House of Commons Hansard #236 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employment.

Topics

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Roberval continues to make unfounded allegations which are not justified by the document. I shall send him copies of the report on the various industrial sectors in which the conclusion is that separation would be harmful for Quebec. He will then see that this is the case in the majority of sectors.

When he says these are unnecessary documents, that is totally ridiculous, and I do not hesitate to say so, because the conclusions of the report clearly indicate the effects of separation on major industrial sectors in Quebec, essential information for the referendum. It comes as no surprise to me that the opposition has not read it, because it does not fall in line with their conclusions, but it is unfortunately the truth. Separation would be extremely costly for most industrial sectors of Quebec.

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

October 3rd, 1995 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians learned that not only had officials at the Department of National Defence been falsifying documents but that former Airborne Commander Peter Kenward ordered videotape evidence destroyed.

Shortly after the destruction of the videotapes, Kenward was promoted to full colonel. The minister has already admitted that the chief of defence staff would not consider his reservations about this promotion and he did not interfere because he says that the promotion was a responsibility of the chief.

I want the minister to clarify his position. When did he learn that Colonel Kenward had ordered the destruction of evidence? Was it before or after the promotion?

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as a former member of the armed forces, I am sure the hon. member will be aware that following passage of the 1952 National Defence Act an order in council was passed.

It is now found in Queen's Regulations and Orders 11.01(2). It states:

The promotion of a member to any rank lower than that of brigadier-general requires the approval of the Chief of Defence Staff.

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister knew that the evidence had been destroyed. Therefore he is "complicit" in concealing that fact from the Canadian people.

The minister knew of this cover-up. He knew of the promotion, yet he did nothing. How can he justify this gross error of judgment?

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, from time to time you caution hon. members about the language they use in the House. I would caution the hon. member. If he said this outside the House, it might be actionable.

Second, because of the reservations the chief of defence staff had about the promotion and its delay pending certain investigations, out of courtesy he brought it to my attention. When he brought it to my attention, I expressed reservations that the promotion should go ahead. I reminded the chief of the defence staff that it was his responsibility to deal with these promotions and that it was up to him to decide whether or not to proceed.

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not the prerogative of anyone within the military to impede an investigation and to destroy evidence.

Canadians are gravely concerned that the minister, who is ultimately responsible, has allowed tampering with evidence as an acceptable tool for office management at the senior levels of the national defence department.

These revelations undermine public confidence in the military and they destroy any shred of credibility still clinging to the minister. My question does not touch on the Somalia inquiry but goes right to the heart of the minister's mismanagement. Given that the minister acknowledges to the Canadian people that his department is out of control, will he do the honourable thing and resign?

Department Of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I might ask the hon. member if he would refrain from bordering on abusing the privileges of the member of Parliament for Don Valley East and the Minister of National Defence. I believe that is what he has done in his question, when there is a close reading of the question.

I would like to tell him that the chief of defence staff will be making a public statement this afternoon and will deal with all these matters because they are under his purview.

I would like to ask the hon. member whether he expects the Minister of National Defence to have the governor in council rescind an order in council that was passed 43 years ago designed to prevent political interference in the promotion of officers of the armed forces. Does he want to turn the clock back?

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

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

With respect to the aerospace industry, it is clear from the secret document prepared by Industry Canada for the Operation Unity centre that the federal government intends to use the defence industry productivity program to put pressure on this industry in Quebec by withholding funds earmarked for the support of new projects in 1995.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that the federal government is currently negotiating with Bombardier to establish a financial support program to help Bombardier sell regional jets?

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, again, these are unfounded allegations. Clearly, whenever subsidies are granted, the government always considers which industries could use them and for what purpose. The stated objectives are profitability and job creation, and these objectives are those set by the federal government for industrial development in Canada.

Is the opposition suggesting that we not look for ways to stimulate employment in Quebec? The burden of proof rests with opposition members. They are making allegations based on incorrect information and faulty analysis. Instead, they should share

with us the burden of developing Quebec's economy as best we can.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the minister did not read the document.

Does the Prime Minister not find it odd that information on negotiations between Bombardier and the government can be found in an Operation Unity document designed to put pressure on Quebec businesses to make them vote No?

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, ever since I became a member of cabinet and even a member of Parliament, the Canadian aerospace industry has always relied on federal assistance for its development.

I myself was Minister of Industry many years ago. When Canadair was shut down by the American company General Dynamics, the Canadian government took it over to put it back on its feet. It has now become Quebec's largest industry and biggest employer. The Canadian government wants to ensure that Canadair can go ahead with its aircraft development project.

The development of regional aircraft by Canadair has been a government concern for many years, and we are trying to help this industry. In fact, in the past twelve months, we had the opportunity to help it start producing this aircraft which I feel is destined to have a great future, thanks to the aeronautics policies put in place by the Canadian government, which does a great deal for workers in that sector of Quebec's economy. That is why they will want to remain in Canada.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The minister will not tell us when he will release his long overdue reform of the Canada pension plan but perhaps he will share with us what he is planning to do.

Through access to information we have obtained a briefing note by a senior policy analyst in HRD. She states that the Canada pension plan is financially unsustainable. She recommends that the minister either cut seniors' pensions or raise taxes to pay for the shortfall.

Will the minister promise seniors that he will not cut their pensions? And, will he promise taxpayers that he will not raise their taxes? Yes or no.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I will certainly take the hon. member's representation to my colleague, the Minister of Finance, which I know he will be thrilled to receive.

As far as the briefing note is concerned, it is very difficult to keep track of a variety of briefing notes. I repeat to the hon. member that we made it very clear in last year's budget that we have a very strong commitment to maintaining the sustainability of the pension programs for seniors. We recognize, however, as a responsible government that in the future as the demographics of the country change there has to be new financing for the Canada pension plan. The Minister of Finance must meet with his colleagues, the other ministers of finance, later this year to discuss how that refinancing would take place.

That is the reason why it is very important we engage in a serious review of how we can ensure the continued maintenance of a good, effective, sustainable pension program for Canadians.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the hon. member's response and would like to continue with a supplementary question.

Reform believes that pension reform can be done without cutting seniors' pensions and without raising payroll taxes. In his letter last week the chief actuary for finance recommended that the government either raise taxes or cut benefits in order to save the Canada pension plan.

Will the minister reject the advice of the chief actuary, refuse to cut seniors' pensions and refuse to raise payroll taxes?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would be very interested in receiving a more complete and thorough presentation from the Reform Party on its proposals for the Canada pension plan.

When I looked at the proposals that came forward from the seminar or meeting the Reform Party held a couple of weeks ago in Halifax, I noticed that if we had followed its recommendations there would have been substantial reduced pension benefits for 800,000 disabled Canadians, 600,000 widows and 1.8 million pensioners.

I hope that is not the position of the hon. member.