House of Commons Hansard #211 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Manpower Training
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the hon. member twists the really deep and sincere interest and emotion of the women to try to turn it into an argument for separatism.

What we offered a year ago is exactly what the member said. We offered to the province of Quebec, as we did to all provinces, a fully co-ordinated labour market program. We would do the planning together. We would have the guichets uniques together. We would work out the programs together. The province of Quebec has yet to respond.

Highways
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament a Tory minister diverted money from a federal-provincial program to a road in his riding. I would like to quote from Hansard : ``The $20 million gift of federal taxpayers' money spent on a project not even related to the purposes of the

fund in the riding of the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is appalling".

Since these words were spoken by the current public works minister six years ago, I would like to ask the minister to stand and explain what has changed. Why is Liberal pork barrelling acceptable to him on highway 104 but appalling when the Tories did it?

Highways
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

London East
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government and the Minister of Transport have answered this question time and time again.

Highways are under provincial jurisdiction. It is up to the provincial minister of transport to determine the priorities of where he wants to put those highway funds. This government obliges what the province asks for and that is what we have essentially done.

Highways
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I guess we are not going to get that fellow up here to talk about this. Let me quote the public works minister once again. This is a recent quote: "Drivers had better get used to the idea of toll booths on the Trans-Canada if they expect major highway projects to proceed".

My question is for the Prime Minister if he would like to get up. In addition to the recent tax increases on gas, are we to expect these tolls on the Trans-Canada because his ministers are using the highway improvement money to buy votes in their own ridings?

Highways
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

London East
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again to educate the Reform Party, highways are under provincial jurisdiction. To toll a highway is the responsibility of the provincial government. Not to toll a highway is the responsibility of the provincial government. Surely the Reform Party, which calls for more autonomy for the provinces, would not want this federal government to intrude on provincial jurisdiction.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

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

In 1993, Canada's child poverty rate was the second highest among industrialized countries. Last year, more than one in five Canadian children were poor. And all that the federal government has on its social program reform agenda are cuts, cuts, cuts.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the problem of child poverty is caused by their parents' poverty and that the measures taken by the government since it was elected only push families closer to the brink of poverty, in particular by making many of them ineligible for unemployment insurance?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, we have said right from the beginning that one of the real purposes for undertaking a major modernization of our social programs is to tackle the whole problem of poverty faced by women and children. The beginning of that was to create the proper economic climate.

I would like to point out to the hon. member that in the past year alone there has been an increase in employment in the province of Quebec. Over 42,000 new jobs have been created for women in Quebec. That is one important way to provide economic security. At the same time, as the hon. member well knows, we have put forward an offer and a willingness to engage in the cost sharing of a new child care program to enable women to more easily get back into the workforce.

We are certainly open and willing to have discussions with the provinces. We have already set in motion a program with the aboriginal First Nations of this country to start a child care program. We would certainly like to continue that work in discussions with the provinces. We are making an effort.

The most important way the hon. member can help in the question of getting a combined collaborative effort on the issue of poverty for both women and children is to work to make sure that the social reform goes ahead in the quickest, most effective way possible.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, 245,000 children currently live in families drawing social assistance benefits. Will the Prime Minister admit that his $7 billion in cuts to transfer payments and the relentless cuts to the unemployment insurance system, which push more and more families on to social assistance, exacerbate the already glaring problem we have with poverty?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, this is the same question. As the hon. member will probably know, in the House of Commons report which was tabled in the House just last fall, it was indicated that one way of tackling that problem was to give the provinces more flexibility.

They could then establish a broader range of incentives and support particularly for single mothers who want to get back into the workforce.

I can indicate to the hon. member that we have been discussing with Quebec government officials the undertaking of strategic initiatives by which we could help with the APPORT program, a very successful program in Quebec, to aid and abet in those areas. We are simply waiting for a reply, again on our willingness to co-operate in those areas.

We are making efforts. Fundamentally, we have to recognize that to bring about a real attack against the question of poverty is going to require the efforts of all levels of government, business, labour, social groups and women's groups. No one single jurisdiction can do it alone. We must work together, as an ensemble.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Since he was appointed to the cabinet, the minister has attended a number of fundraising dinners organized by Richard Gervais, a lobbyist and Liberal bagman. As payback for his fundraising efforts, the minister has rewarded Gervais with departmental contracts.

Having helped pay off the minister's election debts, how many untendered contracts has Gervais or his company received as a reward and at what cost to Canadian taxpayers?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure whether this question concerns the responsibilities of my portfolio. Of course, in recent years, I have participated in many fundraising events, as we all do, and I will continue to do so.

However, I can assure you that the rest is allegation. I would be happy to respond and provide our colleague with all the details, if she wants information on Mr. Gervais's contracts.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, Gervais has received no less than two contracts from the minister. As a lobbyist, Gervais has at least one client who receives grants from the Department of Canadian Heritage. It is a blatant conflict of interest for the minister to be issuing contracts to his bagman and grants to the clients of his bagman.

Why is the government shamelessly allowing its ministers to hand out untendered contracts to Liberal fundraisers?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our colleague knows very well that Elections Canada has a system set up to provide this type of information and establish the rules of the game. These rules have consistently been followed to the letter.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

June 5th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

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

Over the weekend, NATO decided to establish a rapid reaction force under UN command, which, for now, could include up to 10,000 men. France and Great Britain, among others, have already offered to participate. In Bosnia, the Serbs continue to hold more than 250 peacekeepers hostage, including 12 Canadians.

Would the Prime Minister bring us up to date on the situation of the Canadian peacekeepers held hostage and on the status of the negotiations toward their release?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were delighted to learn over the weekend of the release of many of the hostages. A number of hostages remain, including one being held outside Pale. The others are near Visoko, and we are in contact with them. We are talking with local Serb and Bosnian Serb authorities in the hopes that these hostages will be freed as quickly as possible, like the others. However, I have nothing else to report on this at the moment.

As regards the decision by the defence ministers of the countries involved, the ministers met in Paris, and Canada's Minister of National Defence and Chief of the Defence Staff, John de Chastelain, were present. The proposal was made. However, the Government of Canada has not yet decided to take part. We will see whether our participation would be beneficial or required, in the coming days and weeks.