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12363

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

WINNIPEG CITY COUNCIL

Mr. Gar Knutson (Elgin-Norfolk, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Winnipeg city council for its initiative in keeping 1,500 obsolete police revolvers from finding their way back on to the streets.

The city council was offered $115 per gun as a trade in allowance. However, this forward thinking municipal council chose to melt down these weapons because the manufacturer was to resell them to an American arm's dealer. One can only imagine how many of these would fall into the hands of irresponsible gun owners and how many tragedies would follow.

Because of the actions of this council I am convinced lives have been spared. Those who contribute $115 to Winnipeg's retire a gun scheme to help offset the lost revenue should also be commended.

This is an option that Canadians should be encouraging other municipalities to choose. Congratulations, Winnipeg.

* * *

[Translation]

CHECHNYA

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Charlevoix, BQ): Mr. Speaker, as a tribute to the people of Russia and the former USSR, who suffered over half of the human casualties of the second world war, the Prime Minister is participating today in Russia's last round of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Nazis' capitulation.

Moscow has stated that it intends to pursue its military offensive in Chechnya as soon as the celebrations are over.

Instead of treating the Russian authorities with complacency, we hope that the Prime Minister will have the courage to publicly state Canada's opposition to this war and to vigorously protest the massacre of Chechens.

We hope that the Prime Minister will use some other means to get his message across than what he used in China, which was to discretely whisper it in the ear of his counterpart.

[English]

TREASURY BOARD

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the deliberations of the government operations committee on contracting out have been hampered because annual contracting activity reports have not been approved for release by Treasury Board.

For two years Treasury Board has held up these reports even though they are required by Treasury Board's own guidelines. Responding to a question in the House, the minister promised these reports by the end of April. Now it is mid-May and the committee is still in the dark with no way of knowing the year to year status of government-wide contracting activities.

What will the report show about contracting out? What does the government have to hide? Where are these reports?

There are enough members of Treasury Board on Parliament Hill right here, right now to hold a short meeting and approve the release for these two documents. I call on the President of the Treasury Board to fulfill his promise by approving the annual contracting activity reports for release today, not as soon as possible, do it now.

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MANITOBA

Mr. Rey D. Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, May 12, 1870 marked the entry of Manitoba into Canadian Confederation which we celebrate this week.

Canada and Manitoba have since this union strengthened each other in politics, culture and social and economic prosperity.

We are known for our 100,000 lakes as much as we are known for the multicultural richness of our people, a microcosm of Canada. I am a proud Canadian; I am a proud Manitoban. It has been my privilege to call it home for the past 27 years. Our four sons have known no other home.

Many Manitobans have excelled in various fields of human endeavour in the history of our nation, including a former governor general and a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Manitoba prides itself in being a member of the Canadian family. Please join me in wishing my home province a happy 125th birthday. Welcome to Manitoba.

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NATIONAL NURSES WEEK

Mr. John Murphy (Annapolis Valley-Hants, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am wearing a pin to honour Canada's 263,000 registered nurses during this, National Nurses Week. This year's


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theme, ``Your Families' Health-Nurses Make the Difference'', will allow us to focus on the valuable contribution nurses make to the overall health of Canadians.

Nurses play a vital role in providing care and support for families while assisting them in making meaningful choices during challenging times. As well, nurses provide information and assistance in health promotion, illness prevention and during periods of illness and recovery.

I have spent 30 years in the public health field. I know firsthand the important role nurses play. I am therefore honoured to rise today to offer my thanks to all those individuals who chose nursing as a career. Through their efforts they truly make a positive impact on the health of Canadians.

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V-E DAY

Mr. Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, 50 years have passed since the allied victory in Europe. That victory was, as we know by our cost, hard fought and dearly paid for. Canadians, united in the struggle for a better world, fought shoulder to shoulder with their brothers in arms to bring freedom and peace to Europe, almost broken on the wheel of war.

In my constituency of Huron-Bruce we have a strong Dutch community. Its people are proud to be Canadian and their energetic contribution to our community is a continuing and valued one.

They say, as we must echo, those years of horror must never be allowed to return. I know I speak for all of us when I say we must never forget what price was paid for freedom 50 years ago. In remembrance and in gratitude to those who gave all that was theirs to give, let us dedicate ourselves to working toward a better world for ourselves and those who follow us so that the sacrifice of those who have gone before may not have been in vain.

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[Translation]

MINISTER OF LABOUR

Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé, BQ): Mr. Speaker, desperately in need of francophone spokespersons for federalism in Quebec, the federal Liberals recruited a former minister from the Bourassa and Johnson governments.

Not even six months after her recruitment, the Minister of Labour has already done a brilliant job of assimilating the credo of the proponents of very centralized, orthodox federalism.

Yesterday, she abandoned Quebec's minimum demand, recognition as a distinct society. In the same breath, she forgot all of the years she spent defending the five minimum conditions set in Meech, promoting the Allaire report and fighting the federal government's infringement on areas of provincial jurisdiction as a member of the Liberal Party in Quebec.

(1405)

It is regrettable that the Minister of Labour's political ambitions have made her betray the convictions she had up until her arrival in Ottawa.

* * *

[English]

JOHN BLACK AIRD

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, Ontario and indeed all of Canada has lost a distinguished and dedicated Canadian with the passing of John Black Aird.

Mr. Aird served his country extremely well in several ways over a number of years. During the war he served as a lieutenant in the Canadian navy. After serving in the Senate for 10 years, from 1964 to 1974, he served as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1980 to 1985. In both of these positions he gained the respect and admiration of all those he worked with.

His caring and concern for Canadians was vividly demonstrated when as lieutenant governor he devoted much of his time to helping the disabled.

John Black Aird served his country well; a fine role model to all who hold public office. Canada has lost a statesman and we share this loss with his family.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

* * *

MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT PENSIONS

Mr. John Solomon (Regina-Lumsden, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I offer my congratulations to the Saskatchewan NDP government for its initiative on capping MLA pensions and abolishing the premier's pension bonus.

The Saskatchewan NDP has set an example for the Liberal government to follow. I challenge the Liberals to abolish the special bonus pension for the Prime Minister which totals $50,000.

The Saskatchewan NDP has proven its commitment to fiscal responsibility and fairness with a money purchase pension plan for MLAs that has been in place for 16 years.

Unfortunately the Liberal government did the absolute minimum in addressing the concerns of Canadians with respect to MP pensions. The government did just enough to make the pension issue go away. However, it is an improvement over the Reform Party idea of doubling MP salaries.

Unlike the Reform Party, New Democrats have respected the concerns of taxpayers by keeping both salaries and pensions in check. This is an issue on which the Reformers and Liberals


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come together in their race to the trough. They are taking different routes but end up in the same place.

* * *

CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I offer sincere congratulations to the CBC on its coverage of the Victory in Europe celebrations.

I am sure members from both sides of the House will join me in praising the CBC for its reporting of these important events, including eight hours of broadcasting on the main television service during prime time.

[Translation]

I would like to congratulate the employees of the CBC for this coverage, which will benefit not only those who lived through those war time horrors, but also future generations who will want to remember the sacrifices their ancestors made.

[English]

I am confident all Canadians are proud of the men and women who contributed so courageously to that victory 50 years ago and also applaud the men and women who ensure those actions live in our memories.

We will not forget those men and women as well as their sacrifices due in part to the work of our national public broadcaster in bringing these once in a lifetime celebrations to the attention of our citizens.

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GRANDPARENTS

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville-Milton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last week when the House passed the motion by the member for Mission-Coquitlam, we together affirmed that we regard the opinions of grandparents regarding the welfare of their grandchildren as important. I hope we assign the same importance to their opinions when they speak on the issues of the day.

This morning a small group of grandparents gathered outside the Centre Block to express their views on gun control and Bill C-68. In costumes they sang humorous songs in support of gun registration which they see as an integral part of civic responsibility. It was the Ottawa chapter of the ``Raging Grannies'', a nationwide group of grandmothers advocating world peace. Its members see our legislation as a logical next step in their efforts to ensure a safer social environment for their grandchildren.

We all understand the special love and dedication grandparents have for their grandchildren. We recognized it last week. We would do well to heed their advice on all issues which affect the welfare of children.

(1410)

As a mother and grandmother I welcome and support the participation of the ``Raging Grannies''-

The Speaker: The hon. member for Niagara Falls.

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NIAGARA FALLS

Mr. Gary Pillitteri (Niagara Falls, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this weekend Niagara Falls celebrates the 36th anniversary of the blossom festival parade.

The tender fruit lands of Ontario delight us with the beauty of their blossoms. Its industry, which contributes to our economy, is also the source of 15,000 jobs.

A severe crisis is facing the industry. Its survival may well depend on the implementation of the strategic plan completed by the working group on December 19, 1994. Because of escalating labour costs, tariff cutbacks under the free trade agreement and the deregulation of the industry, growers are experiencing heavy ongoing losses.

Imports control prices so growers cannot recover cost increases from the market and the lands are frozen for agricultural purposes.

The recommendations contained in the revitalization plan may provide workable solutions to the problem.

* * *

[Translation]

MINISTER OF LABOUR

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Labour dismissed out of hand the modest constitutional demands of the president of the No camp in Quebec, Mr. Daniel Johnson.

When asked to comment on Mr. Johnson's remarks that some day, Canada would recognize Quebec's national identity, which in political terms would translate into new powers, the minister answered as follows: ``We will see what that means. This is very difficult. Do not ask me to comment. I do not even know what he is talking about''.

After criticizing the federal government's policies on education, health and manpower training, after urging the rest of Canada to recognize Quebec as a distinct society, the minister has now become the apostle of quiet resignation. Instead of representing Quebec in Ottawa, the Minister of Labour willingly echoes the federal position in Quebec.

* * *

[English]

WESTRAY MINE

Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to mark the third anniversary of the Westray mine disaster.


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The tragedy claimed the lives of 26 miners and plunged the community of Plymouth, Nova Scotia into a state of grief. Sadly in many ways the healing process will not begin until an ongoing public inquiry has done its work and miners' families have answers to the most basic questions-why?

As a guest in the riding of Central Nova last summer I was struck by the enormous sense of community and warmth among the people who had to bear this tragedy. The fact that hazards of mining are well recognized does not make the tragedy any easier to bear.

It follows that today our sympathy should be with the miners' families and the community as they commemorate those who died. We should also recognize the courage of not only those who labour far beneath the earth's surface but of those who risked their lives in an effort to rescue the survivors of the blast.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of the Westray disaster, the families and the community still mourning the 26 men who lost their lives underground.

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HEALTH CARE

Mr. John Maloney (Erie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our health care system is one of Canada's proudest and most envied achievements. Every Canadian has a right to receive the care he or she needs when sick, regardless of personal circumstances. It is an affirmation of Canada's commitment to human dignity.

The constituents of Erie were concerned about the future of the health care system. Unlike Bob Rae's government, the Ontario Liberals have a plan to protect the province's health care system.

I am pleased to see that today Ontario Liberal Lyn McLeod announced her vision of health care for the province, including the establishment of a health research and development council, a call-in care pilot project, expanded 911 and restoration of health care coverage for out of country emergency services.

Medicare was introduced and developed by a succession of Liberal governments, providing a tangible example of the commitment of all Liberals to compassionate public policy.

The government also has plans for the well-being of Canadians. We will not withdraw from or abandon the health care field. We will not accept the notion of a two tier health care system, one for the rich and one for the poor, one for the advantaged provinces and one for less advantaged provinces.

Thanks to the government and the plans of Lyn McLeod's Liberals, Erie constituents can put their fears of a Bob Rae health care system to rest.

(1415)

HEALTH CARE

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton-Middlesex, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have learned that Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae is campaigning today in my riding of Lambton-Middlesex. I imagine Mr. Rae is also continuing with his dialogue of misinformation with respect to federal funding for health and how this is supposedly resulting in hospital cutbacks in long term care and so on.

Let me set the record straight. The federal commitment to medicare in Canada and in Ontario is as strong as ever. Contrary to what Mr. Rae has been spreading, federal EPF health transfers to Ontario have been rising over the term of this government. At the same time the Ontario government has been cutting the amount it spends on health care.

By rolling all transfers into one, the Canada health and social transfer, the federal government is strengthening its ability to enforce the Canada Health Act.

Liberals do not need to take any lessons from Mr. Rae on medicare. After all, Liberals introduced the Canada Health Act in 1984. We have always defended strong and reliable funding of medicare and we always will.

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