House of Commons Hansard #274 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

Quebec Culture
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently the Minister of Canadian Heritage changed the legislation governing

his department. It now denies the existence of Quebec culture. Section 4(1) describes the minister's powers and clearly talks of a single Canadian identity and culture.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Given the government's claims that its resolution on Quebec's distinct nature will guide its actions, does the Minister of Canadian Heritage intend amending his department's legislation to contain reference to Quebec's culture?

Quebec Culture
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we will have an opportunity on Monday, at our next meeting, to speak to the existence of a Quebec identity and a Quebec cultural identity, before the House of Commons. At that point I will look to see whether my colleagues opposite rise in support of the uniqueness of Quebec culture. They may remain seated; I shall rise.

Quebec Culture
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are now used to the minister's contorted answers, but I must say this last one was a real humdinger.

In refusing today to amend his legislation, is the minister not proving the emptiness of his government's motion on the distinct society and the fact that it is worth less than the paper it is written on?

Quebec Culture
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be clearer than a vote on a unique Quebec culture. I will see on Monday how my colleagues will vote in recognizing it. If they remain seated, it is because they do not recognize it. I will be voting in favour.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask about the unique culture of the Liberal government. Yesterday morning the government's veto bill, Bill C-110, gave two provincial premiers a veto over the Constitution. This morning it gives four provincial premiers a veto over the Constitution.

After limiting debate in the House on the first day of debate, after limiting committee hearings to two days and giving witnesses 24 hours notice, the government now informs us it wants to make a major change.

My question is for the intergovernmental affairs minister. Will the government admit that it should properly consult Parliament, affected parties, experts and Canadians and that the appropriate thing to do is to withdraw Bill C-110?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in fact the government was listening to the advice of the leader of the Reform Party, who only a few days ago in the House said that we should extend a veto to the fifth region and that the fifth region should be British Columbia.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

December 8th, 1995 / 11:25 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government calls that listening, it was not listening very carefully. We suggested that it is the people of Canada who should have a say; the provinces already have a say.

The government has just made a major change to a one clause bill. It has admitted that there are unclear legal issues surrounding the bill and it may be challenged in court.

If the government will not withdraw Bill C-110, will the government at least commit to the House that it will not bring in further time allocation, not further limit debate and give Canadians a chance to consider these issues?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I want to restate the fact that when the leader of the third party gave advice to the House about the recognition of a fifth region for the purposes of a veto, a statement which he made on November 29, 1995, what the Prime Minister did was to respond to good advice from the leader of the third party.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is an incredible exercise in the power of listening. I will say once again that what the Reform Party and the leader of the Reform Party said was that the government should consult the people of all the regions of Canada, not the legislatures and the premiers.

The government has come up with a new definition of unity: We are going to unite Canadians by getting them all against something at the same time. The bill has been rejected by the Government of Quebec and in polls of the people. It has been rejected by the Government of British Columbia, even with the change, and by the Government of Alberta. It has created a firestorm across the west. Aboriginal representatives say they were not consulted. The Government of Saskatchewan said it was not consulted.

Who exactly is it that the government believes it is pleasing with this legislation?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I fear that the hon. member from Alberta is suffering some political amnesia. In the last seven days, in the course of this debate, the leader of the third party rose in the House to speak on this issue. I would like to read what he said into the record because I think the hon. member from Alberta is now-

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Tobin Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

He is swallowing himself whole.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Hamilton East, ON

-swallowing himself whole, to quote another member of the government.

The quote reads: "The government has not given priority whatsoever to the concerns and aspirations of British Columbia, the third most populous province in the country. B.C. is not recognized by the government as a region in its own right. The government is prepared to recognize Quebec as a distinct society. When is the government prepared to recognize B.C. as an important province of Canada?"

That is why the Prime Minister, following good advice which he received from the leader of the third party and good advice which he received from members of the Liberal caucus and others, has amended the bill to make it a better bill.

Copyright
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

On December 22, 1994, the heritage minister and his industry colleague issued a joint press release stating that a bill to amend the copyright legislation would be tabled in the House as early as possible in the new year.

Could the heritage minister confirm that the copyright bill will indeed be tabled before the December 15 adjournment, that is to say within the next seven days?

Copyright
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our colleague does not like to be kept in suspense. I indicated that the bill in question was on a critical path. It still is, and it is making headway. In due course, the bill will be tabled in the House.

Copyright
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the minister is the one on a critical path.

Does the minister not realize that, according to the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, this regulatory vacuum resulted in losses of $300 million this year because of private copying and that his inaction is sending the message that the future of our artists is a matter of supreme indifference to him?