House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Last Friday, the Minister of National Defence caused quite a stir by stating that the Somali killed in the events of March 4, 1993 was murdered. He thus contradicted the conclusions of the report of the military police and added to the complexity of the matter, because he spoke of several murders.

When he told the press that he considered the Somali killed on March 4, 1993 was murdered because he was shot in the back by Canadian soldiers, was the minister giving his personal opinion or was he revealing privileged information he had received from a high ranking army officer?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said last Friday, I clearly made a mistake by linking the incidents in Somalia and by describing the incident my hon. colleague is referring to as murder.

Obviously, murder was the conclusion reached in the case of the Somali killed following torture. In the case of the two Somalis who were shot, where one died, I apologize as I did Friday before this House for having mistakenly linked the two incidents.

I think it would be quite inappropriate for me today, just as it was on Friday, to make this sort of link until the whole issue has been examined and the conclusions of the Somalia inquiry are presented at the end of June.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister himself has added somewhat to the confusion in this matter, and, clearly, the commissioners will not be able to shed light on all the events of March 4, because they do not have time to hear any more witnesses.

Since the minister himself has said and repeated in this House that this question still needs to be resolved, what guarantee can he give us today that everything will be examined and that we will find out whether murder was committed on March 4, as he himself claimed on Friday, since we are no longer assured of getting this guarantee from the Somalia inquiry?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this question is very important, there is no doubt. When I make a mistake, I try to avoid making a second or a third one.

I do not want to prejudice or cause any prejudice to the inquiry based on the testimony it has already heard or on testimony it may hear in the future. I do, however, make a commitment to my hon. colleague and to all the members of this House that, once the commission is finished, and the conclusions and recommendations have been made, obviously, the government will have to look at the whole issue in order to decide how best to react.

I interfered in an area I had no business in, on Friday, but I do not intend to do so today.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago the finance minister said that payroll taxes kill jobs. Now he is saying they create jobs. A lot of us are wondering just what illness the minister was suffering from last week.

Two years ago Liberals voted themselves the best pension plan that taxpayer money could buy, a gold plated MP pension plan. Under the plan the Conservative leader would receive $53,000 a year for his 9.9 per cent premium; the Deputy Prime Minister, $49,000 a year. Meanwhile regular Canadians would get $9,000 a year for their 9.9 per cent premium.

To be consistent, to be fair, will the minister announce an immediate 70 per cent increase in the premiums for the MP pension plan?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think what I would like to do is answer the question raised in the preamble.

If we take a look at the essential ingredient of a successful economy, we will see that it is confidence. It is confidence that health care is going to be there for the workers. It is confidence that old age pensions are going to be there for the workers. It is confidence by which the government is able to pursue a steady course, not simply the scorch and burn policies advocated by Reform and not simply ignoring the question as advocated by the

previous Conservative government and now by the NDP; but policies that give Canadians the confidence to know that basic government programs will be there for them.

That is what we have done with the Canada pension plan. The hon. member ought to understand that.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is trying to brush the question off, but it is a fair question. People want to know why the double standard. We have the member for Beaver River who voluntarily gave up a pension worth $1.5 million because she believes in leadership by example.

Maybe the finance minister is well off and maybe it is not an issue for him, but ordinary Canadians do not think there should be a double standard between what Liberal government MPs give themselves and what they do for the rest of the country.

Why the double standard?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, when taking a look at the pensions of members of Parliament it will be recognized that the government has opted for one course while the Reform Party advocated a doubling of MPs' salaries. The fact is-

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises the question of a double standard in the context of the increase of Canada pension plan premiums. I have asked the Reform Party to state what its model would increase premiums by.

I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, since the Reform Party will not. Compared to our 9.9 per cent, the model it advocates, which is chilling, has a 13 per cent premium. That is what the Reform Party would do.

Canadian Embassy In Washington
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Last weekend, we learned that Major Michel Prud'homme and Colonel R.G. Taylor, who are military officers at the Canadian embassy in Washington, had asked an official of the U.S Defence Intelligence Agency to spy on a Quebec diplomat working in the U.S. capital.

Will the Minister of National Defence confirm that the military staff at the Canadian embassy in Washington submitted such a request to the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency?

Canadian Embassy In Washington
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is no policy, no direction whatsoever that anybody in any embassy should spy on any member of any provincial government, in fact on anybody at all.

As a result, there is an absurd assertion which has no back-up or basis in fact.

Canadian Embassy In Washington
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard that line before, but we have not forgotten the barn burnings in Quebec, the PQ membership lists that were stolen, the bombs laid by the RCMP and the promotions given to reward those who had laid them, after the truth came out.

Will the minister give us, from his place, the solemn assurance that his department never asked any foreign government to spy on representatives of the Quebec government abroad?

Canadian Embassy In Washington
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I just said very clearly that there is absolutely no direction that anybody do any spying. The individual case was an official of the U.S. government who gave a speech at a conference in which he took a position directly opposed to that which was the official position of the United States government.

We simply made inquiries to determine what the difference was. He then made an assertion. The hon. member, a rational, thoughtful member of Parliament in this thing, would know an absurd statement when she hears one.

Grain Shipments
Oral Question Period

February 17th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David Iftody Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of agriculture.

Farmers in western Canada are losing millions of dollars because of the dismal performance of rail companies. Rail companies are refusing to ship grain to the west coast.

Over the weekend I met with farmers in the Morris area of my riding who are tired of being held hostage by the rail companies. They need grain cars and they need them now.

Will the minister tell these farmers the results of his meetings over the weekend with stakeholders? Can he assure the farmers in my riding that grain cars will be provided and grain will start moving today?