House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Supreme Court Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, a retiring supreme court judge, Gérard La Forest, called on the Liberal government to select his replacement through an open review process. Obviously the prime minister did not heed the advice of a man with almost 50 years' experience in the practice of law. Today, the prime minister appointed one of his law partners.

Why did he insist on making this appointment without parliamentary review?

Supreme Court Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House before, the appointment process of supreme court justices has served the country very well for 130 years.

However, I have also indicated that if there are ways in which I can develop a broader consultation process to receive the views of those interested in supreme court appointments, there may well be merit in that and I would be willing to consider the possibility.

Supreme Court Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the justice minister could take the advice of the retiring supreme court justice.

The supreme court is preparing to hear the legal reference determining whether or not Quebec has the right to separate unilaterally.

Given that he is a party in this court case, has the prime minister considered that he may have put the court in a conflict of interest position by personally appointing his old law partner to the Supreme Court of Canada?

Supreme Court Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have informed the House that I have never been a partner in that law firm. I worked two or three days a week in the law firm and was paid for my services. I had nothing to do with the management of the firm. I was never a partner and I did not know anything about the relationship among any of the lawyers in the firm.

Information Highway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

The advisory committee on the information highway tabled its final report in September. It contains no specific reference to Quebec or to Quebec culture.

Would the Minister of Industry not expect Quebec to play a principal role, in the North American context, in setting up the francophone information highway?

Information Highway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague on her first question as the Bloc Quebecois' industry critic.

The report of the advisory council is a committee report. It is not a government report. Its purpose is to advise the government.

I agree entirely that, in promoting the French language on the information highway, Quebec artists and technological firms will be at the forefront in creating content.

Information Highway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, seven of nine provinces have yet to have a single word in French at their Internet site. However, the committee gives them responsibility for producing a critical mass of French content for francophones outside Quebec.

Does the minister recognize how awful this situation is in view of the importance of the information highway for the future?

Information Highway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, support for the French language here in Canada and around the world must include participation in the new technologies of the information highway. However, I must point out that it is by creating national networks, like SchoolNet and the community programs we have created, that we can develop a network where there is a place for the French language throughout Canada. That is vital.

Customs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, Dennis Coffey, a veteran customs inspector, has alleged that the former head of customs at Pearson airport cut secret deals with certain trucking firms to bypass customs clearance. In fact he alleges that the revenue department has knowingly allowed over a million shipments of commercial cargo to escape customs control.

My question is for the Minister of National Revenue. Given that the government has known of these allegations for two months, why has his department missed over a million chances to protect Canadians from illegal drugs, contraband and firearms?

Customs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I know the Reform Party often has trouble with the facts, as we have seen in the House quite often.

I can assure the House that our customs people are professional, committed and do an excellent job of protecting our borders. In fact, some of the new technology we have helps us to do our job in an excellent way. We have effected a tremendous amount of drug seizures crossing the border. We will continue to do an excellent job.

On this matter, unless the member has some facts to put on the table he should not rely on reports and allegations which are not true.

Customs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to think that his officials are flawless. Evidence has been introduced at a hearing and Mr. Coffey has made the allegations publicly. I would be happy to table them in the House.

We have learned also that the minister has instructed his lawyers to muzzle and intimidate Mr. Coffey to prevent him from making these allegations of fraud, nepotism and abuse public.

What is the minister trying to hide? Rather than trying to gag a 25-year veteran of his department, why does he not fully investigate these allegations today?

Customs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the matter to which the hon. member refers is before a quasi-judicial review board. The hon. member knows that a minister is not able to respond to matters that are before a quasi-judicial review board.

He also knows that the appellant is in a hearing right now for someone who was dismissed.

Customs does an incredible job. I have had the opportunity to go to the borders and see the type of job they do. If the member has more facts, table them in the House.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

October 1st, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has repeatedly demonstrated the validity of its demand for $2 billion as compensation for harmonizing the GST. But the federal government is still refusing to listen to reason and to consider any amount at all in this connection.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Given the two diametrically opposed interpretations, would the Minister of Finance agree to let an independent arbitration board settle the disagreement between Quebec City and Ottawa, as our leader suggested during the last election campaign?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly here in the House, the Canadian government is prepared to offer compensation to those provinces who have lost money. Quebec did not lose any money. In fact, Quebec made money when it harmonized. This is based on figures from the Quebec government. Information was exchanged with representatives of my counterpart, Mr. Landry. It is very clear.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Finance telling us he is afraid to put his arguments up against those of Bernard Landry, that he is afraid to have to admit he was wrong and that he owes Quebec $2 billion?

I would call on the Quebec members across the way to stop acting like colonials and to help us out.

Is he afraid his arguments will not stand up to ours?