House of Commons Hansard #241 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was magazines.

Topics

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, given the odious nature of the term head tax, no wonder the Liberals want to call it something else.

Here is what the Caledon Institute has to say:

Outside the federal government, the $975...fee is usually referred to as the “head tax”.

Though the current fee is not racially targeted itself...the inequitable impact of the fee on poor newcomers, most of whom are people of colour from less developed countries, makes the comparison appropriate.

If the government is so uncomfortable with the term head tax, why does it not just get rid of the head tax?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, if we are uncomfortable with the term head tax it is because of the history of this country.

Part of that history is that we had a head tax once for the Chinese people. It was based on race. That is not the case any more. We are proud to have a country without any discrimination. It is a privilege for people who come here to share those values with us.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

June 9th, 1999 / 2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I believe was one of the saddest days in my life as an MP on this Hill when all of my colleagues whom I have a great respect for, all of my Liberal colleagues, voted against a motion to compensate the merchant navy men.

When those men were on the Hill on a hunger strike they were led to believe that compensation was going to be looked at so they went home.

Canadians from coast to coast want to know where the Prime Minister stands on the merchant navy issue. Is he for a one time ex gratia payment for these people or not?

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Nipissing
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Wood Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously is referring to a study that was conducted by the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs into the compensation issue for the merchant navy.

The committee is due to report shortly. She knows that it would be improper for me to comment on a report that has yet to be tabled.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the motion that I am referring to was dealt with not in camera but in open session of that committee. The report that he is referring to has already been leaked to the Ottawa Citizen and everyone else.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would like the hon. member for Saint John to please put her question now.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know if this government will offer compensation to the Canadian merchant navy men as it did with the Hong Kong veterans, and rightfully so at that time. We want the government to correct this injustice. I ask the Prime Minister to please do so.

Merchant Navy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Nipissing
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Wood Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, to the best of my knowledge the report has not been tabled. Until the official report is tabled any commentary on the contents of the report would be strictly speculation.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's own conflict of interest code says: “Public office holders shall not have private interests...that would be affected particularly or significantly by government actions in which they participate”.

The Prime Minister's continuing financial interest in the Grand-Mère golf course breaches his own public code of ethics since that course stands to gain from the awarding of government grants and loans.

Why does the Prime Minister think that stonewalling will make this conflict go away?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor replied to all of these questions. I have followed the code that applies to all members. I put my assets into a trust fund and it is managed by these people.

I have said, and I repeat, that I sold the shares in November 1993. Having sold the shares, I have no interest in the golf course or anything like that. It was confirmed by the ethics counsellor who examined the case with the person who is in charge of administering my assets.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again I appeal to members. We want to hear both the questions and, of course, the answers.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this “I know nothing” approach is not good enough for Canadians.

The heritage minister used to rail against the Mulroney government for not answering her questions. During the Sinclair Stevens affair she said:

I think the actions of the Acting Prime Minister certainly do bear some public scrutiny. I believe his intention right from the beginning was to block the free flow of information in the House of Commons by daily stonewalling.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to out-stonewall Brian Mulroney?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on May 6 the ethic counsellor spent a long time in the committee replying to all of the questions that were asked of him on the issue. He confirmed that the shares were sold before I became Prime Minister. It is very clear and very open.