House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Aboriginal Self-Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

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

The government has committed itself to establishing aboriginal self-government in the province of Manitoba. Last week neither the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development nor the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was able to provide the House with a clear straightforward definition of aboriginal self-government.

Will the Prime Minister, as head of the government and as a former minister of Indian affairs, please give the House his definition of aboriginal self-government, particularly as it relates to Manitoba?

Aboriginal Self-Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will take the question but I know that my minister for federal-provincial relations gave the answer last week.

When we negotiate with a group of people about what should be the status of running their own affairs, we cannot give the final decision before it has been negotiated.

What are the goals of the government? They are not very complicated. I was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs Development for more than six years. I know that we need a different regime where we can delegate to them the authority to make their own decisions. I have said time and again that we made a lot of mistakes. Perhaps the time has come to let them make some mistakes themselves by giving them the authority to decide locally regarding education, welfare, housing, economic development and not have them wait for instructions from bureaucrats in Ottawa.

Aboriginal Self-Government
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, as a supplementary question, will the federal government after having arrived at this definition in some way then allow the aboriginal peoples and all the peoples in Manitoba to voice their approval or disapproval of the example through a system of referendum?

Aboriginal Self-Government
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every member of the House has been elected to make decisions. There will be a vote in the House of Commons. I do not believe that every time we have a difficult problem in Canada we wash our hands of it by having a referendum. That is not my way.

Tough decisions have to be made by government. If we do not make the right decisions it is up to the electors to tell us in the next election. It is democracy that is best. It is complicated enough in that area. If we let a huge majority decide in a complicated situation like this where there are some tensions between different races, it is not a good way to solve it. The best way is for every one of us to take our own responsibility, vote in the House of Commons and live with the judgment we have expressed on behalf of our electors in the House.

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The takeover of Ginn Publishing by the American company Paramount continues to stir up controversy. In the meantime, the government persists in concealing the identity of the person who made the verbal commitment allowing this transaction to take place.

Under his great transparency policy, does the Prime Minister not find it disturbing and even unhealthy that Parliament cannot know the identity of the person behind the verbal commitment that derailed the established policy on ownership of Canadian cultural industries? Who is the government protecting in this affair?

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, there was a very complete statement given on the Gin question by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. The member will find it on page 1838 of Hansard . To summarize, we had a legal responsibility to enter into this contract and it was done. It was left to us by the previous government.

What our government did was get a better deal. It improved the deal by putting in Canadian content requirements, author requirements and distribution requirements. It was a great deal for Canada.

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought that a transparent policy means not having anything to hide and answering the questions that are asked. We asked for a name. We did not get it.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage is trying to hide his abdication of responsibility in this affair behind the changes to the Baie-Comeau policy made by the Tories in 1992. To avoid repeating that mess, can the Prime Minister make a commitment today to fully restore the provisions of the Baie-Comeau policy protecting Canadian ownership of cultural industries?

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the question that has been raised is interesting. The decision was made in 1989 when the leader of the Bloc Quebecois was in the cabinet. Maybe he has some special information on the deal that he would like to share with the House. That was when the situation arose and that was the responsibility of the previous government. If the member is looking for responsibility, look right in the front row of your own party.

Rail Line Abandonment
Oral Question Period

March 14th, 1994 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct my question to the Minister of Transport.

There are currently a number of rail lines or subdivisions in the province of Ontario undergoing an abandonment procedure through the National Transportation Agency. In my riding, Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe, the NTA is to rule on the abandonment of the Meaford subdivision which runs from Barry to Collingwood. There are prospective buyers interested in purchasing the line but they are hesitant as a result of the Ontario labour legislation known as Bill 40.

What proactive steps has the Minister of Transport taken with the Ontario government to ensure that rail lines are not torn out of the ground before this critical issue is resolved in order to ensure a solid and diversified transportation infrastructure?

Rail Line Abandonment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear in my answer to my colleague with respect to any proactive steps we might take with the Government of Ontario. We obviously have to respect the jurisdiction of the Government of Ontario in this matter. However I would like to tell my friend that there were a number of companies indicating interest for short line operations in the province of Ontario as well as other parts of the country based on a couple of reasonably good experiences that we have had in Canada with that type of operation.

I think it would be fair to say that since that legislation was brought forward and passed at Queen's Park that interest has diminished very significantly. It is unfortunate because there will be undoubtedly many opportunities for short line operators to take over rail lines in various parts of Canada. It is sad that they are not going to have an opportunity, I do not believe, to do it with the same kind of facility in Ontario as would have been the case had this legislation not been passed.

Vancouver Port Authority
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The Vancouver Port Authority recently approved a Las Vegas style casino project even though such for profit casinos are not legal in British Columbia. Could the minister explain why a federal authority is approving tenders for activities that are currently illegal in British Columbia?

Vancouver Port Authority
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously the proposal that has been taken under consideration by the Vancouver Port Authority is not one that would allow through any measures that authority could undertake for illegal activity.

I do want to answer my friend by saying that one of the policies that we are following in this government, not only with respect to ports but also obviously as we move toward devolution of control for airports, will be to allow for local autonomy. One cannot have it both ways. I am sure that the people on the ground in the greater Vancouver area who have the direct responsibility for management of that area, both the real estate as well as the port, will take into account the best interest not only of that region but of the province of British Columbia and certainly would not be prepared to act in any way that would be contrary to the law.

Vancouver Port Authority
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. I have a supplementary question.

This project has caused much concern among the people of British Columbia. The federal government clearly has no mandate to develop casino gambling across Canada.

Could the minister explain to the concerned citizens of British Columbia and indeed all Canadians, given the complete absence of public consultation, how and why the federal government decided to approve this casino project?

Vancouver Port Authority
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first let me clear up a statement that was made by the member that I am sure he did not intend to mislead the House with and that is that the Government of Canada does not approve that particular situation. There is a local board that is autonomous and is appointed. It is made up of a number of representatives chosen in a very broad selection process.

The question of what will happen with that land, in my view, is far from determined finally because the Government of British Columbia will have a great deal to say about that. As he says, the law does not permit casino activities at this point. I think it is an opportunity for residents of the area to review the matter and make their views known to the Government of Canada, to the Government of British Columbia and obviously to the port authority.

However, there is certainly no final decision on this. I understand the preoccupation of the member as well as many of the people in British Columbia with respect to this particular proposal.

Cable Broadcasting Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I put my question, I would like to say that there should be and there can be transparency when people are aware of current political affairs. This is not always obvious to the other side.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Rogers Communications is poised to take over the Maclean Hunter Group. This blockbuster transaction will create a virtual monopoly in the cable broadcasting industry, a situation which raises some important questions as to the level of competition within this industry.

My question is this: Does the Prime Minister recognize that this takeover will create a monopoly in the field of cable broadcasting and that this situation will adversely affect rates and the variety of information available to consumers?