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 quebec.

Topics

Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Scarborough West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-213, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very specific bill to amend a particular section, section 52, of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. It would provide that the recommendations of the Security Intelligence Review Committee are to be implemented unless overruled by the minister concerned.

In that event the minister would be required to report to Parliament the reasons for overruling the decision of the committee and if the reasons were secret the minister would be required to report to Parliament why they are deemed to be secret.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present petitions with a total of 1,286 signatures mainly from the city of Calgary.

The petitioners request the government to bring in legislation to toughen the Young Offenders Act along the lines of the principles of the former juvenile delinquents act. The petitions are signed in memory of Ryan Garrioch, a young boy in my riding who was murdered in a school yard.

I would urge the government to consider carefully these kinds of recommendations.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my duty and honour to rise in the House to present a petition duly certified by the clerk of petitions on behalf of the constituents of Saanich-Gulf Islands and the surrounding area.

The petitioners humbly pray and call upon Parliament to enact legislation providing for a referendum of the people, binding upon Parliament, to accept or reject two official languages, English and French, for the government and people of Canada.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Bethel Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am presenting a petition from the residents of Edmonton asking the government to ban the sale of the serial killer board game and similar games in Canada.

This petition, gathered by the members of St. Matthew's Parish, has the marks of children on the back. It is for the sake of these children and all the children of Canada that I support this request.

Promoting violence which these games do is not in the best interest of children. Protecting a safe environment for our children is as important as freedom of speech and it justifies the action proposed in this petition as reasonable in a free and democratic society.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 36 of the House to present a petition on behalf of some concerned constituents of my riding of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt.

This petition requests that a referendum be held to accept or reject the official languages of Canada.

This petition is duly certified by the clerk of petitions. The petitioners feel that the current official languages policy of Canada is divisive and also very expensive under the current financial restraints.

It gives me great pleasure to present the petition this afternoon.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to present a petition from the residents of Horsefly, British Columbia.

My constituents are firmly opposed to any reduction in postal service and postal personnel in rural communities as well as to the closure of rural post offices.

My constituents call upon Parliament to ensure that rural communities which have already been badly affected by the reductions will recover the complete postal services to which they are accustomed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is a pleasure for me to present a petition signed by the residents of my riding of Niagara Falls.

The petitioners are asking for amendments to be made to our laws prohibiting the importation, the distribution and sale of killer cards. They would like to advise the manufacturer of these killer cards that their products, if destined for Canada, will be seized and destroyed.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Shall all questions be allowed to stand?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business Of The House
Routine Proceedings

February 9th, 1994 / 3:10 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Fernand Robichaud Secretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs)

Pursuant to our Standing Orders, I want to inform the House that tomorrow, February 10, and Friday, February 11, will be allotted days.

The House resumed from February 8 consideration of the motion that Bill C-3, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Federal Post-Secondary Education and Health Contributions Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions Act
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

When Bill C-3 was last before the House there were four minutes remaining in the question and comment period to the speech by the hon. member for Lethbridge. Since he is not in his place we will resume debate.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions Act
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood
Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to stand and speak on Bill C-3 today because I believe the bill speaks to the very value system the nation represents.

I want to begin by telling members of the House a short story about an experience that I was involved in about four years ago. It took place in Quebec City. I met a great Canadian artist from Quebec by the name of Richard Séguin. I went to a concert of Richard Séguin's; it was the first time I had heard him sing. I came away from that event moved by the talent, the energy and the real greatness of this Canadian artist.

When I arrived home to Toronto I went down Yonge Street. I went into some of the popular record stores to try to buy a tape of Séguin because I wanted some of my friends to listen to him. After about six record stores on Yonge Street, in the back corner I finally found one cassette of Richard Séguin. "Journée d'Amérique" was the name of the cassette.

I guess it was about a month later that I had lunch with him in Montreal. I told him the story about how it was so incredible that while this artist sold 100,000 tapes, records or albums in the province of Quebec and was so well known, in downtown Toronto in the largest record stores, it took six stores and in the back corner of one store I found one cassette.

He said that sort of exemplifies some of the frustrations and some of the reasons why many of us in Quebec ask ourselves what is in Canada for us. He is a great artist and sells a large number of tapes in Quebec but outside Quebec he is known to very few people.

Just as Canadian artists from Quebec are not well known beyond their borders, there are a lot of things done through the Government of Canada that are not well known in the province of Quebec.

I am not standing here today trying to suggest that there are not frustrations or discrepancies coming from Quebec or, for that matter, from many other provinces. It is very important that on a bill such as this all of our constituents, no matter what region of the country they are from, should all understand what equalization is all about.

It is especially important today because this is the first Parliament in our history in which Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition represents a point of view which wants to dismantle Canada, wants to separate from Canada.

My community hears about a bill like Bill C-3, in which through equalization we transfer moneys from the have provinces to the have not provinces. We are talking about an agreement that was signed last week supported by all the provinces and the Minister of Finance. We are talking about a deal that goes the next five years. The basic essence of this bill entitles seven of the ten provinces to fiscal transfers from three provinces, B.C., Alberta and Ontario. They are funds with no strings attached so that they will have the same standard of living, a national standard, a national tax base, the same access to services right across the country.

The Quebec portion of this transfer over the next five years, the period of this Parliament, is $70 billion. That means that we as Canadian taxpayers will be transferring from the have provinces to Quebec and the other seven provinces a large sum of money. I want to deal specifically today with the $70 billion that is being transferred to the province of Quebec.

I want to say at the outset that by constitution this is an entitlement which I have no quarrel with. I support it happily but it is in the face of that transfer that I have great difficulty in understanding why members opposite would want to walk away from that type of environment where we try to create national standards and national programs so that the constituents of their ridings can have access to the same services as the constituents of my riding.

We tend to think that this is the only thing that happens in this particular bill, that it is just a matter of transferring money. It is more than that. It allows the provinces to basically make their own decisions. Each of the provinces can make their own decisions as to how they want their communities, their people of that particular province served. It is not a condition where the Government of Canada is imposing a very specific directive on that money.

The provincial members of Parliament are the sole directors of how those funds will be spent. It is no business of this Chamber. The only thing that is the business of this Chamber, the Government of Canada, the Parliament of Canada, is to make sure the formula is implemented and the cheque is transferred.

I have talked to a few people, not only in my riding, but other friends that I have from the province of Quebec and many Canadians, not just in Quebec but all across Canada. They are not aware of this equalization bill. They are not aware of the extent or the numbers of dollars that are involved.

That is what led me as we were preparing for Bill C-3 also to look into some of the other Government of Canada activities that take place in the province of Quebec. I am skewing or I am pushing my argument a bit toward the province of Quebec today because we do not have representatives from the other provinces saying that they want to separate, that they want to tear the place down.

I for the life of me cannot understand why this is going on, this notion of wanting to run away from this partnership, from this value system, where we all share on a national standard. We cannot just think of this bill as I mentioned earlier. We have to think of the presence of the Government of Canada in many other areas.

I would like to cite a few of them. One of the highest profile projects in the province of Quebec is the James Bay project. There is a perception out there that it is primarily a provincial project. As I was preparing today I did a short overview, a glance, a summary of some of the Government of Canada

expenditures from 1986 to 1991 in the James Bay project. Did you realize, Madam Speaker, that in that one project the Government of Canada, through Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada Mortgage and Housing, Transport Canada, Industry, Science and Technology, Employment and Immigration, Secretary of State, Health and Welfare, Energy, Mines and Resources, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Justice and the Solicitor General, contributed $607 million toward James Bay?

I am not standing here saying that we should not be doing these things. These were decisions made by this Chamber and by members of Parliament who fought for their constituents, whether it be for job creation or to make sure that the economic viability of the province was there, but what I cannot understand is after all of this sort of federal presence, this Government of Canada work and presence, why Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition wants to separate.

That is a question that many of my constituents have. I thought that today, because we were debating this bill, it would be a time to reflect and a time for all of us on this side to revisit the whole exercise of examining the Government of Canada presence in the province of Quebec. It is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that all of our constituents and all of their constituents know just what services are provided and where we fall short.

I am not suggesting for a second that the situation is perfect. I think that Richard Séguin has a legitimate beef. When we talk about Canadian artists I believe Richard Séguin is a Canadian artist. When we listen to English radio stations all we hear is English radio programs. Those are Canadian airwaves. Why can we not have Séguin on every radio station in Canada the same way we have Anne Murray or Blue Rodeo on every radio station in Canada?

I am not standing here saying that there are not some legitimate concerns, but what I am concerned about is the fact that we are not communicating to the people who live and work in the province of Quebec all of the Government of Canada presence that is there for them. The Government of Canada presence through programs and services, whether they be in industry, through the Department of National Defence, through the historic sites that are supported by the Government of Canada, through the Department of Tourism, all of these points of presence are something that we have to make known to the people of Quebec. If they should want to walk away from that they should at least know what the whole story is all about.

I am convinced that once the total and accurate story has been told there will be some Quebecers who may now be thinking more in the separatist mode who might change their position. Is it possible? I hope so.

I feel the more the members opposite become exposed to some of the Government of Canada work that is done in the province of Quebec that some of them might be a little less antagonistic toward the whole notion of Quebec within Canada.

I stand here today recognizing and supporting totally Bill C-3. I hope that all members opposite will communicate to their constituents that we on this side of the House are supporting this bill with firmness. We are not in any way, shape or form questioning it, but we are asking ourselves if we are communicating. Usually when someone has a resentment toward a particular institution or a particular operation of government, there are legitimate reasons like waste or duplication. I accept the fact that we must work at correcting a lot of those flaws that are in the system.

Those flaws that are in our system right now were created by many institutionalized bureaucracies around here. Those frustrations, believe you me, are the same for many people. We have the same feeling in downtown Toronto for those duplications and institutionalized bureaucracies and units that are no longer serving the end user in the way they were originally intended to serve the end user. But we do not say okay, let us throw up our hands and quit. The purpose of our presence here today is to make sure that we fix those things that are no longer serving the public.

I hope that the message of the bill can be told to the people of Quebec. In the last five years close to $50.7 billion was transferred; in the next five years it will be close to $70 billion. That, along with all the other Government of Canada presence in the province of Quebec, I believe should mean something. Let us hope with a good communication plan over the next little while it will shift the attitude and cause a different approach from Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Broadview-Greenwood for his speech, because finally he got into the substantive issue.

The people of Quebec all know what is in this bill; for 25 years, we in Quebec have been debating this situation of money from the federal government that fluctuates from year to year. For us the time for plumbers is over; for us now is the time for architects.

We do not care that you wanted to give us fish with a law like that. We want to be able to fish. What we want is to control things ourselves and have a free hand to run our own show. For that, what is most important to us is to have a government that raises taxes giving services to the people for the taxes it raises.

Now, because of the problem with Canadian federalism, to begin with, whereby the federal government has the right to raise taxes in areas it does not control, we have this fantastically hypocritical situation where the federal government says that it is giving us money back. It is not giving us money back; it is collecting our taxes and distributing them differently and for 125 years we have fought it because it never suited us.

That is why we in Quebec decided that there was no longer any point in coming here to fight with federalist members. Thus Quebecers elected sovereigntists because, as I was just saying, they no longer want to change the plumbing; they want to change house.

What I also wanted to tell you is that there are still problems with this bill, because from the time a ceiling was set, the following perverse effect has been created: Quebec's payment is 60 per cent of what it would be without the ceiling. When the federal government was run without the present level of deficits, we could afford this reduction, setting aside the basic problem with the federal system.

Since the federal government has no more money because it mismanages ours, not only Quebecers' money but that of all Canadians, it set a ceiling. With the ceiling, Quebec's share is decreasing systematically.

I quite agree with what the hon. member said about Richard Séguin-I know him well, and also his twin sister, who is a great singer; they are about my age and we have the same dream-we want to control our means of development so that our future can turn out as we want.