House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is because he is the counsellor to the Prime Minister.

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

March 21st, 1995 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the controversy surrounding the appointment of Bob Fowler to the UN has been very prominent in the media. With all of this baggage, why did the Prime Minister appoint Mr. Fowler without first holding a public inquiry to clear the air?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know about an attack like that. Mr. Fowler has been a great bureaucrat. He has been in foreign affairs for almost all of his career. He is a very competent person. He was a very good choice to be named as ambassador after the great service he has given Parliament and this country throughout different governments.

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I believe the case of Robert Fowler illustrates the fundamental problems, both real and perceived, in the Department of National Defence.

The government has a perfect opportunity to open up the process as promised in the red book and to put an end to the controversy once and for all.

I ask the Prime Minister again, will he consider calling a public inquiry on a much broader basis than was announced this morning?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the inquiry will be comprehensive and everything can be discussed at the inquiry. We have chosen a course that will allow anybody in the department and the armed forces to be interviewed.

To use the House of Commons for innuendoes of that nature, I would invite the member who just spoke to make the same accusations outside and face the responsibilities. When he hides

behind parliamentary privilege and attacks a bureaucrat who cannot defend himself as he is doing, it is shameful.

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

Air Canada recently put out an ad to hire staff for its Asian flights. In the French ad, a knowledge of both French and English is required, while in the English ad, only the knowledge of English is necessary.

As an Acadian himself, how can the Minister of Transport accept the fact that French-speaking travellers flying with Air Canada to Asia will not be guaranteed French-language service?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, while operating as a private corporation, Air Canada must abide by the Official Languages Act. I want to thank the hon. member for asking this question. I will certainly have the opportunity to examine why Air Canada acted in this manner, but I still hope that we will be able to settle the issue, because Air Canada has gained access, since last year, to the Japanese market, something it has been looking forward to for the past 10 to 15 years, and will be allowed to fly to Hong Kong before the end of this year.

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we to understand from the attitude of the Minister of Transport who is hiding behind the autonomy of Air Canada to explain why the corporation did not respect the Official Languages Act to which it is subject, that this is all the enthusiasm the minister can muster in defence of the use of French in the skies?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can tell from the performance of the hon. member in this House that he has plenty of time to go over all the ads from Air Canada and probably from other companies.

As I told him earlier, Air Canada must abide by the Official Languages Act. I will try to find out why Air Canada acted in this manner and we will ensure that the Official Langues Act is fully applied.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Labour.

Madam Minister, I think it is pretty clear we are all very concerned about the railway strike. Could you tell us what the consequences-

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, you should always direct your comments though the Chair. The hon. member may ask his question.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is as follows: What immediate consequences will this work stoppage have for Canadians?

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I think the concerns raised by the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi are entirely appropriate. In the passenger transportation sector, more than 70,000 people in Montreal and Toronto had no commuter trains and at least 20,000 passengers had to do without the services of VIA Rail.

As for the shutdown of services at CN, we see its impact everywhere on our economy. Ford has already closed its plant in Ontario and wants to close two more. Movements of coal and grain have been reduced by half. Kruger Inc. in Trois-Rivières is closed. Pétromont in Varennes is closed. Alcan has also cut production. We are seeing a tremendous impact on the economy, even in Quebec, and the Bloc Quebecois is preventing us from passing this legislation.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

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

The ethics counsellor has condemned a recent junket of MPs to Cuba which he himself said was outside his jurisdiction. Did the ethics counsellor initiate this investigation himself, or was it at the request of the Prime Minister?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor said it was not under his responsibility. He looked into that.

That is exactly why I rose in this House last week and said that I hoped a committee would be struck very soon in this House with the senators so that members would have some guidelines to follow. I hope the committee will come through with some fixed guidelines very soon.

It is the responsibility of members of Parliament and senators to make their own decisions. We cannot impose our views on members. We respect the fact that they have been elected and are adult enough to make their own decisions.