House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebeckers.

Topics

Question No. 172
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

With respect to support for Canadian veterans: (a) why does the government provide up to $13,000 for funeral and burial expenses for Canadian Forces members, but $3,600 for Canadian veterans' funerals; and (b) when will the government increase the financial support it provides to veterans' families for funerals and burials?

Question No. 172
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, with regard to a) There are differences between the funeral and burial programs of the Canadian Forces and of Veterans Affairs Canada. The Canadian Forces’ funeral and burial program is part of the employee benefit package available to serving members. The main goal of Veterans Affairs Canada’s program is to ensure eligible Veterans receive a dignified funeral and burial.

Veterans Affairs Canada is always looking for ways to improve the program and is actively working on the matter to ensure that the level of support provided continues to allow a dignified funeral and burial.

With regard to b) Information regarding changes to the funeral and burial program will be communicated as soon as it is available. Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to addressing this situation.

Question No. 181
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Since 2006, what grants, contributions, contracts or loan guarantees were applied for either through a crown corporation, department or agency of the government by the holdings of the “blind trust” of Rahim Jaffer, or businesses owned or partially owned by Mr. Jaffer, including (i) the source and dollar amount, (ii) date made, (iii) reason(s) for providing or denying the funding, (iv) present status of the grant, contribution or loan guarantee (whether repaid, partially repaid, or unpaid, including the value of the repayment), (v) in the case of contracts, whether the contract is fulfilled, whether it was tendered and any reason for limiting the tender?

Question No. 181
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government consulted the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada, an agent of Parliament independent of the Government of Canada, with respect to this question.

Section 31 of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons provides that the commissioner shall retain all documents relating to a member for a period of 12 months after he or she ceases to be a member, after which the documents shall be destroyed.

Since Mr. Rahim Jaffer was not re-elected in the October 2008 federal election, the Office of the Commissioner no longer holds documentation pertaining to Mr. Jaffer.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

May 11th, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Furthermore, Madam Speaker, if Questions Nos. 163 and 164 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker Ms. Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 163
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

With respect to the use of the government-owned fleet of Challenger jets from January 2002 until January 2006 and for each use of the aircraft: (a) what are the names and titles of the passengers present on the flight manifest; (b) what were all the departure and arrival points of the aircraft; (c) who requested access to the fleet; (d) who authorized the flight; (e) what is the number of flying hours accumulated; and (f) what are the associated costs?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 164
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

With respect to Senators travelling with the Prime Minister or any other Minister of the Crown outside of Canada during the period of January 1, 2007 to March 25, 2010: (a) what are the names of all Senators who have travelled outside of Canada with the Prime Minister or any other Minister of the Crown; (b) what is the political party affiliation of each individual Senator; (c) to and from where did each Senator travel; (d) what were the dates of each trip; (e) what are the names of all Senators and spouses or partners who have travelled on airplanes operated by the government; (f) what was the total cost of each trip broken down by (i) air travel, (ii) accommodations, (iii) per diem, (iv) meals, (v) hospitality, (vi) other expenses; and (g) who paid all travel-related expenses in (f)?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker Ms. Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Quebec's Traditional Demands
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

moved:

That this House acknowledge that federalism cannot be renewed, since 20 years after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, Quebec still does not have the power to choose three justices on the Supreme Court of Canada, or to opt out with compensation from federal programs in its areas of jurisdiction, nor does it have a real veto over constitutional amendments and its status as a nation still has not been recognized in the Canadian Constitution.

Madam Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Quebec, who so kindly supported this motion. I will read the motion again because I think it symbolizes the role of the Bloc Québécois in the House. As I have mentioned on many occasions, the Bloc Québécois is the only party that defends Quebec's interests and values unconditionally in the House and it cannot make any compromise when the National Assembly passes a unanimous resolution to state its position.

In this case, we have another role, that of leaders of the sovereignist movement, which is very present in all of Quebec society. As defender of Quebec's interests and values, it is also our party's responsibility to report to the House the fact that Canadian federalism cannot be renewed. A survey, which I will talk about throughout my speech, led to this conclusion.

But first, I will read the motion again:

That this House acknowledge that federalism cannot be renewed, since 20 years after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, Quebec still does not have the power to choose three justices on the Supreme Court of Canada, or to opt out with compensation from federal programs in its areas of jurisdiction, nor does it have a real veto over constitutional amendments and its status as a nation still has not been recognized in the Canadian Constitution.

Those were the minimum conditions stipulated by the Government of Quebec, when Robert Bourassa was premier, during a round of negotiations launched by former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Quebec had set five conditions that many of us, particularly on the sovereignist side, found insufficient but that had been agreed to by the first ministers. Unfortunately for Mr. Bourassa, that agreement failed because certain provinces reneged on their commitments. Some technicalities also played a role in preventing the Meech Lake accord from being ratified by two provinces. So that process failed.

Twenty years later, how does public opinion in Quebec and Canada respond to those same demands? On that point, we conducted a survey, in collaboration with Intellectuels pour la souveraineté, and we asked the same questions as the terms of the Meech Lake accord.

So we started with question one. The Canadian Constitution should recognize that Quebec forms a nation. At the time, the term was distinct society. Now, the debate has evolved, and even in the House, it was recognized that Quebeckers formed a nation. I may have occasion to return to this. So the question was asked, and there was quite a difference between the answers in Canada and in Quebec.

In Quebec, 73% of Quebeckers think that the Canadian Constitution should recognize that Quebec forms a nation, and only 27% are opposed. That is practically the reverse of what we find in Canada, and even more so, since 83% of Canadians are opposed to the status of Quebec as a nation being recognized in the Canadian Constitution. So right away, we see that the first condition of the Meech Lake accord is not remotely acceptable to the Canadian public, but is still something that the Quebec nation wants.

The second point is: the Canadian Constitution should give Quebec a veto over any constitutional amendment. That also appeared in the terms of the Meech Lake accord. What is the answer? Unsurprisingly, we find that 72% of Quebeckers do believe that Quebec should have a veto over any constitutional amendment, and 28% are opposed.

Once again, the ratio is reversed when we ask Canadians the same question, because 82% of them reject the idea of Quebec having a veto over any constitutional amendment. Only 18% are in favour, representing a tiny minority of the Canadian nation.

Another condition was approved in the Meech Lake accord: the Canadian Constitution should give Quebec the right to opt out of any federal program in areas under its jurisdiction, with financial compensation. This refers to areas under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces.

In Quebec, 70% of people agree, and in Canada, 81% of Canadians disagree. The two nations are symmetrically opposite. Once again, I am referring only to the minimum conditions agreed upon in the round of negotiations that led to the Meech Lake accord 20 years ago.

Another point in the accord is that the Canadian Constitution should give Quebec full jurisdiction over immigration to Quebec. In Quebec, 78% agree, and in Canada, 77% disagree. There again, we see that Canadian public opinion shows absolutely no openness to Quebec’s most traditional demands, its minimum demands.

Now, on the question of the division of powers, it said that the Canadian Constitution should give Quebec the power to select three justices on the Supreme Court of Canada. As we know, three justices come from Quebec, but they are not selected by the government of Quebec or the National Assembly. That was in the Meech Lake accord, and the question is being asked again. We see that 83% of Quebeckers believe that yes, the three Supreme Court judges should be appointed by Quebec, while 73% of Canadians are opposed. That is another condition of the Meech Lake accord that has become unacceptable to the Canadian nation.

More generally, Canadians and Quebeckers were asked whether another round of negotiations should be undertaken to find a satisfactory constitutional arrangement for Quebec. I remind the House that Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s unilateral repatriation of the Constitution in 1982 was without the agreement of Quebec, which has never signed the Constitution, regardless of whether its government was federalist or sovereignist. This reflects the broad consensus in Quebec that the Constitution fails miserably to meet the needs and aspirations of the Quebec nation.

Would Canada be prepared, therefore, to open another round of negotiations not only to meet the minimal demands of the Meech Lake accord but also to meet the conditions of the current Quebec government for resolving this issue? Eighty-two percent of Quebeckers think there should be another round of negotiations to meet Quebec traditional constitutional demands, while 61% of Canadians think there should not be.

It is interesting that all the answers I mentioned are always in the 70% to 80% range and really show the Quebec political nation at work. This is not just francophones, or sovereignists, or allophones, or the English Quebec minority. This is a majority of Quebeckers who say they need these additional powers, while a majority of Canadians also react as a political nation and say they are not interested in ceding them.

These results are hardly surprising. The pollster who did the survey, Pierre Drouilly, said he expected something of the kind. The problem is that we did not expect such a huge disparity in the results. There has been a real hardening of Canadian public opinion vis-à-vis Quebec’s demands, while in Quebec, a broad consensus has emerged around the powers that Quebec needs in order to develop.

We have two nations, therefore, on completely opposed paths, and even if the federalist parties in the House refuse to re-open the Constitution, it is obvious that things cannot go on like this forever. A poll of this kind shows—as the Bloc Québécois has been saying for years—that there are no longer three options for the Quebec nation to choose from, namely federalism as it currently exists and which is directed against Quebec, renewed federalism, and Quebec sovereignty. Renewed federalism is a grand illusion, in which no one in Quebec believes any more. There are therefore only two options left, either become sovereign and assume all our powers, 100% of our powers, raise 100% of our taxes, and sign 100% of our treaties, or quietly marginalize ourselves within a Canadian nation and under a federal system that is totally unresponsive to Quebec’s demands.

It is crystal clear to the Bloc Québécois that the most reasonable, most realistic, most doable option is sovereignty.