public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada, for example, offers a comprehensive look at the history and experience of Chinese Canadians in their online archives at cbc.ca.

The Royal Canadian Mint has struck a two coin set to commemorate the completion of the transcontinental track and to honour the significant contribution of Chinese workers.

Canada Post produced new stamps, commemorative coins and even a chequebook designed with Feng Shui elements in honour of the more than one million Chinese Canadians who were celebrating the 2004 year of the monkey.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, on the advice of Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, has designated two national historic sites and one national historic event to commemorate achievements directly related to the Chinese Canadian community. One of the sites is at Yale, British Columbia and commemorates the role of the Chinese construction workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

For more than 30 years, the Canadian Museum of Civilization has supported a full curatorial program on East Asian Canadians, including research, collecting and program development.

One of the opening exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1989 was “Beyond the Golden Mountain: the Chinese in Canada”, at the time the most comprehensive museum exhibit on the Chinese Canadian experience ever mounted.

The multiculturalism program also has funded numerous research programs on the Chinese Canadian experience. In television and film, the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Department of Canadian Heritage have funded various films and television series which celebrate the history, heritage and contribution of the Chinese Canadian community. This is just the beginning.

In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government pledged its objectives “in a manner that recognizes Canada's diversity as a source of strength and innovation”. We also pledged “to be a steadfast advocate of inclusion” and “to demand equality of opportunity so that prosperity can be shared by all Canadians”.

In line with these commitments, the government is now advancing a number of multicultural and anti-racism initiatives designed to cultivate an even more equitable and inclusive society.

In our 2005 budget we have provided $5 billion per year to the multiculturalism program to enhance its contributions to equality for all. In want to point out one thing as my time is running out. Budget 2005 also provides $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives that will highlight the contributions that the Chinese and other ethnocultural groups have made to Canadian society and it will help build a better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of Canadian diversity.

With this funding, the government is responding to demands from the community in a new way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue. We as a government are looking to the future of all Canadians.

Bill C-333 in its current form asks Parliament to apologize for actions taken by a previous government and to provide redress, but we have to move forward and control the future to ensure that the past never happens again.

To conclude, while the bill may not be perfect in its present form, and no bill is, I would ask all members to support second reading of this bill.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Chinese Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act
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