House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a further supplementary question. I appreciate meetings with chiefs, but there is a difference between meeting with chiefs and rank and file members.

I am wondering whether the Prime Minister agrees that the re-establishment of democracy on these reserves is a prerequisite to re-establishing the supremacy of law. Has the government considered instituting a formal democratic process on these reserves whereby rank and file Indian people would have an opportunity to indicate by secret ballot which measures they believe would be successful in re-establishing the supremacy of Canadian law?

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, it is my understanding that the chiefs in question are democratically elected by the residents of the reserves. The people on the reserves will likely think the Reform Party leader's suggestion is a strange form of democracy if he wants the government to march in and impose his version of democracy on them.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I wonder if we might concentrate perhaps in this Question Period on shortening up our preambles. It would facilitate matters a great deal.

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am quite willing to cut my preamble short, but I would like the Prime Minister to listen as this question is directed to him.

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Roberval has the floor.

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the components of the government's action plan to combat smuggling calls for stepped up RCMP enforcement. Scarcely a few hours after the action plan was unveiled, we learn that shots were fired in Valleyfield as an RCMP patrol moved in on what appeared to be a shipment of contraband cigarettes.

Given the danger associated with police enforcement in this area, can the Prime Minister tell us if special measures will be taken to protect the lives of police officers who will be confronting heavily armed groups?

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:30 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 hon. member seems to have changed his tune.

For weeks, he has been calling on the RCMP to intervene and now that it is doing so, he wants the force to withdraw. That is not how the RCMP operates.

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Prime Minister.

Can the Prime Minister tell us, in other words, why he is refusing to meet in person with the chiefs of native reserves, considering the high risk situation and the need for him to obtain assurances that the lives of police officers who may have to confront heavily armed smugglers will in fact be protected?

Fight Against Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out to the House that the RCMP met last Friday with the three chiefs in question. They held rather lengthy and substantive talks, the outcome of which was reported that very same evening on television. The Minister of Indian Affairs is still in contact with them and today, they will have a meeting with the Solicitor General who is responsible for the RCMP. Therefore, I do not think that my presence would help matters any further.

I believe that our ministers are capable of carrying out their duties and that the Prime Minister must intervene only when he has no other choice. Right now I think that the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Solicitor General are doing an excellent job.

Cigarette Taxes
Oral Question Period

February 9th, 1994 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister and was inspired by Mr. Ian Craig from the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River.

As the lone opposition member from the province of Ontario, I am very concerned that the Prime Minister has negotiated a cigarette deal with the premier of Quebec at the expense of Ontario.

Yesterday the premier of Ontario, Bob Rae, stated: "All this does is put pressure on the rest of us to literally fall into line with a policy that... was declared unilaterally by the federal government and one province".

On behalf of the people of Ontario and the premier, how can the Prime Minister possibly justify creating a series of provincial dominoes of which Ontario is just the first and which has no choice but to match the tax cuts of Quebec?

Cigarette Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I must be doing something right when I have the tobacco companies mad at me as well as the NDP in Ontario.

I am very surprised at the statement of the hon. member because Premier Rae knows the truth. On December 13 we started to discuss matters with provincial officials in Ontario and Quebec. I have spoken with Mr. Rae many times. I talked with him again on the telephone on Friday night. On Sunday he sent his officials, led by his chief of staff, Mr. Agnew. They spent Sunday with Mr. Shortliffe, people from my office, people from the police and so on. They knew all the facts, the whole package. We discussed what should be and what should not be in the package.

To go on TV last night and say that we had made a deal without talking to them I think was very cheap politics.

Cigarette Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Cigarette Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. The premier of Nova Scotia also expressed his disagreement with the Prime Minister yesterday. In fact the majority of premiers are strongly opposed to this tax reduction.

Why has the Prime Minister chosen to listen to the premier of Quebec while ignoring other affected premiers?

Cigarette Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said in the House yesterday that the person who convinced me about the reduction of the tax was the head of the RCMP of Canada, who said that if we want really to cure the problem quickly we have no choice but to take the wind out of these sails.

I have done it. To try to make it a question of Quebec and the rest of Canada is not right. The problem is in Ontario which has a premier who wants to keep his head in the sand and not face reality.