House of Commons Hansard #255 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the reply by the real Minister of Justice. But I must regret the lack of insight in his answer, which lead to my supplementary question.

Because two out of three Canadians are opposed to reopening the constitution, will the Minister of Justice admit that the only true path to change for Quebecers is the sovereignty of Quebec?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

No, Mr. Speaker.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

November 6th, 1995 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, polls over the weekend indicate that in the wake of last week's no vote a strong majority of Canadians, both inside and outside Quebec, feel that the country should be more decentralized. The polls also indicate that support for a distinct society clause is weak and that such a clause would likely run into problems if the government tries to introduce it.

Given these sentiments, will the government commit to abandoning the distinct society clause?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have made it clear that we intend to proceed with the engagements taken by the Prime Minister during the course of the referendum. We intend to respect those.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the answer is a little vague, but let us try to pin it down a bit more.

Will the minister not agree that rather than trying to enshrine a distinct society into the Constitution, if that is what is meant by the answer, legitimate aspirations of everyone can be met through the devolution of powers for language and culture from the federal to all provincial governments without the need for constitutional change?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canadians made it clear, both Quebecers who voted in the referendum and other Canadians

across the country, that they want governments that embrace change and governments that are prepared to challenge the status quo.

We are the government that over the last two years has not only challenged the status quo, we have laid out a path for harmonization to make sure that governments that can best deliver to the people are the governments that are in the position of doing so. We believe that process should continue.

We challenge the status quo. Unfortunately, the two parties that seem to hide behind the status quo are the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week as he left a cabinet meeting, the Minister of Justice clearly raised the possibility of dusting off an ancient federal power of disallowance which has not been used for more than half a century or going before the courts to stop Quebec if someday it wanted another referendum on its political future.

My question is directed to the Minister of Justice. Could the minister confirm that he intends to use the power of disallowance which, according to the Supreme Court, has become obsolete, to prevent Quebecers from voting democratically on their political future?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the real question, the most important one for the future, is good government for Canada. The Prime Minister promised to provide good government for Canada. Constructive changes in the government's administration have been discussed, and once these are implemented, we are confident there will be no need for another referendum campaign in the future.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly, the Minister of Justice does not deny what he said last week, so I am back with a supplementary.

Does the Minister of Justice not think it was indecent to consider resurrecting the power of disallowance or going before the courts to silence the voice of the people of Quebec?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the questions last week about constitutional powers were technical but the concerns of this government are not only about constitutional powers but about this government's responsibility for political stability in Canada. The source of that stability is good government.

Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of sick to think that the Conservative and Liberal governments over all these years have raised the debt in this country to $567 billion.

On the very day of the referendum, the government quietly tabled legislation to increase Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's loan liability by $50 billion, from $100 billion to $150 billion.

I would like to ask the minister of public works why is this government adding a further $50 billion liability to this country and an already overburdened economy, thereby expanding the government's authority in the area of housing?

Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised at the question from the hon. member who continues to show a lack of understanding on the various programs operated by the Government of Canada.

In the premise of his question, once again the hon. member alludes to facts which are incorrect. The hon. member and all hon. members should know that this fund is self-sustaining. There are no appropriations from the Government of Canada for this fund. In point of fact over 330,000 Canadians have benefited from this program.

I would suggest to the hon. member that once in a while he should get his facts straight.

Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I guess after the rough ride the minister had this summer he wants to get back. That is interesting.

There are two types of liability in this country. One type is on the books of the government and the other rest in the 24 seats in the front here.

I confirmed with the vice-president of finance for CMHC that if any of these mortgages are defaulted they are a liability against the government. Perhaps the minister missed that idea.

Will the minister commit today to introducing legislation to guarantee exclusive provincial control of housing, and if not, why not?

Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part of the hon. member's question is no. The reason is that unlike the third party, the government does not have an ideology that the role of the national government is to be a Visa or Chargex for provincial governments.

We believe there ought to be a role for the Government of Canada in the affairs of the nation. Such a suggestion which has been proposed by the hon. member is not shared by other members of his own party who are asking the government to put more money into housing programs across the country.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

As my colleague from the Reform Party pointed out, an individual armed with a knife broke into the Prime Minister's official residence with disconcerting ease, thereby highlighting the shortcomings of the security system designed to protect the Prime Minister and all other Canadian parliamentary leaders.

How can the Solicitor General explain the fact that an individual was able to break into the Prime Minister's residence so easily, and does this come as a surprise to security officials?