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

Serge L'Archer
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question was intended for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Since February 28, Quebec volunteer Serge L'Archer has been held hostage in the Sahara desert by Toubou rebels who are against the authoritarian regime of Niger.

Who is in a position to inform the House of the latest developments surrounding the detention of Mr. L'Archer in Niger?

Serge L'Archer
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, it will be a pleasure to answer the hon. member's question.

I personally had an opportunity to meet authorities of Niger, including a number of ministers, the ambassador and several others, and I asked them to do everything in their power to secure Mr. L'Archer's release as soon as possible.

I personally spoke to members of Mr. L'Archer's family and to his employer, the CECI. The Canadian government is still demanding the release of Mr. L'Archer. Our ambassador has intervened locally, on our behalf, to have him released as soon as possible. We have reiterated our request for his immediate release to those who are holding him hostage.

Serge L'Archer
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, since so far, the minister's actions do not seem to have been successful, I would like to ask another question.

Considering that Libya has right from the beginning financed and trained the group of rebels who are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage and that it still seems to have some influence with this group, does the government intend to put pressure on Libya in an attempt to obtain the release of Mr. L'Archer?

Serge L'Archer
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has not spoken to the Libyan government about this matter.

We have approached the government of Niger, the embassy of Niger in Canada, our own ambassador in the area and all legitimate authorities to ask them to intervene in this matter. We will continue to do so. I reiterate the Canadian government's request that Mr. L'Archer be released as soon as possible.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has falsely claimed that the $60 million Pearson settlement combined with the $185 million rent gift to the new Pearson airport authority will create 10,000 jobs. The truth is with legal costs added to those figures no jobs will be created without the spending of additional money. Where is that going to come from?

The Pearson contract that the Liberals breached prohibited the contract holder from introducing a passenger head tax at terminals 1 and 2. What is the Minister of Transport going to do to ensure that the new airport authority will not subject those using Pearson airport to a passenger head tax to pay for his costly error in handling the Pearson contract?

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, if this government had structured the agreement with the independent airport authority in such a way as to tie its hands completely, the member would be the first to criticize the government.

We have created a local airport authority in Toronto as we have done in other cities across Canada. We strongly believe that there is no one better than the local community to direct the airport and make it work properly and in a prosperous manner for the benefit of all Canadians, not simply to hand it over to a group of lobbyists the way the Reform Party was advocating we do not that long ago.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister completely ignored the question. I will try a different transportation mode.

In answer to an earlier question he stated that the infrastructure program was the answer to the highway repair system.

The total federal spending on the infrastucture program amounted to 40 per cent of one year's collection of federal excise revenues on fuel. The transport committee travelled from one end of the country to the other and heard from a majority of people that there had to be dedicated revenues of at least 20 per cent of that fuel tax revenue. The government ignored them.

Why does the government bother to consult with Canadians if it is going to ignore what it hears?

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I take note of the further input and support by the hon. member along with his other colleagues for the infrastructure program initiated by the Liberal government.

He knows of course that the program was immensely successful. Obviously that is why he is asking for an extension of the program. Need I remind Canadians as well that over 100,000 jobs were created by the previous infrastructure program. Phase two of the program is well under way. The province of Ontario has yet to sign but we hope it will very shortly. This will enable municipalities that have the greater responsibility for roads together with the province and the federal government to construct even better roads in the province, which is our wish.

I thank the hon. member for his continued support for the infrastructure program.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, as a rural member of the House, I have often heard the minister of agriculture state that he has set goals in conjunction with the provincial ministers of agriculture for greater exports in agriculture products and agri-food.

The minister has set that goal at $20 billion of exports by the turn of the century. How well are we doing in reaching that goal and what strategies are in place to serve agriculture in this area?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Fernand Robichaud Secretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, when we look at agri-food exports it is certainly a good news story, the kind of story Canadians want to hear about.

Statistics Canada figures show that we are already exporting $18.8 billion worth of agri-food and agricultural products. We must recognize however that this could not have been achieved without the efforts by this government, and the minister in particular, in leading trade missions abroad to promote Canadian agricultural and agri-food products.

We are on the right track. We will certainly meet and quite possible exceed our $20 billion target.

If you will bear with me for a moment, since this is probably my last chance to do so in this Parliament, I want to thank you all for your co-operation and especially for your friendship.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government House leader. He is aware that it has been discovered that the amendments which were made to the Canada Elections Act with respect to staggered voting hours are going to have an adverse effect on Saskatchewan, I might say an unexpected effect on Saskatchewan. An oversight that was built into the legislation has come to light.

The Prime Minister received a letter from the premier of Saskatchewan asking that the government address this problem in some way, either legislatively or alternatively, and I quote from the letter: "that the Chief Electoral Officer provide a clear interpretation of the original intent of this amendment".

I wonder what the intention of the government is with respect to this problem and whether it will be consulting with the Chief Electoral Officer to see whether anything can be done about this.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

Noon

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for a useful and important question.

I draw his attention to the actual text of the legislation. It establishes voting hours by time zone and not by province. Saskatchewan has two separate time zones, each covering a different portion of the province.

This is not limited to Saskatchewan. I am informed that part of eastern Quebec is in a different time zone than the rest of the province. It is in the Atlantic time zone. I am referring to an area in the Gaspé. Part of Ontario is in a different time zone than the rest of the province, namely, Kenora-Rainy River.

The matter could most easily be dealt with if the legislature of Saskatchewan passed a relevant resolution to declare the province of Saskatchewan all under the same time zone for electoral purposes. In any event, I am informed that because of the way the act is written it does not mean that anyone in Saskatchewan is deprived of the right to vote in normal voting hours.

I have consulted with the Chief Electoral Officer in this regard and if there is further information to provide I will be happy to do so.

I want to point out again that the legislation is not based on voting hours in provinces but on time zones. That is the reason why this issue has arisen.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

This brings question period to a close today, notwithstanding the fact that I do not have any more information than you have.

This may have been our last question period of the session.

I want to thank you very much for serving this Parliament and Canada as well as all of you have served our people.

I want to personally thank you for the great honour that you have given me to be your Speaker during this session. I wish you all well in the upcoming elections. God willing we will all be back to continue in our service to Canada.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

Noon

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

Noon

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it would be more than appropriate if I, on behalf of members of the House, thank you, sir, for your service to the House as the Speaker. You have carried on your duties with professionalism and dignity, warmth and humour, and we certainly appreciate that.

If by some chance we are here next Monday, all the good sentiments expressed about you and Parliament and the members of Parliament I am sure will continue to apply.