House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the army is being rocked by one scandal after another.

Today, we learned with disgust that pictures were taken of several members of a regiment based in Chilliwack clowning around the body of an Iraqi civilian blown to pieces by a mine in the desert, in Kuwait. No less than 24 pictures have apparently been taken showing this dead body from all angles.

Could the minister tell us if he too was informed just this morning of what these soldiers did or if his predecessor had known about it for a long time and, in the latter case, could he advise us of the sanctions taken to ensure such unbecoming conduct never recurs?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with my hon. colleague that this kind of situation is absolutely unacceptable. I learned of the picture's release yesterday. I have asked General Baril to look into this matter and I can assure my hon. colleague that, as soon as General Baril's conclusions are available, I will gladly convey this information to him.

I would like to emphasize the fact, however, that this is another example of situations, of things that happen and that will not be tolerated. I would like to be able to tell my hon. colleague that any risk of the public being exposed to such things again has been eliminated, but there is no point in having him believe something like that when I cannot deliver the goods.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister justify the statement made by the army spokesperson for the western region to the effect that there is nothing seriously wrong about this and that such a minor incident does not even warrant sanctions?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I realize that it is often difficult to prepare for the supplementary and that, in many cases, the answer gives us a lead.

In this case, my answer to the hon. member was that the situation could not be tolerated. This is something that happened a while back. I asked the general in command of the land forces to try to find out why and how this happen and to make sure that proper sanctions are taken.

Income Taxes
Oral Question Period

October 10th, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister tried to get Canadians to believe that there is no difference in how single income families are treated compared to dual income families under the tax system. I truly cannot believe that he really thinks that.

The fact is that on a $60,000 income the single income family pays $7,000 more in taxes than the dual income family.

Why is the finance minister and the government maintaining tax policies that force single income families to pay higher taxes?

Income Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, my answer to the question is the same as it was yesterday.

Income Taxes
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that explains why the finance minister has trouble balancing the books.

I quote from a recent book: "You have a lawyer and he is paid a lot of money. He has to pay a sizeable chunk in income tax so the lawyer gets the firm to put his wife down as an employee and part of his salary goes to her except that she never works at the firm". That is called income splitting and the lawyer who took advantage of this scheme is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

Why does the finance minister support a tax system that encourages crafty arrangements for clever lawyers and wealthy shipping magnates, yet discriminates against the average single income earner family?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The minister used the letterhead of the Privy Council Office, which is his department, but also the department of the Prime Minister, to call a party fundraiser in his riding.

Are we to understand that, with the election approaching, we will be seeing more and more of these ethical lapses on the part of Cabinet members, and that the government's moral code will be taking an increasingly elastic turn?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, do my colleagues wish to know the truth? The office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs issued a release to the media saying that on such a date and at such a place the minister would be speaking and that he would be accompanied by another minister and two colleagues.

It is a release like those issued by the Prime Minister, the minister and even the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the third party each time they attend activities or travel. I do not see why the member is so upset.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Minister of Labour attempt to justify the unacceptable conduct of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs by making light of the error he committed?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that there was no breach of the code of ethics or of the guidelines. This is a practice common to all parliamentarians. But perhaps I should remind the member about what they say about people who live in glass houses.

I would like to remind the member that the member for Québec-Est used the House of Commons E-Mail to invite members to call a House of Commons telephone number, 996-4151, and pay $20 to buy a book written by his own wife.

She should perhaps think twice before casting the first stone, as I was saying.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Unaddressed ad mail is a major irritant not only in my riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton but across Canada. What results will the minister's announcement have for Canadians who are tired of receiving what they call junk mail, and what impact will the announcement have on those whose job it is to deliver ad mail?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg—St. James
Manitoba

Liberal

John Harvard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question and his interest.

I would like to reiterate what the minister said yesterday, which is that Canada Post will be withdrawing from so-called economy ad mail. However, I want to assure the hon. member that this withdrawal will be staged in a very orderly fashion with as little disruption as possible. It will be done only where alternate facilities exist.

I would also like to point out to the hon. member that we expect this delivery service to be transferred directly to the private sector.

With respect to premium ad mail, Canada Post will not be withdrawing from that service right now. That carries with it some financial implications and Canada Post will be studying those implications before a decision is made.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the press is reporting a few wispy details of the nearly invisible, ever elusive ethical guidelines of the Prime Minister. It appears that the government thinks that ethics is a little bit like the game "pin the tail on the donkey". The public is blindfolded and if they are lucky they get to pin a cabinet minister with a lucky guess.

No one can figure out why the Prime Minister has not tabled the guidelines so all Canadians know what we are talking about.

My question is for any government minister. Will one of them please rise in the House and if such guidelines actually exist will he or she table them so we can have a look?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the question was properly answered yesterday by the Prime Minister. He said that there are direct communications between the Prime Minister and his ministers on a cabinet confidential basis which set out certain rules of conduct.

The reports that were printed in the papers today are simply briefing notes that the ethics commissioner uses to brief various ministerial staff. They are not the same documents. They are two very different things. I think the hon. member should recognize a difference when he sees one.