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

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Hope report clearly states that the real responsibility for the current labour dispute lies with the federal government.

Given the current deadlock and its serious consequences, will the Prime Minister agree to set aside House rules and pass this afternoon a back-to-work law imposing a 60 day mediation period between the parties without the right to strike or lockout employees, so that a negotiated settlement can be reached?

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his offer. I think that the best solution is to pass the legislation immediately. Otherwise, if we wait 60 days, we will end up with the same problem. We will have lost a whole week, and will still end up with the same problem in 60 days.

I think that public opinion in Canada at this time is clearly that these problems must be resolved quickly. I have received telegrams from Quebec aluminum plants, for example, some of which are located in the riding represented by the Leader of the Opposition, which have been forced to cut production. It is the same thing for Kruger Inc. in the Mauricie region and for the

lumber industry in the northern part of my riding, in Parent, and so on.

That is why we decided that, under the circumstances, the quickest way-and I give the hon. member the opportunity to co-operate by withdrawing his objection so that the bill can be passed this afternoon.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was just offered in good faith by the official opposition an honourable way to settle the rail dispute once and for all.

How can the Prime Minister hide behind his trigger-happy minister's proposal? How can he hide behind this proposal and reject the official opposition's offer to settle the dispute this afternoon to the satisfaction of all interested parties, in compliance with work rules and without affecting workers' rights?

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the frustration of the opposition, which is trying to make up for the mistake it made yesterday. This government's priority is job creation. We must ensure that there is a rail transportation system to deliver the goods produced by Canadian workers to the markets, so that we can have more jobs in Canada, not fewer because of a strike that is against national interest.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, must the Prime Minister be reminded that our proposal has been on the table since yesterday and that it is a clear proposal? If he did not understand the proposal, that is his problem.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

It is now clear that the only ones to blame for the rail dispute dragging on are the Prime Minister and his government.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Can he tell us frankly if he is being totally honest when he says he wants the matter settled-

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Dear colleagues, the honesty of the members of this House is never to be questioned. I would therefore like the hon. member to withdraw his remark.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

No problem, Mr. Speaker. You understood that I regard the Prime Minister as an honest man. No problem there. Being the honest man that he is-

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

We just wanted to remind the House.

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

-as I wanted to point out-can the Prime Minister tell us why the government has suddenly turned its back on mediation, which was accepted as an appropriate solution in the dispute affecting the port of Montreal? What is really keeping the Prime Minister today from accepting our proposal and settling the rail dispute this afternoon?

Rail Transport
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all the means available to the government had been used earlier to try to settle this conflict amicably and now we are confronted with a national strike of all the railways in Canada. The government had to face up to its responsibilities and present a bill to settle the matter.

I realize the press is creating the impression that it is only the Bloc Quebecois, but the NDP opposed unanimous consent too. Western farmers know that we are thinking of their best interests in settling this strike rapidly.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

March 21st, 1995 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, Department of Finance officials will be meeting with Moody's to try to persuade them not to downgrade Canada's AAA credit rating. It is widely believed that what Moody's wants to know is the timetable and the plan for bringing the federal deficit to zero, something that was not contained in the finance minister's budget.

My question is for the finance minister. What will his officials be telling representatives of Moody's?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear to Canadians and to the investment community that our goal is to balance the books. We intend to get there as quickly as possible.

The best way to do this is to have a series of short term targets. That will allow us to hit our targets as we have done for the first time in over a decade.

At the same time, contrary to the doom and gloom on the other side, we shall be pointing out to Moody's that this country has one of the best productivity records in the world, that inflation is very low, that we are creating jobs at an unparalleled pace. In fact, we will be pointing out to them that Canada has the best growth record of any country of the G-7.