House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Prison Reform
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks Canada lost two great champions of prison reform and criminal rehabilitation. Senator Earl Hastings of Alberta, who died last Sunday, was a great Liberal and social reformer. Until the end, he kept in close touch with the prisons and the many prisoners whom he was helping to get a new start on life. He received many awards for his outstanding work in corrections and criminal justice.

Claire Culhane was also a strong activist for a humane corrections system. She campaigned and wrote against the abuses of the prison system for many years. We should understand that effective rehabilitation means less crime and safer streets.

Senator Hastings and Claire Culhane should serve as examples for all of us.

Westray Mine Disaster
Statements By Members

May 9th, 1996 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the grieving families and in commemoration of the 26 deceased miners who were killed in my riding of Central Nova in the Westray coal mine disaster on May 9, 1992, we will remember them:

John Thomas Bates, Larry Arthur Bell, Bennie Joseph Benoit, Wayne Michael Conway, Ferris Todd Dewan, Adonis J. Dollimont, Robert Steven Doyle, Remi Joseph Drolet, Roy Edward Feltmate, Charles Robert Fraser, Myles Gillis, John Philip Halloran, Randolph Brian House, Trevor Jahn, Laurence Elwyn James, Eugene W. Johnson, Stephen Paul Lilley, Michael Frederick MacKay, Angus Joseph MacNeil, Glenn David Martin, Harry A. McCallum, Eric Earl McIssac, George James Munroe, Danny James Poplar, Romeo Andrew Short and Peter Francis Vickers.

We will remember them.

Parti Quebecois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the separatists are at it again. They complained about the voting conditions for non-residents of Quebec. They complained that the referendum was lost due to money and the ethnic vote. They complained that too many people obtained their citizenship in the months leading to the referendum. Now they are complaining again about the fact that the director general of elections produced pamphlets in languages other than French.

Mr. Landry and the PQ MNA for Vachon, Mr. Payne, took turns criticizing the Director General of Elections for having voting instructions in 19 different languages distributed in ridings where large numbers of Canadians of other ethnic background live.

The separatists' obsession with anyone who does not have "pure laine", or old stock, stamped on their certificate of citizenship has invariably led them to commit enormities and, if yesterday is any indication, it is not about to change.

War Crimes
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the first trial for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia opened in The Hague yesterday, when a Bosnian Serb accused of murder and torture by the International Criminal Court appeared before the court.

This is the first time since the end of the second world war that an international court has brought charges against alleged perpetrators of crimes against humanity and genocide.

While more than 50 war criminals have been charged, only 10 or so are currently in custody. The others, including the political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, are still at large.

Canada must demand that all those charged be handed over before the mandate of the multinational force expires in December. The credibility of the international court hangs in the balance.

Westray Mine Disaster
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, four years ago today 26 miners died at the Westray mine in Nova Scotia when coal dust ignited with methane gas to produce an underground explosion.

With all the headline coverage about the ongoing inquiry and with all the difficulties in getting at the truth, there are often times when the actual tragedy and loss of life seem to have been forgotten. If anything positive is to come out of this terrible event, it should be an acknowledgement that we can never overlook the importance of safety in the workplace.

To this end it is an absolute necessity that government regulations responsible for ensuring safety must never be relaxed and the safety inspectors that are looked to for protection must be completely free from political interference if they are to be effective. If we can achieve this we can take solace in the hope that this tragedy will never be repeated.

Today Canadians remember and honour the 26 miners who lost their lives four years ago this morning. We extend our sympathy and support to their families and friends.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in this Chamber the member for Lisgar-Marquette said: "If we want to look at what homosexuality and permissiveness have done to some countries let us look at Africa and the problems it has run into". He went on to relate the civil war in Liberia to homosexuality and permissiveness.

What basis does he have for these statements? What proof is there that the troubles in Liberia are related to homosexuality?

The situation in Liberia is tragic. Many innocent people are losing their lives. Families are being literally destroyed. Children are being killed. It is an issue that all Canadians deplore and I am sure members opposite do also. To relate it to a permissive attitude

toward homosexuality is an insult to the suffering of the people of Liberia and it is an insult to the intelligence of Canadians.

The people of Lisgar-Marquette deserve better from that party-

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The hon. member for Windsor-St. Clair.

Hiv-Aids
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Macleod the other day claimed that Bill C-33 will encourage a lifestyle that spreads disease, notably HIV-AIDS. The leader of the Reform Party has dismissed these remarks and supported them by saying that they are the opinions of a medical professional.

As a member of Parliament the member for Macleod has the responsibility to ensure public policy is based on fact, not on misinformation or fear. As a medical doctor he has the responsibility to speak to the research.

The research tells us that this disease affects men, women and children. The research says it is a preventable disease and that its sources are known. The research has taught us that responsible behaviour will help to control HIV-AIDS. The member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, who is also a medical doctor, seems to understand this.

Misinformation from the member for Macleod will have more of an impact on the transmission of HIV than any of his imagined impacts of Bill C-33.

HIV-AIDS is a serious public health issue. Canadians are entitled to responsible, constructive comments from their MPs in the fight against the spread of AIDS. Canadians deserve better-

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to urge the Prime Minister to meet with the 100 representatives of the Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence region, who raised a total of $7,000 in "toll collections" and personal contributions to come to Ottawa today to tell him, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources Development that they will not stand by and let their region wither while this unemployment insurance reform drains our part of the country.

They speak on behalf of 30,000 people who, throughout eastern Quebec and in every regional municipality of our ridings in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé Peninsula, have expressed their opposition to this reform. All these regions, whose economies depend on seasonal industries, would like to make you understand what they are saying.

Prime Minister, you cannot refuse to meet with these spokespersons who have had a 32-hour bus ride to get here and let you hear their cry from the heart.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the report he tabled this week, the auditor general said that Revenue Canada has perhaps totally eliminated Canadian income tax on capital gains on goods of enormous value for the future. Before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, he confirmed that all capital gains realized on shares of public companies could leave the country tax free.

My question is for the Minister of Finance, since he is responsible for the government's tax policies. Does the Minister of Finance agree with the comments of the auditor general to the effect that, in addition to the capital gains in family trusts, all capital gains on publicly held shares may now be exported without Revenue Canada collecting a single cent of tax on them?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we certainly said clearly when we came to office that there were weaknesses in the taxation system that needed to be corrected. We have supported the actions of the auditor general in this area and will continue to do so. This is in fact one reason why we asked the Standing Committee on Finance to look at all that, because it is vital it be done transparently.

That said, the moment we took office, we established specific measures to prevent the use of tax havens or foreign companies to get around the law.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, to be perfectly clear, in addition to family trusts, all shares of public companies may now be transferred out of the country without Revenue Canada being able to collect a single cent. The minister has not mentioned this.

Since Revenue Canada's decision was published on March 21 and since a tax evasion rush is probably underway, why has the minister not suspended the decision of Revenue Canada to put an end to this huge risk of billions of dollars being lost abroad?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think it is worth reading what we have done to set the record straight. At the start, we launched a three-pronged offensive to reduce the use of tax havens by Canadian firms and the outflow of money, what the Leader of the Opposition is referring to.

First, in the 1995 budget, we proposed substantial requirements with respect to statements on interests in foreign companies. Second, in the 1994 budget, changes were made to the Income Tax Act to prevent the transfer of profits realized in Canada to companies abroad located in tax havens.

Third, the government strengthened exclusionary efforts regarding foreign companies and specifically involving inter-segment sales by individuals.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully remind the Minister of Finance and all his colleagues that nothing he has just said in any way alters the situation criticized by the auditor general.

Since finance department officials, as the auditor general revealed, acted very quickly one December 23, after a series of meetings on December 23, to permit this tax loophole to be used, could the Minister of Finance not tell people watching us that his officials will get to work and act equally quickly to prevent the flight of capital out of Canada at great cost to the Government of Canada?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have just listed the measures we put in place on our arrival in office. It is very clear. One of the reasons we put this issue to the finance committee was our concern and our keen interest in seeing the whole matter examined.

Now the Leader of the Opposition is talking about officials. I remind him that we are talking about something that happened in 1991 under the previous government. In most cases, the officials who made the decisions are no longer in the same position today.