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

Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the finance critic for the Bloc Quebecois would not, for instance, want us to touch the tax shelters available to the Fonds de solidarité. I believe there are a number of government instruments that are very important for economic development.

The member says we should review these tax shelters to deal with the problem, and of course we all agree that the tax burden should be shared. We cannot put the whole burden on only 2 per cent of the population because that is not going to solve the problem. We must all be prepared to do our share. I would like to see the opposition be part of this process, which will not be easy

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but which is necessary to guarantee our fiscal health and jobs for Canadians.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. This matter was brought to my attention by members of the Somali community and the media.

It appears that an alleged human rights abuser from the brutal Barre regime of Somalia now resides in the Ottawa area. When will the Deputy Prime Minister see to it that this individual is investigated and that these allegations of brutality are substantiated? If they are substantiated will deportation proceedings begin immediately?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Halifax
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and tell him that as we speak departmental officials are investigating these allegations.

There are provisions in the Immigration Act to remove persons who are senior officials of a government engaged in gross human rights violations. Should it be confirmed that this subject was a senior official of the Barre government, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will ensure, as he has done in the past, that removal action is taken.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, a supplemental to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Last week I asked the minister of immigration how many more examples of abuse Canadians should have to tolerate. Stories of criminals and human rights abusers entering Canada surface regularly in the media despite the minister's assurances to the contrary.

When does the Deputy Prime Minister, or the Prime Minister for that matter, expect the immigration minister to start doing his job rather than leaving it to the media?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Halifax
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we can say the immigration minister is doing a superb job under due process of law.

This country has long been an open one and one that is delighted to receive immigrants and refugees from those countries not as fortunate as Canada and this process will continue.

There are laws in place and occasionally those laws are broken. When they are broken there is due process to ensure that offenders are punished to the fullest extent of the law. If this turns out to be the situation in the present case, then that will be the end result.

Income Security
Oral Question Period

February 21st, 1994 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

On Friday, February 18 last, the minister announced the make-up of the expert committee which will have slightly less than two months to advise him on the ambitious proposed reform of Canada's income security system and labour market.

However, the House committee will have only 12 days to hear testimony from individuals and groups and to advise the minister on the concerns and priorities of Canadians.

Considering this unrealistic timetable, my question is will the minister concede that in fact, his action plan is already in place, that it is the same as the Conservatives and that he prefers to consult a committee of experts at $500 per day rather than allow enough time for public consultations?

Income Security
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I have far more confidence in the abilities of members of Parliament and the committee than the hon. member seems to have.

The hon member should not underestimate the capacity of this Parliament to provide an open forum for Canadians to be heard, making sure there is broad consultation and to perform the valuable task of ensuring that a range of opinions from one coast to the other is clearly brought forward as the first stage in consultation. Then the committee can get on with a longer review of an action plan so there can be something specific.

The attempt by the hon. member to try to subvert or short change the work of this committee does not do much credit to her role as opposition critic. It is very important that Parliament get down to work and give Canadians an opportunity to be heard so that we can come together with the reform all Canadians want.

Income Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want the minister to know that my role as a parliamentarian on this committee cannot be questioned. I pushed for more time, but despite everything, we will still have only twelve days to conduct hearings.

I would also like to quote, if I may, from an article which appeared in this morning's edition of The Globe and Mail :

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"Finance Minister Paul Martin has indicated that reducing Canada's $45 billion deficit will have to wait while the government deals with fundamental issues such as reforming the social safety net".

My supplementary question is as follows: Will the minister concede that if he is in such a rush, it is because he wants to give the Minister of Finance the opportunity to make cuts in social programs next year?

Income Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I say in response to the hon. member that may have been the agenda of the previous government. She could ask the leader of her own party about that because he was a member of that government.

However, that is certainly not the agenda of this government. Our agenda is to provide a more fair, just and equitable way to allow Canadians to get back to work, to have the opportunity to be properly supported and to make sure there is an up to date system, one that gives Canadians a real platform to fully participate in the life of this country.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Canadian Press yesterday reported that the minister walked out of a meeting between the representatives of the Lesser Slave Lake band council and the Sawridge Indian band. Apparently the minister found the Sawridge band's approach to aboriginal self-government unacceptable. As I understand it, the Sawridge proposals call for a municipal government approach and an opting out of the Indian Act.

Could the minister please tell the House today what he finds so objectionable about this approach?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Sawridge bill does not address the issue of Bill C-31, returnees now before the court.

When the Sawridge bill came before the former government, probably aided and abetted by the former minister, it was not accepted by cabinet. It was not accepted by the Department of Justice which said that it did not respect the crown's obligations to a band as a whole.

This was rejected by me, by my leader and by this government. We are looking at Bill C-31, the Cree nation as a whole when we say that the inherent right of self-government exists and we will work within that framework.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Sawridge band has put forward a practical approach to self-government, one that meets the needs of the Sawridge community.

Is the minister looking to impose a single model of aboriginal self-government on Canada's native people, or is he open to negotiating agreements on a band by band basis?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at all the cultural aspects of self-government.

It is very serious. For instance, further north the elders pick the chiefs and sometimes when the chiefs get back to their villages they are no longer chiefs. With the Ojibways, the elders sit as advisers. With the Mohawks it is a longhouse culture. There is no one set model of self-government in this nation.

However, I will say that the Sawridge band is probably one of the richest bands in this country. It is sitting on tens of millions of dollars. That band is saying to its people that it will not share. That is not the way this government or Canadians should operate.

Federal Grants
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in La Presse this morning, Mr. Jerry Peltier was reported to have received various federal subsidies both before and after becoming Grand Chief of Kanesatake. Apparently, in 1991, Mr. Peltier received in excess of $58,000 over a period of just six months.

Could the Minister of Indian Affairs confirm these allegations to the effect that Mr. Peltier has been paid retroactively $25,600 in fees for services rendered to the government during the Oka crisis?

Federal Grants
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if my hon. friend is going to ask that question he should ask his own leader. If the funds were paid inappropriately, they were paid during the tenure of a former government.

We have inherited this problem of overpayments. The accounting firm of Raymond, Chabot, Martin and Paré are in there addressing a problem we have inherited. It is developing a special relationship with the manager to address this problem.

If that particular leader was not there at that particular time, he was certainly there during the period the money was paid to that band. If the money was spent inappropriately the question

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by this hon. member should be why did his leader not address the problem when he was there and had the chance?

An accounting firm is addressing the problem. We are working on a management agreement. I am prepared to share the problems of the management agreement with the hon. member because we certainly do not want the problem or the overpayments to continue.