House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

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

Yesterday, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was asked about the Charlottetown style model of federal-provincial relations that the government is putting forward and he said, and I quote: "The Government of Quebec has certain responsibilities. It has a hard time assuming them all the time, and we are offering government assistance to ensure that this responsibility is carried out as well as possible."

Are we to understand that the minister believes the provinces are unable to manage the programs from which they want the federal government to withdraw and that that is why the government wants to remain in charge, set the standards and keep the money, simply letting the provinces carry out the orders? That is indeed the way he sees it.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if the provinces of Canada are limited to carrying out the orders, what about the German L«nders, the Swiss cantons, the American states, the Australian states, all federated entities that dream about the powers the Canadian provinces have?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a learned constitutional expert, the minister also said yesterday and I quote: "The Government of Canada has the responsibility of ensuring that these moneys are administered responsibly."

The minister talks about co-operation, but at the same time he questions the provinces' ability to administer the moneys responsibly. Does that mean that the federal government will continue to act as a big brother to the provinces it considers incompetent and totally irresponsible?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if, for once, just for once, the official opposition members were to look at the problems we have not through their glasses which make them see plots everywhere, but with the best interests of Canadians in mind, they would have to agree that we have a wonderful federation that gives us the best standard of living in the world and that we can work together to improve it even further. You only have to believe in this federation of ours.

First Ministers Conference
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Klein has said he will not participate in secret discussions on the Constitution and he would walk out of a first ministers conference that did that.

Premier Clark said he will not participate and yesterday premier Bouchard repeated he will not participate in constitutional discussions at the first ministers conference.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs make a commitment that at the FMC any discussions of the Constitution will either be public and open or the agenda item will be withdrawn?

First Ministers Conference
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I repeat to the hon. member that the sole aspect of the Constitution that will be discussed is to fulfil article 49 and it is to discuss the process by which we will have an open discussion among Canadians about the amending formula.

First Ministers Conference
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister admitted to the House yesterday that this condition has already been satisfied at least three times. That still does not answer why we are discussing it at all.

Can the minister make two other commitments, if he is so committed to public consultation, to describe to us the public consultation which has taken place leading up to this first ministers conference and will he commit, as the Liberal Party did in 1992, that no constitutional change will be made unless it is submitted to a national referendum?

First Ministers Conference
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this meeting is certainly not to discuss the Constitution except for the specific matter of section 49.

The hon. member mentioned Premier Klein. I quote Premier Klein. He said the agenda of this conference is a good one, that we finally have some meat and potato items on the agenda that affect social policy reform, labour training and governmental harmonization and environmental assessment. It deals with overlap and duplication which exists in a lot of inspection and security services. We are actually addressing some of the issues that go right to the heart of the problem of the rebalancing of federal powers.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

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

Yesterday, in response to a question by the member for Ber-thier-Montcalm, the minister stated, with reference to federal

responsibilities in the area of manpower and provincial ones in the area of education, as follows:

-the provinces are responsible for education, which is rather closely related to occupational training. It is, therefore, all these constitutional responsibilities which the Government of Canada, in conjunction with the provinces, will be better assuming, thank to the reform proposed by the minister.

Can the Minister explain this statement, which suggests that the federal government has not really given up interfering in education, through national standards in particular?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in all other federations, federal spending power is exercised without limitation. The division of powers is, substantially, legislative. Where spending power is concerned, in the U.S., the federal government spends money in the various sectors.

Here in Canada we shall go further than all other federations. For the first time in the history of this country, except for constitutional negotiations and acts, the Government of Canada has committed to a more harmonious federation in which the federal spending power will be directed in such as way as to allow us to work in conjunction with the provinces.

This, then, is the Canada the hon. member wants to break up.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I gather from that, that all you have to do is believe. Believe, when all of the premiers of Quebec, since 1960 at least, have tried to ensure Quebec of the means for development. We are not speaking of other federations, we are speaking of the people of Quebec in Canada.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

And it is precisely because they have had no response that we want to get out.

Can the minister guarantee that the federal government will respect Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction in the area of education, that it will not in any way use the amounts allocated to it for this to impose national standards?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada respects the Constitution of Canada and the official opposition wants to tear up the Constitution of Canada. That is the truth of it.

Justice
Oral Question Period

June 13th, 1996 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister is aware that if Bill C-45 does not go through before the summer recess, Clifford Olson can appeal for early release directly to a jury rather than having to jump through the additional hoop of applying to a superior court judge.

I ask the minister why he waited until there were only eight sitting days left before the summer recess to introduce this flawed, half measure of a bill. Why did he not introduce it months ago, providing the House with ample opportunity to deal with it at all stages before the summer recess?