House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

Topics

Chrysotile Asbestos
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, today hundreds and hundreds of demonstrators are meeting in Quebec City to call on this government to take action and set an example in the safe use of chrysotile asbestos.

These men and women from Asbestos in my riding, and Thetford Mines in the riding of Frontenac—Mégantic are fighting for their survival and want their MPs to do something.

Here in Ottawa we should lead by example. This week's announcement about the removal of asbestos from the parliament buildings sends a very mixed message.

I am joining these men and women in order to raise parliament's awareness regarding the safe use of chrysotile asbestos, a natural product which is found in Canada and which saves lives.

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a former prime minister and former leader of the Liberal Party has indicated just yesterday that he believes that parliament needs to be reformed. Those comments show that it is not only Canadian Alliance supporters across the country who want to see democratic reform but there are others also, and we are encouraged by that.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the advice of his former leader and take immediate steps to bring in true parliamentary reform to the Chamber?

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a committee will be reporting in June on that very topic.

I could quote the hon. member when he was in Edmonton, where he did not want parliament to sit, because when parliament was sitting in Alberta it was creating too much demand on the treasury. I just want to say that I do not want to follow his example. We do want some reform and we are working on that. The committee will be reporting on that next month.

I want to say that there were no free votes before this government came to power. We have authorized more than 100 free votes on this side, which is much more than on the other side.

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this matter is too serious to just reply with old rhetoric. Forty per cent of Canadians stayed home during the last election because they felt so dissatisfied. They felt their voices did not matter since their own members of parliament could not even speak for them or vote freely.

Would the Prime Minister be specific right now? Mr. Turner said that at the very least, at a minimum, MPs should be able to vote freely on all matters other than possibly the throne speech and the budget speech. Would the Prime Minister agree to at least that much?

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, free votes were not part of this institution until we formed the government.

I would like to say, for the edification of the House of Commons, that the Leader of the Opposition chaired a special committee on parliamentary reform in 1993 in Alberta. It recommended that committees should not be allowed to issue minority reports. That is a good example of the type of reform he has in mind.

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am talking about members' right to vote freely here in this House. The former leader of the Liberal party says that the present government has too much control over its members.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his former leader, his former friend? If so, what specifically is he going to do to reform parliament?

Parliamentary Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when he himself was House leader in Alberta's legislative assembly, he did not allow a single free vote.

Right now, he is the last person who should be offering opinions on members' freedom.

Members Of Parliament
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had somewhat troubling news today. They found out that an ageing veteran who went to his MP was turned down simply because the MP said that he had not voted Liberal. Is that not a dreadful thing?

Will the Prime Minister tell his members that they are members for every single constituent, not just those who voted Liberal?

Members Of Parliament
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I talked with the member of parliament a few minutes ago and he said that he was willing to help his constituents. He said that he has always received all of them. It is unfortunate that this letter was written. He said that he was hoping the person would call him and he would help him.

Members Of Parliament
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, now that it is public and now that every Canadian knows about this, I am sure he will help him as fast as he can.

Let us imagine a helpless, ageing veteran going to his member of parliament asking for help and he is told that because he did not vote for that member of parliament he could not help him. Will the Prime Minister simply say here in the House today that this will not happen again?

Members Of Parliament
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did. I talked with the member and he said that he would be willing to help this gentleman.

I am very happy to hear the other side say that a member of parliament has to work for his constituents. I have said that in the House of Commons for the last two weeks about my own constituents.

Common Currency
Oral Question Period

May 9th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Governor of the Bank of Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance, he acknowledged that maintaining the Canadian dollar involves some costs. In fact, David Dodge referred to a ten year horizon for adoption of a common currency.

This position is nothing new for the Bank of Canada, as last year the director of its international division wrote that “a common North American currency is not such a farfetched idea”.

On the eve of his economic statement, is the Minister of Finance going to take the Bank of Canada analysis into account and acknowledge that consideration must be given to the adoption of a common currency within the context of an integrated economy?

Common Currency
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Canadian government and the position stated by the Governor of the Bank of Canada is that the best solution for the Canadian economy is to maintain the Canadian dollar.

Common Currency
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am directing my question to the Prime Minister because it is obvious that his Minister of Finance is saying one thing and Mr. Dodge something else.

Since he refers to a ten year horizon, and even the division director spoke of adopting a common currency, does the Prime Minister not think that what is needed is simply to give some thought to the idea of adopting a common currency within the context of North America, give some thought to it, debate it and discuss it in a reasonable manner?

Common Currency
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on several occasions, it is in Canada's best interest, as the Minister of Finance has just said, to maintain a currency that is different from that of the United States.