House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

U.S. Helms-Burton Law
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the matter concerning Wal-Mart, it is being looked at by justice officials. We expect that Canadian companies will abide by Canadian law. That was the intention of our amendments under the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has indicated, we are continuing in our opposition to the Helms-Burton law and its extraterritorial application of American law. We believe it is fundamentally wrong in terms of international trading law.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, hospital closures are hanging like an albatross around the Liberal government's neck.

I would like to go into health minister's backyard real close. In Nova Scotia over the past year hospital bed closures have totalled 25 per cent. It is interesting to note that waiting lists in the province of Nova Scotia in the same period have climbed 25 per cent. They are longer.

Will the health minister simply stand up and admit that his government's policies of cutting health care transfers by 40 per cent are directly responsible for the increasing waiting lists in his home province?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as many reputable organizations have said with regard to health care spending, no less than the National Forum, Canada has the second most expensive system of the OECD countries.

The hon. member, in his selective memory with reference to the facts, forgets to inform the House that under this government and this Minister of Finance in this fiscal year alone we are providing to the provinces in terms of equalization payments in excess of $8.6 billion. In addition, the interest reductions we have been able to do on our fiscal side provide an additional $1.6 billion for the provinces.

The issue is not one of funding. The issue in provinces across the country has to do with the management of the health care system.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time we have heard it is just a management problem that is at heart here.

What did the Liberals do with the money that should be going to the hospitals? The first thing is the health minister tried to divert funds in his own province. The second thing he has done is he gave $33,000 to the Cape Breton Yacht Association.

Reform would simply take those funds and put them into the hospitals, which is quite a contrast, I should think.

Will the health minister simply stand and admit that his government policies are responsible for longer waiting lines in his own province?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what an interesting day it is. The hon. member on October 17, 1995 said: "Medicare is bad for everyone". On November 23 he changed his mind. He said that medicare was important to all Canadians. Then in March 1996 the very distinguished, the eloquent, the very colourful leader of that party said: "There is going to have to be continued reductions in social transfers".

I know the Bloc Quebecois is huffing and puffing, but I did not think the Reform Party would be puffing and huffing too.

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec.

For over a year now, the federal government has refused to renew the framework agreement on regional economic development with Quebec. In the meantime, sectoral agreements have expired, and the regions of Quebec are now suffering as a result.

Is the federal government prepared now to show its good intentions and conclude agreements on regional development with Quebec, as it did recently in ratifying agreements with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia?

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Secretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, my predecessor at the Federal Office of Regional Development wrote on two or three occasions to the Government of Quebec precisely to conclude a harmonization agreement on intervention in regional development in the province.

Unfortunately, at the time, the two or three attempts were declined by the Government of Quebec, which was not interested in reaching a harmonization agreement. This was in the period before the referendum, and the provincial government certainly did not want to show that the federal system worked well.

What we did then was to set up a new program under which the Federal Office of Regional Development intervenes where it can do the most within its areas of jurisdiction.

We are now prepared to go ahead and discuss harmonization with the Province of Quebec, even if harmonization is a fact, because we were farsighted and wanted to look after the public's interest.

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if that is profitable federalism, effective federalism, but when the Liberals formed the government in 1993, nearly two thirds of the money spent by the federal government in Quebec on regional development passed through the economic and regional development agreement. Today, three years later, it is less than a third. The federal government prefers to operate directly, over the heads of Quebec and the regions.

Is the Secretary of State prepared to put a stop immediately to his circuitous strategies and to negotiate in good faith with Quebec in the best interest of the regions of Quebec?

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Secretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as regards the investment of money in regional development, the funds invested in Quebec compare favourably with those invested in all the other regions of Canada.

What upsets the members of the opposition is that, because they refused a year and a half ago to sign a harmonization agreement with the Government of Canada, we set up a regional development structure, which suits the public and meets their needs. There are 13 regional offices within the federal office, and there are 55 community futures development corporations. Why are they so upset that we have understood and that the public is now beginning to understand? Because even if the Government of Quebec is not interested in it, the process of harmonization is being carried out by the organizations themselves locally. That is what profitable federalism is all about.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party has received some interesting documents and I would be prepared to table them.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

They finally got some mail after three and a half years.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would prefer if we did not wave papers around.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I was just doing what some of the ministers do.

The document I have proves the Prime Minister's friend and political appointee, Bob Fowler, broke the Privacy Act when he improperly issued documents in an attempt to destroy the reputation of Colonel Michel Drapeau. Unbelievably he did this to try to prevent Colonel Drapeau from legally submitting access to information requests at the Department of National Defence.

Will the Prime Minister finally hold Mr. Fowler accountable for his actions and recall him immediately to Ottawa?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman has indicated that he is prepared to make the documents to which he refers available to members of the House.

We will be very pleased to look at them and to consider what is actually in them, because I have learned from experience that what they wave in the House and refer to is often quite different from what we find if they get around to tabling anything.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, my goodness it is hard to believe that minister about waving documents around when he fails even to put them up the same day he waves them.

Submitting information requests is the legal right of every Canadian but Colonel Drapeau got too close to the truth. That is when Mr. Fowler decided to take him down. Mr. Fowler even sent his illegal poison pen letter about Colonel Drapeau to CSIS, the Department of Justice, and the Department of National Revenue. He broke the Privacy Act by issuing this illegal letter and that is unacceptable.

How could the government justify a person like this representing Canada to the international community at the UN?