The achievements of such an active man are too numerous to list here. Let us nevertheless mention that he was one of Canada's leading bankers. We will recall his role as co-chair of the parliamentary commission on the political and constitutional future of Quebec. I had the pleasure of working with him when he was chairman of the no committee during the 1995 referendum.
You shall not be forgotten, Mr. Bélanger. Thanks a million for your outstanding contribution to the development of Canada. You remain the model of a hard-working, conscientious person striving for perfection.
The Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. member for Okanagan—Shuswap.
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Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan—Shuswap, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the first duty of any government is to protect its law-abiding citizens. Instead neither the province nor the federal government made sure that the men who went underground to mine coal at Westray came home safely each day.
According to the book The Westray Tragedy, CANMET recommended a more in-depth evaluation of the project. Over 100 men previously killed in the Foord coal seam should have been reason enough for governments to be extra cautious about Westray. So why did the federal government suddenly give its stamp of approval through loan guarantees? If the federal government had no worry for the safety of citizens working at Westray, why did it not even ensure that its investments could be recovered through long term safe and profitable operation of the Westray mine?
The report released yesterday reveals a chain of obvious preventable safety problems. As project financier, Ottawa must share the blame for turning the federally assisted job project into a tomb, a mine so unsafe that 11 bodies have yet to be recovered, and a whole region in Nova Scotia remains in mourning.
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Hon. Sheila Finestone (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a recent trip to the Middle East with the foreign affairs minister gave me occasion to see firsthand the devastation caused by the use of anti-personnel land mines, particularly to our peacekeepers and innocent children. Unlike other military weapons, land mines lie in wait buried in the ground for innocent unsuspecting victims, killing and maiming every 22 minutes every day.
The Ottawa round tables are planning the substance for concrete measurable actions to secure limbs, lands and lives. Ottawa is hosting more than 120 countries today ready to sign a treaty banning the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines, as well as to destroy existing stockpiles and to demine within 10 years.
All countries will have to co-operate with a compliance regime. The Canadian government and NGO organizations aim for a total ban of these mines. We must mobilize not simply to sign the treaty but to ratify it, to give aid to victims and proceed to demine, stopping these crimes against humanity.
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Mr. Denis Coderre (Bourassa, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what a sight it was yesterday to see Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Parizeau together on the same podium. How nice it was to hear them say there were no divisions among the separatists.
When Lucien Bouchard condones Jacques Parizeau's statement about the ethnic vote in the last referendum by saying that his predecessor deserves respect, that he is a great democrat, it is true that there are no divisions. Parizeau-Bouchard, same difference. Not only do they want to divide Canada, but they also want to divide Quebec into classes or even into castes.
Well, Messrs. Parizeau and Bouchard, my Quebec has only one class of citizens: first class citizens. Did you get that? In Quebec, we only have first class citizens.
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Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this week when we are talking about Kyoto and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is important for the government in particular to remember the role that a revitalization of rail transportation in this country could play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
I urge the government to take seriously many of the recommendations that were made a couple of weeks ago by the Railway Association of Canada. I do not agree with all of its recommendations but it certainly made some that the government should take very seriously.
One of the most useful ways we can combat greenhouse gas emissions in this country is to revitalize rail transportation, both on the freight side and the passenger side, and to reregulate our transportation system to favour rail transportation.
We are threatening public safety and polluting the environment. Let us get some of this freight off the highways and back on the rails where it belongs.
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Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, PQ members witnessed a nice reunion when the former chairman of the yes side, Jacques Parizeau, shared the same stage as the current Premier of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard.