House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was need.

Topics

Smoking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health of Canadians across the country is a great concern to me, but the health of Canadians living in the province of Quebec is an even greater concern to me at this point because it has the highest number of smokers.

We really must make sure that everything we do helps to reduce the number of smokers across Canada, and especially in Quebec, because the costs will be very high some time in the future.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of immigration.

The Government of Quebec has agreed to accept 40,000 immigrants this year, or about one-sixth of the total the minister has announced he will admit to Canada. Quebec has one-quarter of Canada's population. If we extrapolate the number of immigrants Quebec believes it can absorb, the national figure would be 160,000 immigrants.

Could the minister explain why the number of immigrants Quebec believes it can absorb differs to such a large degree from the number the minister thinks our country can absorb?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, there is a Quebec-Canada immigration accord. Quebec has a selection with respect to independent and business immigration. Obviously it also assumes a family class and refugee class under the federal guideline.

The hon. member's party is suggesting that the figure be 150,000. I know what you are against but I also want to know what you are in favour of. If you want to cut 100,000 immigrants, as your party is advocating, I would like to know where you are going to cut. Are you going to cut from the family class since your party preaches-

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I am sure the minister will want to direct his response to the Chair. It makes it much easier. Would the hon. minister like to conclude.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sergio Marchi York West, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Through the Chair, I would like to know-

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. As I understand it this is a question and answer period and we should try to set it up that way. I am sure although there are many questions unasked we want to hear both.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, has the minister consulted the other provinces in determining the new immigration level, especially in light of Quebec's decision to accept fewer immigrants?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, in preparation for the 1994 levels that we tabled yesterday all provinces were consulted. Those consultations took place in 1993.

Not only were they consulted, but the member's own province as late as last week faxed us a list of designated classes that the business and economic communities of British Columbia would like us to bring in as independents. We have done that. Forty-four per cent of all immigrants in 1994 will be those selected based on the skills that our economy needs.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all requested certain trades and skills. We are trying to co-operate with the provinces so that we as one slice of immigration can have immigrants come to the country to fill economic niches that the federal government has designated in full co-operation with each and every single province.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

February 3rd, 1994 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A little while ago in this House, we had a special debate on cruise missiles on Canadian territory. The American government was to receive an answer by the end of January.

Can the minister tell us if the government has made a decision? What is he waiting for to let us know his position?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct that we had a very fruitful debate last week. That discharged a commitment made by our party in opposition

not to authorize any cruise missile tests in 1994 before the House had a chance to debate the issue fully.

Members will know that in August 1993 the previous government authorized the 1994 test and the planning was well under way when we took office. Given this and given the fact that we will be having foreign policy and defence reviews in the next year where all matters including testing of weapons systems can be debated, the government has decided to proceed with the two tests in 1994 beginning this month.

I should also tell members that we have communicated this in the last hour to the United States government. We have stressed the fact that it should make no presumption about the outcome of the defence and policy reviews Parliament will be seized of later this year, given the very strong feelings on the matter of cruise testing both within the country and certainly within our party.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must be glad that the government has finally made a first decision after many days of consulting on various subjects. We are waiting for one on cigarettes, if that appeals to you. You are welcome.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs give us the details of this agreement and table it in the House?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member was in the House a year ago. He should know that the agreement was signed by the previous Conservative government. It was renewed in 1993 and it does provide for individual tests to be conducted bilaterally. The actual tests can be agreed on or cancelled at any time within the framework of that agreement.

All we are doing today is verbally acceding to the request of the United States to have two more tests in 1994 in the same way as we have had tests in the past nine years.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of immigration. The minister's department is struggling with a backlog of more than 14,000 refugee claims from persons already in Canada. Social services are also struggling with the flow of refugees, something the minister acknowledged when he announced that refugee claimants would be allowed to find work.

Why is the government increasing the number of refugees Canada will admit when we are already unable to deal compassionately with the current numbers?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as part of our immigration levels the government is committed to international obligations. The member rises from his seat today, as he did yesterday, and simply casts out of hand that we should not have had as many refugees in the country or we should not honour obligations with respect to allowing those individuals to have fair and speedy hearings.

What we did yesterday not only maintained our obligations under the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. We have encouraged private communities to sponsor refugees, not only because we believe there are more cost benefits in that they absorb settlement costs but also because when communities come forward prepared to accept refugees it is a celebration of what the program is all about.

The hon. member also spoke about welfare rolls. We should talk about facts as opposed to creating the perception and the myth that every refugee who comes to the country goes on welfare.

According to the Ontario government some 4 per cent of the 615,000 applications for social welfare assistance in Ontario alone in 1993 were refugee claimants. Within that figure there is some abuse this side is interested in, but I would urge the member to set the context of his deliberations.