House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns expressed by the hon. member. As she says, it is a very serious problem. At this time, we are supporting the report by the U.N. Secretary General calling for diplomatic mediation efforts.

The secretary of state for Latin America and Africa, Mrs. Stewart, is in Africa to attend a meeting of the coalition of African countries. She is representing Canada's position in favour of a peaceful solution.

We are also ready to respond to requests for assistance from international organizations. There have been no requests to date, but we are ready to respond should any arise.

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American government recently tried to persuade African countries to set up a permanent force to come to the assistance of African civilians in the event of war. Although this suggestion has, for the time being, been given a chilly reception by African countries, does the minister intend to try to argue for the creation of such a force, which would be one way of helping to resolve the present crisis?

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there have been some very good examples in the past few years of regional groupings of African countries coming together to organize peace forces.

The proposal by Secretary Christopher is one that we have discussed directly with officials in the United States and with African countries.

Again, we have indicated that we are prepared to assist if the African countries themselves agree to some kind of standby force or representation in the central African region. We have a number of ways in which we can support, through training and through the work of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. At the present time we provide assistance to a number of institutes for conflict resolution and strategic studies in South Africa and Cairo. Others are engaged with the OAU.

I certainly agree with the hon. member, if we could work out some way in which the African states themselves could respond. They have an economic boycott which in part has been successful. Clearly the situation in Zaire has the potential for a major disaster. Unless the international community responds with a degree of resolve unlike what we showed in Rwanda, we could be facing a very grave problem.

Canada stands by ready to do what it can.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, in a cynical attempt to get elected, the Liberals promised in the red book not to withdraw from the health care field. The Prime Minister finally admitted this weekend that he had had to squeeze medicare.

How does a squeeze of $3 billion a year to federal transfers for medicare reconcile with that Liberal red book promise?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ignores the fact that the health ministers of the provinces and territories of Canada had asked for a commitment from this government, a commitment which it made and lived up to, to stabilize funding and to give funding that people could address on a secured basis. They asked for a cash floor which is over $11 billion and with which they are extremely happy. They have stable funding for the next five years at an average of $26.1 billion, gradually to go higher by 1998.

I think that is what the provinces and the territories were looking for in order to stabilize health care expenditures and health care systems. We delivered on that promise.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary talks about stable funding but it is something from a stable that we got instead.

Reform however has a fresh start on medicare. When the budget is balanced in 1999, we promise to increase the funding for health

care and education by $4 billion. That is not stable funding for medicare; that is increased funding for medicare.

Simply put, will the Liberals take another page from the Reform Party platform and restore the funding for medicare?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we would take the member a little more seriously if he was not so interested in making light of the affair. If he had looked at what we have done in the last two budgets, he would already have seen that there is a provision for increasing spending by 1998. I wonder which page is taken out of whose book.

I do not know how we are going to go on from the point that the member opposite is suggesting that first we slash the system so it cannot function and then we give it an injection of cash. We prefer a more responsible approach, the one we have outlined in budgets past and in the current budget. That is the right way and we are going to continue with that.

Polygram
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Industry.

Recently, the Minister had a meeting with Philips Electronic in the Netherlands to discuss investments this company might make in Canada. Meanwhile, Investment Canada and Polygram, a subsidiary of Philips, were negotiating the terms of Polygram's entry into the Canadian film distribution market. However, according to Canada's policy on the film industry, Polygram does not have the right to enter the Canadian market.

In this context would the Minister of Industry not agree that he is sending a message to foreign investors that Canadian cultural policies are negotiable?

Polygram
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this is an odd question. Does the hon. member think that the people of Quebec or the National Capital Region, or Edmonton, Vancouver or other parts of the country, if they could get about a billion dollars invested in the semi-conductor sector, would not want the Minister of Industry to approach companies that would be able to make that kind of investment? It is very important for us to attract investment.

As for Polygram, I did not discuss the matter with Philips, and it was not on the agenda at our meeting.

Polygram
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously we would never object to the billions of dollars of investments to which the minister refers, unless they are intended for his riding. We might have some questions in that case, but if they go anywhere else, they will be most welcome.

However, one wonders why not the minister but Investment Canada is negotiating Polygram's entry on the Canadian film market, although it does not meet any of the requirements in this respect?

Polygram
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, an application has been filed with Investment Canada. No decision has been made as yet, and I do not want to discuss the matter because the decision is still up to the minister.

I may add, as I said in Bromont a few days ago, that there are probably five or six locations here in Canada where we have the industrial base for a semi-conductor industry. One was in Quebec, in Bromont.

I want to ask the hon. member this: Is she not interested in the fact, on behalf of her party here in the House of Commons, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to try and find a base to create a genuine semi-conductor industry here in Canada? That is the real issue. They have no industrial policy other than asking for subsidies, as the hon. member did earlier. To us, it is more important to look for international investment.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding Bill C-38, the farm debt mediation act.

This government is committed to program delivery to be more cost efficient and effective. How will this new act be an improvement on the 10-year old act of the Farm Debt Review Board?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the new farm debt mediation act will maintain the essential features of the old legislation including a stay of proceedings and a review and mediation process. At the same time it will avoid a good deal of overlap and duplication. It will streamline the administration of the whole program. It will provide a new appeal mechanism which was not provided for in the old law. It will provide farmers with flexibility to engage their own financial advisers rather than just taking those advisers that may

otherwise be imposed upon them. It will create a new proactive financial counselling service.

I am very pleased to say that the proposed legislation enjoys the very strong support of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Government Expenses
Oral Question Period

October 28th, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the youth minister went on seaside holidays, bought a fur coat and charged it all on a government credit card. Then she signed an expense form claiming that these expenses were "incurred on official business". The Prime Minister said this was only a small mistake and shrugged it off saying: "She paid it back in weeks or days".

My question is about the guidelines on this issue. In the part where the guidelines give ministers permission to use government charge cards for personal use, how long do they have to pay it back? Is it interest free? Do they have to pay it back even if no one ever finds out?

Government Expenses
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I already answered that question last Thursday, and the answer remains the same: government travel cards should be used only for official government business. Whenever they are used for other purposes, all personal expenditures must be fully reimbursed. This is the case here, and I must point out that all but one payments was made even before the access to information request.

The ethics counsellor has been consulted, and conversations have taken place with the member involved. As a result, all personal expenditures have been reimbursed. The hon. member has agreed not to use government credit cards in future for anything except government business.