House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tourism.

Topics

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would have certainly liked to have been included in the debate rather than hearing about the debate from some caucus meeting.

The Prime Minister should be worried more about heading into the next referendum without positive changes to our federation. He should be more worried about not offering Quebecers an alternative to either status quo federalism or separation.

If the Prime Minister really wants to set the rules straight, why will he not tell us what he means by those rules? Why not?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 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, I will first explain why the Reform Party is nothing in Quebec.

It has never shown any support for bilingualism in the country. It is always attacking the Official Languages Act. It has no sympathy for the national cultural institutions of the country. It does not support the distinct society resolution, the regional veto resolution, the Young Offenders Act, and the modality to accommodate Quebec.

It has spoken against that. It has spoken against the constitutional amendment to Quebec and Newfoundland. For all of this, it must—

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Macleod.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me make real plain what the Reform Party supports. We support making the federation work better so that there will be no appetite for separation in the country.

The question that the intergovernmental affairs minister is avoiding is a straightforward question.

If clarity on the majority is so important, why will the Prime Minister not tell us here and now what that clarity should be? What is the majority?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:20 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 question is legitimate. The issue is why the Reform Party took three days before asking the question. Instead it blamed the Prime Minister for raising the issue.

The Prime Minister raised the issue because the Quebec government is threatening the country with the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence. This is what the Reform Party should have attacked, and not the Prime Minister for two days.

If the Reform Party is now willing to take the high road and to look at the matter seriously, obviously the Reform Party is right that we need clarity. We truly agree with that.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the week the brain trusts in the Prime Minister's Office seemed to be perfectly clear. They were adamant at the beginning of the week and now by Friday they say that we will be perfectly clear on the required majority and will do that by not telling anyone the actual number required. That is not a brilliant strategy.

I do not know if they think that separatists will be shaking in their boots over that. Imagine—brace yourself, Mr. Speaker—the Prime Minister will be very clear that he will be very unclear in the days to come.

Does the intergovernmental affairs minister not realize that the Prime Minister is in danger of becoming one of Mr. Bouchard's winning conditions?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, why do Reform Party members not recognize that what they should be doing is standing up for Canada instead of reaching out to the separatists?

They are asking the wrong questions and they are taking the wrong attitude toward maintaining a strong, united Canada. Why do they not get on board in the fight for Canada?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are asking questions. Certainly we have not had a single answer yet this morning.

It reads like the stuff of a cheap teenage novel, the Shawinigan strongman and the mystery majority. You have to picture it, Mr. Speaker. Imagine this week the advisers saying “We'll put the Prime Minister out there. We'll get him to be very blustery. We'll get him to bang on the table a few times and then we'll have him declare: let me be perfectly clear. I have known since a long time that I don't know where to go from here and I have nothing to be more clearer than that”.

That is what has happened this week. More could have been done than reigniting the separatist flame. Why do they not tell Canadians what they mean by a clear majority?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the mystery here is why the Reform Party is making personal attacks on the Prime Minister instead of joining him in his fight for a united Canada and against separatism.

They are reaching out to the separatists. We are reaching out to all Canadians to maintain a united Canada. Why do they not join with us?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, in Nova Scotia, the Prime Minister said he would introduce a measure in parliament to set the rules governing the decision Quebecers will make about their future.

Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs tell us when this measure will be introduced in the House?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 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, there are two things here.

First, the idea is not to set the rules for a provincial referendum. The Government of Quebec is absolutely free to ask any question it wants to Quebecers. Rather, the idea is to identify the degree of clarity required for the Government of Canada to have an obligation to negotiate the serious issue of Quebec's separation from the rest of Canada. This is what we are talking about.

It may be that we will never have to do this, if the Quebec government were to say immediately that it will not hold a referendum, because, with a clear question and a clear majority, it will not of course get the necessary support for its separation project.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, this great expert on clarity, tell us clearly what meaning his government is giving to the term measure? Just what does the Prime Minister mean by measure?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 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, everyone knows that something can be done officially, in various ways, to set out for all Canadians, in a more precise manner, under which circumstances the Government of Canada would negotiate or refuse to negotiate the end of its constitutional responsibilities toward one quarter of the Canadian population, and the break-up of the country.

We are fully confident that, if there are no tricks or confusion, Quebecers will always choose to remain in Canada and improve our country, along with other Canadians.

Sudan
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 26, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that he would sever all economic ties with Sudan if an investigation proved that oil operations by the Canadian company Talisman was exacerbating the conflict that is tearing that country apart.

On November 17, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a study that in fact confirmed the minister's fears.

How then can the minister explain his inaction?

Sudan
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brome—Missisquoi
Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government is very concerned about the events in Sudan.

We have done two things. The government has appointed Senator Lois Wilson to head the peace mission as Canada's special envoy.

As well, it has appointed John Harker, a well-known figure in labour circles in Canada in the past, to head a fact-finding commission to Sudan. He is on his way to Sudan as we speak and will be making a report to us shortly.