House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have debated that for a long time. There is a judgment of the supreme court. The legislation that will be made public today reflects the request of the Supreme Court of Canada to make sure that political partners state clearly their positions in a civilized society.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are still seeking clarity.

Canada will win any future referendum if Quebecers are presented with clear choices: the choice between an isolated Quebec state or a strong vibrant province within a renewed federation; the choice between building a strong future together on the basis of equality or embarking down separate paths on the basis of differences.

Surely the government has a responsibility to ensure that the choices are clear and that the consequences are clear.

I ask the Prime Minister, how does this proposed legislation clarify these choices and those consequences?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said publicly many times that the question has to be clear and the result has to be clear. The question has to be on the idea that Quebec will not be a province of Canada. We want to clarify that so that people know exactly what they are doing and what they will achieve when they vote. We want the people to know exactly what is the plan of the provincial government.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, defining the rules of any future Quebec referendum in clear, indisputable terms is only half the battle. It is crucial, but it is only half the battle. Equally important is how the government proposes to modernize the federation to offer Quebecers and other Canadians an alternative to either status quo federalism or separation. They need a third way. For the Canadian federation to thrive in the 21st century, federalism itself needs to be modernized.

Will the Prime Minister include with his referendum legislation a list of the positive reforms that he proposes to modernize the federation for the 21st century?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a policy on modernization that is one step at a time. That is why we voted in the House of Commons in December 1995 to recognize Quebec as a distinct society. That is why we have given a veto on constitutional amendments to the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. That is why the federal government gave manpower training to the provincial governments some time ago. That is why we are no longer in tourism and forestry, as we were before. We are modernizing.

The best way to convince the people of Quebec that Canada is a good country is to have good government, and that is exactly what we have done in the last six years.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

December 10th, 1999 / 11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, since 1994, we have been asking this government to be clear on the question of secession and the question of majority. The government must also be clear about the problems of secession.

Why can the Prime Minister not answer these three questions clearly?

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, obviously nobody is against clarity, and we Quebecers will never lose Canada in confusion, nor we will lose it in clarity, because we want to keep it. That is what the bill is all about.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the rules of secession are very important. They must be clear. It is also important that the Canadian federation be renewed so that no province wishes to leave.

Can the Prime Minister guarantee us that his referendum plan will include a plan for renewing the federation?

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, we are constantly renewing the federation.

There must, however, be agreement on one thing: there can be different ideas of how Canada can be improved, whether they are proposed by reformers, social democrats, progressive conservatives or liberals.

But we must all admit that nothing, and I mean nothing, in this Canada justifies separation.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the purpose of the bill the government is preparing to introduce is to thwart the people of Quebec and their legitimate aspirations.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that it is his intention, and the intention of his government, to impose trusteeship on the Quebec national assembly?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bill states clearly that the national assembly may hold a referendum under the conditions it wishes to have. The bill dictates only what the Parliament of Canada will do if there is a referendum. It can hold a referendum on whatever it wants.

What I want and what I wish for is the Government of Quebec to respect the wishes of the people of Quebec who do not want a referendum. If Mr. Bouchard had accepted the offer I made him two weeks ago, we would not be obliged to introduce a bill to clarify the conditions if there is a referendum, so that parliament may act.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister not understand that, unlike his 1982 bill which had the support of 73 submissive federal MPs from Quebec, this time he is going to run into 44 Bloc Quebecois MPs determined to prevent a power grab from happening in Quebec for the second time in 20 years?

Does the Prime Minister realize that if his government gets his bill passed, it will be going against the National Assembly of Quebec and by far the majority of the members representing Quebec in this House? It will get no legitimacy from Quebec.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Right Hon. Prime Minister.