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2554

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

FORESTRY

Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay-Atikokan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the week of May 5 to 11 is National Forest Week, a time when public awareness of Canada's forest resources is encouraged by the Canadian provincial forestry associations.

Canada has 10 per cent of the world's forests. These forests form a vital part of our economy, supporting over 350 communities and providing jobs for over 800,000 Canadians. With $50 billion of shipments annually Canada is one of the world's largest suppliers of forest products. In my riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan the forest and lumber industry is a significant employer.

This year's National Forest Week theme is ``Forest Regions: Varied Treasures''. This theme reflects the fact that various parts of the country support different types of forest ecosystems. In Canada we have 10 distinct forest areas, each of which offers its own treasures.


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[Translation]

FIGURE SKATING

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in this House to recognize the determination and relentless hard work of Josiane Fréchette, from Sainte-Perpétue-de-Drummond.

Josiane is a brilliant figure skater. She won a gold medal in the Canadian championship, Atlantic division, pre-novice level, and she came first in the short program, novice level, in an international invitation competition, the Residential City Cup, which was held in the Netherlands this year.

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Having been selected by the Quebec figure skating federation for the fourth year in a row, Josiane will attend a provincial figure skating seminar.

Thank you, Josiane, for giving those around you this example of faith and perseverance. Our hearts are with you.

Quebec has another reason to be proud of its young people.

* * *

[English]

CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

Mrs. Sharon Hayes (Port Moody-Coquitlam, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the bill amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation has been shrouded in a deliberate campaign of misinformation by the justice minister.

The minister is doing this dance of deception in order to deny the truth and consequences of Bill C-33. He portrays the bill as the simple addition of two words in an act, a simple two clause bill that this House should dispose of quickly that will simply address discrimination. Not so.

The truth is this bill will have profound consequences that will impact Canadian family by redefining it, and that undermine the fundamental principles of equality.

The minister continues to mislead and dodge the truth, while the government rams the bill through the House in record time. Under false pretences, the government has disabled democracy.

History will be the judge of these nine days that have mocked our parliamentary institution and the Canadian people.

* * *

NATIONAL UNITY

Mr. Andy Mitchell (Parry Sound-Muskoka, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate two high school students in my riding for their contributions to the pursuit of national unity. To Sarah Boyd and Michael Holmes, both students at Parry Sound High School, I say well done.

These two young constituents tied for first place in an essay contest that I launched in all of the high schools in my riding to promote pride in Canada.

In her essay Sarah urges Canadians to speak out and to contribute their skills to helping Canada remain strong and united. She suggests linking towns of similar sizes to promote understanding and strengthen community bonds.

In his essay, Michael advocates encouraging corporations to make unity their responsibility. He advocates pairing community newspapers to facilitate a shared letters to the editor venue that fosters kinship and understanding.

I am proud of the efforts of all those who entered my national unity essay contest. Today I ask my colleagues to join with me in saluting Sarah Boyd and Michael Holmes.

* * *

FIREFIGHTERS

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this week the International Association of Firefighters is in town.

A number of statements have been made in the House lauding the work of firefighters and the risks they take on behalf of all of us. I would like to echo those sentiments.

However, the best way we can honour firefighters is for the House and the government to take their policy recommendations seriously with respect to Operation Respond, a proposal they made for dealing with hazardous materials which they would like to see set up in Winnipeg as a pilot project. I encourage the government to get moving on that. It should also get moving on the proposal with respect to a public benefit for firefighters and similar service people who lose their lives in the line of duty, and also recommendations with respect to the Canada pension plan.

The government should take all these recommendations to heart and we should see some action on these very soon.

* * *

BILL C-33

Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the public wants individual members of Parliament to have more say in reflecting their opinions.

I note that the British system allows for a degree of independence provided by a tiered disciplinary system. I am most pleased that my leader has provided a free vote on Bill C-33.


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With free votes it will be even more important to attempt to understand and represent the views of all constituents. To this end I have had a personal and professional poll prepared in my riding of Durham, asking the people what their attitudes were to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

While there was a clear case of polarization, it was evident that the majority was in favour of the changes which they saw as a matter of human rights. I hope this will herald a new era of relaxing to some degree the discipline in this place in order that members can more effectively represent their constituents.

With this newfound liberty, members will have to be more diligent in ensuring that they fully understand the views of their constituents. I look forward to a more liberalized parliamentary system

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[Translation]

CITY OF MONTREAL

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday, Montreal launched a promotional campaign under the theme ``Montreal, you are my city''.

This two-year operation was the fruit of concerted efforts by the City of Montreal, the Government of Canada, 11 private corporations, and the vast majority of local media.

This multimedia operation offers concrete proof that the climate in Montreal is changing and that all stakeholders will now work toward a common goal.

The hon. member for Outremont and Secretary of State for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec was happy to announce, on behalf of the Canadian government, a financial contribution of $1 million.

This is another fine example of this government's commitment to work in partnership with other socioeconomic stakeholders to improve conditions in Montreal and Quebec.

* * *

NATIONAL NURSING WEEK

Mr. Bernard Deshaies (Abitibi, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this week being National Nursing Week-whose theme this year is ``Ask a nurse''-I take this opportunity to draw attention to the important role played by nurses in keeping everyone healthy.

I wish to pay them a special tribute in this House so that these professionals know we are aware of the upheaval their profession is going through: the job cuts in hospitals, the shifting of part of the work to patients' homes, the review of duties and of the training required to practice their profession in this new environment. That is quite a lot.

I therefore want to recognize their strength of character, their dedication and their determination to provide quality care despite the uncertainties of tomorrow.

They are true professionals. On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to commend the nurses of Abitibi, Quebec and Canada for their professionalism and their strong dedication to their communities.

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[English]

NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan-Shuswap, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Ed MacDonald, a forester from Vancouver Island, for donating 300 coast cedar seedlings to help celebrate National Forest Week. They are available today in the opposition lobby.

The seedlings remind us that trees clean the air and protect watersheds, in addition to sheltering wildlife and providing both recreation and jobs for people. Eight hundred and eighty thousand people work directly or indirectly in forest industries which produced $49 billion in products in 1995, more than half of which was in the export industry, making us number one in the world.

Even given the limitations of the new softwood lumber agreement with the United States, forestry contributes more to the balance of trade than agriculture, fishing, mining and energy combined. The people of Canada, primarily through their provincial governments, have a big say in what happens in our forests because most of them are publicly owned.

Therefore we must choose wisely regarding land use decisions, including native land claims, to protect forestry, the backbone of Canada's economy.

* * *

PRISON REFORM

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks Canada lost two great champions of prison reform and criminal rehabilitation. Senator Earl Hastings of Alberta, who died last Sunday, was a great Liberal and social reformer. Until the end, he kept in close touch with the prisons and the many prisoners whom he was helping to get a new start on life. He received many awards for his outstanding work in corrections and criminal justice.

Claire Culhane was also a strong activist for a humane corrections system. She campaigned and wrote against the abuses of the prison system for many years. We should understand that effective rehabilitation means less crime and safer streets.


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Senator Hastings and Claire Culhane should serve as examples for all of us.

* * *

WESTRAY MINE DISASTER

Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the grieving families and in commemoration of the 26 deceased miners who were killed in my riding of Central Nova in the Westray coal mine disaster on May 9, 1992, we will remember them:

John Thomas Bates, Larry Arthur Bell, Bennie Joseph Benoit, Wayne Michael Conway, Ferris Todd Dewan, Adonis J. Dollimont, Robert Steven Doyle, Remi Joseph Drolet, Roy Edward Feltmate, Charles Robert Fraser, Myles Gillis, John Philip Halloran, Randolph Brian House, Trevor Jahn, Laurence Elwyn James, Eugene W. Johnson, Stephen Paul Lilley, Michael Frederick MacKay, Angus Joseph MacNeil, Glenn David Martin, Harry A. McCallum, Eric Earl McIssac, George James Munroe, Danny James Poplar, Romeo Andrew Short and Peter Francis Vickers.

We will remember them.

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PARTI QUEBECOIS

Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the separatists are at it again. They complained about the voting conditions for non-residents of Quebec. They complained that the referendum was lost due to money and the ethnic vote. They complained that too many people obtained their citizenship in the months leading to the referendum. Now they are complaining again about the fact that the director general of elections produced pamphlets in languages other than French.

[Translation]

Mr. Landry and the PQ MNA for Vachon, Mr. Payne, took turns criticizing the Director General of Elections for having voting instructions in 19 different languages distributed in ridings where large numbers of Canadians of other ethnic background live.

The separatists' obsession with anyone who does not have ``pure laine'', or old stock, stamped on their certificate of citizenship has invariably led them to commit enormities and, if yesterday is any indication, it is not about to change.

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WAR CRIMES

Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the first trial for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia opened in The Hague yesterday, when a Bosnian Serb accused of murder and torture by the International Criminal Court appeared before the court.

This is the first time since the end of the second world war that an international court has brought charges against alleged perpetrators of crimes against humanity and genocide.

While more than 50 war criminals have been charged, only 10 or so are currently in custody. The others, including the political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, are still at large.

Canada must demand that all those charged be handed over before the mandate of the multinational force expires in December. The credibility of the international court hangs in the balance.

* * *

[English]

WESTRAY MINE DISASTER

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary North, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, four years ago today 26 miners died at the Westray mine in Nova Scotia when coal dust ignited with methane gas to produce an underground explosion.

With all the headline coverage about the ongoing inquiry and with all the difficulties in getting at the truth, there are often times when the actual tragedy and loss of life seem to have been forgotten. If anything positive is to come out of this terrible event, it should be an acknowledgement that we can never overlook the importance of safety in the workplace.

To this end it is an absolute necessity that government regulations responsible for ensuring safety must never be relaxed and the safety inspectors that are looked to for protection must be completely free from political interference if they are to be effective. If we can achieve this we can take solace in the hope that this tragedy will never be repeated.

Today Canadians remember and honour the 26 miners who lost their lives four years ago this morning. We extend our sympathy and support to their families and friends.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Reg Alcock (Winnipeg South, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in this Chamber the member for Lisgar-Marquette said: ``If we want to look at what homosexuality and permissiveness have done to some countries let us look at Africa and the problems it has run into''. He went on to relate the civil war in Liberia to homosexuality and permissiveness.

What basis does he have for these statements? What proof is there that the troubles in Liberia are related to homosexuality?

The situation in Liberia is tragic. Many innocent people are losing their lives. Families are being literally destroyed. Children are being killed. It is an issue that all Canadians deplore and I am sure members opposite do also. To relate it to a permissive attitude


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toward homosexuality is an insult to the suffering of the people of Liberia and it is an insult to the intelligence of Canadians.

The people of Lisgar-Marquette deserve better from that party-

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): The hon. member for Windsor-St. Clair.

* * *

HIV-AIDS

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen (Windsor-St. Clair, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member for Macleod the other day claimed that Bill C-33 will encourage a lifestyle that spreads disease, notably HIV-AIDS. The leader of the Reform Party has dismissed these remarks and supported them by saying that they are the opinions of a medical professional.

As a member of Parliament the member for Macleod has the responsibility to ensure public policy is based on fact, not on misinformation or fear. As a medical doctor he has the responsibility to speak to the research.

The research tells us that this disease affects men, women and children. The research says it is a preventable disease and that its sources are known. The research has taught us that responsible behaviour will help to control HIV-AIDS. The member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, who is also a medical doctor, seems to understand this.

Misinformation from the member for Macleod will have more of an impact on the transmission of HIV than any of his imagined impacts of Bill C-33.

HIV-AIDS is a serious public health issue. Canadians are entitled to responsible, constructive comments from their MPs in the fight against the spread of AIDS. Canadians deserve better-

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[Translation]

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM

Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would like to urge the Prime Minister to meet with the 100 representatives of the Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence region, who raised a total of $7,000 in ``toll collections'' and personal contributions to come to Ottawa today to tell him, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources Development that they will not stand by and let their region wither while this unemployment insurance reform drains our part of the country.

They speak on behalf of 30,000 people who, throughout eastern Quebec and in every regional municipality of our ridings in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé Peninsula, have expressed their opposition to this reform. All these regions, whose economies depend on seasonal industries, would like to make you understand what they are saying.

Prime Minister, you cannot refuse to meet with these spokespersons who have had a 32-hour bus ride to get here and let you hear their cry from the heart.

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