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 agreed.

Topics

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the supreme court recognized the legitimacy of the Quebec sovereignist project. However, with its bill, the federal government is attacking that legitimacy.

By introducing its referendum legislation, is the federal government not trying to send to the international community and to the rest of Canada the message that if Ottawa is not the one that sets the rules, the referendum exercise will be a fraud and will not be valid? Is the federal government not trying to tarnish the image of democracy in Quebec, which makes us so proud?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:35 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, the National Assembly is free to ask any question it wants to voters. There is absolutely nothing in the bill that questions the National Assembly's prerogatives.

But everyone, whether in Quebec, in all of Canada or in the world, would find it unreasonable that the government of a country would be forced to negotiate the breakup of that country on just any question. It will take a clear question on separation to negotiate separation.

If the hon. member wants to travel the world to try to condemn that, she will be told everywhere “but Madam, this is obvious”.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, I remind you that you must always address the Chair.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1995, the Quebec referendum process was thoroughly examined by the whole world.

Is the federal government not sending to the international community the message that it is not acting in good faith with Quebec, that it does not want to act in good faith, and that regardless of what we do or say, it will find excuses to refuse to negotiate?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:35 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, the confusing process used in 1995 was indeed thoroughly examined. The hon. member should read the book written by sociologist Maurice Pinard on the confusion that the question generated among voters.

As for the international community, I think this bill will be perceived as something very liberal and open regarding secession, which is not at all a popular concept around the world, so much so in fact that many very respectable democracies have declared themselves indivisible.

Prisons
Oral Question Period

December 13th, 1999 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, an internal Correctional Service Canada survey obtained through access to information proves that the prison drug prevention strategy is a failure. Correctional Service Canada staff confirmed what the Reform Party has been saying for months. Only 31% of them rated the drug strategy as successful. In other words, almost 70% of his own staff think the program is a failure.

When was the solicitor general planning to tell Canadians that his drug strategy plan is an abject failure?

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is well aware, the drug initiative program by the Correctional Service of Canada has not been a failure. We have been working full time to make sure all the actions taken by the Correctional Service of Canada to address the drug problem are worked on and improved as we go on.

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what the solicitor general has been working on. It is a $2.5 million building to research drugs placed in his riding in Prince Edward Island where there are no prisons. Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road at the closed base CFB Summerside, there are more than 11 buildings closed.

Is it not true that the solicitor general does not give a damn about drugs in prisons, but is preoccupied about patronage—

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It is probably acceptable in most circumstances but I would ask hon. members to stay away from very strong language today. I will let the hon. solicitor general answer the question.

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated a number of times in the House, when I was appointed—

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Prisons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, they asked the question. Why do they not listen to the answer?

This is a serious problem. Quite simply, when I was appointed Solicitor General of Canada, 70% of the people in our federal institutions were alcoholics or had drug problems. It would make great sense to address the major problem in our federal institutions. That is what this government is going to do. We are going to address the addiction and drug problems in the federal penitentiaries.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the minister wanted to talk about the international community, let us do that.

For at least ten years now, the federal government has insisted internationally that existing borders be maintained in the recognition of new sovereign states. But its draft bill on the Quebec referendum calls Quebec's borders into question.

What is different today that the federal government has abandoned its traditional position? Might it be because, this time, its own turf is involved?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:40 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, borders have been known to shift during secessions. These shifts have been carried out successfully.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia shifted their borders slightly after negotiations. Latvia agreed to review its border with Russia.

This sort of thing happens. It is really not desirable, but it can happen that, in order for a separation agreement to take place in the least unfavourable conditions possible, there must be an agreement to shift borders.

Treasury Board
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

A large number of industry and commercial groups state this government's rules concerning cost recovery are not transparent, are usurious, generally unfair and an additional burden on the cost of doing business in this country.

Will the minister lend her support to a parliamentary committee study which would examine all government departments and agencies and how they recover costs?