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 standing.

Topics

Bosnia-Hercegovina
Statements By Members

February 7th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ron MacDonald Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members of this House were shocked and saddened to see reports of the carnage in Sarajevo on Saturday.

Once again the shortcomings of the UN position have been seen. Despite the best of intentions lack of a coherent direction is costing lives daily.

Warring factions continue to thumb their noses at the international community while we continue to issue condemnations and pass UN resolutions which we simply are not prepared to enforce, except for the one ensuring that the Bosnian government cannot acquire the means necessary to defend itself.

I implore our government while ensuring the safety of our troops on the ground to urge the UN to take whatever actions are necessary to stop this genocide. As one citizen of Sarajevo said on the weekend: "This was not the Chetniks that did this, it was the world. This is the world's responsibility".

Social And Co-Operative Housing
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the unilateral cuts to social and co-operative housing that were applied in the last Conservative budgets had very severe repercussions.

In Quebec City and particularly in the lower town, housing needs are great. Today at least 1,200 households are on waiting lists to get low cost housing in the area and 600 more are looking for co-operative housing.

Quebec City wants the CMHC to be given enough funds to reactivate the Canada-Quebec agreement on social housing.

It is time for the Liberal government to act and the Minister of Finance should take these problems into account in his upcoming budget.

Employment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to inform members that the latest unemployment figures for Manitoba increased by almost 2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Farmers in Lisgar-Marquette have suffered through a summer of extreme weather, crop disease and now a strike by Vancouver dock workers.

With 1.5 million workers unemployed, a rejection of a $2.12 an hour wage increase over a three-year contract is not only shameful but devastating to other workers and businesses who have consented to a wage freeze or wage cut.

The failure of this government to deal with smugglers, unemployment and labour disputes is putting any economic recovery in jeopardy.

The Minister for Human Resources Development is becoming the minister of human misery. I urge the government to wake up and take actions to solve problems rather than to contribute to them.

Bosnia-Hercegovina
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Berger Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday a mortar shell landed in a crowded market in Sarajevo killing 68 persons and injuring 197. This is the largest number of persons killed in a single attack since the beginning of the war in Bosnia. I am sure all members join me in condemning this massacre of innocent civilians whose victims included Muslims, Croats and Serbs.

The impulse is to lash out or strike back but as British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd warned, a retaliatory air strike may simply yield one day of satisfaction followed not by the lifting of the siege, but by its intensification.

In order to put an end to the fighting both the United States and Russia must become more actively involved. The United States has criticized various peace plans and has proposed actions which many believe would intensify the war. The United States must show more leadership if we hope to bring an end to this bloody war which has dragged on far too long.

Cn Rail
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

There is a 33-mile rail line in my riding between Collingwood and Barrie. CNR is considering closing this line in the very near future.

The impact on the environment and the tourism industry in this area would be horrendous. Hundreds of trucks full of grain corn supplying two very successful companies in Collingwood would make the highways in this area impassable and very dangerous to the tourist industry.

I feel it is imperative that CNR reconsider its decision of closure of this essential rail line.

Cigarette Taxes
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, it appears this government is going to cave in to the law breakers by lowering taxes on cigarettes.

Tobacco, I might point out to this House, is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended. It costs the Canadian taxpayer an estimated $15 billion in indirect and direct health care costs.

The revenue minister says cost does not affect the use of tobacco. I wonder what the minister is smoking. In 1992 Statistics Canada indicated: "Affordability is to date the most significant factor in the reduction of tobacco use in Canada. Regular smoking among Canadian teenagers has plummeted as taxes drove prices up higher".

How about getting from the Minister of Health a real commitment to the health of Canadians. Stop the smoke-screen. The Minister of Health should come clean and cough up: Does she or does she not support lowering taxes on cigarettes?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.

Saturday, another barbaric act was committed in Sarajevo, where a mortar shell that hit the central market killed 68 people and wounded over 200. Following this tragedy, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali asked NATO for authority to proceed with airstrikes against the Serbian artillery positions which hold Sarajevo under siege.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he could indicate the Canadian government's official position on this request from the UN Secretary-General which favours airstrikes to free Sarajevo.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, like everybody else we are very unhappy with the unacceptable and barbarous act committed in Sarajevo over the weekend.

At this moment we are consulting with our allies on this problem. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has been in discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Christopher and the foreign ministers of England and France. Discussions are going on at this time.

The situation is very, very bad. We will see in the next few days what the best action is that we can take. Of course, Canadians have the particular situation that our troops are located in Srebrenica and we have to consider that.

We will be consulting with our allies. We hope that we will find a way to have peace in that part of the world because what is going on at this time is completely unacceptable.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, an emergency NATO meeting on the matter was scheduled today, at the request of France and Belgium. What position did the Prime Minister instruct his representatives to take on behalf of Canada at this meeting?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we can make a final decision at this time. I believe that the people who are meeting at this very moment want to analyse the situation and try to propose an action plan. The Canadian officers present are to report to us on the nature of these discussions, and we will see what their decision should be.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he can promise that his government will not approve airstrikes without guarantees for the safety of Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at this very moment people are discussing the use of airstrikes to prevent the so-called strangulation of Sarajevo, and there is no direct connection with the position of Canadian soldiers who are now located in another part of Bosnia.

We have to weigh the pros and cons, and our position is still the same. In Brussels we said that airstrikes could only be used in self-defence, which is not the case in the Srebrenica area at this time. In the case of Sarajevo, the governments concerned are now analysing the situation.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Saturday edition of The Gazette reported that the chief of the Kahnawake reserve, Mr. Joe Norton, claimed to have received assurances from the RCMP that it was not planning to enter the reserve to fight cigarette smuggling and that moreover, the RCMP considered Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake to be special cases.

Can the Prime Minister tell us clearly and unequivocally whether or not the RCMP gave such assurances to Chief Norton?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the RCMP officer who spoke last Friday evening on television stated his case very clearly. We have said clearly to everyone that the rule of law applies everywhere in Canada, without exception.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

In that case, Mr. Speaker, and to dispel any doubt or confusion people may have, including the inhabitants of these native reserves, could the Prime Minister agree to a request to meet with Mohawk chiefs and make it clear to them that he intends to ensure that the rule of law is applied everywhere in Canada?