House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, the habits of economics professors do not die easily. Recently I found myself giving the finance minister a passing grade; now I must give the Prime Minister a failing grade.

He obviously does not yet understand that smaller deficits lead to lower interest rates, more investment, higher productivity and therefore more permanent jobs in the private sector. Direct government job creation is obsolete.

Would the finance minister please share his good judgment on these matters with the Prime Minister and get him to tell Canadians about the win win benefits of spending cuts?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, surely to heaven there are some questions, and not only language, that are unparliamentary.

The fact is that I am stunned and I am at a loss for words. I give up.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

Thank you, Mr. Minister of Finance. The hon. member for Capilano-Howe Sound.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, I never expected that kind of a response, a speechless Minister of Finance.

This week a group of economists gathered in this building to present their views on the finance minister's budget initiative. A majority noted that the 3 per cent target in two years from now is not good enough. There is a high probability that by then the economy will enter the next recession. Deficits and the debt to

GDP ratio will rise again, just like they did for other governments.

When will the finance minister take account of these concerns and issue a plan for time specific spending cuts that will eliminate the deficit during the present economic prosperity?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear that we are prepared to deal with time specific spending cuts. In fact that is very clearly what we did in the last budget. It is the specific reason for the 3 per cent target.

In an initial conversation with the Prime Minister as to what tactic ought to be used it was pointed out to me-and I must say thank God I can now raise this-that where the Tories went wrong was in setting out medium term targets and not hitting them. It is absolutely important that government set out and hit short term targets and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs.

Today's newspapers report an agreement between the federal government and the Kahnawake Mohawks on the labour force training program. Under this agreement, the federal government would entrust the Mohawks with these responsibilities, for a more efficient allocation of these programs' financial resources.

Can the Minister of Indian Affairs tell us if the agreement in question provides for the transfer to the Mohawk community of all federal powers for employment and labour training programs?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, no, it does not. This is one of several agreements that have been negotiated over the last three or four years with various Indian bands across Canada whereby we simply transfer planning responsibility for human resources training programs that apply particularly to aboriginal people. The terms and conditions of those programs must be maintained. We do try to work out a partnership with the Indian bands so that they can have a real responsibility for determining what the priorities are.

It is very much within the spirit of the proposals we made in the green book on social reform that we want to establish a much broader range of co-operative arrangements and to decentralize many of the program responsibilities to various community organizations, provinces and others. In that way there can be a much more grassroots level of development and decision making for the important training initiatives we sponsor.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the government seems to be finally realizing the obvious fact that manpower training programs are better administered by authorities who are more sensitive to people's real needs, can he tell us why these same principles were not followed by the federal government in answering the consensus in Quebec, which calls for Quebec to take back control of the whole labour field?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, it is. As the hon. member would know if he had read the green book, last June we tabled a series of propositions to all provinces that include substantial transfer of responsibilities to provincial governments.

The federal government is proposing to the provinces that they take over the majority of labour market programs. There is $500 million earmarked for Quebec for example, to manage the purchase of courses in training institutes-another $140 million for Quebec-to manage and establish "one-stop" information centres and manage other manpower programs bringing in $12 million to the province.

I hope, therefore, that the members from the Bloc Quebecois will ask their partners in Quebec for a response to a new proposal, a new agreement. But at this time, there has been no response from the government of Quebec to this new proposal.

Royal Commission On Aboriginal PeoplesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples set up four years ago is already substantially over budget and over deadline. Again it is extending its deadline. This $58 million exercise has obviously lost focus.

Will the minister of Indian affairs instruct this commission to quit delaying and table its report immediately?

Royal Commission On Aboriginal PeoplesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we inherited two commissions when we took power. Because they are independent I think it would be inappropriate for the government to tell them to stop and give us their reports right now. We would be accused of

leaning on the commissions. We are not prepared to do that vis-à-vis the royal commission on aboriginal rights.

I would prefer the report now. I need it now. The commission has decided it needs another year. My preference is now but I am stuck with the year and I will have to live with that. We did not implement the royal commission. If I had my druthers, I would have built the thousand houses that we could have built with the $58 million, but that is what Mulroney did and that is what we have.

Royal Commission On Aboriginal PeoplesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this exercise started out as a $10 million or $12 million exercise. The government has been taking excerpts from the royal commission's work and using these for policy statements, including the issue of inherent right to self-government.

Is the minister of Indian affairs the one who is really foot dragging on the release of this report because he has no better policy options to present?

Royal Commission On Aboriginal PeoplesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, from this member that is a surprise question. Usually I am accused of going too fast and not foot dragging. I do not understand the substance of it, but we are prepared to deal with the issues as they arise and as soon as we get them.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Responding to a question recently put to her regarding acts of genital mutilation in Canada, the Deputy Prime Minister stated that the Minister of Justice would see to it that the present provisions of the Criminal Code that make the mutilation of children illegal are enforced.

Can the Minister of Justice confirm that, as we have been advised, no proceedings have been instituted thus far with respect to the practice of genital mutilation on the basis of the present provisions of the Criminal Code?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am unable to answer that factual question today. However I will be happy to inquire and let the hon. member know when I am certain of the facts.

Speaking to her point more generally I can say that in the spring when this matter was raised in the House I undertook to take several weeks to inform myself and respond to the suggestion that we need a separate provision in the Criminal Code to forbid this deplorable practice. I made those inquiries, including conversations with colleagues and other ministries that share the responsibility, particularly with provincial and territorial attorneys general. After doing that I concluded and informed the House that the better view is there are provisions in the code at present which already make it clear that this is criminal conduct. I said at the time that what we need is not only vigilant enforcement of those Criminal Code provisions but also a program of information to educate immigrants and others that this is impermissible and will be prosecuted.

We are continuing to monitor that. In fact, as recently as last week I asked to be briefed with respect to the present state of the practices in Canada with respect to education and enforcement.

I assure the hon. member, if I may conclude, and I will just take a moment to say it, that if the practice is continuing notwithstanding the efforts on education and enforcement of the present provisions, I do not rule out a separate section of the code if I believe it is necessary to bring this deplorable practice to an end.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have a supplementary question.

I thank the minister for his responses to my queries. However, he is merely repeating the answer he gave back on April 12, and I quote: "The focus of the federal government at this time should be on education in partnership with the provinces and community groups". He says he is monitoring, waiting, making inquiries. These are all fine words.

However, what I would like to know is: when does the minister plan to act on this issue, to take positive steps and, above all, to table a plan of action in this respect? In spite of the fact that the minister has to collect all this information, action is required immediately and urgently, and we need to know what his immediate plans are in this area, notwithstanding the inquiries and analyses.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I first emphasize that I share the hon. member's concern and sense of urgency, but I want to emphasize that it is not a situation in which nothing is being done.

The issue gained prominence in the spring primarily by virtue of the report by Dr. Glenda Simms and the national committee which she chairs. When I inquired about it, I found that the provincial attorneys general in the provinces where this practice is an issue are hard at work with task forces, with police and enforcement efforts and they continue.

The advice I received from those active in the field was that a Criminal Code amendment was not the answer. What is needed

is to get into the communities, spread the word, gather evidence and prosecute when it is appropriate.

One of the problems is getting people to come forward to testify. That is one of the problems. I do not think a change in the Criminal Code will get at that.

Nuclear TestingOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is about nuclear tests and is for the Prime Minister who I wish well on his trip to China.

Since 1964 Britain has carried out 44 nuclear tests, France 210, and the United States over 1,000. Two weeks ago China carried out its 41st test.

Would the Prime Minister on his visit to Beijing raise with the Chinese authorities the need to set a good example to the world community and bring to an end testing for the sake of planetary security?

Nuclear TestingOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalSecretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

Canada deplores the underground nuclear test that was recently carried out in China. The Chinese ambassador in Ottawa was called in and made aware of Canada's concerns.

The Prime Minister's visit will provide an opportunity to directly register our concern about nuclear tests at the highest levels in the Chinese government. Canada hopes that China will shoulder its share of the burdens and responsibilities held by all nuclear weapons states toward the early conclusion of a comprehensive test ban treaty.

BosniaOral Question Period

October 21st, 1994 / 11:45 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, a disturbing trend is developing that threatens the lives of Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia. In the past six months Canadian troops in central Bosnia have faced confirmed attacks from the Bosnian army on 13 occasions. Most recently Warrant Officer Tom Martineau from my riding required five hours of surgery after being shot.

My question is intended for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When will the minister obtain an explanation for these attacks from the Bosnian government and what action will he take to ensure the safety of Canadian soldiers in Bosnia?

BosniaOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we do not underestimate the dangers that our troops face in that theatre of conflict. We were fully cognizant of it before we renegotiated the mandate for the next six months. In fact members of the House had an opportunity to express their concerns.

We believe that a real peace effort is possible in the former Yugoslavian republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina. For that reason we have deployed our troops for the further six-month period.

BosniaOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not an acceptable answer to this question. We have repeatedly faced attacks from the army of the people we are trying to protect. That is not an acceptable situation.

In the period since 1991 we have provided $50 million in aid to the former Yugoslavia. Would the government agree that if these attacks do not stop we should make any further aid contributions contingent on an end to this kind of action from the Bosnia government?

BosniaOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we regret the injuries and indeed the deaths of any of our Canadian soldiers. The incident to which the hon. member refers was a particularly nasty one.

It is not the government's policy nor that of the armed forces of Canada to pick sides in this conflict. We are there under the auspices of the United Nations to help with humanitarian aid to give the peace process a real chance. It is easy to assume that one particular side is guilty of an attack or another. Quite frankly sometimes we are not sure whom to believe in these cases.

It is better for us to concentrate our efforts to try to protect our soldiers the best way possible, and where we do know that an attack has come from one side or another, make a protest through the United Nations.

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. In answer to a question from the Bloc Quebecois concerning the costs related to the Irving Whale , the minister said that the money would come from the compensation fund set up by oil companies. However, we were told by the Parliament's Research Branch that there is absolutely no money left in that fund.

Can the minister confirm that the compensation fund is indeed empty and, if so, what alternative is she considering to finance the operations which will get underway to settle this issue?