House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labour.

Topics

Heritage
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, every contract that has been let by my department has been let in accordance with Treasury Board guidelines.

If the member of the Reform Party has any kind of a scurrilous accusation to make, I would suggest he make that accusation outside the House where he will be subject to the libellous action he should be subject to.

Heritage
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I take particular note that Thornley did not receive a single, solitary heritage contract until the minister took over. Since the minister took office in January 1996, Thornley has managed to secure at least four contracts worth $60,000. I also note that the minister's personal friend is listed as official agent for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Does the heritage minister really believe federal contracts to her well connected Liberal friend, her personal friend, will foster Canadian patriotism?

Heritage
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I repeat the fact that any contract that has been let through my department has been let in full compliance and respect for Treasury Board guidelines.

If the member has a scurrilous accusation to make, I would suggest that he go outside the House like a parliamentarian and make it where he will be subject to the full effect of libel suits. He is attempting to hide under the protection of the House which would not be accorded to him outside in making such a libellous statement.

Kidnappings
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Tremblay Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Four years ago, Karim, the son of Micheline Tremblay, was kidnapped by her ex-spouse who is hiding him somewhere in Egypt. Mrs. Tremblay made numerous representations to the police and judicial authorities. Interpol issued an arrest warrant against the former spouse. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. André Ouellet, promised early in 1996 to sign a bilateral agreement with Egypt that would have made it possible to bring the child home. However, Mrs. Tremblay only saw her son for three hours, and she is still calling for help because nothing has really changed.

Can government members, who like to travel with Team Canada to promote economic ties, remain insensitive to this very disturbing humanitarian case? Will they promise today to intercede with the Egyptian government to make sure Karim returns to Canada?

Kidnappings
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no sensitivity in terms of dealing with this case. We are very sensitive to the situation that exists. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has met with the mother and we continue to make representations to the Egyptian government.

We will be sending an official of our department to Cairo within the next week to continue that dialogue to try to bring a successful resolution to the matter.

I also understand the matter is due to be coming before the Egyptian courts later this year.

Kidnappings
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Tremblay Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, ever since 1993, every time the government has been asked about this question, the answer has always been the same. They promise an agreement will be reached, they promise something will be done, but although the government seems to get moving every time a kidnapping causes a media storm, there are never any concrete results.

My question is straightforward and is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Is she prepared to sign an agreement with Egypt before the next election and is she prepared to guarantee that Karim will return to Canada?

Kidnappings
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Egyptian authorities apparently have only recently confirmed that Madam Tremblay's son is in Egypt.

Moving on this matter the courts have granted her access. We are certainly pressing the case as much as we possibly can to bring about its successful resolution as quickly as possibly to unite son and mother.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

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

This morning Major Vince Buonamici, who is testifying in the dying days of the Somalia inquiry, accused the government of covering up what was "at least a manslaughter and at worst a culpable murder". He said that there was a "high level conspiracy" to stonewall the investigation into the shooting. This stonewalling almost certainly led directly to the death of Shidane Arone.

If the minister is intent on shutting down the Somalia inquiry, how will he get to the bottom of these incredible allegations?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is well aware that since the inquiry began, and particularly since I have been the Minister of National Defence, I have not commented on the testimony of witnesses before the inquiry because it is the job of the commissioners to prepare their recommendations.

I am sure the hon. member is as anxious as I am to see those recommendations. As a result of the government having given the commission of inquiry a third extension but asking it to report by the end of June, no doubt it will be an area the commission will address when it makes its report.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us be perfectly clear what the government is doing.

A Somali was shot in the back. There was a cover-up. There was a high level conspiracy to delay the investigation. This delay resulted in the torture death of Shidane Arone. Military officials then destroyed, shredded and altered documents to keep it a secret. Now the defence minister is ensuring that the cover-up will continue and Canadians and Somalis will never learn the truth.

Why is the minister so determined to hide the truth about the high level cover-up at National Defence headquarters?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the attempt to

determine what went on in Somalia in the incident the hon. gentleman has referred to began on March 15, 1995. The commissioners have had nearly two years to call a roster of witnesses and to make sure they determined who they wanted to hear from.

The testimony to which the hon. member refers was heard, as he indicated himself, this week. There was nothing that precluded that evidence being heard a year and a half ago. The commissioners knew exactly what had taken place with respect to the people who were looking into the incidents.

We will not disagree with the hon. leader of the third party who in September 1996 said:

Mr. Speaker, to ensure there is no ultimate cover-up in the Somalia inquiry, will the Prime Minister guarantee to this House that the results of the inquiry will be made fully public before the next federal election?

I am doing the best I can.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Many people in my riding are frustrated in their efforts to find employment. Some are frustrated because they can only find work through temporary placement agencies. It is difficult for them to support their families on salaries from part time jobs. Many may wonder in today's job market if the government's Human Resources Centres of Canada are still relevant.

Does the minister have any suggestion on services available in HRCCs to many Canadians who are looking for employment to support themselves, their families and their relatives?

Employment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

I thank the member for his very good question. We are very preoccupied with the high level of unemployed people in the country.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, the very nature of work is changing these days. It is more and more difficult to adapt to its needs. This is something that we try very hard to do as a government.

Placement agencies happen to be very useful in a number of circumstances and we have had good results with the ones we have actually worked with.

I want to assure the country and the House that HRDC is still working very well at the employment centres and that we have a number of important programs. Reinvesting $800 million in active measures is one element of it. We have had very successful programs to help Canadians find jobs.

The new electronic labour exchange which matches employers and job seekers has had an extraordinary 80 per cent positive result. We still give a lot of face to face services for these people. The job bank which links employers with job seekers is quite efficient as well.

Railways
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has expressed concern about the problems in grain transportation this winter which may result in a collective loss to farmers of some $65 million. Yet the government seems content to accept the approval of yet another $15 million in new freight rate increases.

How can the Minister of Transport justify this measure which is a reward for the railways' poor performance and allows them to increase their profits at the expense of hard working farmers?

Railways
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has forgotten that many factors are taken into account when the cost of capital allowance is made in determining grain freight rates. This is done by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

I should point out to the member that there have been adjustments downward as a result of improvements in the capital market, as well as the adjustment that he mentioned, which is related to the risk involved in the current system of grain transportation and the risk to the railways themselves.