Mac HARB

HARB, The Hon. Mac, B.Eng., M.Eng.

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Ottawa Centre (Ontario)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Ottawa Centre (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade (December 6, 1993 - February 22, 1996)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Ottawa Centre (Ontario)
November 27, 2000 - September 8, 2003
LIB
  Ottawa Centre (Ontario)
May 10, 2013 - September 8, 2003
IND
  Ottawa Centre (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 253)


March 28, 2003

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that March is Red Cross Month in Canada.

The Canadian Red Cross Society is a volunteer based humanitarian organization dedicated to preventing human suffering across Canada and around the world.

When disaster strikes, it is the quick response of the Red Cross that lessens the hardship suffered by survivors. In Canada alone there are approximately 65,000 Red Cross volunteers who provide for people's basic needs following a disaster, including food, clothing, shelter and first aid.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize this organization and urge all members to support the Canadian Red Cross Society. I urge all Canadians to volunteer their time and to financially support the Red Cross programs.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Red Cross Society
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March 28, 2003

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, yesterday the hon. member at around 5:25 p.m. raised a question and did not have a chance to get an answer to it in response to a statement that I made indicating that 70% of our revenues went toward paying the interest on the deficit. The reality is 30% of the revenues go toward paying the interest on the deficit. He was quite right and I wanted to tell him that.

Having said all that, being an engineer, like all engineers around the world, I always have a tendency to go right to the point and I have done that. I wanted to just point it out for the record.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2003
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March 28, 2003

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, every three minutes a car is being stolen in Canada. In fact, in my own community here in Ottawa, in one year alone over 4,000 cars were stolen.

What is the minister doing to ensure that these cars will not continue to be stolen from Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auto Theft
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March 27, 2003

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to this extremely important bill. It is historic in the sense that it could be the last budget over which the Prime Minister of Canada will preside. As such, I want to tell all Canadians how fortunate we are to have a Prime Minister who has done what no other Prime Minister in the history of Canada has done in the period of time that he has presided over government affairs.

The budget would not have taken place if it had not been for the team effort of all the cabinet ministers collectively, as well as the excellent work of the administrations in the Department of Finance and in every other department across government. It also would not have taken place if it had not been for the total co-operation and support of the public across the country.

As my colleague from Etobicoke North stated a little earlier, we went through a very difficult time 10 years ago when we formed the government. The affairs of government were such that the vast majority of our revenues went to pay down the deficit and the debt to keep our house in order. We were in a situation where 70% of our revenues went to pay the deficit, which was quite unfortunate.

The government had to take some drastic measures to deal with that issue. As a result, a number of cuts took place. Nevertheless, we are in positive territory now. For the past few years the government has been able to turn a surplus. In fact, we have reduced the national debt by close to $45 billion.

I am quite happy with the budget for a lot of reasons. It not only addresses the sins of the past and past governments, but it also builds on and invests in the future.

A little earlier my colleague from the Canadian Alliance spoke about the CPP. That is one case in point where previous governments did not have the guts to stand up and take note of the fact that our pension plan was in deep trouble and that something needed to take place if we were to have the money in place for people, baby boomers today and young children in the future, to support their retirement.

The government, yes, through an increase in contributions, addressed that issue and managed it in such a way that we now have one of the most solid funds internationally in terms of pension funds for our people. That was a strong measure the government took in order to address the issue.

Another very important issue for which many of my colleagues may not be aware is that this government, for the first time ever in the history of Canada, introduced what perhaps no other government has introduced in terms of a system of management of government affairs, and that is the financial information system, for which I think we should all take note. For the first time ever we can easily access information from any government department. All we have to do is key in a program, key in some of the required information and we will be able to access it.

As a result of the tremendous work by Treasury Board, the persistence and tremendous amount of work by the Auditor General, as well as the administration of the government as a whole, we were able to introduce a management system that will improve not only the administration of government programs but also accountability and transparency.

As a result of that, the government, under the leadership of this Prime Minister, was able to address an issue that is very dear to Canadians, the issue of accountability and proper administration of government affairs.

There is a third thing that is worth taking note. For the first time in a long time there is an administration of transfer payments to the provinces in the area of health care. I wish my colleague had said it would have been extended to also include education. For the first time we can demand that our provincial governments be accountable for the amount of money given to them by the federal government in the area of health care.

As was stated earlier, the provinces can no longer take money that is dedicated for health care and spend it on roads, bridges or other things. The government has given the provinces the ability to plan ahead. Over and over again the provinces and territories have complained about the fact that we did not have in place a proper budgeting plan that would allow them to plan three or five years ahead. The government has now put a plan in place that will allow them to do this. We gave them the money. They know what will be coming down the pipes three or five years down the road. That was an extremely important measure. It is my hope that we will move into other areas such as post-secondary education and do exactly the same thing.

One issue which the Minister of Finance has spoken about and which the government has shown tremendous leadership and commitment to is investment in the area of infrastructure. Members know that for every dollar the government puts into the area of infrastructure, it generates $3 of investment in total. That is because the provincial government as well as municipalities are putting in matching funds. That money is going toward building bridges, roads and institutions in our communities. To that extent, it would also go toward creating jobs and generate economic activities in the country.

I am counting on the Minister of Finance to come through and make some federal commitments in the national capital region, particularly light rail and the Congress Centre which is a very important facility in our region. I know we will see some positive response from the government.

There are other important elements, such as investment in the lives of our children, families on low and middle incomes, cost reductions in terms of the government asking all departments to come up with close to $1 billion in savings, and the list goes on.

The government has been extremely creative in the area of housing. Previously, we put federal money into the area of housing for homeless people or individuals who needed housing, but it was conditional upon provincial governments and municipalities matching the funds. Now the federal government has come up with a creative way of cutting through the nonsense and bureaucracies. If an organization in my community or in any community has a creative proposal that addresses the issue of homelessness, it can apply for matching funds from the federal government. To that extent, we are taking the government back to the people.

Another issue that is very dear to the hearts of my constituents is primary health care. As part of the package that was signed off by the provincial ministers of health, there is one important thing for many constituents in my riding and that is primary health care. We will be able to see a cohesive plan in the area of health care. Now I can walk to a health facility in my riding and ask for a consult, nursing support or doctor's advice and assistance. I can get all of that under one roof.

That is another clear indication that the system works. The government has done a marvellous job on the budget, as on all of the previous budgets. I will be supporting the bill and I call on my colleagues to do the same.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2003
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March 26, 2003

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, it gives me great pleasure and pride to announce Carleton University's recent athletic achievements.

Within the past week, the Carleton University women's ski team won its first national title, the men's ski team won its second national title, and the men's basketball team won the university's first Canadian interuniversity sports national title in 60 years of competition.

These achievements mark a great success not only for the teams' players and fans, but also for Carleton University's administration's strategy for excellence.

I am very proud of Carleton University's achievements. I invite my colleagues to join me in congratulating the athletes on a job very well done.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Sports
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