House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was recall.

Topics

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, officers of the RCMP had occasion to discuss these matters with them last Friday. They were told clearly that the law has to apply everywhere. They have been in touch with the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development about that.

One thing I do not like is the impression the hon. member is trying to make that this is only a problem within Indian reserves.

Contraband is a problem across the country but especially in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Most of the contraband comes in outside the reserves and it is not very fair to try to create the impression that it is a problem with Indians in Canada. It is a problem with many people in every city across the land.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

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

It is rumoured the government is considering a major reduction in tobacco taxes. If this is true, to avoid any increase in the deficit these cuts will have to be offset by matching spending cuts or replacement tax revenues.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House which programs he intends to cut or which taxes he intends to increase.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there will be a budget in a few weeks.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect the rumours are very strong.

Health organizations across Canada are outraged by the government proposal to cut tobacco taxes.

Would the government calculate the long term increase in health care costs which would result from these cuts in tobacco taxes?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I hope to make a statement tomorrow on this. I said to the House very clearly that it is no good for anybody to bury his head in the sand.

A lot of very cheap illegal cigarettes are available everywhere at this moment. I said we would use every means at our disposal to make sure that the traffic of illegal cigarettes and other smuggling are terminated in the short term. We will use every tool at our disposal to achieve our goal in the shortest period possible. We are faced with a problem that has existed for years. We have decided that the time has come to bring order to that field and it will be done very quickly.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, a second supplementary question. Last week certain native Canadians threatened an armed response to any attempt by the RCMP to

enforce existing smuggling laws. This situation has caused understandable concern among law enforcement officers involved.

Does the Prime Minister's definition of self-government include the right to disregard the laws of Canada and to threaten police who may be called in to enforce them?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this statement is extremely exaggerated. We want to make sure that native Canadians can make decisions concerning themselves in order to find a better place in Canadian society. At the same time they know and accept the fact that they are within Canada and they have to respect the laws of Canada.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

My question is for the Prime Minister. A few days ago the chief of the Akwesasne reserve, Mike Mitchell, stated:

"[The police] are going to have to be reminded that there are a lot of weapons that exist here-and trying to pursue this in a violent manner is going to be met with probably a very hostile manner as well".

Does the Prime Minister think this is idle talk? Does he think that the police should let themselves be intimidated on the Akwesasne reserve?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the position of the government is clear. It intends to have the law enforced everywhere in Canada. That continues to be our position. It is not a matter of looking for confrontation but instead, of enforcing the law in an equal manner in every part of the country. This is what we are going to do.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind you that there have been over 70 violent deaths on Akwesasne over the past seven years and that the Mohawk people are presently being terrorized by a handful of individuals. Is it not the responsibility of this government to ensure that all the inhabitants of this country, including the Mohawks living on Indian reservations, can live in peace without being terrorized at the hands of a few individuals?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, That is exactly what we intend to do, and I am very pleased to have the support of my colleague opposite on this.

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

February 7th, 1994 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The Globe and Mail quotes a spokesperson for the Mohawk warriors as stating that any RCMP incursion into his reserve would be treated as an invasion by a hostile government.

As the civilian police forces are not presently enforcing the law in the Mohawk's self-declared sovereign lands, would the minister of Indian affairs agree the Canadian government appears to have accepted the Indian self-declared sovereignty?

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there are times when we have to come together not just as members of this Commons but as concerned people and not be throwing gasoline on a highly volatile situation. Does the hon. member want to force another Oka? It happened so innocently and it could happen again.

If the hon. member would take the time to go down to Akwesasne, as many members on this side did, he will find 12,000 law-abiding Indians doing their business-law abiding, with a hospital, a school and a 500 criminal element. It is the criminal element we have to deal with.

The member for Lac-Saint-Jean said that in his statement about two weeks ago. There are Indians and there is the criminal element. The leader of the opposition said that when dealing with Davis Inlet. The hon. member who sits behind the leader of the opposition said that today. We do not have to deal with Indians, but with the criminal element in Indian communities the same way we deal with the criminal element in the non-Indian community. That is the long and the short of it.

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the minister that we might be able to cool this fire if he could give us the government's position on this.

Does the government, representing all the people of Canada have ultimate, exclusive, supreme power and authority over all Canadian soil including territory claimed by all identifiable groups including those people described as aboriginal?

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there are one and a half million aboriginal people. We are dealing with them as individuals, as family.

The hon. member is looking at one part of the country. I wish he would look at what the government has just done in B.C.-toward his neck of the woods-in Labrador and Nunavut.

In twelve weeks we have kick started most of the negotiations. That is what is going to bring this country together. Common ground brings us together and not what certain groups within the Mohawk community are doing right now.

I am getting upset because it only took Oka three weeks of this type of dialogue to happen. Meech Lake floundered. A few Indians went out to protect a golf course. The army was called out by the province of Quebec and the next thing is that we spent $150 million and killed a person. I do not want to see that happen again.

Our party and our government is going to ensure that it does not happen again.