House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was decision.

Topics

Employment Insurance Fund
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Finance recognized the other day is that we have a very responsible attitude toward the EI fund.

You will recall that, in the government of which the Conservative leader was a member, a $2 billion surplus in the EI fund suddenly turned into a $6 billion deficit. As a result, the government then in power had to raise premiums by 30% at the height of the recession, thus creating more unemployment.

We have a different and much more responsible approach.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

October 31st, 1997 / 11:55 a.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Earlier this week the Chinese government eliminated Hong Kong laws which guaranteed freedom of association for workers. While Wei Jing Sheng remains in prison human rights are trampled in Tibet and elsewhere and China continues its Neanderthal policies on Taiwan.

I have a question for the minister. Especially given Canada's shameful abstention on China at the UN Human Rights Commission, will the minister condemn the recent suppression of workers rights in Hong Kong? Will he ensure the House the Prime Minister will raise with the President of China the appalling human rights situation in China?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member's information is wrong. We did not abstain. We in fact voted for the resolution on China. He should correct his history.

As I explained earlier in the House, we have established a very distinctive arrangement now with the Chinese to engage in an ongoing dialogue on human rights on a regular basis. Through that mechanism we have now been able to engage them on the question of political prisoners.

We have raised questions on Tibet in Hong Kong. In fact, we are now investing directly in programs in China to improve the legal system to help women and to try to improve the acceptance of the NGOs—

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

On that note, we will bring question period to a close.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I wish to draw to members' attention the presence in the gallery of Mr. Tom Spencer, member of the European Parliament.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

Noon

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to table a letter addressed to the Minister of Human Resources Development, because the minister misled the House.

The Minister of Human Resources Development received a letter from the union, which wants to put in writing the content of the discussions. So as to avoid any misunderstanding, the union put in writing what was discussed when they met with the minister. The two sides did talk about an improved POWA. The letter was addressed to the minister, who misled the House.

I seek the unanimous consent of the House to table the letter addressed to Mr. Pettigrew.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. member opposite, I think first of all that accusing the minister of misleading the House is unparliamentary—I see that the Minister of Human Resources Development is in the House, so he may want to take part in the debate.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Yes, Mr. Speaker, this is going too far. The member for Rimouski—Mitis may very well have a letter dated October 30 and addressed to me, but I can assure you that I never misled the House when I said I had not yet read that letter.

There is a limit to making such claims. The member claims I misled the House, but I want to make it clear that I did not do so in any way.

The member for Rimouski—Mitis should apologize for what she just said.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can perhaps help shed some light on the debate, to move things ahead.

The member, on a question of privilege or a point of order, is asking that a letter sent to the minister be tabled. I am certain the minister has no objection whatsoever to the letter being made public, in the interests of transparency for all members of the House, which will help us to proceed with the debate.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

An hon. member

That is another matter.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

No, it is not. The member is saying that that is another matter, but it is the crux of the matter.

Unanimous consent is being sought. On behalf of the members of my party, I offer that consent. That is the first question asked of the House, the question to which we must reply.

After what the minister has just told us, I can hardly see him objecting to tabling the letter after unanimous consent. That would be a complete contradiction.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Order. The hon. member for Rimouski—Mitis is requesting unanimous consent to table a letter. Does the member have unanimous consent?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member may table the letter.