House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Premier Of Quebec
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers have much to think about right now.

In his travels abroad, Mr. Bouchard is proclaiming that Quebec needs to have its own voice in international forums. Yet that same Lucien Bouchard is denying francophone Quebeckers the right to have a voice in the Année de la francophonie canadienne.

What right does Lucien Bouchard have to deprive Quebeckers of their voice within Canada? What right does he have to try to deprive Quebeckers of their Canadian identity? What right does he have to continue to promote separation, when Quebeckers have twice rejected that option?

Lucien Bouchard claims to be carrying on the tradition of Jean Lesage and Robert Bourassa. Yet these Quebec politicians did not seek to stifle the voices of Quebeckers in their own country, in Canada.

These men had a clearer notion of the word “democracy”. René Lévesque would be ashamed of this Parti Quebecois strategy and would certainly not associate himself with it.

Racial Discrimination
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination.

This is an issue which involves every individual and every state in our daily struggle to eliminate the obstacles to equality between people. We must work together to make society a fairer and more democratic one.

Yesterday, during the activities celebrating this event in Montreal, the Bloc Quebecois made a commitment to hold symposiums in the near future to specifically address the issues of democracy and citizenship. These will provide an unequalled opportunity to reflect on ways to bring Quebeckers of all backgrounds closer together.

The Bloc Quebecois also wishes to congratulate the Government of Quebec for the decision, just announced by Robert Perreault, the Quebec minister of citizens relations, to make the Quebec public service more accessible to minorities.

Taxation
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party's motion to end discrimination against single income families reflects what the Progressive Conservative Party has been advocating for years.

Our position has been consistent since our 1996 policy conference. Our document clearly states that “a PC government would introduce a joint tax return so that single earner households with dependent children stop paying more tax than dual earner households with equal incomes”.

The Sears family of Quispamsis in my riding, like so many families across Canada, is being discriminated against because it chooses to have one parent stay at home to raise the children.

Let us get away from this unfair tax policy where the government believes it can make the best choices. The best choices can and must be made by the people it affects, Canadian families. We should allow Beth Sears to make the choice that best suits her family without unfair tax penalties.

On March 9 the PC caucus along with the opposition members voted in favour of this motion. Unfortunately Liberals voted against it. Again the government had an opportunity to demonstrate its support for children and their families, and it failed to do so.

Clarica
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the purchase of Met Life in Ottawa by Mutual Life threatened a thousand jobs in this area, MPs from the national capital region began a series of meetings with the company and the minister to minimize the impact on employment in our region and on individual employees.

Recently Mutual officers met with the members to report on how they had met their commitments to us. Mutual has developed 600 jobs in four centres of excellence in Ottawa. Priority was given to hiring nearly 600 staff from Met Life with a freeze on external hiring and a survey to remove any barriers to employment in the new organization.

A career centre, training opportunities and counselling ensured that 93% of affected individuals were successfully repositioned within the first year. A $5 million transition fund has helped over 100 individuals and remains available to assist those who need additional help.

Mutual, under its new name Clarica, will continue and enhance its contribution to volunteer and charitable organizations.

Back To Work Legislation
Statements By Members

March 22nd, 1999 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the back to work legislation that was tabled today has a bunch of glaring omissions in it.

The government is asking us to debate and vote on this back to work legislation, and it does not even tell us what the offer is to the corrections officers that are part of the whole Public Service Alliance job dispute.

It seems odd to us. We cannot understand how we can be asked to enter into a prolonged debate today, to deal with something as critical as back to work legislation, and not have, as part of the package, the offer that will be made to the prison guards, to the corrections officers. Back to work legislation is offensive enough, but it is doubly offensive when the government is trying to shroud the whole thing in a veil of secrecy.

We would like to know, and we will be debating it later today, what the government hopes to achieve by this subterfuge, by this idea that it is not going to tell us the terms and conditions that are being offered to the prison guards. How can we order people back to work when we do not even know the terms?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for more than two weeks the Prime Minister has been avoiding questions about government grants being funnelled to personal associates. He sits on his hands in question period. He avoids reporters. He will not release documents. Access to information requests are censored.

Why does the government think that the Prime Minister does not have to account for his conduct or his ethics in this matter?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the government, myself and other ministers have been quite open and upfront about this. The projects in the Prime Minister's area have been broadly supported by the community, the provincial government and the local PQ MNA; no friends of the Prime Minister or the Liberal Party. We were upfront and open. This is perfectly proper.

If the hon. member does not want to see the area go ahead economically, then the public should realize that he is against jobs in that area and across the country.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is not about jobs. A convicted criminal named Yvon Duhaime received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government after he bought a money-losing hotel from the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's assistant personally intervened in the process.

Pierre Thibault, another businessman with a crooked track record, also met with the Prime Minister and soon he gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in public grants.

Why does the Prime Minister not tell us about his private dealings with these people? Why will he not release all of his notes and records on these transactions?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these have not been private dealings. When it comes to the hotel convention centre in downtown Shawinigan, the Prime Minister has never kept his involvement, as the local MP, a secret, nor have the mayor and council of the city of Shawinigan, nor has the provincial MNA. This project has been strongly supported by the PQ provincial government. It has also been strongly supported by the city and council of Shawinigan. This has been open, desired and supported by the community.

The Prime Minister, as the local MP, has worked for his community. There is nothing wrong with that.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about jobs. We are not talking about local communities. We are not talking about the Prime Minister associating with his imaginary homeless friends. We are talking about his association with crooked business people, a convicted criminal and an embezzler, both receiving government grants.

Why would the Prime Minister have dealings with these people in the first place? Why does he not disclose the nature of these dealings and clear the air?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these are unwarranted innuendoes and assertions. The Leader of the Opposition is accusing the mayor and council of Shawinigan of associating with crooked people. He is accusing the local PQ member of the provincial assembly of associating with crooked people. He is attacking the PQ provincial government of associating with crooked people. Those assertions are false. They are false on the face of it and they are false on the basis of any analysis.

If the hon. member had any courage and was straightforward he would withdraw these insinuations. He is refusing to—

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I am sure that no one's courage is under question in the question period.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister lobbied for grant money for a former business associate. There is a difference. This is a conflict of interest. Not just with one letter did the Prime Minister lobby, but with letters, faxes and personal visits from the Prime Minister's own assistant.

The person the Prime Minister was lobbying for was Yvon Duhaime who bought a money-losing hotel from him.

I ask, and I would like to get a real answer this time, in all of that lobbying, why did the Prime Minister not reveal this conflict of interest?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I reject the assertion of the hon. member that there was a conflict of interest. He looked into the matter as MP. He had a representative of his office attend meetings with officials. As far as I am aware, the decisions were made at other meetings where the Prime Minister and his staff were not involved and the decisions were made in the ordinary course, on the merits of the project.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the list grows because Pierre Thibault also had the benefit of the Prime Minister's intervention.

He has admitted misappropriating a million dollars from a company in Belgium. He is under criminal investigation, yet the Prime Minister met with him and, abracadabra, hundreds of thousands of dollars became available to him for a hotel. The Prime Minister must remember that place. After all, that is where he hosted the Liberal caucus last summer.

Why is the Prime Minister using his influence to funnel government money to shady characters in Shawinigan?