House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a press release dated March 30, the Prime Minister describes his intention to travel to the Middle East in order, in his words, to “explore ways that Canadian expertise—can be further utilized to attain a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region”.

Is Canadian expertise not being very poorly represented by the Prime Minister in a region of the world where diplomacy, tact, finesse and an understanding of the issues are required?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally wrong in her criticism of the Prime Minister. I personally appreciate his support on behalf of Canada, a country of great importance in the world because it is a unified country, despite the efforts of her party.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, for our part, we are not sure that we want the Prime Minister to come home. When he travels within Canada he does things like go to Alberta and tell Premier Klein that everything is okay.

In that respect, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Health. Yesterday, in response to a question from my leader, he referenced his own letter to the Minister of Health of Alberta in relation to the whole NAFTA question, but he simply asked the minister of Alberta whether he had any strategies to deal with this potential problem.

It is the minister's government which signed NAFTA. It is the minister's government that is responsible for these kinds of agreements. What kind of strategy does the Minister of Health have for dealing with this possible problem?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first, when the Prime Minister was in Calgary three weeks ago he made it very clear that the Alberta government, like all provincial governments, must respect the principles of the Canada Health Act or the Government of Canada will act accordingly. He made that very clear.

Second, in relation to NAFTA, I did raise the concern in my correspondence with Minister Jonson. Frankly, I did not get from Minister Jonson a satisfactory response. We have been examining the implications of this bill under NAFTA. Yesterday we received the opinion from Mr. Appleton, which is under study. Together with the experts at justice and foreign affairs we are looking at those implications now.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am having about as much luck getting a response out of this Minister of Health as he is getting from the Minister of Health of Alberta.

He has the opinion from Mr. Appleton. He now has a letter from a former premier of Saskatchewan, Allan Blakeney, on this matter. It is not something that can be left for a long time. If the wrong thing happens, NAFTA kicks in. If the bill passes and it is vulnerable to NAFTA, it will not be able to be undone.

We want to know what the minister is going to do in the very short term about this problem.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are fully aware of the need to examine the implications under NAFTA of Bill 11. We raised these concerns with the Government of Alberta. We are doing our own legal analysis through justice and foreign affairs. We are also examining the various opinions that have been made public, including the opinion yesterday from Mr. Appleton.

I assure the member and the House that we will respond at the appropriate time.

Via Rail
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport made an announcement that he has decided to set aside $401.9 million in new subsidies for VIA Rail. The press release goes on to say that now that he has identified the $401.9 million, he is going to ask VIA Rail for a five year business plan and the details on how it plans to spend this money.

My question to the minister is, how could you arrive at a figure of $401.9 million with no business plan and no details of how the money is to be spent?

Via Rail
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members to please address their comments through the Chair, as opposed to one another.

Via Rail
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan
Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the announcement made yesterday by the Minister of Transport on behalf of this government was a giant step forward in providing a viable and affordable railway passenger system for the people of this country.

The corporate plan presented by VIA will be carefully examined by the governor in council, in other words, by the cabinet, for its approval.

Via Rail
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. parliamentary secretary that if he went into a bank and said “Would you lend me $400 million? I will tell you what I am going to use it for later”, he would be thrown out of the bank. There are special rules on that side. They identify money and explain it after. The standing committee said in recommendation 3 that the government should allow for and encourage innovative public and private sector partnerships, yet when I proposed one of those three weeks ago, the minister declined to even hear it.

Will the parliamentary secretary ensure that future private sector proposals will be considered for passenger rail service in Canada?

Via Rail
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan
Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the proposal was made yesterday. It is very clear regarding commercialization aspects of the entire program. We will have to be patient and wait to see what commercialized ventures come forth for consideration by all parties concerned.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

April 13th, 2000 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1967 Charles de Gaulle shouted “Vive le Quebec libre” and Canadians were outraged at this foreign interference in a delicate domestic issue.

How does the Deputy Prime Minister explain the Prime Minister's outrageous intervention in the domestic affairs of Israel and the Palestinian authority?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally off base. There was no improper intervention in the domestic affairs of any country or area in the region. The Prime Minister has been having useful talks with leaders of the region and they have not complained at all about the positions he has taken. Therefore I repeat, the hon. member as usual is totally off base.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister did not know and did not care what part of Jerusalem he was in. Then he told the Palestinians to unilaterally declare independence. Then he said that Israel should keep disputed territories that are in fact subject to very delicate negotiations.

Why is the Prime Minister bent on damaging the delicate Middle East peace process?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to visiting a certain area of Jerusalem, I am informed that when Prime Minister Blair and United States President Clinton were in Israel and in that region they did not visit that area either. Therefore, I do not see why one should criticize our Prime Minister for making a similar decision with respect to his trip.

In any event, the Prime Minister is advancing the peace process through his useful talks with leaders of the region. He is advancing our economic relations through the agreements he is signing. The hon. member should recognize this instead of raising these baseless questions. He should get up and—