House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

The Rankin Family
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Leblanc Cape Breton Highlands—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, five sons and daughters of Mabou, Nova Scotia made their family and their community proud at last Sunday's Juno Awards in Toronto.

The Rankin Family brought home four Junos including entertainer of the year, group of the year, country group of the year and single of the year.

Combining beautiful harmonies and energetic step dancing, the Rankins have gained international acclaim performing their unique brand of Celtic music across Canada and around the world. They are part of the thriving musical culture in eastern Nova Scotia that has its roots in Canada's Scottish heritage.

We in eastern Nova Scotia are proud to share this rich cultural heritage with the rest of Canada. We could have no better ambassadors than the Rankin Family.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

March 22nd, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Trade have told us: "Human rights are no longer tied to trade" and business sense.

The Liberals had promised a more "we'll go it alone" Canadian foreign policy, one more in line with Lester B. Pearson's vision. Let the naïve think again! The Liberal government is sending the way of the trash heap a long-standing tradition of defending human rights, reducing Canada to the condition of petty trading nation without any vision, or heart or soul.

One Liberal minister after another will visit China over the next few months, but the Canadian ministers will not bring up the legitimate concerns of Quebecers and Canadians about human rights issues.

I hope that Canada will come round. There is nothing worse than a nation losing its soul.

Canadian Aluminum Industry
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of people employed in the aluminum industry in Canada, in both British Columbia and Quebec, to express outrage and contempt for a policy which will provide a $60 million export credit to help finance a new aluminum smelter in South Africa.

This deal is tantamount to providing Canadian taxpayer assistance to construct fish packing plants in Spain or pulp and paper mills in Brazil. It demonstrates an arrogant and elite attitude with respect to taxpayers' funds which we on this side of the House believe should be regarded as funds held in trust.

I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt the vast majority of Canadians would never support this loan guarantee and this leads me to believe that this government does not much concern itself with how Canadians want their affairs managed.

Kitchener Prison For Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, March 17 approximately 700 residents of my Cambridge riding had an opportunity to air their views about the controversial site for the Kitchener prison for women.

Much of the controversy stemmed from the fact that the previous Conservative government did not seek input from residents of Kitchener's Doon-Pioneer Park prior to site selection. This Liberal government has made a serious effort to correct the wrongdoings of our predecessor.

The hon. Solicitor General of Canada reopened the file into the Kitchener prison project shortly after the election. He provided the residents of Kitchener with an opportunity to voice their concerns at Thursday's meeting, something that my constituents have been asking for since the site was announced.

The residents of Doon-Pioneer Park and I would like to thank the minister for taking the time to listen. We all hope that his final decision will be a reflection of what was said at Thursday's meeting.

World Speed Skating Championships
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the world short-track speed skating team championships were held this past weekend in Cambridge, Ontario.

Félicitations à Nathalie Lambert, Sylvie Daigle, Isabelle Charest, Christine Boudrias and Angela Cutrone whose performances assured Canada the women's team title.

On the men's side, the Canadian team made up of Frédéric Blackburn, Mark Gagnon, Derrick Campbell, Denis Mouraux and Stephen Gough came in second, behind the South Korean team. Congratulations!

This was the last competition in Canada for Sylvie Daigle and Nathalie Lambert, two of the Canadian short track speed skating team's stars.

Sylvie and Nathalie have both had exceptional careers and are to be commended for their dedication to their sport.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, due to very difficult economic times in Canada many Canadians have been forced to practise fiscal restraint and responsibility.

Canadians from all regions of this country have responded by tightening their belts and going without many necessities they could otherwise have. They have done this even though many others have continued to live high on the hog.

There are many examples of where fiscal restraint has not been practised to the same degree. One such example is the recent lavish farewell functions to honour the outgoing Governor of the Bank of Canada. Almost $30,000 was spent to bid farewell to John Crow. It is outrageous that Canadians are expected to foot the bill for this lavish spending.

Mr. Crow spent many years preaching restraint but when it comes time to depart it seems like one does not practise what one preaches.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, today a splash of ice cold reality was flung into the government's face with the abrupt increase in interest rates which will inevitably send a shudder through the investment and consumer communities.

The international money lenders have sent an early warning signal to the federal government by increasing interest rates and placing pressure on the Canadian dollar. The budget confidence appears to have lasted only two months.

Did the government address the issue of unemployment in this budget? No. Did the government make a realistic revenue estimate in the budget? No. Did the government build higher interest rates into its estimates of government costs next year? No.

When rates jump and the dollar falls, the federal deficit will jump and interest rates will be forced up. As a Chinese proverb says, unless we change directions we will likely end up where we are headed.

Human Rights
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.

Without waiting for the results of its foreign policy review, the government has already made its decision. It has made a 180 degree turn and set a course that is guided by strictly commercial interests, thereby turning its back on protecting human rights.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he would confirm that his government intends to promote Canada's trading relations at the expense of human rights. I also want to ask him whether on his trip in China, he will allude to the oppressive policies of this dictatorial regime only in very polite terms and in private, on the weak-kneed advice of his Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, whenever we have a chance, we raise the issue of human rights throughout the world, and that includes when we discuss politics with the Chinese. We also discuss the problem when it is time to make decisions on distributing envelopes for development assistance.

However, we realize that we must maintain normal trading relations with China as with other countries. We also believe, as has been the case in the Soviet Union, that these countries become more open as a result of economic growth and trade with democratic countries, and that when they experience the benefits of market economies and democratic freedoms, obviously attitudes change.

When I go to China, I intend to raise the issue of human rights, but at the same time, I would like to maintain normal trading relations with that country. I think this is the best way for Canada to protect our commercial interests and at the same time be present so that we can raise the issue of human rights with the authorities of that country.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister realize that by letting commercial interests prevail over human rights, Canada is relinquishing its historic responsibility, since the Prime Minister knows perfectly well that polite comments behind closed doors will have no impact on foreign leaders who systematically violate human rights? I would like to ask him whether that is why Canada did not express public support for U.S. protests against China on the issue of human rights.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we always raise this issue, and we did. We have an international policy that is different and does not depend on the position of the United States, and I think Canadians want Canada to take an independent position in this respect. For instance, we were the first country, well before the United States, to recognize China. It was not until after Canada recognized China that the United States did so.

I think Canada has always raised the issue of human rights and has always traded with China. Under the Diefenbaker government, we were already selling wheat to China. We have had trading relations with the Soviet Union, and we always raised the issue of human rights. We did not change our priorities, but we know, and we say this quite frankly, that it is no use being holier than thou. If I told the President of China, who represents 1.2 billion people, that the Prime Minister of Canada was telling him what to do, he would laugh in my face. I think the best way to accomplish something is to help this country develop its potential, and once they have had many exchanges with the Western world, they will understand the benefits of democracy and respect for human rights and economic progress in a market economy.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

The Chinese leaders are not going to be impressed by our dollars. What they will respect is an international conscience which Canada has always brought to bear throughout the world and on which its present prestige in the world is based.

There is a clear lack of continuity between the great international accomplishments that are largely the work of the Liberal Party, and its heirs here in the House today, who are frittering away that legacy.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether this means that on his trip to Mexico, he will not raise the issue of human rights violations in the province of Chiapas with the Mexican President, although as a trading partner, he will be in a position to do so.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as soon as we were informed of the problems in Chiapas, we sent a note of protest to the Mexican government. If you read the notes that came from Mexico, you would see that we were one of the first countries to do so and one of the countries that protested most vigorously.

Nevertheless, we believe that it is normal to have trading relations with Mexico. I am surprised to hear the Leader of the Opposition say we should not have trading relations with Mexico and China because we do not like the way they govern their countries.

We have always had trading relations, and it would be hypocrisy to claim that we can cut off our trading relations with countries with whom we disagree on the issue of human rights. We have always traded with China, the Soviet Union and Mexico. We intend to continue and to raise the issue of fundamental freedoms at the same time.

Government's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, as expected, the Dominion Bond Rating Service of Toronto lowered the federal government's credit rating yesterday, justifying its move by the government's inability to put its fiscal house in order. This lower rating, which will translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs to the taxpayers of Quebec and Canada, revives the spectre of major hikes in interest rates, a scenario which occurred before under the Liberals in the early 1980s.

Does the Minister of Finance not agree that this lower rating is tantamount to an unequivocal condemnation of Canada by the financial community, signalling the failure of his budget with regard to public spending control?

Government's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, in lowering this rating, the

DBRS was following the lead taken by another agency last year, that is to say before our budget. So, no connection can possibly be made between our budget and what has just happened.

Second, this rating relates to only 2 per cent of our debt, namely foreign currency. As for the budget, it is very unequivocal. Our goal is to bring the deficit down to 3 per cent of the gross domestic product within three years. We will achieve our goal and ultimately eliminate the deficit. That is our goal and we will achieve it.