House of Commons Hansard #254 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Distinct Society
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last stretch of the referendum campaign the Prime Minister of Canada, along with several premiers of English speaking provinces, clearly implied that changes were coming in Canada, particularly the formal recognition of Quebec as a distinct society. It would appear that the Prime Minister is planning in the very near future to make a "motherhood" announcement of his intentions toward the distinct society.

Does the Prime Minister realize that bringing in any federal legislative measure whatsoever on the recognition of distinct society status will not offer any response at all to the legitimate aspirations of the Quebec people, for Quebecers want more than cosmetic changes with no true meaning?

Distinct Society
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when will the party of the official opposition give up on continuing to fight a lost referendum, and when will it start addressing the true problems of Quebecers, which are problems of unemployment and problems of investment?

We face the official opposition here as a government which is attempting to develop Quebec and Canada, which is attempting to reduce unemployment. We know that Quebecers want us to renew federalism and want to see the economic situation improved. And the official opposition is continuing to debate arguments that were settled on the evening of the referendum. Quebecers decided democratically that they did not want out of Canada, and I implore the official opposition to return to the path of duty and to defend Quebecers, to help us create jobs and investments.

Distinct Society
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister talk about the real problems of Canadians, when the government is tabling no legislative measure whatsoever in response to those very problems?

Now, to my question. How can we have any faith in the Prime Minister when it comes to the distinct society, when his allies in English Canada wasted no time immediately after the referendum in diluting the content of the resolutions they had adopted in their legislative assemblies, particularly when we are familiar with the views of the Prime Minister, the man who killed Meech Lake, on the distinct society?

Distinct Society
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the person who changed sides, who jumped ship one month after the Meech Lake agreement, was the Leader of the Opposition.

It would be advisable, if the hon. member does not want to listen to the voice of the people as expressed in this morning's poll, for him to listen to the former leader of his party, Pierre-Marc Johnson, who today stated according to the Parti Quebecois that "the government ought to get busy instead with governing, given the unemployment situation and the pressures on the public purse".

If they will not listen to Daniel Johnson and the Liberals, they might at least listen to Pierre-Marc Johnson.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian federalists must never get into any future contest with Quebec separatists-and regrettably there will be one more contest-as ill prepared and ill equipped as they entered the last referendum campaign.

If we are to keep this great country together, we have to fight the separatist dream with a federalist vision, not the status quo. We have to fight separatist deceptions not with panic or propaganda, but with the naked truth about what separation really means. The time to prepare the ground is before, not during some future campaign.

I ask the intergovernmental affairs minister, in this period prior to the next real confrontation with the separatists, what is the government going to do to make the real consequences of secession crystal clear to every Quebecer?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, during the campaign the economic arguments against separation were done well. They convinced a large number of Quebecers that separation was not in their economic interests and would be very costly especially to the vulnerable elements in society the separatists say they want to defend.

What is more important is that federalism is not the status quo. Federalism has been flexible. We indicated in fact, not in words like the opposition, that we were ready to reduce the size of the federal government and we were ready to review the powers of the various levels of government.

We are presently doing that. The federalism test we have applied is presently resulting in all kinds of powers being reassessed between the federal and provincial governments.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, it may be that some of the economic arguments on the dangers of secession were presented.

The sad fact is that on October 30 over 30 per cent of the people who voted yes thought they were voting for a new and better economic union with Canada rather than for a separate Quebec. The federal government and the no campaign failed utterly to get through to those voters on the negative implications of a yes vote. That simply cannot be allowed to ever happen again.

To prevent that from happening again, will the government begin to clearly and openly answer from a Canadian perspective all the what if questions which are raised by a Quebec secession and which I presented to the Prime Minister on June 8, 1994 prior to the last campaign?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the question asked was confusing. We said that during the campaign. A number of Quebecers who voted yes voted yes under the misapprehension that a partnership was possible and that it was a mandate to negotiate.

What is important now is not to relive the referendum. It is important now to see that we have to reform Canada. The government has not only agreed to that, but we indicated that especially in last February's budget where we re-established fiscal responsibility and where we indicated the future elements of decentralization that should take place.

We are not in favour of decentralization for the sake of decentralization. We are for decentralization to the extent that it serves the people of Canada by making the various levels of government more efficient. We will not move in the direction of decentralization without justification.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government can try to ignore 30 per cent of the yes people who thought they were voting for something else. I suggest that is keeping the government's head in the sand. That is not going to win the battle with the separatists the next time around.

Quebecers must know the Canadian position on terms and conditions of separation. Quebecers have to know the Canadian position on debt division, the Canadian position on boundaries, the Canadian position on protecting Atlantic Canada and the Canadian position on terms and conditions of trade.

Since over 30 per cent of yes voters thought they could keep all the benefits of Canadianism and vote for separation, will the government begin to spell out the Canadian position on terms and conditions of separation in order to make the negative consequences of separation clear to every Quebecer?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian position includes Quebec. It is still part of Canada, thank God, after Monday night.

Even if the leader of the third party will not listen to members of the federal House who ask for his help in the rebuilding process, would he at least listen to the leader of the no forces, Daniel Johnson, who said yesterday: "Mr. Manning is playing into the hands of those who want to break up Canada by not recognizing some of the self-evident truths that this country is founded on". Please listen to Mr. Johnson and join team Canada.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, even though we are quoting someone else's statement, I would appreciate it if we would address each other by our ridings or our titles in the House.

Right Of Veto
Oral Question Period

November 3rd, 1995 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

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

The day before yesterday, the Prime Minister stated in this House, and I quote: "I said it would be a veto for the people of Quebec". When questioned about the meaning of this statement, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs suggested that we ask the Prime Minister himself for clarifications, because he was unable to tell us what the Prime Minister meant.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister clarify for us what the Prime Minister was referring to when he spoke of a veto for the people of Quebec?

Right Of Veto
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois is asking all kinds of questions about the promises made by the Prime Minister, but I can assure the Bloc that we will keep our word. We will stand by the Prime Minister's promise for change.

Let us just hope that the Bloc Quebecois will respect the result of Monday's vote, in which a majority of voters in Quebec said no to separation. They now want the PQ and the Bloc Quebecois to focus on the issues. Unemployment figures were released today. We should work together to find effective ways of dealing with the unemployment problem, instead of continually quarrelling about the constitution.

Right Of Veto
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Quebec regard as important the questions that we, as the official opposition, ask in this House.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain how the Prime Minister can refuse to clarify what he really meant with respect to the right of veto, when the minister responsible, one of the brightest members of cabinet, admits to not knowing what the Prime Minister was talking about?

Right Of Veto
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, obviously, members may ask any question they want. The question the people of Quebec are asking themselves right now is: When will the Government of Quebec and the Bloc Quebecois start focusing on the economy?

We know for instance that the Parti Quebecois was prepared to put on the line billions of dollars from the Quebec old age pension fund, as Mr. Parizeau himself indicated when he said: "The defensive tools we are referring to certainly include the deposit fund. This, of course, represents a lot of money. Hundreds of millions of dollars". In fact, it is more like a few billion dollars. The Premier of Quebec was prepared to put on the line billions of dollars that Quebecers have contributed to the Quebec old age pension fund to further his own separatist ambitions, and the people have said no. Let us hope that he will respect their wishes.