House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Upper Nicola Band
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. tribal chiefs are sending a warning shot across the bow of the B.C. treaty process by saying there could be more barricades this summer. They are reacting to the province of B.C. attempts to reduce unfulfillable native expectations. Yesterday provincial minister John Cashore called on the federal minister to help resolve the dispute at Douglas Lake Ranch.

Will the minister do more than facilitate negotiations as he has already agreed to do and cut off funding to the Upper Nicola Band until this illegal blockade is removed?

Upper Nicola Band
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Nunatsiaq
Northwest Territories

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that a mediator was appointed by the province yesterday and he is in the process of mediating. All the parties to the dispute have publicly called for a peaceful resolution to this situation. I think the hon. member should be aware of that.

Upper Nicola Band
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, these standoffs often go on for an extended period of time.

The federal minister has said that this is not his territory because it is off reserve and the band is not part of the B.C. treaty process. This is irrelevant. The barricades and this whole process are expensive to the taxpayer and to local residents.

Will the minister assist in efforts to achieve a voluntary removal of the blockades by insisting on removal of the funding to the band in order to ensure compliance?

Upper Nicola Band
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Nunatsiaq
Northwest Territories

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

The hon. member should be aware that a peaceful resolution to this is being sought by all parties. The minister has also made it quite clear that he is prepared to assist if asked by the province, by the First Nations or by any other group involved but to date we have not been asked.

Forest Fires
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ron Fewchuk Selkirk—Red River, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

The people of Canada would like to know the federal government's involvement in dealing with the forest fires raging in Canada and most distressingly in western Canada.

Forest Fires
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member's question, a very serious situation is emerging with a number of forest fires that are burning, in some cases out of control, in western Canada.

Emergency Preparedness Canada has been contacted by the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. We have offered our full support. Emergency Preparedness Canada under the auspices of the Department of National Defence has already provided a number of possible airlifts and is ready and willing to provide more.

We are also working to mobilize the Department of Transport where necessary. Certainly we are hoping that over the weekend things will stabilize. We are concerned and we are offering whatever help we can to both the provinces involved.

Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

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

On Tuesday, an Environment Canada spokesperson suggested that the Irving Whale would only be raised high enough to slide a submersible underneath. Yet, the solution outlined in the government's call for tenders is to lift the barge more than 70 metres with steel cables before using a submersible.

How can the minister let a spokesperson from her office give the press information that is contrary to that contained in the initial bidding documents?

Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in this matter, which has already been dragging for some 20 years, I am following the advice given by my hon. colleague, the hon. member for Frontenac, on March 18, 1994-15 months ago-when he asked us to act as soon as possible, and I quote: "-as an ecologist and a recognized environment specialist-this is Jean-Guy Chrétien talking-I can only welcome this announcement. As a matter of fact, I took an interest in the Irving Whale , a potential ecological time-bomb, as soon as I became the opposition's environment critic''.

Instead of complying with the hon. member's request to further delay lifting this barge, we will go ahead. The call for tenders has been issued, and the Irving Whale will be raised as soon as possible.

Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, I would ask you to please refer to other members by their ridings and not by their names.

Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not asking the minister to let this matter drag on for years. What we are asking her is to raise the Irving Whale as safely as possible, even if it is more costly.

A spokesperson from her office indicated that two businesses had submitted bids to refloat the Irving Whale . Since her department has known about the bids since May 11, can the minister tell us the prices quoted in these bids and release immediately all bidding documents?

Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in the House of Commons last year I gave every single document relating to the lifting of the Irving Whale . I also said at that time that the proposal being pushed by the hon. member is based on a recommendation that was done by the company that is interested in doing the work.

We called for an independent assessment. If the member wants, I will refer her to an opinion of Murray Fenton & Associates Ltd., Southwark Bridge Road, London, England. That firm has no association with the Government of Canada and says that the option we have chosen is the best scientific option.

I would be very happy to table the letter so we could put the issue to bed and get the Irving Whale out of the situation it is in, which puts the fishermen of the Magdalen Islands at risk. I think the hon. member and her eight colleagues on the Magdalen Islands should stop playing politics and start doing something to get this thing up.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

June 2nd, 1995 / 11:55 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, MPs' offices are constantly flooded with complaints from law-abiding Canadians whose relatives cannot get visitor visas to Canada. Why? Because the minister's failure to enforce immigration law creates so much abuse that the only way to stop it is by denying visas to decent law-abiding visitors.

Why is the minister limiting his promise of compassion to queue jumpers and foreign criminals and not extending that compassion to those who really suffer under Canada's immigration laws: law-abiding Canadians, overseas refugees and people who want to visit Canada?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member told me that he knew a few words of Italian, so in the spirit of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, I thought I would try it out.

In response to the hon. member, the reality in fact is the opposite. The member should be somewhat respectful of the fact that 85 per cent of all visitor visa applications, and there are some one million around the world, are accepted by Canada. There is a 15 per cent refusal rate. Eighty-five per cent out of 100 is not bad.

In the case where those refusals perhaps legitimately should have been accepted, there is a procedure in place for those individuals to make new applications. From time to time there are also interventions. I caution however that a minister should not intervene on a visitor visa program simply because of the numbers involved and simply because the fact is it works quite well.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, whether the minister speaks Italian or English, I still do not understand the point.

The minister talks a good game. Just yesterday he bragged about how well the New Delhi immigration office was working. Tell that to Victor Sumbly, a well respected businessman whose sister and nephew could not get visitor visas from Delhi. They were told there was so much abuse that officials could not risk giving visas to a mother and child, even though Victor offered to post a $50,000 bond.

Would the minister be willing to meet with Mr. Sumbly and tell him face to face that the immigration system is working just fine?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am equally confused by the member's approach today. Usually he gets up in the House and asks the government to keep people out, to slam the door shut, to keep people from coming in. Today he decides to do some constituency work after all because there have been a lot of

complaints from Canadians in Calgary, Alberta who cannot get the time of day on immigration matters from members of Parliament. It pleases me, finally, to see the member of Parliament stand up for his constituents.