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

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada prefers the option recommended by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. We believe the mandate should be redefined to make it possible for our troops to avoid the kind of position they are in now.

That is exactly what I said to the Secretary General when I spoke to him on Sunday. He preferred the option favoured by Canada.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is now negotiating with the Serbs to let Canadian soldiers volunteer to replace their colleagues who have been taken hostage so they can take turns.

Notwithstanding the noble proposition of our Canadian peacekeepers, could the government tell us whether these exchanges will be restricted to hostages who are ill, because otherwise, it would be tantamount to agreeing that the Serbs have the right to take hostages?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the soldiers who are there and who know their colleagues are being held a few kilometres away from the base are trying to find a way to put an end to this situation. They are trying to find a way to end the deadlock. Last year, the situation went on for a few weeks, and the local commanding officer managed to find a solution that was acceptable to all parties.

For the time being, I would rather let the local authorities decide on the best way to obtain the release of the hostages or at least provide for maximum security, under the circumstances.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must say we are far removed from the days when Lester B. Pearson was a household word in international relations.

Are we to understand that Canada has no clearcut policy on redefining the mandate of the peacekeepers in Bosnia because it no longer has any influence and has ceased to show leadership among peacekeeping forces on the international scene, now that it is not even a member of the contact group and has been relegated to the role of a bit player, merely following the cues given by other countries?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just explained that the position taken yesterday by the Secretary-General of the United Nations is exactly the one we proposed to him over the weekend. I personally had a discussion with him on Sunday morning.

We are using all the channels available to us. In that case it is evident that the position of Canada was integral to reaching a conclusion. It is not one that is supported by all participants. We are in constant contact with the United Nations.

I have to say that the Secretary-General of the United Nations recognizes that of all the forces available anywhere in the world, when Canadians are there he can always rely on them because they are the best. He is listening to Canadians as he has done in that case.

Gross Domestic Product
Oral Question Period

June 1st, 1995 / 2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The gross domestic product fell for the second time in as many months. According to Statistics Canada, the GDP fell by 0.2 per cent in February, and by 0.7 per cent in March.

It would appear that the economic slow-down is due to a slump in exportation and domestic consumption. The situation is largely the result of a monetary policy which favours high interest rates, and is not aimed at reducing unemployment.

Why is the government persisting in pursuing the same monetary policy as its predecessors, when it knows that it is bad for the economy and for job creation?

Gross Domestic Product
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that the GDP in the first quarter of this year rose, it did not fall. In only two months of the quarter there were minor declines in the GDP.

These numbers do have variations and they are not indicative of a recession as yet. I remind the hon. member that our economic programs are on course.

Gross Domestic Product
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, why is the government refusing to correct its aim, when the drop in the gross domestic product is signalling an economic slow-down, when its present policy flies in the face of its election promises regarding job creation, and when there has been no net job creation during the past five months?

Gross Domestic Product
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will point out to the official opposition that, looking at these statistics, it is obvious that something happened which hurt the economy. We had a two-week long transportation strike which caused the economy to slow down.

At that time, we told the Bloc Quebecois that by refusing to pass the government bill, it was causing an economic slow-down. Today, the economy is paying for the Bloc's irresponsibility.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's mismanagement of aboriginal affairs in British Columbia has now brought tempers to a boil at Douglas Lake. The Upper Nicola Band is blocking the road to the Douglas Lake ranch and the RCMP is worried that someone will get seriously hurt or killed.

The blockade is just the tip of the iceberg. What we do not want are three or four Okas in B.C. this summer, yet the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development refuses to address this and other similar situations.

What is the government prepared to do to resolve the standoff at Douglas Lake before things get out of hand?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. leader for his question.

As far as jurisdiction is concerned, this demonstration is clearly off reserve and is not within federal jurisdiction. I checked and the Upper Nicola Band does not have a specific claim which would put us in the picture. It is not a part of the B.C. treaty process. On these three grounds it is clearly provincial. However, if requested by the province, we are prepared to go in and do whatever we can to facilitate.

I am encouraged by several things. First, several significant aboriginal leaders have volunteered to help. The hon. member of the Reform Party in whose riding this is has talked to my executive assistant. He has offered some help. I am prepared to delegate someone if Mr. Cashore asks for help.

The other encouraging thing although the situation could get volatile is that Joe Gardner, manager of the Douglas Lake cattle ranch, the person who is most involved, has told the various ranchers to sit still. He has insisted that the dispute be resolved peacefully and we agree with his position. Hopefully we can get it resolved.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal red book contained promises which led to unreasonable expectations on the part of the aboriginal people. In Quebec, the Band Council of Kahnawake, with the help of Frank Vieni, one of those in charge of Indian Affairs during the Oka crisis, has presented to the Department of Indian Affairs a land claim asking for millions and even billions of dollars. The co-ordinator of the project for the department, Kate Fawkes, said that the document contains some real breakthroughs.

Is it the policy of the department to encourage claims of such a large scope when it knows quite well that it will be impossible to meet those expectations?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

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, I believe the hon. member is wrong.

Other than the hon. leader making a commendable effort in French, I assume the question is: Are we trying to lift up expectations? Are we trying to settle? Are we trying to do the reasonable thing?

We are trying to do the reasonable thing. We are trying to do what most Canadians want us to do, to deal honourably and to find just and reasonable solutions. Merci bien.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, if there is anything that has soured relations between aboriginal peoples and governments it has been inflated expectations and broken promises.

The current minister appears to be going down the same road as his predecessors. The Liberal red book promises on land claims and self-government raise aboriginal expectations sky high, and then the government simply cannot deliver.

Would the minister not agree it would be better to make one or two simple commitments to aboriginals that he could keep rather than make inflated promises to 600 aboriginal bands that he is simply unable to keep at the end of the day?