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

Referendum Campaign
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are some paradoxes in politics that cannot be ignored. Last Sunday, like thousands of other Quebecers, I saw the new Yes signs spring up in my riding.

Two of them in particular caught my attention. The first one showed a nice big flower as the promise of a healthy environment. The second one showed the peace sign which, in my opinion, speaks for itself.

While separatists were busy putting up their signs, a horrible drama was unfolding on the other side of the world as France set off its second nuclear explosion.

While the whole planet is mobilizing against these nuclear tests, Quebec separatists remain silent to avoid endangering the support France has promised them and continue to post their flower and peace signs.

Referendum Campaign
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Senator Lise Bacon took offence at the treatment of Standard Life chief executive Claude Garcia by the Quebec government. Mr. Garcia became an instant celebrity at the start of the referendum campaign when he said: "We must not only win, we must crush". The Quebec government then remembered that Standard Life had been awarded important contracts without tenders and decided to issue a call for tenders, as should be done in any case.

Instead of taking offence, Mrs. Bacon should feel stifled as part of the No side, as Quebec businesspeople have been targeted by the Operation Unity centre and blackmailed by the federal government. Mrs. Bacon's principles are quite elastic. Why does she not in turn denounce the unacceptable practices used by her own side?

Justice
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday it was discovered that two of the most notorious, violent criminals in Calgary have been on parole for over a year after serving seven of their twenty-two and twenty-nine year sentences.

Since the parole board gave them a second chance, one of them is now back in custody for assaulting his girlfriend.

When the Reform Party asked for amendments to Bill C-45 which would make dangerous violent offenders like Jean-Luc Dipietro and Oresto Panacui serve the full term for their original sentence plus the full term for the offence they committed while on parole, the Liberal government said no way and voted the amendment down.

Jean-Luc Dipietro and Oresto Panacui did not deserve to be released. Their criminal records include attempted murder, kidnapping, escaping custody, robbery and family violence-prime candidates for parole according to the parole board and the government.

Bill C-45 was the government's opportunity to really get tough on criminals but it refused to do it. The people of this country deserve and demand better.

Referendum Campaign
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais Madawaska—Victoria, NB

Mr. Speaker, the chairperson of the Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec, Lorraine Pagé, just sent a letter to members of her union, asking them to support the Yes side and make a financial contribution to the sovereignist campaign.

This invitation by the CEQ to subsidize the Yes side comes less than one week after Bombardier was lambasted by Quebec's separatists, including union leaders, for asking its employees to support the No side.

It seems more and more obvious that an independent Quebec will be a Quebec split in half, in that the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association will only be granted to those who support separatism and the PQ government. Quebecers do not want that kind of a country and they will vote No.

Young Trainees Program
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has long recognized the need to provide more help and support to young dropouts and unemployed. Through the federal program for young trainees, 12 young people from my riding of Saint-Denis are currently participating in a training program that will teach them the job of inspector of mechanical products.

Thanks to this initiative, these young people, whose future was said to be bleak, have an opportunity to fully develop their potential. Our government is proud to endorse this project, because it meets the real needs of young Quebecers and Canadians by helping the unemployed and the dropouts. Our young people need this kind of initiatives, not a separatist dream which, quite obviously, would be a dead end.

Maitland, Nova Scotia
Statements By Members

October 3rd, 1995 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my sincere congratulations to the citizens of the village of Maitland in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.

At a ceremony last July Maitland was designated as Nova Scotia's first heritage conservation district. This past Saturday Maitland was again recognized, this time as the recipient of the Elaine Burke award, an honour which recognizes community achievement in active living and environmental citizenship.

The citizens of Maitland have shown both pride in their heritage and a desire to build on their rich history in a positive and healthy fashion. I believe this pride in community is representative of the attitudes of people throughout my riding and indeed the province of Nova Scotia.

I would ask all members to join me in congratulating the village of Maitland on this well-deserved recognition.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today it was reported in La Presse that a secret document was sent last March to the Privy Council's Operation Unity centre. It seems that Industry Canada made a list of Quebec companies, sector by sector, in anticipation of the referendum debate. Ottawa identifies the levers-that is the word they used-it intends to use to urge business people to campaign for the No side, referring to various federal subsidies and contracts, especially in the aerospace and defence sectors.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Does he approve of the fact that a federal department, at the request of Operation Unity, made a list of the heads of large corporation in Quebec for the obvious purpose of blackmailing them and enrolling them on the No side in the referendum campaign?

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think it is entirely normal that government officials should be able to inform ministers and the government of economic activities in Quebec that receive assistance from the Canadian government. That is all part of the basic argument. The purpose is not to blackmail anyone at all, in fact quite the opposite. It is so we can tell people that they can get ahead in Canada and that many industries in Quebec need the central government, to access its funding programs as well as to find markets abroad.

I think it is perfectly normal that the Minister of Industry should know what is going on in the industrial sector in the province of Quebec at a time when a referendum is to be held, so that he can tell the Prime Minister, the ministers, members of Parliament and the public what the Canadian government is doing for Quebecers.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the government forgot to mention that these documents include analyses of the political positions of certain heads of corporations in connection with the current debate, hence the importance of the use of the term "levers" in connection with the way they will behave during the referendum debate.

Does the Prime Minister not think there is something indecent about the fact that, when making this list of Quebec businesses, his government referred not only to subsidies that had already been paid under federal contracts but also to future subsidies that are now being negotiated?

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think it only makes sense for a minister to want to know what is going on in his department. Members rise in the House every day to ask questions, and if a minister has the misfortune to say he does not know exactly what is going on in his department, he is accused of incompetence. I am not going to rise in the House now and tell my Minister of Industry that he is incompetent, when he is making sure that we have all the information relevant to the referendum debate in Quebec.

Quebecers ought to know that what we can offer them now is something concrete, but the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois are trying to make people believe in a hypothetical situation it will be impossible to realize. We are telling Quebecers in concrete terms what we are doing for them, and they are very glad to know about it.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what connection is there between a minister's jurisdiction and the political opinions of the business people with whom he has dealings? And why this excuse we are hearing today, that the minister has to know what is going on in his department, when he is much more concerned about the political views of the heads of Quebec companies? I think it is pretty obvious that this is an exercise in twisting the arms of business people in Quebec.

I ask the Prime Minister to admit that with this list, his government has a tool to blackmail Quebec business leaders who, as long as they are under the present federal system, will depend on contracts and subsidies from Ottawa.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am of course glad to see the Leader of the Opposition has conceded that the No side will win and the Yes side will lose. If he felt confident, he would have said that all this did not matter and that on October 30 they would no longer have dealings with the Canadian government and businessmen would no longer have to deal with the Canadian government. I wonder why he is so scared; is it because he realizes he will lose?

However, I think it is rather surprising that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois should criticize us, when his leader, the leader of the Parti Quebecois, fired every single official representing the Quebec government abroad who did not swear an oath of allegiance to the cause of separation.

When we see the kind of threats they make against people who are now speaking out in favour of the No side, as in the case of the chief executive of an insurance company who has been told he may lose his contracts because he is a federalist, I think the Leader of the Opposition is hardly in a position to criticize us for trying to find out who receives subsidies and in what sector, so that members and people on the No side can go to the ridings and explain to people that the Canadian government provides a good service to all Quebecers.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were well aware of how strongly allergic the Prime Minister was to the competitive bidding process in the Power DirecTv case involving his son-in-law. It will be remembered that he appeared to be extremely allergic in that instance. But it is completely normal for the government of Quebec to use a competitive bidding process.

It is also important for Quebecers to know the true colours of the federal government right before making a decision. The Privy Council's Operation Unity centre has taken the trouble to collect information on Quebec businesses, their directors, their past and future contracts and grants, so as to be able to pressure them to be on the No side of the referendum. We know that a number of federal government bodies and departments possess confidential information on a number of Canadians and Canadian organizations.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Can he tell us whether some of the information in the hands of other federal bodies or departments has been acquired by the Operation Unity centre to create other files to be used for the same purposes as the first?

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 allegations of the hon. member for Roberval are unfounded. The document produced examines the industrial sectors in the province of Quebec, sector by sector. There are 20 or 21 in all. In each, we look at the economic situation and the effect of federal government funding.

It also looks at what effect separation would have on each of the industrial sectors in the province of Quebec, and in each case the conclusion is clear: separation would have harmful economic effects on the economic sectors of the province of Quebec.

Industry Canada
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's conclusion and the conclusions of his document are not even the same. He has not read it. True, this document was requested by the Prime Minister.

When the minister states that these are unfounded allegations, I would like him to explain, to us and to all Quebecers, the following. While the Operation Unity centre was literally collecting secret information contained in Department of Industry documents for the purposes of bringing pressure to bear during the referendum, why would it have deprived itself of information held by other organizations and departments other than Industry on thousands of Quebecers and Quebec organizations? Why would it not have done so when it has collected similar information from Industry in such a shameful manner?