House of Commons Hansard #233 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage does not seem to realize that she and her Liberal colleagues are the only ones who are elated in Canada.

When she looks at the reality, does the minister not get the impression that the saying “she has been hoisted with her own petard” perfectly describes the situation in which she finds herself, with all the resulting negative impact for the Canadian publishing industry?

Publishing Industry
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, again, I would ask the hon. member to think about what he supposedly read in yesterday's edition of the Washington Post .

That newspaper clearly says that, for the first time in the history of the United States, the Americans agreed that culture should be treated differently than other trade issues.

We have always said that one of the great gains made in this agreement is that, for the first time in history, culture is recognized as being different from any other type of trade.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

May 28th, 1999 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Kosovar refugees continue to flood across the border into Macedonia. The camps are bursting at the seams. Conditions are terrible and the humanitarian crisis is threatening to turn into a humanitarian tragedy.

To relieve the pressure on the camps and the entire region, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is asking donor countries to escalate the evacuation program, the airlift out of the area. Canada has provided sanctuary for 5,000.

Will the government commit to providing sanctuary for a greater number of Kosovar refugees, doubling or even tripling the current level?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had occasion last week to meet directly with Mrs. Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At that time I specifically asked if she would like Canada to accept more refugees. She said no, that she would like to see Canada help in terms of the ongoing resettlement program in the region and in terms of reinforcing the ongoing work in the camps.

I can report to the hon. member that in direct discussions with the high commissioner she did not request that. In fact she said at this point in time she would rather have us look at alternate ways of helping in the camps in Macedonia and Albania.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as recently as Wednesday a parliamentary delegation from the House met with the program director of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Macedonia. The message then was an urgent need to escalate the evacuation program.

Another situation arises. Those refugees who are settled here or have sanctuary in this country are faced the prospect that if they choose to become landed immigrants they will be charged a head tax, a $975 landing fee.

The government has indicated it may waive that landing fee for Kosovar refugees. Will it commit to abolishing the racist head tax completely for all new Canadians who seek refuge in this country?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Kitchener—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. There is no head tax in Canada. The hon. member opposite trivializes a dark period of this country's history when a head tax was used to keep people out based on race, ethnicity and religion.

Having learned from history, we now have one of the best and most generous refugee immigration policies in the world. The hon. member opposite should applaud that and recognize that.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the atrocious Airbus investigation makes the Canadian justice system the laughing stock of the international community.

The government continues to waste millions of taxpayers dollars on an investigation where the supposed prime suspect has not even been interviewed. The Liberals continue to find money for this investigation by cutting the RCMP, limiting the fight against organized crime and importation of drugs.

How can the Liberal government call itself accountable as it sits back and allows a foreign country to embark on an unlawful exercise of search and seizure when it knows full well that the exercise is not permitted under Canadian law?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the only cases that I am aware of where the legislative branch tells the judicial branch what to do are in banana republics. I do not think Canada qualifies as a banana republic.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this debacle continues and the Department of Justice continues its attempts to cover its tracks in what could go down in history as the biggest political witch hunt of all time. It is an international embarrassment.

While the astronomical costs of this ridiculous, ill-founded investigation and litigation continue to mount, the Minister of Justice sits idly by, as did her predecessor.

When will the government cease and desist in its malicious and vindictive obsession to besmirch a former prime minister, from whom it plagiarized most of his policy initiatives?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party may have interfered with police investigations. That may have been its approach. I do not know if it was, but in any event it is not our approach. We do not intend to have political interference with arm's length police investigations.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last chief of defence staff warned the government that the Canadian forces was undermanned, underequipped and not able to fight a war.

The current chief of defence staff is warning the government that our forces are stretched to the limit and that we are unable to increase our personnel in the Kosovo mission. The Minister of National Defence, however, is saying that he is still prepared to commit troops to the former Yugoslavia. Why is the defence minister ignoring the advice of his own chief of defence staff and the last chief of defence staff in wanting to send more troops to the former Yugoslavia?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in his press conference the chief of defence staff was asked this question: “Is it possible to increase our contribution to the peace force in the Balkans without cutting elsewhere and do we have the appropriate type of equipment?” His answer was as follows: “The answer is yes to both of your questions”.

I think the hon. member misunderstood what the chief of defence staff actually said.

Obviously we have made no decisions as yet on expanding our participation in the peace implementation force. If we want to make such a decision we will obviously have to take into account the financial resources required and the advice of General Baril as to the most appropriate use of the men and women in our Canadian armed forces.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the hon. Deputy Prime Minister look at the auditor general's report which excoriated the government for underfunding the military.

If the government continues to underfund the military, what it will do is compromise the lives of the brave men and women who are in Yugoslavia right now and the ones who may go there in the future. From the Griffon helicopter to the Coyote armoured personnel carrier, the equipment is not good enough to protect our troops.

I ask again the hon. Deputy Prime Minister, will the government send troops to the former Yugoslavia when our troops may be putting their lives in danger through the government's actions?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we have made no decision to expand our existing commitment to the peace implementation force. If there is such a decision, obviously it will be based on providing appropriate resources, financial and otherwise, to our men and women in the Canadian armed forces.

What we should have from the Reform Party is a vote of confidence in the skill and professionalism of our troops, instead of trying to undermine them by these unnecessary questions.

Tainted Blood
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, when questioned yesterday about his apparent conflict of interest in the tainted blood matter, the Minister of Finance hid behind the ethics counsellor so as not to answer our questions.

The ethics counsellor responds solely to the Prime Minister, however, and not to this House.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Is this sudden desire of the Minister of Finance to consult the ethics counsellor not simply a pretext to buy some time until the end of the session, to put a lid on this because it is somewhat of an embarrassment to the minister?