House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

April 18th, 1996 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Chief of Defence Staff Boyle is up to his ears in the Somalia scandal cover-up, and yet the defence minister continues to allow Boyle to act as suspect, star witness, judge and jury in the Somalia affair.

Will the defence minister, in the name of fairness and justice, ask Boyle, who should never have been made chief of defence staff in the first place, to step aside until the Somalia inquiry gets to the bottom of this whole affair?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the name of fairness and justice, the hon. member should allow the inquiry to do its job.

It is quite alarming when the hon. member comes to the House day after day and attacks a hard working public servant who is unable to come into the Chamber and defend himself.

The chief of defence staff will be able to give all of his views on matters relevant to Somalia when the commission begins its hearings. That is the way Canadians expect justice to be handled, not by answering such libelled questions coming from the hon. member day after day.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not blame the chief of defence staff. I blame the Minister of National Defence for this mess.

Canadians will not be surprised if the defence minister refuses to take any action against his friend Jean Boyle. The defence minister and the Prime Minister could not have appointed Boyle as chief of defence staff with the recommendation of the privy council office.

Will the minister admit that the privy council office had serious reservations about Boyle's suitability for the position of chief of defence staff? Can he tell the House what concerns the office expressed and why he rejected them?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is absolute nonsense. I ask him, with all

decency, to cease and desist these horrible personal attacks on a man who is serving Canada with distinction.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, in view of the attempted cover-up of data relevant to the Somalia inquiry, the Somalia inquiry had to shut down this week. The commissioners continue to be concerned about the integrity of the documents they received from the minister's department and they are now concerned about the integrity of the work the commission is able to do.

When will the minister accept responsibility for this entire scandal and cover-up and resign?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians understand that when one gives the answer no, one means no. Obviously the Reform Party cannot understand that barest of two-letter words.

With respect to the question of documentation, the department has met the deadline established by the commission. The commission is now evaluating the department's response. The commission, I assume, will have something to say about this tomorrow.

The commission will have to decide if it still requires documents essential to its work which have not yet surfaced. Then it is its job as a commission, quoting the terms of reference, "to investigate all matters, including allegations of cover-up and destruction of evidence". The matter is for the commission to investigate and to decide what has happened to those documents.

Varennes Centre For Magnetic Fusion
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

For some weeks now, Quebec has been trying to reason with the Minister of Natural Resources. In a letter dated April 2, three Quebec ministers argued that the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion represents one of the biggest scientific projects ever undertaken in the province of Quebec and asked the Minister of Natural Resources to reconsider her decision.

Does the minister realize that her decision to cut off the $7.5 million federal contribution to the Tokamak project in Varennes will entail the loss of about 100 high tech jobs in Quebec, including some 40 international level research jobs in greater Montreal, and will jeopardize the future of a centre of excellence set up in Quebec and recognized world wide?

Varennes Centre For Magnetic Fusion
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in the House, government involves setting priorities and making difficult choices. Unfortunately expenditures on fusion by the government at this time are not a priority.

The hon. member talks about high tech jobs and benefits for the province of Quebec. As I have already mentioned to him on a number of occasions, Candu research by AECL and the sale of one Candu reactor in the export market potentially delivers $100 million worth of economic benefits to the province of Quebec. It delivers 4,000 potential person hours of employment to the province of Quebec.

I come back to the point I made before that government is about choices. One of our choices is to develop the export market for the Candu reactor. That will lead to significant economic opportunities and high tech, high skilled jobs for the province of Quebec.

Varennes Centre For Magnetic Fusion
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is reminding us of the benefits the province of Quebec is getting from CANDU. She should know that these benefits amount only to 12 per cent, well under what Quebec should receive in benefits.

The minister always talks about priorities. The province of Quebec is sick of paying for this government's priorities. Quebec has had enough of the federal government making miserly economies at its expense.

Given the unanimous motion passed yesterday in the Quebec National Assembly and the overwhelming negative impact the minister's decision will have on the economy of Quebec and on its international reputation in fundamental research, will the minister agree to reconsider her decision and to reinstate the $7.5 million federal subsidy that can save the Tokamak project in Varennes?

Varennes Centre For Magnetic Fusion
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about concepts like fair share and priorities. My department spends 25 per cent of its R and D budget in the province Quebec. That is proportionate to the population of the province of Quebec. We spend that R and D in part in areas that are an energy priority for the country such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and remote community energy efficiency.

As a department we do more than our fair share in the province of Quebec, and that money is spent on the government's priorities.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the GST issue has come to a head.

During the election the Liberals campaigned up and down streets promising that if they were elected the GST would meet its end. That was then, this is now.

I want the finance minister to make something very clear for Canadians and for the House. Was it his position that when they were campaigning on doorsteps around the country they were telling Canadians that if elected they would spend $1 billion to permanently weld into place the most hated tax in Canadian history by integrating it with the sales taxes of the Atlantic provinces? Is that what he expects Canadians to believe?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our position during the election campaign was set out very clearly on page 22 of the red book. I suggest the member read it. It talks about ease of administration, it talks about simplification, it talks about harmonization with the provinces. It talks about making the tax system more responsive to consumers and to small businesses, which is clearly the intention of the government.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the finance minister expects Canadians to believe that when his own caucus does not even believe it. That is why it is voting against him.

The finance minister knows there are many Liberals in the government who would not be sitting where they are today if they had not promised their faces off that the GST would be gone under a Liberal government.

Why does the finance minister not just ask for the public's forgiveness and admit the Liberals made a promise they knew they could not possibly meet?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, how many members of the Reform Party does the member think would have been elected if they had known that last year Reform would come forth with a budget which would eviscerate medicare?

How many members of the Reform Party would have been elected if they had known Reform would virtually eliminate the old age pension? How many members of the Reform Party would have been elected had they known that what this party really stands for is old age pensions for the rich but nothing for the poor and had they known it would cut transfers?

How many members of the Reform Party would have been elected if the true colours of that party and the divisions that have been made manifest had been clear to them at the time of the election?

Lebanon
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The conflict in Lebanon is getting worse. Today, the Israeli army attacked a refugee camp under UN protection. Sixty-eight people, mainly civilians, including children, and also UN peacekeepers, are reported to have been killed. Although Israel did acknowledge its mistake, the fact remains that such mistakes are unforgivable and could be repeated as long as the conflict rages on.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend to intervene with the Israeli government as soon as possible to demand an immediate ceasefire?