House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.


World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. With all due respect to all those people in television land, within the confines of this wonderful Chamber we do not use "props". We will listen attentively to the wisdom of the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thought I might be able to sneak that in because I wanted to give credit where credit was due. Less attentive Speakers have allowed me that privilege, but I can see you are on your toes today.

In any event distributed with the Globe and Mail last Saturday was a report by the Royal Bank.

This might be a good time to put in a plug for the industry committee of the House of Commons which has put together a report on small business. I think most members of Parliament have been inundated with innovative initiatives by all of the banks to try to foster small business.

In any event the Royal Bank publication points out some of the benefits and some of the realities of the trade situation we find ourselves in. The reason I would like to quote some of these statistics is that the signing of the GATT and our commitment to become international traders will inevitably lead to the fact that we had better pay a lot more attention to the next generation of Canadians so that they can compete on a world stage. The next generation of Canadians will compete because of their knowledge based resources.

We in Canada have been very fortunate. We have been blessed for many years. We were able to live a standard of living far beyond our means because we exploited Canada's natural resources. By and large we were the suppliers to the world of natural resources at a relatively low price, but it brought a tremendous amount of wealth into Canada. We were then able to transfer that wealth into the social programs we have all grown very accustomed to and that we really like. The problem is that we are no longer such an exporting nation. We do not have the resources to export and we have not replaced them with anything else.

Let me give an example. One-quarter of our national wealth is derived from international trade. One-third of our jobs depend on international trade. Nine thousand new jobs result from every billion dollars of additional exports. Nearly half of Canada's manufacturing output is exported. Exports generate more than $5,000 for every Canadian every year. That is really kind of nice.

This is what we are exporting and this is where the problem is: passenger cars, $24.1 billion; trucks, $10.5 billion; motor vehicle parts, excluding engines, $9.6 billion; softwood lumber, $9.2 billion; and crude petroleum, $6.9 billion. Where do you see anything there other than the automobile industry that we have any value added?

In Alberta we have spent zillions of dollars building one of the neatest pulp mills you have ever seen. It is one of the least polluting mills ever made. The problem is that we cut our trees down and we get something like 25 cents value for every tree that goes into that pulp mill. We turn that pulp into a finished product, bleached so that we get the environmental problems down the road, and we send that to Japan and buy it back as finished paper, as fine paper.

I learned earlier today from my hon. colleague from Lisgar-Marquette that Canada used to export a tremendous amount of milled flour to Japan. We do not any more. We export wheat to Japan. The Japanese mill it and then they sell it around the world. How is it we can get ourselves into a situation where we still end up being the purveyors of raw materials? We have to get the tertiary secondary manufacturing or we cannot allow our raw materials to be exploited any more in the same manner which was just fine for 30 or 40 years. Things have changed and we just cannot do that any more.

I mentioned a few minutes earlier about some of our primary exports. Our primary imports are motor vehicle parts excluding engines, $18 billion; passenger cars, $11.9 billion; electronic computers, $9 billion; crude petroleum, $4.6 billion; electronic tubes and semi-conductors, that sort of thing; $4.5 billion.

Therefore, basically through the auto pact, when we start talking about how great an exporter we are, we are great exporters if we are talking about the auto pact where we export and import and we are great exporters when we start talking about wheat or petroleum.

However, we are not great exporters when we are talking about anything that has value added. This is where we as a nation have a real problem, especially coming into the next generation.

I had a letter from a constituent the other day saying the difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election, a statesman thinks about the next generation.

Perhaps we in this Parliament have to start thinking as statesmen, not about the next election but about the next generation. We have a serious problem here. How do we go about competing on a world stage?

Think about internal trade barriers that exist now within Canada. We do not have the ability or the resolve as Canadians to get rid of these trade barriers within Canada that exist today. When we were negotiating the North American free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico there were three players around the table: Canada, the United States and Mexico.

When we were trying to break down the trade barriers within Canada, how many players were around the table-all the provinces and the federal government.

If we as Canadians are prepared to take the bull by the horns and break down these trade barriers we may have to go into a situation and say: "We are the federal government. We represent Canadians. We do not represent Albertans. We do not represent people from Ontario or Quebec. We represent the national interest. These trade barriers are killing us. They are killing our ability to compete internationally. It is time to get them out of here. You guys have exactly one year to get rid of your trade barriers. If you have not done it and negotiated an end to them within a year, kiss them goodbye because they are gone. They are out of there".

If we do not have the kind of resolve that will do it, how can we compete internationally if we cannot compete within our own country, within our own borders? It is essential that before we take on the world as these trade barriers come down, as the tariffication takes effect and the tariff barriers start to come down, we ensure that we are competitive within our own country.

It means that we have to first of all eliminate the interprovincial trade barriers. It means we have to ensure that our taxes are as low as any tax regime in the world. How do we go about doing that? We make sure that they are fair and that we do not use tax incentives that distort the marketplace.

It means that we do not use the tax money paid by someone earning $10 or $12 or $8 an hour, barely getting by, take it into government and then regurgitate it, give it to somebody else to go into business with the person who paid the taxes in competition with the person who paid the taxes in the first place.

It means that we have to lower the cost of being a Canadian. We have to be competitive in the world and it means that we have to make some very strategic investment decisions in the future. It means that we have to ensure that we are not only the sources of ideas, we have to be the innovators and the implementors.

We cannot just have a brainwave, invent something and have that innovative idea brought to the market by Americans or by the Japanese or the Germans.

It is going to be a new relationship between the innovators, the entrepreneurs, government, education and business. It is a whole new attitude so that we in our nation will honour, revere and bring to some degree of respect innovators and entrepreneurs who would at least be on the same level as a hockey player.

It is important. Think about it. Someone in our country who is a great business person, a great entrepreneur, a great innovator, a scientist-who do we know? Are they our heroes? No, they certainly are not. Somebody who can put 50 goals into a net or play baseball at all is a hero. It is a quantum change in the whole way we think about ourselves and what is worthwhile in our nation.

We know that our new economy is not going to work if we try to replicate what we did in the past. Going into the new economy we can do so with confidence because we can compete on a world scale. We can only do it if we strive for excellence in everything we do.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario


Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as always I enjoy listening to the member when he speaks on the economy.

I would like to focus on a very specific remark that the member made in his speech. The member said that we must make strategic investments in ideas. Many years ago we as a government made a strategic investment in the automobile industry in this country.

We used taxpayers dollars to create a sector of the economy that is recognized today to be one of the best in the world. We can do joint ventures with Mercedes Benz, with the Japanese, et cetera. We did make a strategic investment with taxpayers dollars and the member acknowledged that strategic investment in his remarks.

My question to the member is in what sectors of the economy is he proposing that we make such strategic investments today?

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the strategic investment that the hon. member for Broadview-Greenwood refers to is the auto pact. The auto pact came into being because we in Canada were importing all of our automobiles from the United States. We thought it would not be a bad idea that since we drive these cars here we should make a few.

We ended up getting involved in the auto pact. The auto pact almost died, as the hon. member would know. It was not easy for the agreement to reach fruition. During those years-35 years ago the auto pact came into being-that was in my opinion a very worthwhile strategic investment.

What kinds of strategic investments should we be making today? In my opinion it should be through our universities, through research and development, in colleges. We are doing reviews of all sorts of things.

The National Research Council has a budget of something in the region of $450 million a year. Imagine if the National Research Council's budget of $450 million a year were somehow worked into universities so that instead of getting $450 million worth of value from that investment, we could get $1 billion worth of value from that investment and we would also have a direct rubber meets the road responsibility. Here are people actually doing things, innovating, transferring that technology and applying it.

Another area in which we should be looking at strategic investments is the electronic highway. Years ago we had a situation in which communication in Canada was via rivers, then it was via railroad, then by air. We strategically put airports all over the place that we are desperately trying to get rid of now. At the time we needed them for communication.

Our future will be based upon our ability to innovate and use the collective brain power of all of our citizens, those working at home in their study, businesses and universities. There are people hacking away at their computers right now somewhere in Canada who could have the secret that we absolutely must have to make something else work. Somehow we need to connect all of this brain power. That is the kind of innovation and strategic value of government led initiative that in my view would be worthwhile.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked a lot about efficiency, productivity and strategic investments. He did not have much to say about the tremendous amounts spent by the federal government on manpower training. As you know, the federal government probably wastes one or two billion dollars annually on poorly-organized manpower training. When we realize that the provinces are responsible for training, the federal government's involvement in this field means that a lot of money is being wasted.

I believe that if we keep going in this direction, there is a real danger that we will be unable to compete with the rest of the world. I am all in favour of free trade and globalization but, to deal with that, our people must be properly trained. He did not have much to say about that, and I would appreciate his comments on manpower training, federal involvement in this field, the attendant inefficiencies and the adverse impact of those inefficiencies on the potential of our economy.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the opportunity to say a few words about manpower training and, in a more general sense, overlap and duplication, the favourite mantra of the Bloc Quebecois.

Irrespective of whether the Bloc is successful in its quest to take Quebec out of Canada, and I hope sincerely that it is not successful, we should be devolving responsibility as close as possible to the people who are going to be the consumers of that responsibility.

If a job can be done by the federal government but could be done better by a municipal government, then the municipal government should do it.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

EqualityStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—Woodbine, ON

Mr. Speaker, 65 years ago Canadian women won the right to be legally recognized as persons.

On Monday of this week, five Canadian women were honoured with the Governor General's Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution toward the promotion of women's equality.

I want to congratulate and thank Shirley Carr, Dr. Rose Charlie, Alice Girard, Morag O'Brien and Dodi Robb for their dedication and determination.

While women in Canada have made significant advances since 1929 they still have a long way to go. We need only look at the representation in this Chamber to see the distance they still have to go.

I would encourage all members of this House and all Canadians to continue to work for the advancement of Canadian women in every sphere of life and in pursuit of the goal of equality.

FerriesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, for more than 18 months, Ottawa has been trying to make up its mind about replacing the old Lucy Maud Montgomery , the ferry link between the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island. Since the beginning of this Parliament, the Bloc Quebecois has urged the Minister of Transport to decide what should be done, but the minister still cannot make up his mind and is trying to shirk his responsibilities. However, interprovincial ferry services are a federal responsibility and the Magdalen Islands transportation co-op cannot go ahead without federal financing.

Not long ago, the Minister of Transport received letters from Quebec MNAs on the subject. Mr. Farrah, MNA for the Magdalen Islands, and Mr. Paillé, the Quebec Minister of Industry, agreed to ask the minister to act without delay.

Now that the minister knows it is up to him to make the decision, what is he waiting for?

Violent OffendersStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, while Reform with the support of grassroot Canadians is asking for more protection from violent, ruthless offenders proven in a court of law to be a threat to society, the Liberal government states that any bill seeking to keep sexual predators behind bars will not pass a constitutional challenge. The Liberal government is saying that it does not have the will or the courage to introduce legislation to protect our innocent children.

A learned lawyer stated that if the government contacted constitutional lawyers instead of bureaucratic bosses, whose only interest is keeping their departments running smoothly and not for the best interest of Canadians, legislation could indeed be drafted that would pass the challenge.

When is the Liberal government going to get some gumption, some concern for protecting grassroot Canadians and stop its do nothing, say nothing leadership? Using provincial health laws to keep offenders in jail is even a more stupid idea.

Learn the Constitution. Write the legislation. Do something for a change. Grassroot Canadians want what the government seems unwilling to give them: a safe and secure Canada.

The PoppyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ivan Grose Liberal Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, at this time of year when most of us are wearing the symbol of supreme sacrifice, the poppy, a question nevertheless is sometimes asked: Did the young Canadians who made this sacrifice die in vain?

Yesterday in a citizenship court in Oshawa this question was answered eloquently by 54 people of 17 different countries. These people had decided that the country bequeathed to us by the total sacrifice of too many young Canadians was, to use the words often quoted by a prominent member of the House, "the best country in the world".

I say to those who may oppose this comment that the evidence suggests they are mistaken. Being a long time gambler I will go with the odds. Fifty-four people from seventeen cultures say they are wrong. Come join with us and make it 18 different cultures working to enhance that which was so dearly bought.

I would also like to point out to all hon. members wearing a poppy that as a symbol of the supreme sacrifice it should be worn above all other symbols and decorations including the parliamentary pin.

John C. PolanyiStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 3 and November 4, 12 Nobel laureates from around the

world, four of whom are Canadian, will gather at the University of Toronto to inaugurate the John. C. Polanyi chair in chemistry. The celebration will be accompanied by a series of free public lectures entitled the "Science in Society Lectures" to be given by the laureates at the University of Toronto.

I mention this event not only because it honours a great Canadian, a wonderful professor at the University of Toronto and, if I may say, a resident of my riding of Rosedale, but also because it is a reminder of the important place which scientific research occupies in our modern Canadian society. It is a reminder of the role of our universities in ensuring that basic research continues to advance the interest of science and thus of all Canadians.

We all owe a great deal to the countless number of dedicated researchers throughout Canada of whom John Polanyi is one remarkable example. If Canada is to continue as one of the world's leading technological countries, we must support these men and women and the universities at which they work and teach.

Social WorkStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Tony Ianno Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week graduates from Canada and around the world met at Toronto to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the faculty of social work at the University of Toronto.

Social workers play a pivotal role in Canadian communities through the promotion of social justice and equity for all groups in society irrespective of class, gender or cultural heritage, and especially for the disadvantaged during financially tough times.

As the oldest faculty of social work in Canada and the third oldest of its kind in North America, the faculty has left a proud legacy of achievements. Research advances in child welfare, family care giving for Alzheimers disease victims and family mediation are only some of the areas in which the faculty has contributed to the betterment of Canadian society.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to recognize the great work done by social workers and to congratulate the faculty of social work of the University of Toronto as it celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Electronic HighwayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, adding insult to injury, yesterday the Minister of Canadian Heritage indicated that he was prepared to consider letting Quebec play a role with respect to the electronic highway, a role as important, said the minister, as that of cable companies or municipalities.

In so doing, the minister showed how indifferent he is to Quebec's cultural identity. It should be obvious that the electronic highway would have a decisive impact on Quebec society. It should be obvious that its cultural and educational content is the exclusive jurisdiction of the government of Quebec.

And incidentally, how does the minister account for the lack of representatives from Quebec's cultural community on the advisory council on the electronic highway?

The minister's incompetence and his lack of sensitivity to these issues are another good reason to demand his resignation.

Esprit De CorpsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to questions about the integrity of this government regarding the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I must raise the issue of integrity within the defence department.

It has now become clear that defence, along with Industry and Science Canada, is actively attempting to undermine and close down the operation of a small military magazine, Esprit de corps , which had the audacity to criticize defence department procedures and officials.

By threatening to refuse contracts to companies like Mercedes Benz and General Motors that advertise in the publication, the government is attempting to remove the base upon which the magazine operates. These are the tactics of a police state, not a developed democracy. In Canada, citizens have a right to criticize the government if they disagree with its policies or practices.

I do not agree with everything Esprit de corps says or how it is said, but I passionately defend its right to say it and I am appalled that senior government officials think otherwise.

The minister of defence has been repeatedly advised but refuses to act on problems within his department. He has no excuse for inaction here.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

November 1st, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.


Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the plan released today by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is the result of a comprehensive consultative process and is the first government consultation to come to fruition.

After talking to a cross-section of Canadians over an eight-month period, the minister has tabled a strategy which reflects the needs and desires of our countrymen. The changes introduced will ensure an increased emphasis on immigrants

with skills and investment potential while continuing to make family reunification a priority.

This plan generated by the people of Canada reflects compassion, humanitarianism and tolerance, time honoured values of the Liberal Party.

I tip my hat to the minister and to the people of Canada for a well balanced and comprehensive citizenship and immigration program that shall meet the needs of Canadians for years to come.

TourismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, our eastern Ontario caucus was informed that the only increase in tourism in our region during the recent recession was the result of overflow tourists from Quebec. These were visitors brought to Canada by Quebec government advertising.

I believe the federal government through the new tourism commission should work with the private sector to promote Canada by promoting Canadian heritage. In eastern Ontario, for example, the Trent, Severn and Rideau waterways are part of our national heritage. They are a great attraction to tourists from other provinces and countries.

Promotion of major features of Canadian heritage will attract tourists to Canada from around the world and will encourage Canadians to travel in Canada. At the same time promotion of Canadian heritage will strengthen our sense of national identity.

Let us encourage interest in our heritage in Canada and around the world.

Quebec ReferendumStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that the leader of the Bloc Qebecois has just sided with the Prime Minister, whom he now supports. Indeed the leader of the Bloc Quebecois said yesterday that he now wants a referendum "as soon as possible".

This new position of his is in contrast with what he was saying on September 20, when he pleaded for a referendum at a time where it would be likely to be won. Now that the official opposition and the government agree on holding a referendum as soon as possible, we hope that the leader, the self- described partner of Jacques Parizeau in the referendum saga, will be able to convince his associate to proceed forthwith. Then, as the Prime Minister was saying, we can put to rest the uncertainty that now prevails.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its dissenting report tabled yesterday, the Bloc Quebecois demands that the Minister of National Defence proceed with a complete review of military spending, in particular the purchase of submarines, taking into account the new missions the armed forces will have to undertake in the years to come.

The measures proposed in the majority report of the special joint committee do not go far enough. The Minister of National Defence must come up with a realistic budget, in keeping with the catastrophic situation we are in because of the deficit. The minister must try harder to streamline operations to cut some $1.6 billion.

The government must show more courage and tackle a deficit which is eroding the future of our children.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, for the third time in less than a month the excuse of extreme drunkenness has been used as a defence in a criminal court.

The Supreme Court recently made a ruling in the Daviault case and what has ensued has been devastating for all victims. On Friday in Alberta a man was acquitted of assaulting his wife following a 24-hour drinking binge in 1993. The judge ruled that the man could not be held responsible for his actions because he was so drunk he was insane.

Reform MPs have twice asked the Minister of Justice to enact legislation to plug this loophole but we still have seen nothing.

This is not the Land of Oz and the minister I hope is not Dorothy. Supposedly the justice minister is troubled by these cases, but we all know that his clicking of the heels three times will not make the issue disappear. Amending legislation must be brought in immediately if victims in the country have any chance at all for justice.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister of agriculture has stated that the debate surrounding the future of the Canadian Wheat Board is an important one. In response he has announced a process which will include asking farmers what they think.

Consultation is important. Indeed just two years ago farmers were consulted in what was then known as transportation talks wherein a vast majority of farmers and rural residents spoke in favour of maintaining the crow benefit and strengthening the Canadian Wheat Board. Then more than 13,000 rural Saskatch-

ewan residents attended a rally in Saskatoon, the vast majority again sending the message to Ottawa that a strengthened wheat board was necessary to protect the positive future of agriculture in Canada.

The minister of agriculture and his party have in the past expressed strong support for the Canadian Wheat Board. In light of consultations that have already occurred, I urge the minister to stand firmly behind the board and its long term commitment to farmers.

Bell IslandStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the 69 men who perished in the fall of 1942 near Bell Island, Newfoundland. I would also like to pay tribute to those in the community of Bell Island who have kept the memory of these men alive.

Many Canadians do not know that Bell Island was the only community in North America to come under direct enemy fire during World War II. In the fall of 1942 four ships, three from Britain and one from France, were sunk by U-boats in two separate incidents. Although 69 men died the people of Bell Island are credited with saving many lives.

Tomorrow, November 2, the Royal Canadian Legion of Bell Island will dedicate a seamen's memorial at Lance Cove Beach, close to the spot where the four ships were sunk. A special plaque to honour the people of Lance Cove is also included in the memorial.

The liberal government has introduced the Canada remembers program, and in this spirit tomorrow the community of Bell Island plans to commemorate an event that should never be forgotten.

Civil AviationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as chairperson for the Standing Committee on Transport it is my privilege to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the opening of the international conference convened in Chicago to plan the post-war future of international civil aviation. I would like to note that the ICAO was created to ensure the orderly development of civil aviation.

In honour of the 50th anniversary the ICAO has convened another worldwide transport conference that will be held in Montreal on November 23. There are many global developments that will influence the future evolution of commercial air transportation in the years to come. These include changing trade patterns, technological advances and the growing affluence of countries that were once less developed.

It is therefore quite timely for the nations of the world to begin reviewing the economic rules and regulations under which international air services are operated.

The ICAO is to be commended for the leadership it has shown by organizing this conference. I wish all the conference participants every success in their endeavours.

Juliette KangStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues I rise to congratulate Juliette Kang of Edmonton, a brilliant young violinist, who won the gold medal, the $25,000 first prize, and first place in four individual categories at the recent International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. In fact she has captured more special prizes than anyone else in competition history.

Ms. Kang is internationally recognized as having virtuosity and great musical maturity, and the rare ability to regulate rational and emotional balance.

This morning Ms. Kang was a featured guest on CBC's "Morningside". Her exceptional talent was displayed in her performance of two pieces of music during the show. I hope the interview is replayed on "The Best of Morningside" this evening so that more listeners can hear this fabulous musician.

I would ask the House to join in recognizing and congratulating the dedication and sacrifice of Ms. Kang. Every Canadian should be proud to have such an accomplished representative in the international music world.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec


Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are informed that the Minister of Canadian Heritage sent at least seven other letters directly to the CRTC, in addition to his letter supporting a licence application. The minister's error is definitely compounded by the frequency with which he interferes with the CRTC's decisions. In fact, the minister sees nothing wrong with maintaining a regular correspondence with a quasi-judicial tribunal. The minister himself said this morning that the news about seven other letters improved his credibility, which just shows how good his judgment is.

I want to ask the government how it can keep maintaining that the Minister of Canadian Heritage committed an honest mistake, knowing now it was not an isolated incident but common practice for this minister.