House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was support.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is another major issue regarding foreign affairs.

Given that tension is rising in the Middle East, does the Prime Minister intend to discuss, with the American president, the urgent need to revive the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian authority, before the current crisis degenerates even more?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, beginning on Tuesday next week I will be in Cairo at the middle eastern major summit meeting. I hope to have direct discussions with the foreign minister of Israel and the representative of the Palestinian authority as well as other leaders from the Middle East.

We will certainly make very clear our strong support for continuation of the peace process, our commitment to help them develop economically and to provide the kind of support we need internationally on a multilateral basis to search for the right solutions for peace in that area.

I will be very pleased to report to the House after that trip.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, for months the Prime Minister has made frequent references to his special ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers. Then he says that he cannot release them because they are cabinet confidential. Now according to the CBC and his own ethics counsellor, these special ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers do not even exist. It seems that the Prime Minister's guidelines are imaginary like his homeless friends.

Will the Prime Minister clear the air and simply release his much touted ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers to this House?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have seen the fresh start and it is not starting very well.

In every case that comes before this House the Prime Minister has to judge the facts and the facts are public. I have spoken about the case that was mentioned which I discussed with the ethics counsellor.

I have said in the House many times and I will repeat again that the directives written by the Prime Minister for his ministers are directives of the Prime Minister to the ministers for their conduct. The conduct of a minister is a question of public record. I take the responsibility if somebody questions the conduct of ministers.

In the case of the secretary of state, I have accepted her word and everything is in order at this moment. I do not have anything to add, but had the leader been here last week he would have heard the same-

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I would ask you to refrain from speaking about who is here and who is not here at whatever time.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been out talking to real Canadians, not imaginary ones.

This issue really should not be that difficult. The Prime Minister has repeatedly told this House that he has special ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers. The CBC and the Prime Minister's own ethics counsellor say that they do not exist.

Either it is one thing or the other. Do these special guidelines exist? If they do and the Prime Minister assumes responsibility for ethics with his ministers, will he table those guidelines in this House?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that I have guidelines for ministerial conduct which have been transmitted to the ministers. They have read them and they follow them.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

An hon. member

Did they follow them?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Yes, and they follow them very well.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister seems to regard ethics as a private matter between himself and the ministers. He will not release the guidelines to the House and the public, and he only uses them to his own political advantage, like when he had to sack the former minister of defence.

The ethics of elected officials are public business. For the public to judge whether the conduct of a cabinet minister is ethical, they have to know the standards against which they are being judged.

If the Prime Minister really does believe in open government and a higher standard of ethics, why does he not table in this House his special ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the conduct of the minister is public.

We have been in government for three years. Never before has the ethics of a government been challenged so little by the public because the ministers are acting honourably in every case. I am not afraid to stand here with my colleagues who have shown in the last three years that we in this government have extremely high standards. That is why this government is respected by the Canadian public.

Securities
Oral Question Period

November 6th, 1996 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last Liberal report of the Standing Committee on Finance contains the following phrase, and I quote: "The Committee encourages the government to continue working with interested provinces in order to set up a Canadian securities commission" But, in this morning's papers, we learned that a number of provinces think the project is on the way out.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Will he confirm that his government is dropping the project to set up a Canadian securities commission, knowing that it is unanimously opposed by economic, financial and political circles in Montreal and throughout Quebec?

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, at the request of several provinces, the federal government is examining the possibility of setting up a Canadian securities commission. We are negotiating with these provinces. It is not the federal government's intention to impose it on anyone.

It is certainly our intention to make it easier to put the industry in a position of being able to compete with the financial industry outside our borders.

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very least that can be said in all this is that the Minister of Finance is completely confused. The first project was for a Canadian securities commission that would replace all the provincial commissions.

Second, faced with mounting opposition to the project, they decided it would be optional. Then there were, in theory, not ten securities commissions but 11. This morning, in the newspaper, the minister said: "This could perhaps be cut down to two or three". This is just so much stalling around. It is what comes of not looking after your own affairs.

Since nobody in Quebec wants a Canadian securities commission, since opposition is growing in British Columbia and Alberta, and since there is a viable alternative to this commission known as the SEDAR system, now being developed and put in place by provincial commissions, why is the finance minister so bent on pushing ahead with this project, which would be devastating for the economy of Montreal?

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member seems a bit confused.

What has happened is that the federal government at the request of a number of provinces has sat down and looked at the possibility of creating a national securities commission. The major purpose of this is to ease the issuance of prospectuses, a great deal of which will benefit the business community in Montreal, in Quebec and in Vancouver and all of British Columbia.

I find it very hard to understand that the hon. member opposite would say to the federal government that when the provinces want to rationalize their operations, make them more effective, make them more competitive, the federal government should not sit down with them and try to do that. It is very clear that the real purpose the member has is to not make the federation work, is to not make Canada competitive. That will not work out to the benefit of anybody, including the business community in Montreal.