House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the hon. member's great concern. All the necessary steps have been taken to assist Mrs. Robitaille. For instance, I have met with Mrs. Robitaille, and my office is in contact with her on a regular basis.

More specifically, an agreement on consular matters is about to be signed with the Egyptian government. This agreement could facilitate the return of the children to Canada. I hope it will be signed soon. We certainly hope we can be of assistance to Mrs. Robitaille in these tragic circumstances.

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the minister, I too hope this agreement will be signed soon. As I said, one of the children is very sick.

For the past two years, Mrs. Robitaille has been sending the children, who are still Canadian citizens, money, clothing and medicine. That is how she has been keeping in touch with them. She was using the child tax benefit to do that.

But last March, Mrs. Robitaille was not only informed that she would no longer be entitled to the benefit, she was also asked to pay back $7,000 in alleged overpayments.

My question to the minister is this: Could the minister state in this House that he will be pressing his colleague at National Revenue to maintain Mrs. Robitaille's entitlement to this tax benefit for the sake of her children and as a means of keeping in touch with them?

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the information. I will certainly raise the matter with my colleague.

I would like to assure the hon. member that while the children are still in Egypt, members of the embassy there are in regular contact with the children to ensure their protection and to ensure that as much as possible under Egyptian law their rights are being protected.

We will take all measures possible to aid Mrs. Robitaille in this very serious matter.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is quoted in the Ottawa Citizen today as follows: ``If I fire or suspend Mr. Weatherill without having good cause, Mr. Weatherill can turn around and sue the government''.

The minister therefore expects to keep Mr. Weatherill in his position until the fall, and the chairman of the Canada Labour Relations Board has violated every principle of his office by wining and dining executives of CN and CP while adjudicating a case for the railroads and he has violated the fundamental rules that apply to his tribunal.

If that is not sufficient cause to fire Mr. Weatherill, what is?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, before I fire Mr. Weatherill I have to have all the facts and not rely on media reports.

The first day we learned of his expenses we asked the auditor general to investigate. Today privy council officials have asked the commissioner of ethics to investigate Mr. Weatherill's alleged bias. As soon as we have all the facts we will act.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I said before that it seems this minister runs his department by reading the newspapers.

The Treasury Board has been paying these bills for years. This tribunal reports to his department. He knows this and should be aware of what is going on.

He is now sending a clear signal to people who violate the ethics of their office, who have abused the principles of expenditures of their office, that it is perfectly okay to sit where they are. He has not even suspended him without pay until this investigation is complete. This type of ethics from this government we have heard time and time again.

Can the minister explain this double standard of keeping this guy on the payroll when if it were in the private sector he would be before the courts today?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, we are acting as promptly as possible and we hope in the next few days to have this matter solved. In the meantime, I repeat, I cannot act until I have all the facts.

If the member was very concerned, on March 11, a month ago, instead of filibustering, and the Reform Party moved a motion to stop doing third reading and do it in six months, by now we would have Bill C-66 and we would have a new board with a new chairman.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 45,000 Canadian postal workers are very distressed at renewed rumours that Canada Post is going to be privatized.

Could the minister responsible for Canada Post please tell us something that might reassure these workers?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, last October I made a statement to the effect that Canada Post should not be privatized as long as it continues to serve a public policy role. I asked Canada Post to look at how it could improve its services, especially in rural areas.

That was last October. We have not changed our position on that. I made that statement two days ago in New Brunswick.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

April 10th, 1997 / 3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Rafik Al-Hariri, the Prime Minister of the Lebanese Republic.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Liu Zhongde, Minister of Culture of the People's Republic of China.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Her Excellency Néziha Zarrouk, the minister responsible to the Prime Minister of Tunisia for family and women's affairs.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the leader of the government in the House what is on the legislative agenda for the coming week.