House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

Topics

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would simply point out the difference between the Liberal members on this side and the Tory members on that side. The Liberal members on this side set up a caucus task force some time ago. They have gone from coast to coast. They have had hearings on the mergers. They are in the process of putting together a very insightful and important opinion. At the same time the members of the Conservative Party have sat there. They have made speeches but they have not done one darn thing.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the PC caucus believes that all members in this House deserve access, that all Canadians deserve access and that it should not be discussed in the back rooms of the Liberal caucus behind closed doors.

Why will the Liberal Minister of Finance not bring this bank merger issue out of the Liberal back rooms and into the open? Will he ask the finance committee to study this issue beginning immediately before the House adjourns for the summer?

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, those hearings by the Liberal caucus task force were in Vancouver and they were in public. They were in Peterborough and they were in public. They were in Winnipeg and they were in public.

The fact is that the Liberal members of parliament are preparing themselves for the finance committee hearings which are going to be held in September. The only question is, what is the Tory party doing apart from speaking to a couple of its banking friends on Bay Street?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

April 21st, 1998 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, a captain wanted to lighten his ship's load so on a stormy day he warned that the ship would sink unless some men were thrown overboard. Gripped with fear the crew turned on each other and as a result several were lost.

The health minister warns that compensating all hepatitis C victims will sink the entire medicare ship. He is deliberately creating fear in Canadians so they will be willing to sacrifice fellow Canadians who have hepatitis C. How can he use such an unethical public relations ploy? How can he sink so low?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is not very often that we find unanimity among all the governments in Canada on one issue, let alone an issue as difficult as this one. All the governments in Canada agreed on the public policy question of compensation for hepatitis C victims. It was not easy. It is a tough issue.

The hon. member does not paint it correctly when he describes it as he did. It is a very broad question of just where the state's role is in paying cash compensation to people who are harmed through the health system, through medical procedures which all inherently carry risk. I urge the hon. member—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Wanuskewin.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Wanuskewin, SK

There is a big difference, Mr. Speaker, between accidents, negligence and what has occurred in this particular instance.

The Liberal Party presents itself as the party that promotes Canadian unity and sharing and community, but that is not the truth. At the very first sight of choppy waters it is pitting the majority of Canadians against hepatitis C victims.

Why is this government attempting to orchestrate a second assault on these victims by trying to turn their own friends and neighbours against them?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member speaks as though this was a unilateral act by this government. In fact it was a decision shared in by all governments, indeed Progressive Conservative governments among them. The Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative Government of Alberta all agreed that this is the appropriate approach.

I say to the hon. member, do not duck the tough question. Face the tough question of public policy. That is what the ministers of health did and we believe we have done the right thing in terms of public policy.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

For some time now, the Mexican government has been expelling all foreign observers from Chiapas, among them two Quebec women. As a result, the Minister of Foreign Affairs called for explanations from the Mexican government, and those explanations were totally unconvincing. For the Prime Minister, the incident is closed, but at the same time the Minister of Foreign Affairs is proposing the creation of an international commission of inquiry into the human rights situation in Chiapas.

Since the Prime Minister was insisting that human rights be on the agenda of the Summit of the Americas, can he tell us what exactly the Canadian position is on this matter?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have discussed this problem with the President of Mexico. He explained that the persons expelled had not complied with the laws of that country, and that all foreigners were obliged to leave under the circumstances.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and myself insisted that work on this matter continue. We even offered the Mexicans the possibility of sending a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians, and we hope they will accept our proposal.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is the logic behind the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian government's desire to create another commission of inquiry, when the Canadian representatives on the international civilian commission dispatched to Chiapas have been trying to meet with him for more than a month now?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the logic is very evident. A group of parliamentarians representing the broad base of Canadian citizens would be able to provide this House and the government with an accurate and objective assessment of the conditions that are taking place in Mexico. It would be done in a way that would enable it to be shared entirely in an open public way without the kinds of question marks that relate to the past incident.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have the very real spectre of less banking choices in the immediate future for Canadians. The finance minister is hiding behind his task force report hoping the whole issue will go away. It is not going to go away and frankly, Canadians deserve an answer.

Our position is very clear: no mergers without competition. What is the minister's position anyway? Does he even have one or do we have to wait for him to phone Matthew Barrett, John Cleghorn and Charlie Baillie to find out what the position is?

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to understand the role of the task force.

Essentially there are very great changes, globalization, technological changes affecting all of the financial services industry. The task force is looking at the evolution of that. It is also looking at the insurance industry. It is looking at the roles of credit unions. The task force is putting together the context within which the debate in this House and across the country will take place.

If what the hon. member really wants is to have competition and to have a public debate, what he should be prepared to do is support the submission of the task force and the debate that will follow therefrom.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister said watches, but they are doing nothing. It is like watching paint dry, frankly.

Ordinary Canadians are terrified of what these mergers will mean to them and their businesses. The banks have the shareholders speaking up for them, the lobbyists. They even have high profile Liberals speaking up for them, but it is a one-sided conversation. The Minister of Finance is mute on this. Why will he not stand up for Canadians and let them know that they are always going to have some options? Why will he not stand up for competition?