House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

International Association Of Firefighters
Statements By Members

April 20th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, over the last few days many MPs have met with representatives of the International Association of Firefighters.

The firefighters are asking for a number of things, all of which I support, but today I would urge the government to act as soon as possible on a number of them.

There is no good reason for delay on setting up the system for tracking hazardous materials and right to know legislation. Likewise there is no good reason to delay on setting up a notification protocol for infectious diseases.

I call on the government to act swiftly on these two requests of the firefighters. They serve our communities well in an already dangerous job. It does not need to be made unnecessarily more dangerous by government failure on these two particularly responsible requests.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Despite yesterday's ceasefire, Serb forces are continuing their assault on Gorazde. They have even shelled the hospital. The emergency room was hit this morning by rocket fire and 10 people were killed and 15 wounded. According to a wire report just in, even the wounded cannot be rescued because Serb fire is preventing would-be rescuers from reaching them. At noon, we learned that following a request from the UN, NATO countries agreed today in Brussels to proceed with new air strikes in retaliation for Serb atrocities.

Can the minister confirm to us if Canada has endorsed the NATO resolution to proceed with new air strikes and can he also confirm whether Canada has in fact expressed some reservations about the effectiveness of such strikes?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation in Bosnia. The decision by the UN Secretary General to ask NATO to order offensive, rather than purely defensive, air strikes is obviously one fraught with implications.

In light of this change of policy, forces serving under the auspices of the UN will no longer be in the field solely to maintain peace and provide safe passage for humanitarian aid convoys. They could be called upon to take action to impose peace. Ambassadors to NATO are currently meeting to discuss this request and once a final decision has been made, I will be happy to convey it to the House.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the minister that the situation has reached a critical stage beyond which major decisions will have to be made. Must Canadian and other peacekeeping forces be content to stand by, powerless to stop a disaster of inhumane proportions, almost as if they were sanctioning what was happening by doing nothing, or should they take more concrete actions and intervene, as the minister said, to impose peace? The other option is withdrawal. I think that the conscience of the western world will lean more toward intervention. The fact that the

Russian security council convened a meeting this morning is a sign that the conflict is getting worse.

My question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is this: Can he tell us if Russia has agreed to back the UN resolution calling for more air strikes?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the House today is that talks are continuing between government leaders in an effort to thrash out a unified policy. A short while ago, the Prime Minister of Canada spoke with the President of the United States who himself was scheduled to speak with the Russian president. These talks will continue during the next few hours, the objective being to devise a plan of action, one that has the widest possible support, to bring an end to the conflict raging in the former Yugoslavia.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Russians could decide to retire the kind of support, at least the sympathy they had for the Serb movement. Now we hear that the conflict might expand to Iran because the last dispatch is to the effect that the Ayatollah Khamenei has just ordered Iranian troops to intervene in Bosnia to defend the Muslims.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree that the situation could deteriorate very rapidly?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think we should be very cautious about all these rumours. One thing is certain, and that is that members of NATO are trying to put forward a unanimous position and to bring along other important players in this area of the world to draft a common approach to the current situation.

I can confirm that there have been discussions at the highest levels. It is quite clear that the involvement and the co-operation of Russia with the European Union, the United States and Canada could be very decisive in making sure we take steps that will stop this conflict in the ex-Yugoslavia.

Our purpose is to arrive at a united front and to ensure that all the parties in ex-Yugoslavia come to the table and respect a peace initiative.

Action Plan For Young People
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs claims that his government consulted the provinces before announcing its youth strategy.

Yesterday, Quebec's Minister of Education categorically denied having been consulted by Ottawa.

How can the minister continue to claim that the provinces were consulted, when Quebec's Minister of Education denies that he was consulted? Will the minister now withdraw his allegations and admit that Quebec's Minister of Education was not consulted?

Action Plan For Young People
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, on February 28 I met with the ministers of education who compose the Council of Ministers of Education. The federal government was invited by the council to develop a co-operative approach to a broad range of matters affecting young people.

At that time we gave a full briefing to all the ministers of education concerning the various youth initiatives: the internship program, the youth services corps, the student loans and the learning initiatives which were discussed at the request of the provincial ministers themselves.

As the hon. member probably knows, they had issued a declaration over a year ago asking that there be full co-operation between the federal and the provincial governments to undertake a common approach to the problems facing education.

After the meeting, at which we outlined the approach we were taking, we offered to establish a number of meetings with officials to go over the specific parts of the program. There were a series of meetings on the student loans program.

Specifically last Friday a meeting was held in Quebec between federal and provincial officials to discuss the internship program.

That is a fair description of the kind of consultation, collaboration and co-operation we want to have with the provinces. We outlined the approach and certainly in response to any request by the provincial ministers we are very open to continuing the dialogue to look at the specific implementation of that program so we can once again work together to help young people.

Action Plan For Young People
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

How can the minister seriously say that he made every effort to avoid further duplication of responsibility between Quebec's programs and his youth action plan, since this plan has three components that directly overlap similar Quebec programs and are in no way complementary?

Action Plan For Young People
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I understand fully the inability of the hon. member to understand the notion of co-operation. That is probably not part of his vocabulary. It is certainly not part of his behaviour in the House.

However, I want to emphasize that at the present time we are already-and I will just take one province as an example-in the province of Quebec, co-operating with the province on the development of the purchase of training courses. We are working with the provinces directly on looking at labour market needs. We work in a co-operative fashion with the SQDM. We have joint management of co-operative education with the province of Quebec. We have joint approval of stay in school initiatives. There is a substantial number of areas where we work in co-operation with the provinces and with the province of Quebec. It is too bad the hon. member is not interested in co-operation.

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister or any of the senior ministers from Quebec.

All of us in the House know that the people of Quebec will be making a fundamental choice later this year that will affect all Quebecers and all other Canadians. That choice will be between a federalist provincial government and a sovereignist provincial government committed to the separation of Quebec from Canada.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Because of the seriousness of this issue I hope that she will not regard this as a partisan question. What steps does the government believe Parliament should take in the next two months to ensure that the federalist option is chosen by a majority of Quebecers?

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the admonition of the leader of the Reform Party to take this issue seriously.

The Liberal Party believes that the future of the country is a very serious matter. We do not consider it a family feud and we do not consider it simply a matter to be discussed by Quebecers. We think the issue of Canada staying together is an issue that touches every single one of us in every part of the country.

That being said, we think that the best way to convince Quebecers that Canada wants them as part of our country is by showing Quebecers and the rest of the country that we are capable of providing good, decent, honest government for all Canadians.

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister's reply makes myself and other federalists uneasy because it suggests that status quo federalism, simply "good government", is enough to rally support for federalism.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister and the government not acknowledge that what Parliament really needs to do is put a new and better face on federalism; the face of a balanced budget, the face of a more accountable Parliament, the face of economic and social renewal, in order to deepen the commitment of all Canadians, including Quebecers, to Canadian federalism?

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, over the last six months the government has shown it is not the party of the status quo. We do not believe that by changing suits you are going to somehow show people that you have a better government.

What this party has shown over the last six months and what we will continue to show is balance in decision making. We will also continue to fight, as we fought yesterday, for the rights of every single minority wherever they live in our country. An important part of a country is understanding that in building for the future you also have to understand your history and that is what the Liberal Party represents.