House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development is treating us to fine rhetoric and outlining interesting concepts. But what we want is an answer to some simple and specific questions. Let me put this one to him as if I were a constituent visiting him at his riding office.

A young worker loses his job on December 31, 1996, having worked 26 fifteen-hour weeks. The minister must know, at least I hope he does, that this young man is eligible for employment insurance. Right? His neighbour loses his job on January 5, after working 26 fifteen-hour weeks.

I would like the minister to tell us whether or not this person will be eligible for employment insurance. This is not too complicated: Will six days make a difference in the way these two employees of the same company will be treated, yes or no? That question is clear enough, I hope.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate the interest shown by the opposition today. This is indeed a system I want to draw attention to.

What this worker will get when he meets with his employment officer at the HRD centre-I wish to acknowledge the excellent job these people are doing in all our ridings-is someone who will have enough common sense and skill under the regulations we are developing to be able to assess the number of hours of work accumulated in the past year.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this officer will certainly have more sense than this minister, I have no doubt about that, because the minister is unable to answer a question in this place.

He would not be fit to do the job of a government employee, who, I am sure, will be able to answer questions, provided that the minister has given him clear instructions, which does not seem to be the case. Either no instructions were given, or the minister is not aware of them.

I would like to put another question to the minister, since I did not get an answer to the first one. If a person who juggles three jobs, three 16-hour jobs, as mentioned by the minister, has to quit one of them, because working 48 hours a week at three jobs is not easy, is it not true that this person will be disqualified for quitting his or her job? Yes or no? I ask him to answer me as a government employee would, not as a Liberal minister.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

There we have it, Mr. Speaker. The opposition has objected to any change to an employment insurance system that is much more interesting. Those people voted against spending $800 million on active measures to help workers get back to work.

This is a government that adjusts to the modern economy. The opposition party, on the other hand, has rejected every effort to reform the system, when we were trying to include the part time workers the people opposite are referring to. That is what the opposition is capable of.

Krever Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1984 the current Prime Minister was the deputy prime minister. New regulations were placed on the cabinet table and somebody in that government said "no way".

The tainted blood tragedy could have been prevented by those regulations.

The Prime Minister says he has nothing to hide. All we ask is that he put those documents on the table so he can prove that he has nothing to hide, because the law gives him discretion.

Krever Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the law is clear. We do not have the right under the law to make public cabinet documents produced under previous prime ministers. The law is very clear on that.

Krever Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Evidence Act clearly gives discretion to the Prime Minister. It does not preclude those documents being released at all.

In fact, Krever tried to get Monique Bégin to testify at the inquiry. Her lawyer said "no way". Let us get that excuse out of the way as well. Now the Prime Minister, as we look for open disclosure, is saying "no way".

Will the Prime Minister make the right decision this time and release those documents of truth to Krever?

Krever Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already replied to that question.

People With Disabilities
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. I hope to have more luck than my colleagues in getting an answer from the minister.

In its report tabled in October, the Liberal task force on people with disabilities recommended that the federal government continue to financially support national organizations for people with disabilities. In its report, the group said that the federal government's commitment in that respect should include, but not be limited to, core funding totalling $5 million per year.

Can the minister tell us if this recommendation means that the financing of all organizations promoting the rights of people with disabilities will be restored to pre-1994 levels?

People With Disabilities
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, before answering the opposition member's question, I should first congratulate the hon. member for Fredericton-York-Sunbury, and all the members of his task force whose exceptional work contributed to a greater understanding of people with disabilities.

I must tell you that the Minister of National Revenue, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice and myself were impressed by the quality of their work. The recommendation regarding the financing of organizations for people with disabilities was taken under consideration and we will follow up on it at the earliest opportunity.

People With Disabilities
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. I have never seen such a bad performance in the House before. The minister can congratulate his colleagues, he can tell me to get lost, but when it comes to people with disabilities, we expect action from the government, not just lip service.

Let the minister wait. I am not through with my question. In any case, we are in no hurry, because we will not get an answer. Will the minister admit that his inaction amounts to shelving the report of his Liberal colleagues and confirms his contempt for the needs of people with disabilities?

People With Disabilities
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, comments by the opposition accusing us of showing contempt for people with disabilities are totally uncalled for. The reason people have so little respect for politicians is because we do not debate issues more intelligently. I am sorry, but this sanctimonious tone by people who do not even have an agenda is totally uncalled for.

What I can tell you is that I was very proud, last week, when the ministerial council on Canada's social union, which is co-chaired by Minister Stockwell Day, representing the provinces, and myself, made the plight of people with disabilities a top priority. We are looking at the reality faced by these people, because Canada needs their full commitment.

Belgrade
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Against all democratic principles, the Serbian government has refused to honour the local elections that recently took place in Belgrade and other cities. Citizens have taken to the streets to demonstrate to show their outrage over abuse of authority.

Could the secretary tell me what our government is doing to defend the rights of citizens of the federal republic of Yugoslavia in order that they may enjoy free and democratic elections?

Belgrade
Oral Question Period

December 4th, 1996 / 2:50 p.m.

Cape Breton Highlands—Canso
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Francis Leblanc Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada is deeply concerned that Belgrade has chosen to ignore accepted international norms for conducting democratic elections.

Today in London at the peace implementation conference for Bosnia, where Serbian leaders were present, the Minister of Foreign Affairs voiced Canada's concern that opposition candidates in Serbia have been deprived of their rightful places on local councils.

He also drew attention to the closure by the council of the federal republic of Yugoslavia of independent radio stations, an affront to democratic principles.

In Belgrade Canada's ambassadors conveyed to the government of the federal republic of Yugoslavia our serious concerns. Are you listening?

Belgrade
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.