House of Commons Hansard #240 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employment.

Topics

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last May when the justice minister was attempting to justify the Liberal patronage appointments that his revenue minister wanted for Vancouver Island crown counsel positions, he said that the sole criterion for their appointment was that of competence.

Well, their competence showed up last week when one of the Liberal appointees turned up in a Nanaimo court totally unprepared, incapable of proceeding, and a serious drug case was thrown out. Is this the Liberal justice department's measure of competence?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—The Sydneys
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Russell MacLellan Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Justice said on these appointments still holds true.

The matter to which the hon. member refers is an incident where perhaps more through an administrative mix-up the new agent was unable to get the files for the court. It had nothing to do with the agent's competence. The matter is being looked into by the Minister of Justice.

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this particular case has been before the court since September 1993, a full two years.

In addition to this case, in Victoria last week another Liberal appointee turned up in the court unable to even qualify with an ordinary argument for law in the court. That case was thrown out.

In a second case in Victoria the crown prosecution witnesses turned up but surprisingly the crown prosecutor did not. That case was thrown out.

When is the justice department going to wake up?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—The Sydneys
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Russell MacLellan Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the agent is unable to get the information and unable to get the files then the agent cannot do the job if the agent is not granted a postponement by the court. If this is the case, as I believe it may well be, then certainly there is nothing whatever to discredit the agent.

As I have said, the Minister of Justice is looking into this matter.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

October 16th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. His department has speeded up citizenship processing in Quebec since the referendum campaign has begun. Never, in any recent provincial or federal election, had such an extensive operation been undertaken to issue certificates of citizenship. Because of this accelerated process, more than 15,000 new citizens will be able to vote in the upcoming referendum.

How can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration justify this eagerness to expedite the processing of citizenship applications in Quebec, when his own officials have confirmed that never before had such an extensive operation been conducted just before an election anywhere in Canada?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, what is being done with respect to citizenship processing in the province of Quebec leading up to the referendum is nothing different from any lead up to any provincial campaign.

My department has done likewise with the provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario. If we compare the number of citizenship processings with the year of the Ontario election, it is up some 45 per cent.

Is the hon. member suggesting that we should somehow slow down the process? Is the hon. member suggesting that it is not proper to have the persons exercise their democratic right to vote? Exactly what is his point?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my case it took one year to become a citizen, and the minister did not do that before the elections in Ontario and New Brunswick.

Will the minister admit that the explanation for his sudden concern for democracy can be found in the letter he sends all new citizens, asking them to help build a strong and united Canada.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong on both counts.

The government does not assume how newcomers or immigrants will vote. Perhaps the party on the other side is assuming somehow that new immigrants will vote a different way from the intention of their party. That is not my business as minister of citizenship. My business is to ensure that people have the franchise to vote, whether

it is in a referendum, a provincial election or a federal election. We make no apologies for that.

The member of Parliament accuses me of writing wrong letters to all the people who become new citizens. Let me quote from the former secretary of state in the preceding government, who is currently the leader of the Bloc Quebecois. He stated in the letter: "I wish to extend to you my personal congratulations and those of the Prime Minister on the occasion of your becoming a Canadian citizen. Your government is pleased that of all the nations of the world you have chosen Canada as your new home".

Porcupine Caribou
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby Prince Albert—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation to allow oil and gas development in the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd in the Arctic national wildlife refuge in Alaska. An all-party report supported protecting the calving grounds of the herd which migrates between Yukon and Alaska.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what the Canadian government has done to protect the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd?

Porcupine Caribou
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has expressed its strong opposition to the congressional proposal. Indeed I wrote to Warren Christopher about the question. My colleague, the environment minister, also wrote to her counterpart. The Prime Minister has spoken to President Clinton.

We certainly hope the congressional proposal will be amended. If not, the president will exercise his veto.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

When the Liberals announced the Atlantic groundfish strategy in May 1994 they called it a program to end all programs. Significant funding was allocated to reduce industry capacity and for retraining.

The government has already siphoned money away from retraining. Last week the minister announced funding reductions to the $300 million buy back program, the heart of capacity reduction, because TAGS benefits are running unchecked resulting in a massive deficit.

Will the minister admit to the House and to the fishermen in Atlantic Canada that TAGS is in total chaos and will do nothing more than perpetuate income dependency?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I will make no such admission.

The Reform Party really has to sort itself out. Its members spend most of their time calling for a total cancellation of the TAGS program, cancellation of all forms of unemployment insurance assistance and, if we read between the lines, cancellation of Atlantic Canada on most days.

The Liberal Party announced last week in consultation with my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, the beginning of the early retirement component of that program for fishermen between the ages of 55 and 64, the first round of a licence retirement program. The Minister of Human Resources Development will proceed shortly with details on early retirement programs for plant workers.

We are well on our way to achieving our 50 per cent capacity reduction objective and we are on our way to rebuilding the Atlantic fishery for the long term.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is not our program; this is their program. They are not meeting their own targets.

Fishermen in Atlantic Canada tell me that TAGS has a $400 million projected deficit because, to be frank, just about anybody could qualify for benefits. One fish plant operator told me that one-third of his workforce left their jobs to go on TAGS. Another fisherman told me: "All you need to do to qualify for benefits is show up at a TAGS office wearing a pair of rubber fishing boots".

Will the minister admit that TAGS is an abject failure because it has been totally mismanaged and will now do almost nothing to reduce industry capacity?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is tragic when a member is on the job for a short period of time as a critic and then perpetuates certain rather destructive myths about a region of the country. "All you have to do to qualify for assistance is show up with a pair of rubber boots" is the kind of cruel and twisted humour that does nothing to solve the problems of Atlantic Canada.

The reality of the TAGS program is that 39,000 people qualified, but only 25,000 have actually taken assistance. The others have been able to find new kinds of work in the fishery or in other sectors. Fourteen thousand people who qualify based on the criteria have gone off to find a new start in their lives. Thousands more have entered training programs and many more thousands are now in the process of moving out of this industry and making a new beginning in their lives.

If the member really cared about Atlantic Canada, really cared about the fishery, he would take more than 60 seconds or a one-day visit to write a new prescription for the problems of the region and he would address the House with some sensitivity and with, frankly, some intelligence.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The accelerated processing of citizenship applications during the Quebec referendum, an operation conducted only in Quebec, leaves very little time to carry out the security check required before Canadian citizenship can be granted.

How can the citizenship minister explain that, all of a sudden, during the Quebec referendum, the security checks required before applicants can become Canadian citizens, and eventually Quebec citizens, are four times faster than before?