House of Commons Hansard #257 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was family.

Topics

Creation Of A Committee On Canadian Unity
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the creation yesterday of a committee on Canadian unity is typical of the makeshift policies that are bogging down the government.

During the final days of the referendum campaign, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invited Canadians and big business to violate Quebec's referendum act by spending millions of dollars in a last ditch effort to win a victory for the No side. He is a member of this new committee.

The Minister of Indian Affairs has on several times mentioned the possibility of dividing Quebec's territory. He is on this committee.

And last week, the Minister of Justice wanted to resort to some outdated legal tricks to prevent Quebecers from voting again on their future. He is on the committee as well.

Because the government cannot keep the Prime Minister's referendum promises, it creates a committee of ministers who openly took positions that were hostile to the aspirations of Quebecers. As a result, the committee's credibility will be almost nil.

1995 Grey Cup
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, November 6 the leader of the NDP, Alexa McDonough, and I had the honour of touring the site of the 1995 Grey Cup, Canada's national football championship. The Grey Cup is being held at Taylor Field in my constituency of Regina-Lumsden on November 19. It is already a huge success with over 52,000 tickets sold.

From November 15 to November 19 the citizens of Regina welcome all Canadians to the best Grey Cup celebration the country has ever seen. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, Grey Cup 1995 is expected to be a tremendous success. Special thanks go to the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club, the Grey Cup committee and its executive director, Ken Thomas, along with the Grey Cup board of directors and executive committee members.

The theme of this year's Grey Cup is "Huddle up in Saskatchewan". I invite all members of Parliament and all Canadians to catch the spirit of Saskatchewan and experience our famous western prairie hospitality. Join us in the huddle for one terrific celebration in Regina. If they cannot make it to the celebrations-

The Member For Frontenac
Statements By Members

November 8th, 1995 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, my friend the Bloc member for Frontenac again demonstrated his complete ignorance of Canada and its people.

The hon. member implied that the National Citizens Coalition speaks for the real English Canada that came to demonstrate at a rally in Montreal a few days before the referendum.

This statement shows how far removed separatists are from the real Canada. First of all, he ought to know that the vast majority of the 150,000 participants in this rally were from Quebec.

Second, unlike the separatists, the participants in this rally will not renege on their commitment to recognize Quebec as a distinct society.

There was no Jacques Parizeau in the crowd to say: "I could not care less about your distinct society".

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, whereas many people, strangely enough, joined together prior to October 30 to promise Quebec constitutional changes that would satisfy it, all attempts to fulfill these promises have failed one after the other, in the days following the referendum. In desperation, the government yesterday announced the creation of a mysterious committee, but nobody yesterday knew its make-up, its mandate or its time frame.

My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Was the hasty set up of a committee to study the question of constitutional and administrative changes to the federation not the result of the government's inability to find a way out of the dead end it found itself in because of the commitments made by the Prime Minister and the fierce opposition by the provinces, certain ministers and certain members?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the promises the Prime Minister made regarding changes in connection with the distinct society, in particular, are promises the Prime Minister will keep.

Obviously, the Bloc Quebecois has no interest in these promises being kept, since their aim is to destroy the country. However, if we look objectively at events in recent years, we will see there have been significant changes in the federal government. We also know that the Leader of the Opposition has said he is not interested in discussing change of any sort until after a yes vote in the referendum.

Therefore, the opponents of change benefitting Quebecers are the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we do not need to look too far back in the course of events to discover that those who oppose the Prime Minister's commitments are those sitting on that side-in the caucus and in cabinet-and the provincial premiers.

Should I also remind the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that the job of the Bloc Quebecois at the moment is to ensure that Quebec is not cheated again, as it has so often been in the past?

The Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday that the federal government could move without necessarily seeking provincial approval, because, in any case, Quebec could block any initiative. Are we to understand from her remarks that the federal government has once again decided to work secretly to come up with a proposal it will then try to impose on Quebec?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the allegations by the member for Roberval are clearly in error.

With regard to the distinct society, it was the leader of the Parti Quebecois himself who said: "Stop bothering me with this idea of a distinct society". This is a matter of public record and contradicts what the member for Roberval has just said. So, he is the one opposed to a distinct society and not our Prime Minister.

Furthermore, in talking about negotiating the best for Quebec, let me read you, Mr. Speaker, what Lucien Bouchard himself said-

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear minister, I would ask you to give this man's title.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Massé Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of negotiations, the Leader of the Opposition said the day they would be at a table would be the day after Quebec had voted yes in a referendum, which he hoped would be held in the very near future. This reveals very clearly that the Leader of the Opposition does not agree with 73 per cent of Quebecers, who indicated they wanted negotiations on Canada's future.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, are the accusations by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the government's phoney committee whose establishment was announced yesterday not simply delaying tactics aimed at keeping a lid on the profound division not only in the Liberal caucus, but in cabinet, where a number of members are still under the influence of Pierre Elliott Trudeau?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I made no accusations and I based each of my statements on remarks made by the leader of the Parti Quebecois and the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Furthermore, in the committee that was struck, we are going to try to find a solution to the problems the country is facing, one that will help Canadians, including Quebecers. And the Bloc Quebecois is opposing our efforts at finding a solution to the present problems and is opposing the resolution of difficulties in jurisdictional matters, despite the fact that the majority of Quebecers indicated in a democratic decision that they did not want to leave Canada.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. All observers are still wondering what kind of logic prompted the federal government to think it might be helpful to set up a committee of ministers in charge of reviewing the possibility of making constitutional and administrative changes to the Canadian federation. Many people have questions, but few ministers can answer them.

How can we believe that this phoney committee can propose acceptable changes to Quebecers, when the real decision makers, that is, the provincial premiers, are not even on it?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, those who want to find a real solution to the problems met to set up a working group whose mandate is to look at possible changes.

It is clear that the official opposition-whose goal, as its leader indicated, is to break up the country-has no interest whatsoever in co-operating or in finding something positive to say about the working group we have set up. Yet, this working group is clearly needed to make a list of the changes required to reconcile all Canadians.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, on Radio-Canada's Téléjournal , the Deputy Prime Minister made this short statement: ``We are now trying to make it possible to fulfil the promises made by the Prime Minister''. Let us be frank.

Is the creation of this phoney committee not simply a federal trick to allow the Prime Minister to save face, since he is unable to deliver the goods and to meet his commitments?