House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was petitions.

Topics

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, given the fact that the ultimatum for the lifting of the siege in Sarajevo has expired, can the minister indicate what the new timetable will be for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Srebrenica? Can we now expect a rapid withdrawal under conditions that guarantee the safety of the troops?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that the decision made in regard to the changing of the guard in Srebrenica is implemented. It is in the process of being totally implemented.

Unfortunately because of the weather conditions and the numerous points of control that the Dutch troops have to go through in order to arrive there, they are not there yet. However they are en route and I am optimistic that this will take place in the coming weeks.

Native Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the grand chief of the band council of Akwesasne, Mr. Mike Mitchell, handed in his resignation saying, and I quote: "I have put plans forward to initiate collaboration between Mohawks and the government, but the infighting has worn me out".

Would the Solicitor General not agree that the sudden resignation of Mr. Mitchell is proof that Mohawk authorities are powerless when it comes to enforcing the law on their territory?

Native Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my colleague should ask Chief Mitchell, if he wants to know the reasons for his resignation. I can say that the RCMP has tried to enforce the law everywhere, and continues to do so, but I see no link between the resignation of Chief Mitchell and the work of police forces, including the Sûreté du Québec.

Native Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, should we conclude from the resignation of Mr. Mitchell and the assurance given by the Solicitor General that there would be no police action on Mohawk territory, that the government has given up enforcing the law on these territories and leaves a small band of armed men the opportunity to pursue, with total impunity, their criminal acts and illegal activities?

Native Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I never gave the assurance that there would be no police action on Mohawk reserves. I said exactly the opposite. I said that it was in the hands of the RCMP and that they would make their own decisions regarding inquiries and action if warranted. I never promised anyone that there would be no such action.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

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Whatever proposals the budget contains for deficit reduction, most members agree that their effectiveness would be strengthened if Parliament had more and better tools to control overspending.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the government has any specific plans and proposals for giving Parliament such tools and, if so, what those plans might be?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader has already laid out his plans for making Parliament not only more accountable but more responsible to the needs of the taxpayers.

When the estimates are tabled, as they will be this week, I am sure the hon. member and his friends in the Reform Party will be as scrupulous and as active as are members of the government in ensuring that the taxpayers' dollars are well spent in every department.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. The Lambert commission recommended the introduction of sunset clauses whereby statutory authority to spend on certain programs would cease after five years unless Parliament voted specifically to renew.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell the House whether the government agrees in principle with sunset clauses as a tool to control government spending?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is not waiting for sunsets to control spending. We are constantly reviewing the necessity for every program because we realize that the responsibility we have received from the taxpayers is to spend their dollars wisely every day, every month and every year.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, a further supplementary for the Deputy Prime Minister. The last Parliament, as some members will remember, considered a spending control act which provided that program spending would not exceed certain specified limits.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell the House whether the government agrees in principle with legislated spending controls as yet another tool for getting spending under control?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the best legislated spending control that we are going to have is the budget that will be tabled tomorrow.

Budget
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last stretch before the budget, all the signs are there that this government, which listens to the people, or so it says, will ignore the interests of Canadians and increase the tax burden on middle income families.

My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Would she agree that the direction her government appears to be taking goes against the very principles of fiscal fairness and economic recovery it apparently wants to defend?

Budget
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government is not being hypocritical, but speaking of hypocrisy, on the weekend I heard the opposition's finance critic say we had to deal with our financial problems and do our best to take care of Canadian taxpayers, but we could not touch any programs that benefit the middle class or the government's tax programs or RRSPs. I have a question for the finance critic: How would he meet his commitment to balance Canada's budget?

Budget
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted with the Deputy Prime Minister's question, because it happens to be the same question we have been asking her government and the Minister of Finance since January 17.

Does the government intend to get the money where it is to be found, in other words, from Canada's big corporations which have not paid a penny in taxes since 1987, even when their profits are sky-high, and from the wealthiest Canadian families that use family trusts to avoid paying taxes? That is where the billions to cover the shortfall in the government's annual budget could be found.

Does her government intend to cut in those areas and spare middle income Canadians?