House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member behind me says, Liberals are optimists, not pessimists. That probably describes the difference between Liberal members and Reform members.

We did an assessment last night. One whole section of the red book deals with aboriginal issues. It has been a difficult year, but I can say to the House that on every promise we made in the red book there has been medium to moderate to significant progress made across Canada.

It makes me proud as a member of the Liberal government and the Liberal Party that we have kept our word and done our job in difficult circumstances.

[Translation]

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

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

A report from Statistics Canada shows a new decrease in the number of unemployed people covered by unemployment insurance. In 1990, seventy-seven per cent of the unemployed were covered by unemployment insurance, whereas in March of this year the proportion was down to 49.7 per cent. This shows how much the reform introduced by the government in its February 1994 Budget is hitting the unemployed.

Considering that the unemployment insurance plan is helping only half the unemployed, does the Prime Minister not realize that his reform is increasing the poverty problem in Quebec and Canada and that he must rescind the cruel decisions taken in February 1994?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York North
Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. It raises the very important issue of unemployment in Canada, which the government takes quite seriously. It is for this reason that through various programs initiated by the government over 460,000 new full time jobs have been created in Canada.

I also bring to the attention of the hon. member that reading the report would make it very clear to her that the reason there are fewer people on unemployment is job creation.

In Quebec over 110,000 full time jobs have been created. Also in the province of Quebec over 86,000 people did not exhaust their UI benefits prior to gaining new employment. That to me is positive change for the people of Canada.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is very hard to swallow since there has not been any net job creation for the last five months, since the new report on social assistance shows that there has been a further increase despite the fact that we are supposed to be in a period of prosperity, since irate unemployed are confronting members everywhere.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Since, to this day, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has a surplus of $4 billion, due to the cuts and the 15 per cent reduction in the money distributed despite an increase in applications, does the Prime Minister not find it indecent that his Cabinet is studying a plan to cut unemployment insurance by a further $700 million next year?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York North
Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a very suspicious way of looking at statistics.

The fact is that because of the changes we have made to UI, over 280,000 low income families in this country are benefiting through a differential benefit rate of 60 per cent.

I understand the point made by the members of the opposition, but I think there comes a time in this House when they should be applauding positive measures for people.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

June 1st, 1995 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, the U.S. and Europe are sending squadrons of F-14 Tomcats, F-18 Hornets, Harrier jump jets, Cobra attack helicopters, an amphibious battle group, and even U.S. nuclear powered, fast attack submarines. Mr. Speaker, does this sound like a humanitarian peacekeeping mandate to you?

Given this rapid escalation, how can the government assure Canadians that our troops will not be inextricably drawn into a war for which they are neither equipped nor mandated?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the departure in U.S. foreign policy to perhaps put ground troops into the former Yugoslavia under extreme circumstances to help with the redeployment of UNPROFOR forces. We welcome that possibility. We would like to know how they would be deployed.

With respect to the British and French contingents, the British defence minister has said that those forces will be part of an effort to protect British forces that are in Bosnia, which are

currently more exposed than the Canadian forces but would be subject to UNPROFOR command and therefore would be available for the protection of all.

This Saturday the defence ministers of the NATO contributing countries will be meeting to discuss other ways we can reprofile the positioning of military forces in Bosnia with respect to fully discharging the UNPROFOR mandate.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Lord Owen, the chief European negotiator in Bosnia, who is himself withdrawing from this war torn country, argues that if there is no peace settlement by autumn then UN forces will be forced to leave Bosnia.

Given the circumstances and that Canada's commitment to Bosnia ends in September, will the government assure Canadians today that after three and a half long years in Bosnia all our troops will be home with their families by fall or sooner?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Lord Owen, we do regret very much that he now feels unable to continue with his duties. He has done outstanding work, but it is frustrating and very demanding.

However, we still believe that a negotiated settlement to this problem is the answer, not a military solution. We will not be moved by any deadlines set by anyone, whether it is the Bosnian Serbs or any other party.

Singer
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

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

Former workers at Singer are arguing that the federal government did not fulfill its contract obligations toward them because it gave the company, instead of them, the Government Annuities Account surplus, that is a part of their pension funds that it was responsible for administering.

Does the Minister of Labour not agree that the contract binding the parties between 1946 and 1957 is abundantly clear and that the federal government had an obligation to pay the surplus out to the workers and not to Singer?

Singer
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, all the federal regulations have been applied in this matter.

Singer
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of difficulty accepting the minister's answer. She is responsible for the No Committee in Quebec and is also my former neighbour in the riding of Saint-Jean. The average age of the 600 workers at Singer is 80 years and 250 of them are already dead. So, answers are needed urgently and must be specific.

When is the minister going to commit to table in the House all the documentation with respect to this issue, so that we can assist these workers in their search for justice?

Singer
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, within the labour program of the Department of Human Resource Development, we always work to make sure that the rights and responsibilities of workers, as well as employers, are respected, and in so doing, we apply the Canada Labour Code with respect to the parties involved. That is the day-to-day job of the labour program officials.

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the justice minister.

Yesterday I pointed out that three law firms with very tight connections to the revenue minister had been appointed. The revenue minister has said that he was not troubled by the appearance of patronage, saying: "I am not concerned. I think merit is the primary consideration for an appointment".

Does the justice minister not think that a $4,000 contribution to the revenue minister's election campaign might have been the real consideration?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, it would seem to me that the question does not deal with the administrative responsibility of the government. It is more of a party matter.

That question I would rule out of order unless the member can rephrase the question so that it deals with the administrative responsibility of a minister of the government.