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

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been well known for years that American lumber producers want access to our raw logs so those logs can be processed in the United States. They plan to harass and hassle our softwood lumber exporters until we cave in to their demands.

We were told that the FTA would end this continual harassment. It did not. We were then told that NAFTA would end this harassment. It did not. We were told that special Canada-U.S. trade panels would rule on these disputes in an effort to settle any differences. The panel ruled but ruled in favour of Canada.

Now Mickey Kantor, the U.S. trade representative, says the U.S. will launch an extraordinary challenge to this ruling because the Americans think the panel decision was wrong. They plan to attack the credibility of the panellists.

The previous government caved in to virtually every American initiative. I wonder if the new government will now act differently.

Will the Minister for International Trade tell the Americans to back off? The panel ruled, the U.S. lost. Surely the Minister for International Trade will not stand by as Americans push us around in one more step toward eventually getting full access to Canadian raw logs.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

February 9th, 1994 / 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. Five days after the massacre at Sarajevo's central market, the 16 members of the NATO council are meeting today in Brussels to examine an American proposal that would force the siege of Sarajevo to be lifted within ten days. Just now there was a news release announcing: "Today NATO member countries agreed to send an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs, threatening them with airstrikes if they fail to withdraw their heavy artillery from the region around Sarajevo within the next 10 days".

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether this information is correct. And also, since these decisions must be made unanimously, whether Canada supported sending an ultimatum to the Serbs.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we agreed with the proposal to create a 20 kilometre zone around

Sarajevo, within which any arms controlled by the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims would be under the control of the United Nations. We agreed with this ultimatum.

According to the last reports I saw, Mr. Rose, the military officer in charge of the forces in Sarajevo, said that an agreement had been reached a few minutes ago with the Serbs, who agreed to place their arms in the Sarajevo area under the control of the United Nations. I understand that the Muslims will do likewise, which means that if the ultimatum is accepted, there will be no need for airstrikes in the region.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see that it is not quite clear what steps were taken by the Serbs following this ultimatum.

May we ask the Prime Minister what the terms of the ultimatum are? Exactly what will happen to the Serbs should the ultimatum be rejected?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in resolutions that were passed in August and renewed on January 11, we said-and we supported this condition-that if the siege of Sarajevo were to continue, airstrikes could be used to help liberate the city.

After the terrible carnage on the weekend, the 16 NATO allies decided to send an ultimatum and create a 20 kilometre demilitarized zone around Sarajevo. Apparently both the Muslims and the local Serbs are prepared to accept this condition, which means that airstrikes would be unnecessary, if what I saw in the report is true.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this means there has been a major change in Canada's position regarding airstrikes, because I understand that until now, Canada had accepted the principle of airstrikes at close range only for self-defence, to guarantee the safety of its peacekeepers. I understand that in this case, the government has decided to support the principle of an airstrike against a belli-gerent force in order to lift the siege of Sarajevo.

In that case, I would like to ask the Prime Minister what guarantees he obtained to ensure that Canadian peacekeepers would not be adversely affected as a result of the ultimatum.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when we were in Brussels a month ago we were very concerned about the Canadian troops that were on the other side of the line in Srebrenica. The situation has evolved naturally there. The Bosnian Serbs have accepted the Canadians being replaced by the Dutch before the end of this month.

The situation there is progressing normally. According to the news I heard a few minutes ago, the Serbs have agreed to accept the ultimatum in relation to Sarajevo so there will be no need for a strike. We have accepted to protect the civilians in Sarajevo and, in order to avoid a repetition of the massacre of last weekend, we gave that ultimatum to the military forces in the area.

Deficit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, an official spokesman for the finance department was quoted in today's newspapers as saying that it would be difficult for his department to bring the Canadian government's annual deficit down below $40 billion. We now understand why they inflated the budget deficit forecast before the holidays.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does this surprising statement mean that the government has admitted its impotence and does not intend to tackle spending or tax evasion by corporations and wealthy taxpayers?

Deficit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member should be a little more patient. He will get his answer in a few weeks when the finance minister tables his budget.

Deficit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I got an unsatisfactory answer, as I often do during question period.

Instead of letting his finance minister make irresponsible statements on Canadian and American interest rates that led to his being called the stand-up comic of Canadian politics by the Globe and Mail , would the Prime Minister tell us what his government's intentions are? Would he tell us if his government will deal with extravagant spending and the scandal of family trusts and other loopholes?

Deficit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report that the Minister of Finance is not a standup comic and neither am I.

We are very serious about the deficit question and are very serious about the pledge in the red book to get the deficit down to 3 per cent of GDP in the third year of our mandate.

What was stated in the press was that a number of forecasters had said that it would be difficult to bring the deficit down below $40 billion this next fiscal year, 1994-95. That indeed will be difficult without changes, but as the Prime Minister said we have a budget coming up.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

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

Yesterday the Prime Minister acknowledged that the cigarette smuggling problem is most serious in Ontario and Quebec. The commissioner of the RCMP confirmed that over 70 per cent of smuggled Canadian cigarettes pass through the three Mohawk reserves between Cornwall and Montreal.

Is the government prepared to acknowledge today to the House that the successful implementation of its action plan on smuggling will require not only a national effort, but a special and concentrated effort to re-establish the supremacy of Canadian law on those three Indian reserves?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what I have said for two weeks and I will repeat it. The law of Canada will apply in every part of the land.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question.

Most of us believe that only a small number of Mohawks are actively engaged in the smuggling operations on these reserves and that the majority of the residents resent and oppose the presence of these operations.

Has the government attempted to communicate and consult with rank and file members on those reserves to enlist their support for reasserting the supremacy of Canadian laws against smuggling, against money laundering and the illegal importation and storage of arms?

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, I had a telephone conversation on Sunday with the chief of one of the reserves. Shortly after Question Period I am meeting with the chiefs of all three reserves. I will be seeking their co-operation to work with the RCMP to eliminate smuggling on the reserves, around the reserves and everywhere in Canada.