House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Reference To The Supreme Court
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can talk about the distinct society resolution, but the best proof that this resolution of the House of Commons is not worth the paper it is written on is that at no time has the government asked the Supreme Court to consider it in the opinion it is going to give the provinces.

If the Prime Minister believes in what he is doing, there is still time to ask the Supreme Court judges to consider the resolution passed in the House of Commons recognizing Quebec as a distinct society. Let him do it.

Will he at least admit that not only will the reference to the Supreme Court gain him time, but that also, in his mind, it will allow preparations to be made for a possible federal intervention in Quebec's next referendum, an intervention that would otherwise be viewed as completely unacceptable by Quebecers, and that the Prime Minister wants the Supreme Court to pave the way for?

Reference To The Supreme Court
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition voted against the distinct society resolution. In addition, the bill was passed by the Parliament of Canada and challenged by no one. A reference is not possible.

Furthermore, in the throne speech, we proposed a series of adjustments to the federation, including our withdrawal frommany areas. We offered the provinces a new manpower agreement,

which the minister is in the process of negotiating with the provinces.

We said that we were not going to use our spending authority without the consent of five provinces. We spoke about a series of things to change the federation. Since February, once again, the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois want to keep the status quo, while we are in favour of change in Canada.

Reference To The Supreme Court
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely astonishing to hear the Prime Minister say that he did not mention the House of Commons resolution before the Supreme Court because the Leader of the Opposition voted against it. I had no idea I was so powerful. I would remind the Prime Minister that this was not a bill, but a resolution of the House of Commons.

With respect to the Supreme Court's opinion, the government is using this reference to create a false sense of security in the rest of Canada, telling people not to worry because it will be a powerful tool against sovereignty. In Quebec, he says that it will not stand in the way of sovereignty, but will merely provide a legal framework.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his reference to the Supreme Court not only gains him time and allows him to pave the way, but that it also allows him to change his tune, depending on whether he is in Quebec or in the rest of Canada?

Reference To The Supreme Court
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I speak in the House of Commons every day. Through the House of Commons, I am heard across Canada, both in Quebec and in the rest of the country.

When the hon. Leader of the Opposition says that this was just a resolution, here again he is demonstrating his failure to understand the facts. We passed a bill on the right of veto. It is a bill, not a resolution. It is a bill and the member voted against a bill giving Quebec the right of veto with regard to any changes to the Constitution.

Speaking about promises, we are in our twelfth day of question period and the Leader of the Opposition said in Le Devoir not very long ago: ``When we go back, the priority will be on the problems our people are experiencing, particularly in Montreal and in Quebec. We will be talking about jobs, about the economy. We have suggestions to make''.

Because he is unable to attack us on our economic policies, all the Leader of the Opposition can talk about is the Constitution.

The Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

October 1st, 1996 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In his Le Canada et le Québec après le référendum: explications d'une quasi-défaite , written when he was an academic, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs accused the Prime Minister of having contributed to the sovereignist cause and of having lacked clarity in his promises during the last referendum. To quote him: ``Ironically, these promises made in desperation probably did not help the No cause. On the contrary, the contradictions within the No camp, and the lack of clarity in the promises, probably convinced voters to vote Yes.''

Since the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs stated yesterday that he was proud that, since entering politics, he has never had to back down from anything he wrote as a university professor, does he still maintain that severe judgment of the man who is now his leader?

The Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have never blamed the Prime Minister for the referendum victory by the No. I have simply said that the promises made came too late to have a positive impact on the vote.

That is why prompt action is necessary. That is why it is important to clarify things rapidly, and not to let the separatist camp exploit the confusion, and we are going to clarify a number of things.

It is, for example, incorrect to say that this federation is centralized. It is one of the most decentralized possible. It is incorrect to say that Quebecers do not have a share in this confederation. This is one of the most generous federations there is, and it is wrong to say that this federation cannot change. We shall improve it by working with all of our partners who believe in Canada. It is wrong to spread a whole pack of falsehoods, as the opposition and the independentist movement are constantly doing, and we are going to clarify things as soon as possible.

The Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that same book, the minister wrote that the Liberals ought perhaps, and again I quote: "to consider the opinion of the leader of the Reform Party by passing a law clarifying the conditions under which a province can separate from Canada."

The Minister having stated yesterday in this House that he denies absolutely nothing in what he has written, are we to understand that his thoughts are the same today, that the government ought to follow the plan of the Reform leader, and that consequently he is giving his blessing to the holy alliance of Liberals and Reformers against Quebec?

The Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, what Quebecers see is certainly all of the efforts being expended to cloud the issue.

The opposition is well aware that confusion can help it win out, and that a clear question, a clear process relating to secession, will bring Quebecers and other Canadians to a reconciliation and will reinforce the solidarity that joins them, rather than breaking it down. They are aware of this, and that is why they fear the undertaking we have begun.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the military justice system was brought under a cloud because of the Somalia inquiry.

Last night CBC reported another example of the apparent failure of the military justice system under this Minister of National Defence.

Commander Dean Marsaw was court martialled and found guilty of verbal and physical misconduct. However, transcripts and videos of the investigations show the witnesses being badgered, called liars and being accused of not co-operating. Before Marsaw can be dismissed from the forces the minister must confirm the dismissal.

Will the minister show some support for the morale in the forces and immediately suspend the dismissal of Commander Marsaw?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member shows his absolute contempt for due process in the Canadian justice system.

We have a case here of a court martial. I cannot talk about the details but the individual concerned has the right to appeal to the court martial appeal court. That court is composed of three civilian justices, usually of the Federal Court of Canada or the superior courts of the provinces.

I think the hon. member would serve the cause of justice well if he would let the process take its course, allow the individual to make up his own mind as to what to do and not to second guess once again individual cases on the floor of the House of Commons.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, why will this minister not show some competence and just do what is right for once?

The minister refuses to act on what appears to be a gross injustice. Time and time again we keep coming across instances where the military justice system goes on a witch hunt. Corporal Pernelle is being court martialled for telling the truth to the Somalia inquiry. Dean Marsaw has already been found guilty and is about to be kicked out of the forces. The whole investigation has been called into question.

To restore the integrity of the investigation of Commander Marsaw, will the minister bring the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in to conduct an investigation into the botched investigation?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member admits to coming to certain conclusions based on appearances from some television program.

The fact is we see clearly once again that Reform Party justice is vigilante justice, and that is not Canadian justice.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister forgets that he himself this past summer suggested that the military justice system needs to be reviewed. The military justice system is in shambles under this minister.

There are double standards applied. General Boyle got special treatment when he was interviewed and he was handled with kid gloves. In Commander Marsaw's case witnesses were grilled and accused of lying. It appears that Marsaw was railroaded and the justice system has failed him.

It is time for a complete overhaul of the judge advocate general's office. This is the only way to avoid repeats of events like Marsaw's case.

To restore morale in the Canadian Armed Forces and to demonstrate leadership, will the minister commit to an immediate overhaul of the justice system in the military?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

The hon. member knows that I have said we are reviewing all procedures and practices at national defence and one of them will be the military justice system. I hope Parliament will take part in that review and I hope the hon. member will make some reasoned and informed comments instead of the ones that he has been making.

The hon. member talks about shambles. The only thing that is in shambles is the Reform Party of Canada. Day after day its members come here and they castigate people in the military. They reflect upon the judicial process, the commission on Somalia. They have nothing to say on national unity, nothing on the economy, nothing on agriculture, nothing on social justice, nothing on pension reform. The Reform Party has nothing to say.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.