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

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, the hon. member is correct. The questions are over here and the answers are on the other side. I would hope that we would listen both to the question and to the answer.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

December 10th, 1999 / 11:45 a.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week the federal fisheries minister threatened to get tough on municipalities that are pumping raw sewage into their harbours. These cities include Victoria, a city that happens to be in the environment minister's riding. The environment minister disagrees with the fisheries minister and has said openly that this is not an environmental concern at all.

Which minister is playing politics with the environment?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, although he comes from Alberta, the hon. member should know that in the oceans there is the possibility of allowing the natural effect of heavily oxygenated sea water to treat sewage. Within 1.4 metres of the outfall pipe there is no toxicity and within 400 metres there is no visible sign whatsoever.

We have to recognize that if the member's party wants to spend an extra $400 to $600 million in one Canadian city for something that has no environmental advantage, go ahead and propose it. We see nothing in this House but increased expenditure by the opposition and no suggestion that we should do things intelligently.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

What irony, Mr. Speaker.

The government chooses, as the day for its power grab, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states the following in article 21(3): “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage—”.

How can the Prime Minister justify internationally that his vote holds more weight than mine?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

11:50 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 strongly suggest to the hon. member that she never let the UN see the 1980 and 1995 questions. It would be amazed by them.

Unclear questions cannot be used to break up a country. In Canada, Quebecers are entitled to be Canadians every bit as much as the people of Ontario, British Columbia, the eastern provinces, the Prairies and the North. We are Canadians, and Canada must not be lost through confusion.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

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

In view of the fact that it would be very much in Canada's interests to ratify the United Nations convention on the law of the sea, can the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicate when the Government of Canada will ratify the law of the sea now that 143 other nations have already done so?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know how deeply involved the hon. member has been in this particular subject. I can report to him that we do intend to ratify the law of the sea convention. The only question that remains is that we must complete the ratification of the straddling stocks agreement to fill in the gap of fish management on the high seas. Once that has been done, Canada will ratify it.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the chairman of the agriculture committee is telling flooded farmers that while it is late in the day, they should not give up trying to have southwest Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan declared a natural disaster area. The government has waffled on declaring this a natural disaster area for seven months. His own caucus members are saying that help may still come.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Will he declare the flooded region a natural disaster area, yes or no?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there are very clear criteria for the declaration. First, I have to have a request from the provinces to do so and it has to meet the criteria. The criteria are established by federal and provincial agreements. The federal government wants to be just as co-operative as it possibly can be in dealing with disaster financial assistance.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, the spin doctors have prepared notes for the foreign minister to try and counter the claims of a whistleblower who uncovered billions of dollars of worthless overspending by our diplomats all over the world.

Will the minister read those lines prepared for him to explain the breach of treasury board spending limits on properties purchased abroad by our diplomats? Or will he admit that the whistleblower was right and ensure that treasury board guidelines are being respected by his officials?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in deciding on property matters it is a complex problem. We have to take into account particularly in today's world, security problems, safety problems and environmental problems.

We attempt to make the best efforts under treasury board guidelines to ensure safe and adequate residences for our overseas diplomats. We serve two million Canadians a year overseas and they receive very good service. I think our diplomats deserve to have proper facilities.

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

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

Members will recall that in 1995 under pressure from the Reform Party the Minister of Finance slashed funding for social programs to the point where these programs are now seriously underfunded. Some 20% of our children now live in poverty.

Will the minister listen to the people and restore funding for health and education, or is he still intimidated by the Leader of the Opposition on this question?

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it would take a lot more than that.

The Government of Canada has acted in much the same way that previous governments in Saskatchewan have acted. It was Tommy Douglas who said that no government should ever allow itself to be put in the hands of its bondholders because if it is, it does not have the ability to make the kinds of decisions that we have made. For instance, last year the government put $11.5 billion back into the health care system. There was the Canadian opportunities strategy in the 1998 budget and the child tax benefit.

I can assure the hon. member that we will continue to invest in the future of Canadians.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I remind the Minister of Finance that Tommy Douglas never got out of health care. Tommy Douglas founded health care in this country. We now have the money to do some of these things.

I want to ask the minister a supplementary question about agriculture. The Europeans are now funding their farmers. The Americans are funding their farmers. Saskatchewan and Manitoba farmers and all the parties in these provinces supported by the chamber of commerce and trade movement have asked for an extra $1.3 billion. The farmers want to know why the Minister of Finance has not listened.

Will the Minister of Finance tell us whether or not there will be an additional $1.3 billion coming to the farmers of those two provinces?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance and the government have already put $1.1 billion into assistance for farmers in the last year.

The government continues to look at many different ways in which to assist the producers. We will continue to do that. We know how important the producers are to this country and what their needs are.