Mr. Bernard Valcourt (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State for Science and Technology):
Mr. Speaker, as the Member for Madawaska-Victoria, I welcome this opportunity to rise in support of the motion by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Crosbie) for second reading of Bill C-27, legislation aimed at amending certain federal Acts to bring them into line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, Mr. Speaker, although I have already had an opportunity, as Parliamentary Secretary, to take part in the adjournment debate, this is the first time in this House, that I have a chance to speak to my constituents, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to thank the people of Madawaska-Victoria for having given me the privilege of representing them here in Parliament, and also to describe briefly for my hon. colleagues the riding of Madawaska-Victoria.
My riding is located in the northwestern part of New Brunswick. To the west it borders on the Province of Quebec and to the south on the State of Maine, in the United States. My riding extends along the St. John River from the Quebec border to Perth, Andover, and has a population of about 57,000. Seventy-five per cent are Francophones and of French ethnic origin, while 25 per cent have English as their mother tongue. The federal riding of Madawaska-Victoria covers six provincial ridings, five of which are represented by provincial Members in the Government of the Hon. Richard Hatfield.
Mr. Speaker, following the example of some of my colleagues, I would like to explain to the Members of this House that Madawaska-Victoria is a very special riding, because the people belong to what we refer to as the legendary republic of Madawaska, and also because of those hardworking people in the Victoria, Tobique area.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents are mainly engaged in the agro-food business and forestry. I wish I could be as eloquent as some of my colleagues have been with respect to their own ridings, in describing Madawaska-Victoria as a region with warmhearted people, beautiful rivers and marvelous landscapes. However, the people of Madawaska-Victoria also have some major problems. The statistics are nothing to be particularly proud about, but I feel they reflect the legacy we received from the previous Government.
My riding's per capita income is lower than the provincial average, and need I add, Mr. Speaker, that the average per capita income in New Brunswick is much lower than the Canadian average. The unemployment rate in my riding is
March 27, 1985
Statute Law Amendment Act
very high, in fact it is higher than the provincial and national average.
We hope this situation, which has existed for a long time in Madawaska-Victoria, is going to change, and we are confident that by electing this Government on September 4 we are now on the right track.
The people of Madawaska-Victoria have traditionally supported the Official Opposition in federal elections, and they have seen what good this has done them. Mr. Speaker, that is the context in which should be considered my election on September 4 and for which I am truly grateful to my constituents in Madawaska-Victoria. They gave a massive support to the Progressive Conservative Party at the last election and gave their confidence to a team led by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney). During my mandate and during this Parliament, I really intend to prove worthy of their confidence by discharging my responsibilities as best I can.
Mr. Speaker, after being in power for almost seven months, even if we are young and inexperienced members, we follow the proceedings in the House and we are tempted to make some comments ... I listened carefully to the comments made by the Hon. Member for York South-Weston (Mr. Nunziata) a while ago in reply to the speech made by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Crosbie). I also heard the criticisms of my colleague, the Hon. Member for Burnaby (Mr. Robinson). Certain things were brought out in the speech made by the spokesman of the official opposition.
It is clear from their speeches since September 4 that they are frustrated after being decimated throughout the country, but when I see in this House the logic and rhetoric of the Liberal Party, I am grateful that my electors had enough wisdom to elect a member of the Progressive Conservative party. I thank the Canadian people for having elected a government which has avoided the Liberal Party rhetoric.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: STATUTE LAW (CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS) AMENDMENT ACT MEASURE TO AMEND