House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was programs.

Topics

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Chair is having a little difficulty. If the member could phrase the question a little more generally it would be acceptable. We have someone here to answer the question. Please continue.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that I cannot phrase it generally because it is quite specific. It goes back to the discussion we had in this Chamber on Friday, January 28, which was ruled on-

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We will let the member put the question and then I will rule on it.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, to reiterate I would ask the representative on the board to do three things. First, to agree on a procedure with that board for making all such expenditure decisions public.

Second, to rule that June 9, 1993 decision of the Board of Internal Economy to pay those extra salaries to members not entitled to them was wrong.

Third, to report their findings to this House.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I am going to permit a reply from the government whip.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Liberal Saint-Léonard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will take his question as a representation to the board. However I would like to remind the member that his own party has a representative on the board. Maybe he should make a similar representation to the board.

The board will decide because the board is its own master. The decision taken to continue to pay the leaders of the parties and officers of the House is a decision that is made before all elections. Members of Parliament continue to get paid during the election so officers, who have extra duties to perform even during an election, also get paid.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. whip for his response to the question.

For the edification of the House, the reason I bring this matter to the House-

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the hon. member is going to put a question. I wonder if he would put it forthwith.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

February 2nd, 1994 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Would the hon. whip not agree it is better to present information in the House openly like this rather than through our party representative? In that way it is presented to the public as a whole and not hidden in messages.

Board Of Internal EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Liberal Saint-Léonard, QC

Mr. Speaker, again I take his question as a representation. I will report his comments to the board at the next meeting.

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Today, hundreds of people living in inadequate housing took their personal budgets to the office of the Finance Minister. The objective of this operation is to show the Liberal government that serious housing problems are being created in Canada. Every month, thousands of households must save on food just to pay the rent.

Will the Prime Minister make his Finance Minister restore and increase social housing program budgets and unfreeze the budget of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to avoid a social housing rent increase?

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

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

The hon. member must recognize that the responsibility for social housing is not just with the federal government. We have committed $100 million to RRAP over two years. We have also committed the savings under the direct lending program which is approximately $120 million for a four-year period to go to social housing. In addition, the Government of Canada is committed to the $2 billion that we have directly involved in maintaining the existing stock in social housing across this country.

The hon. member knows that the Government of Canada, like all other governments, has a limited fiscal capacity. Within that fiscal capacity we will do our best to try to obtain additional funds in order to address the important concerns she raises.

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a supplementary question, again to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister know that all social, co-operative, low-cost and non-profit housing programs have been frozen and that housing conditions for tenants in his hometown of Shawinigan are among the worst in Canada? Does he know that?

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know very well than between 1988 and 1993 the riding of Saint-Maurice was represented by a Conservative member of Parliament. So we will now be able to take better care of it.

Law Of The SeaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the most distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs. It has to do with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which, if implemented, would go a long way in protecting oceans, in improving fisheries and in reducing the dangers of pollution.

Ratification by 60 nations is needed to make the law of the sea operative. So far some 57 nations have ratified this important document.

Will the minister inform the House when Canada, after nine years of inaction, will ratify the law of the sea?

Law Of The SeaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me first of all compliment the hon. member for his active effort in this regard. As an opposition member he fought very vigorously to try to impress on the Tory government the necessity to ratify this convention.

As the member understands, there are a few difficulties in regard to the convention. We are diligently working to improve it and will hopefully be able to ratify it in the near future.

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has refused to allow members to represent their constituents by having free votes in this Parliament. He has said in effect that such a reform would be contrary to parliamentary democracy. However the mother of Parliaments in London has already adopted this reform.

When will the Prime Minister announce that the government will not consider the defeat of a government motion, including a spending measure, to constitute an expression of non-confidence unless it is immediately followed by a formal motion of non-confidence?

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have already announced some new initiatives for this House with the free debates. We have had three so far in less than three weeks: one on Bosnia, one on the cruise missile and one on the budget. People were free to express their views. I heard some members of my party stating views that were in opposition to others. That is free expression.

Eventually a government has to decide. The budget of the nation is a vote of confidence in the government. If the government cannot present a budget and pass it, it should call an election. It is as simple as that because the government will have lost the confidence of the House.

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of record that the British Parliament defeated the Maastricht treaty without any disastrous results or damage to the democratic process.

Would the Prime Minister tell Canadians why they should settle for any less democracy than the people of Britain?

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the hon. member, the Maastricht vote was not a budgetary measure. It was voted on again in the House in England and eventually was passed.

It is not the same thing. The vote was on a more general policy. It was not on the budget of the administration in Great Britain. When a vote is on the budget it is confidence in the government.

I have full confidence that the Minister of Finance will present a good budget and I know the party will support him. We were elected to form a good government and have good ministers.

Policy On AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The Prime Minister has said many times that he wants to restore integrity in federal institutions. In this regard, the previous government had instituted a new policy for appointments to management positions in public agencies, in particular by giving parliamentary committees the right to approve appointments in a free, binding vote.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage explain to this House why this policy has been changed and why candidates for the position of President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had to send their résumés to the Prime Minister's Office, to the official in charge of appointments, who is a long-standing Liberal Party activist and wife of the defence minister?

Policy On AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member thinks that some policies have changed, perhaps it is because the government has changed. However, I will point out to her that all Canadians have been invited, through an announcement in The Canada Gazette , to propose candidates for the presidency of this great institution, the CBC.

As for the choice of president, I would refer her to a short statement I made on January 27, 1994, which she will find on page 454 of Hansard .

Policy On AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, besides publishing the required qualifications and saying that the appointment of the president of the CBC will be announced shortly, can the minister reassure the House that the appointment of the next president of the CBC will be subject to a parliamentary committee for approval in a free, binding vote, as the previous government promised?

Policy On AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am not an expert on parliamentary procedure, but I understand that the new president, once he is appointed, will

have an opportunity to appear before the parliamentary committees concerned. That is how we intend to proceed.

Labour DisputeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The longshoreman's labour dispute on the west coast has taken a devastating toll on the agricultural sector in western Canada.

Canadian grain and alfalfa industries are losing products, customers, sales and millions of dollars because of this dispute. Farmers and alfalfa processors have asked me to ask the minister if they can ship their products through U.S. ports and still benefit under the Western Grain Transportation Act.