House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

Parliamentary Oscars
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in honour of the upcoming Academy Awards, I would like to offer Reform's nomination for the parliamentary Oscars.

The best dramatic role for a male: the Prime Minister in "The Shawinigan Strangler".

The best dramatic role for a female: the Deputy Prime Minister's tearful performance in "Shooting from the Lip".

The best director: the defence minister in "The Somalia Whitewash".

The best special effects: the Prime Minister's imitation of "Dante's Peak" at the CBC town hall meeting.

The best supportive role in a short comedy: the justice minister in "Airbus".

The best performance by a junior minister: the Secretary of State for Training and Youth in "A Fistful of Dollars".

The best non-performance by an underachiever: the Minister of Health's tobacco saga "The Butt Stops Here".

The best song in an undemocratic nomination feature: "I did it my way" by the Prime Minister again.

The best sports video: the best of all, the entire Liberal team for its role in the golf documentary "True Lies".

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

February 12th, 1997 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome yesterday's announcement by the Minister of Canadian Heritage of $10 million in additional funding to CBC radio.

The government has announced stable funding for five years for the CBC.

Starting in 1998 the government is guaranteeing the CBC stable funding for five years. The CBC will receive a minimum of $894 million for each of the next five years. This is the first time in

history that the fiscal framework will include CBC guarantees for five years. The new funding for CBC radio will be directed to new programming, talent development, regional reflection and future growth into new media.

After yesterday's announcement my constituents of Hamilton Mountain and all Canadians who are concerned about the CBC's future can be reassured that the CBC will continue as an important and vibrant institution in Canadian society.

I am sure that all members will join me in congratulating the minister.

[Translation]

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, everyone is worried at the turn of events regarding the Government of Quebec's request for a constitutional amendment to modify its school boards. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has taken us all a bit by surprise with his agitation, which is as sudden as it is unexplained.

Does the Prime Minister think that the present consensus of political stakeholders in Quebec is enough to proceed as he should or does he believe, as his Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs does, that a consensus is valid only if it includes lobby groups like Alliance Quebec?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec indicated that it wished to propose a constitutional amendment and we said that we were going to examine the possibility of helping it as much as possible.

Obviously, the decision must first be taken in Quebec, and many groups will state their views. The Quebec minister told his federal counterpart that he wished to act on the basis of a consensus. So we are going to see how the debate unfolds in Quebec. When there is a consensus, fine, but I know that many stakeholders, both among religious groups and among linguistic groups, will make their views known to the National Assembly when the debate takes place.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to be a bit clearer. Can he tell us the kind of consensus the federal government feels is necessary in order for it to respond to Quebec's request?

Yesterday, the minister talked about Alliance Quebec; the Prime Minister is talking about various kinds of groups. How extensive does this consensus have to be? And is the consensus of Quebec's elected representatives, of the political parties sitting in the National Assembly, not enough for the Prime Minister?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that we will see how the debate unfolds in Quebec's National Assembly. I hope that those who have an interest in this question will make their views known. Afterwards, we will assess the situation.

We are not about to reply to a hypothetical question. We are waiting to see what resolution the National Assembly will pass and the nature of the debate surrounding this issue. The question is premature and hypothetical at this time.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but the question is not hypothetical; we are talking about a situation that has deteriorated because of the inappropriate, unexpected and absolutely incomprehensible intervention of the ineffable federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. It is not hypothetical. He has stirred up discord in this affair, and that is a fact.

By creating the impasse that may prevent the creation of linguistic school boards in Quebec, was the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs not himself responsible for the constitutional dead end in which we will again find ourselves?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are waiting to see what the National Assembly's resolution will be, the nature of the debate, and then we will review the situation. That was how we proceeded when the government received the Government of Newfoundland's request.

On that occasion, we analyzed all the circumstances, and then the House made its decision. The same approach will be used to try to find a solution to this problem.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

On September 5, 1996 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration made a statement to La Presse that Ottawa will not wait for Quebecers to reach unanimity on amending section 93 of the Canadian Constitution.

Does the Prime Minister not acknowledge that the approach of his colleague, the former Quebec Minister of Education, is far more positive and would make it possible to settle the matter, unlike the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs' proposal, which is aimed only at stirring up division and adding fuel to the fire?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction here. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has said that unanimity was not required. As for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, he says that it will require a

consensus. A consensus is not unanimity. So both ministers have said the same thing.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I really wonder why the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs will not merely respond to what the Government of Quebec is asking of him.

Why will he not agree to settle the problem? Why does the minister want to join forces with Alliance Québec and stir up strife and discord between the two communities in Quebec? What is he really after?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 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 would like to add something in reference to yesterday. We know there is probably a consensus in Quebec at this time for language based school boards. The issue is to find a way to proceed that will ensure that all components of Quebec society can do this in confidence.

Is the Government of Quebec's proposal, the one that is on the table, the way to go? The Government of Canada has no intention of commenting on proposals advanced by this or that group, and is not granting a veto to any group whatsoever.

The Government of Canada is simply saying that, if the Government of Quebec builds a consensus on its proposal, it is highly probable that the Parliament of Canada will be in a position to proceed promptly with modernization of the Quebec school system.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was asked about a report that a former Canadian prime minister was accusing a former deputy minister of defence of participating in a cover-up of a murder in Somalia.

The Prime Minister said that the Somalia commission had the time and the freedom to investigate these charges. But today Mr. Justice Létourneau, the head of the Somalia commission, had this to say: "To suggest, as has been done, that we have ample time to investigate another high level cover-up and at the same time properly complete our current endeavours is both misleading and unfair".

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that what he said to the House yesterday about the freedom and the ability of the Somalia inquiry to investigate these charges was misleading and unfair?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker, what I said is that this inquiry has been going on for more than two years. There were three extensions. It had the time to call all the witnesses it wanted. It still has a month and a half to call the witnesses it wants and it is up to the inquiry to decide.

We did not intervene. We gave it a clear mandate a long time ago. It accepted that mandate with a time limit. We have given it three extensions. The minister of defence gave very good reasons in asking it to complete its work.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says the government did not intervene. The head of the Somalia inquiry also said clearly this morning that the government had interfered with the conduct of an independent public inquiry. What he could not say was whether the government had interfered for political reasons.

I ask the Prime Minister directly did his government interfere with the Somalia inquiry for political reasons. Is there a political reason why the Prime Minister does not want the inquiry to get to the bottom of a high level cover-up in the Somalia affair?