House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nisga'a.

Topics

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.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 speaking with the provincial premiers and governments about every file, including unity issues.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, this country was built upon common interests by and for the people here.

We cannot allow the House of Commons to introduce a bill which, in reality, provides a recipe for destroying this country.

Does the government realize that this draft bill is an avowal of failure by this government as far as the future of the federation is concerned?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

No, Mr. Speaker. This bill is a follow-up to the supreme court judgment referring back to the political stakeholders the responsibility to establish the conditions of clarity under which they would agree to negotiate the secession of a province from Canada, and it seems to me that one of those stakeholders is the Canadian House of Commons.

Transitional Jobs Fund
Oral Question Period

December 13th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, even after the Prime Minister found nearly $1 million in federal grants and loans for the Grand-Mère Inn in his riding, it is out of money again. There are lawsuits over unpaid debts, and now it is even up for sale.

Fortunately for the Prime Minister, Mr. Duhaime was taking the Prime Minister's money losing hotel off his hands at that time, but unfortunately for the taxpayers, it looks like their so-called investment is about to go down a black hole or into cyberspace, depending on what we like to call it.

Why did the Prime Minister give Mr. Duhaime $1 million in the first place? How much money will taxpayers lose over this latest fiasco?

Transitional Jobs Fund
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, while the majority of Canadians are celebrating the lowest unemployment levels that we have had in almost a decade, 6.9%, there are areas in the country that are not benefiting from this.

The opposition would have those regions suffer due to a lack of employment opportunities. That is not our approach. We have supported the transitional jobs fund and the Canada jobs fund.

Transitional Jobs Fund
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the words of Yogi Berra, it is déjà vu all over again.

This time Mr. Duhaime owes the federal government $66,000 in back taxes; Revenue Quebec, $61,000; the town of Grand-Mère, $46,000; the city of Shawinigan, $15,000; and a local contractor, $80,000.

The last time Mr. Duhaime was in this much trouble his first hotel burned to the ground and the Prime Minister came up with $1 million to get him back in business. Will the Prime Minister assure us that the fire trucks are standing by, that there are no more grants for Mr. Duhaime, and will he tell us how much money this will cost the taxpayers?

Transitional Jobs Fund
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that the unemployment levels in that area are very high. I also would remind the House that this project was contracted in good faith based on a business plan and on the advice and support of the whole community. In support of this project, we were with the provincial government, Caisse Populaire Le Rocher, the Fédération des Travailleurs du Quebec's solidarity fund, the Groupe Forces, a private sector investor and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, clause 2(2) of the draft bill by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs on the Quebec referendum calls for determination of the majority to be based on the size of the majority, not specified, the percentage of participation, again not specified, and “any other matters or circumstances it considers to be relevant”.

Can the minister, that friend of Galganov and Guy Bertrand, tell us what the matters and circumstances relevant to the evaluation of the majority might be? What is this saying between the lines?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

It is very difficult, Mr. Speaker, in the calm of a united country, in the situation we find ourselves today, to predict all of the circumstances, probably difficult and troubled ones, that would occur after a referendum that led to a yes vote, which the government of the province would have deemed a sufficiently clear majority to call for negotiations on secession.

The first ones to make that assessment would be the government of the province. One might think, for instance, that government might be sufficiently forward looking not to want to proceed if the figures were within the zone for a recount; that is one example.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government will decide if the majority is sufficient and if the question is clear enough, taking into consideration the opinions of the political parties in the National Assembly, the governments of the provinces, the governments of the territories, and the Senate, as well as any other opinion it might deem relevant.

Has the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs not made sufficient provision for different opinions in order to be absolutely certain that one of them at least would back him up in not following through on the referendum?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for secession to be achieved, a great deal of calm and a great deal of reasonable action will be necessary. Most of all, motives must not be judged; faith must be placed in the intentions of others, and they must be worked with.

If an aggressive approach is taken, calling names and insulting others, then of course secession may go off very badly.

I would invite the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and his team to give Quebecers proof that they have sufficient statesmanship to carry out secession properly, because that is not the case at this time.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the farm income crisis rages on while the government looks for bureaucratic ways to fiddle with its wounded AIDA program.

Let me read some quotes from the Liberal chairman of the agriculture committee: “AIDA has been an absolute failure” and “we have got to find a way of fixing it or at least coming up with a sequel that will do a better job”.

Since he will not listen to farmers, why will the Prime Minister not listen to his own caucus members and help farmers now?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that I was meeting with the ministers of agriculture from across the country last week. I wish we could have reached consensus at that point. We still have more work to do. I am working with the safety nets advisory committee to improve the situation, to find other ways, new ways and better ways to assist Canadian farmers. We know they need the help. We know the importance of the industry and we will do all we can.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, listen to this quote: “AIDA has been a disaster all on its own. It still has over $1 billion in the pot, yet only $500 million has been distributed so far”. Those are not my words. Those are the words of the agriculture committee chairman in a statement made last week. Even the member for Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington said that he was ashamed of AIDA.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his caucus colleagues that he has failed farmers, or is this just another example of the Liberals saying one thing out west and doing a different thing here in Ottawa?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I remind the House, farmers, and all Canadians of the opposition party's election promise that it would take some $600 million out of support to agriculture. In the last 12 months we have added $1.1 billion.