House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the minister explained, since we are the hosts and are chairing the meeting, we have the obligation to our partners to follow the rules, which provide that we can make our documents public.

However, in the case of the other governments not wanting to make their position public, it is up to them. The suggestion of having a conversation in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is something I would certainly like to discuss with the minister responsible.

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Prime Minister understands my point. I am not talking about making the texts of the other countries public. I am talking about making public the texts serving as the basis of negotiations at each of the tables.

The American representatives have access to these texts. Quebec MNAs will too. The Minister for International Trade says he wants to make all of these texts public and to persuade the other countries to do so as well.

However, I am not asking for the texts to be made public. I am simply asking that the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade here in Ottawa enjoy the same rights and information as elected representatives in the United States and in Quebec.

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that, on the one hand, all governments must abide by the commitments that were made. On the other hand, however, I have not rejected the suggestion by the hon. member.

We have already talked of holding a briefing for everyone. However, should we do it in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade? This is an idea I said I was prepared to discuss with the minister. We will respond once I have had a chance to talk with my minister.

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to transparency and consultation of parliamentarians regarding international treaties, Canada comes pretty close to dead last. Briefings will not correct the situation.

In the United Kingdom and Australia, governments are required to table treaties before their parliaments, where they are debated before being ratified.

How can the Prime Minister justify that, contrary to their counterparts from other countries, parliamentarians in this House are not entitled to this minimum of respect? How can the government claim to be transparent when its actions have nothing to do with transparency?

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this was the subject of a full day's debate recently on a Bloc motion. The fact of the matter is that the point made during that debate remains the same.

The process proposed here is the same process that has been followed since Confederation. There is no change proposed. There will be an agreement signed if and only when Canada feels it is in the interest of all Canadians. That will be then brought to the House of Commons for review, possible amendment, full debate and then passage into legislation.

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the world is evolving but the Canadian federation has a very hard time doing the same, as the parliamentary secretary reminded us.

In addition to debating and reviewing treaties signed by their governments, British and Australian parliaments have the power to approve or reject these treaties, which is far from being the case in Canada. The government underlined that by rejecting the motion by the Bloc Quebecois.

Why is what is good for other parliamentary democracies not good for Canada? Is the Prime Minister afraid of transparency and democracy to the point of behaving in such a way?

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible to hear the member talk about the government being afraid of transparency. The government has been the leader in seeking transparency on trade treaties both at home and internationally.

There have been a number of meetings between the federal minister and international ministers. There have been consistent meetings with NGOs, with stakeholder groups. This went to the standing committee before the last election. There is a commitment to have it at the standing committee, as the member knows, in the near future.

The minister will attend. It is obvious transparency is a high priority for the government.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Prime Minister spoke in Quebec City about the upcoming summit of the Americas. He described it as an “extraordinary exercise in democracy”.

If the Prime Minister is serious about democracy, how could he call this an exercise in democracy when Quebec City is being turned into an armed militarized fortress during the summit and when his government refuses to make public to elected representatives and the people of the country the text that is being negotiated? Is that not really contempt for democracy?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the duty of any government to make sure, if there are people who want to demonstrate, that things are done in an acceptable fashion for the protection of citizens in that city.

It is irresponsible for a member of parliament to encourage civil disobedience when he has a chance to talk about it in the House of Commons.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian citizens are entitled to be civilly disobedient if they are being ignored and if democracy is being trampled on.

The Prime Minister has also spoken about the summit being about human rights. Colombia has an appalling record of human rights violations, one of the worst in the world with murders, massacres and impunity.

If the Prime Minister is serious about human rights, why are countries like Colombia and Peru invited to this summit when the country of Cuba, with which we have an excellent trading relationship, is not being invited? Why is there a double standard?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these governments have been elected. I want to be in a position to talk directly with them about respect for human rights. I want to tell them that respect for human rights is not about members of parliament encouraging people to use civil disobedience.

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. He will know that in his interview with Keith Boag of the CBC, the ethics counsellor said that when the counsellor was judging the appropriateness of the behaviour of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister had not told him about the phone calls the Prime Minister made to the Business Development Bank on the Auberge Grand-Mère file.

That is a material omission. Why did the Prime Minister of Canada not tell the ethics counsellor about these representations to a crown corporation?

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this has been debated for the past two years. I said, and I repeat, that as a member of parliament it is my duty to work to create jobs in my district.

On this file, the caisse populaire and the Fonds de solidarité were involved in the loan. I publicly talked about that all the time. I did not hide anything from anybody.

It is the duty of a member of parliament to work to make sure that jobs are created in his riding. It is exactly what the member of parliament for Saint-Maurice has done and is his duty to do all the time.

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try another one for the Prime Minister. Subsection 9(1) of the conflict of interest code says “A public officeholder shall make a confidential report to the ethics counsellor of all assets and all direct and contingent liabilities”.

The Prime Minister knows that money owing is an account receivable. It is an asset. When the Prime Minister filed his statement of compliance he did not tell the ethics counsellor about the phone calls, but did he tell the ethics counsellor that he was owed money from the sale of the shares of the Grand-Mère Golf Club?

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the long answer is yes.