House of Commons Hansard #164 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was telemarketing.

Topics

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has said it was very happy to sponsor the proposal submitted to us by the National Assembly and thus to help modernize the school system.

We are going to do this with full respect for the democratic values of Quebecers and of other Canadians. The official opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, keeps droning on about Alliance Quebec and The Gazette for reasons I explained earlier, but everyone disagrees with the Bloc on this issue.

Let me give a few examples. Agnès Gruda of La Presse had this to say: ``In the end, Ottawa is right. Pushing for a vote on the constitutional amendment before the federal election is completely artificial. It has taken Quebec City two years to come up with its request, which it forwarded to Ottawa only two weeks before the election call. There is no national emergency that requires us to move full steam ahead in an emotional climate that can only be detrimental to the debate''.

Michel C. Auger, of the Journal de Montréal wrote: ``It is very difficult to ask the federal government to hurry up when we know it took the Government of Quebec several months to decide on the wording of a constitutional amendment and another three weeks to put it to the National Assembly''.

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, every time a rural person in this country turns around the government or one of its agencies throws dirt in his face.

Why should rational farmers who are going to have to deal with rail line abandonments, gun registration, grossly increased CPP payments and empty promises to modernize grain handling and marketing support their sworn enemies by supporting this elitist, urban centred government?

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend overlooks the reality that the Liberal Party is proud to have in the House rural members from every part of the country who are doing an outstanding job of reflecting the interests of their constituents.

It is clear from the effective action of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Liberal team on this side of the House that we have a record of achievement which fully justifies the rural voters of this country's not only returning the Liberal members from rural areas but electing a lot more and getting rid of the useless Reform members who are still hanging around.

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, it has been mentioned a few time in the

House that there are some rural Liberal members. Unfortunately their first loyalty is to the Liberal Party. About their 11th loyalty is to their constituents.

Nobody suffers more than farmers from the collapse of a national transportation system. When they have produce to move to market it is kind of handy to have a railway or a road.

When will the government allocate a reasonable share of the $5 billion that it takes out of Canadians' pockets every year in fuel taxes to help the provinces rebuild and refurbish the disintegrating highway system so that it is safe and partially serviceable?

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I find the question from the member opposite at least unusual. He and his party criticized the infrastructure program after the last election, after proposing it to their constituents, and now they are asking for a similar program to repair roads and infrastructure again.

It is the policy of our party and I thank the hon. member for finally supporting us in our initiative for infrastructure. I hope he convinces the premier of Ontario to sign on with the rural members of the Liberal Party and with the rest of Canadians in having a new infrastructure program.

General Motors
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour.

General Motors plans to invest $14.7 billion in retooling its plants throughout the world. Of that amount, $1.4 billion will be invested in China. Oshawa is also on the list of plants that will benefit, but there is nothing indicated for Boisbriand in Quebec.

Since the federal government has loaned $110 million to the Boisbriand plant, it cannot be unconcerned about its future, which depends on a retooling which would cost $300 million.

What does the minister plan to do to ensure that the Boisbriand plant benefits from the investment required for the retooling on which its future depends?

General Motors
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am certain that, if an application is made which fits the program criteria, the government will be very open to giving it serious consideration. I will pass this worthwhile question on to the minister responsible.

When programs meet the necessary criteria, we are interested in developing the automotive industry anywhere in the country.

General Motors
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than 1,000 GM workers at Boisbriand are currently waiting to be called back to work.

Can the minister assure us that he will follow up on the $110 million that has been paid out, and that he will insure that the people concerned will be called back promptly?

General Motors
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the decision for such a callback is in the hands of company management. The government does not have the power to order people to be called back to work in any plant in this country.

I am sure that my colleagues with responsibility for industrial development matters will do their utmost to help this company attain greater market success, with the result that the workers will be called back. This is something we all wish for, in the interest of the region and in the interest of our country.

Manitoba Flood
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Ron Fewchuk Selkirk—Red River, MB

Mr. Speaker, as many members of the House are aware, Manitoba has been struck with a very serious flood that has impacted the lives of many Manitobans. This weekend people from all over Manitoba are gathering together to fight this disaster and to help the flood victims.

Will the minister of revenue tell my constituents and the people of Manitoba what the federal government is doing to help the victims of this terrible disaster?

Manitoba Flood
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all members in this House, we recognize the concern that the member for Selkirk-Red River has on behalf of his constituents and all Manitobans who are fighting the rising waters of the Red River.

Without question, all Canadians are watching the media reports. As the water rises and we see the evacuation of Manitobans from their houses, from their properties, we feel their isolation and their concern.

We take some heart and hope when we see all levels of government working productively and positively together, the federal government, the provincial government and the municipal government in support of Manitobans.

My colleague the minister of defence visited the area. He has deployed over 1,500 members of the Canadian forces to work side by each with Manitobans as they evacuate, as they sand bag. The

Minister of Foreign Affairs is there today with his constituents announcing support from the federal government, working with the province, working with the municipalities.

All Canadians are watching Manitobans with concern and with hope. Let them all understand that they have Canada in their corner.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the question my colleague from Saskatchewan asked, I cannot help but think that canoe museums, hotels, tennis courts and boxes in stadiums do not help to move grain.

We are coming to an election apparently. That means people seeking election will go to the electorate and make promises.

I would like to ask a question of the government with respect to a very explicit promise made in 1993 by the Liberals. It was written right in the red book. It was the one that said the government would appoint an independent, underline independent, ethics counsellor who would report directly to Parliament. These words are directly from chapter six of that book. That has not happened. The ethics counsellor is not independent. He reports to the Prime Minister and he does not report to this House. He has not yet.

As the Liberals now go to the electorate, how will they explain this discrepancy between what they have said in words and what they have actually done when they had a clear opportunity to fulfil that promise without anything impeding them?

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it has been a real achievement to create the position of ethics counsellor. One can debate about whom the individual should report to but I think this is a meaningful response to the commitment in the red book.

If my hon. friend is serious about his question, then he will abandon his position as a Reformer and support the Liberals so we can go on and make further progress in this area of ethics. We have a government we can be proud of when it comes to integrity, comparable to any other in Canadian history.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the question actually was not whether or not what the counsellor is doing is fine. It really is not. In the red book the Liberals promised that he would be independent and that he would report to Parliament. That has not happened.

As these members of Parliament seek re-election, what do their words, whether printed or spoken, really mean? Are they prepared to fulfil them if they get another mandate? And we do not think they will.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a very substantial part of the Liberal platform has been put into effect. We can be proud of what we have achieved.

The hon. member's question strongly creates the impression that he expects the Liberals to be re-elected. Otherwise he would not have asked the kind of question he did. I thank him for his endorsement. I will use it in my next pamphlet.