House of Commons Hansard #228 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from time to time I am in communication with some premiers and other people who call me to discuss the referendum and make suggestions. Anybody who feels he or she can make a contribution is invited to call me or members of my cabinet to give good advice.

On many occasions I have been called by officials of other governments and people in the private sector to ask for my views on how we can make sure the country remains together. I welcome the suggestions and the commitment of so many people inside and outside of Quebec who just want to work hard to make sure the country remains united so we can move on to the real agenda: the creation of jobs, good administration and giving a real future to the young people of the nation.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Prime Minister is consulting, but I wonder whether he is hearing and absorbing the advice that he is getting.

For example, the vast majority of Reform MPs are from the west. What the west wants on this issue-and this has been discussed for some 10 years-is not only national unity but resolution of the issue, clarity in the federalist position, toughness in calling the separatists' bluff and a better and more decentralized federalism as an alternative to the status quo.

What is the Prime Minister doing to bring these elements into the federal government approach: the resolution, the clarity, the toughness and the better federalism that western Canadians and many other Canadians want?

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the people of western Canada, like everyone else in Canada, want a good government in Ottawa that is going its job properly.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

They know quite well it is very seldom that I am applauded in this House by the Bloc Quebecois. It is not the same thing in your case.

My view is that we are working very hard to make sure that some of the aspirations of everybody are attended to. For example, the minister of federal-provincial relations is talking about the work he is doing not only with the province of Quebec but with all the other governments in Canada on how we can end duplication. It has to be discussed with all the provinces. Some provinces are willing to see us moving out of some fields; other provinces do not want us to move out of those fields because they do not have the means to operate in certain fields.

The province of Alberta is richer than the others. As the federal government we have to make sure that some of the poorer parts of Canada receive the same quality of services as the people happily can afford in Alberta.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, all we have heard so far in response to these questions has been the traditional approach to managing national unity that has been carried on by often the same people for the last 32 years.

Where has that approach led? It has led to two failed constitutional agreements. It has led to two secession referendums in 15 years. It has led to fostering the development of two full blown separatist parties in the province of Quebec. The traditional approach to national unity has not worked.

That is why we need fresh thinking. The west's contribution is to bring resolution, clarity, toughness and a better vision.

Instead of ignoring these elements or worse yet labelling them as somehow disloyal to Canada, why does the Prime Minister not incorporate them into the federal government's strategy on the referendum?

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is ill-advised to raise the failure of the Charlottetown accord which he opposed because the Government of Alberta supported it, as did the Government of British Columbia and so on. Don't blame it on us, blame it on you. You are one of those who campaigned against us.

At this moment I think the burden of proof is on those who want to separate Quebec from Canada. The preoccupation of the leader of the third party should be to tell them because when it comes from me they do not like it very much. Perhaps because you have managed to get applause from them once in a while you could at this moment tell them why you believe that what they are trying to sell to Quebecers; that it is going to be easy for them after separation to keep their citizenship, the dollar, the economic union and political union, why in your judgment that is a dream they cannot realize.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I know at times hon. members want to speak to each other directly, but I would ask all hon. members to please direct their comments to the Chair.

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

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

In the wake of the car bomb that killed an innocent 11-year old boy last August, there has been an alarming increase in the number of bombings, with two more people killed in Saint-Luc, in the Montérégie region, last night.

Can the Minister of Justice tell us if his government still thinks that the current provisions of the Criminal Code are sufficient to allow police forces to wage an effective fight against this kind of crime?

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the tragedy of little Daniel Desrochers's death a few weeks ago in Montreal. The problem of gang wars and organized crime is a very difficult one and a major challenge for Montreal police forces.

This past summer, I had a meeting with the solicitor general, Mr. Sangollo, Denis Asselin of the CUM, and the Commissioner of the RCMP. We discussed in detail all the various strategies we could use to deal with this problem. We decided to work together and set up a joint committee that will go through the Criminal Code to look for answers.

This is a very serious, very important matter to us. We are now working in a very constructive and positive fashion and I am very confident that we will find a solution to the problem.

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that bombs are exploding. There have been thirty of them since the beginning of the year. Casualties are mounting. In Quebec, 25 people have died. Police forces have been calling for amendments to the Criminal Code for a long time, and what is the minister telling us? That he is studying the matter. The time for studying is over, the time has come for action.

When will the minister table in this House amendments to the Criminal Code that would meet police demands?

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we are quite aware that there is a problem at this time, just as there was last week and as there will be next week. It is not only in Montreal but also in Toronto and Vancouver. It is the problem of organized crime.

There is no simple solution. When I met with the hon. member a few months ago, I asked him: "What do you suggest?" He had a suggestion, which we discussed, but it is not a real solution.

This is not an easy question of just passing another law.

In fact, the Quebec Minister of Public Security, Mr. Ménard, clearly said: "We do not need new laws. We need the police forces to work on collecting evidence against organized crime". So let us work together to find a solution to this problem, this tragic matter. As I said, I am confident that we will find a solution in the coming weeks.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

September 21st, 1995 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the unity minister.

Reformers had agreed with and supported the government when it said that a yes vote was a one-way ticket to separation and that it

would be respected. Without explanation that strategy was changed on us and we have been wondering why.

We have obtained a letter written by the Liberal member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It indicates categorically that the federal government will not honour a yes vote. It states: "The results of the referendum will not be binding and have no legal consequences. The federal government has no obligation to respond".

Does this represent the real position of the federal government?

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I am having some difficulty with regard to the question because the preamble is making certain suppositions that may or may not be accurate.

I think the question in itself is hypothetical but I will permit the minister, if he so wishes, to address it. If not, I will go to the next question.

On the next question, the hon. member for Calgary West.

Quebec Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the minister.

We still demand that the government show transparency. Did the minister explain to Quebecers that, if the Yes side wins, and especially if it does by a narrow margin, the Government of Quebec, the PQ government, will be negotiating separation from a position where Quebecers will be divided, weakened and isolated?