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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was need.

Topics

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. As I understand it this is a question and answer period and we should try to set it up that way. I am sure although there are many questions unasked we want to hear both.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, has the minister consulted the other provinces in determining the new immigration level, especially in light of Quebec's decision to accept fewer immigrants?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, in preparation for the 1994 levels that we tabled yesterday all provinces were consulted. Those consultations took place in 1993.

Not only were they consulted, but the member's own province as late as last week faxed us a list of designated classes that the business and economic communities of British Columbia would like us to bring in as independents. We have done that. Forty-four per cent of all immigrants in 1994 will be those selected based on the skills that our economy needs.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all requested certain trades and skills. We are trying to co-operate with the provinces so that we as one slice of immigration can have immigrants come to the country to fill economic niches that the federal government has designated in full co-operation with each and every single province.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A little while ago in this House, we had a special debate on cruise missiles on Canadian territory. The American government was to receive an answer by the end of January.

Can the minister tell us if the government has made a decision? What is he waiting for to let us know his position?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct that we had a very fruitful debate last week. That discharged a commitment made by our party in opposition

not to authorize any cruise missile tests in 1994 before the House had a chance to debate the issue fully.

Members will know that in August 1993 the previous government authorized the 1994 test and the planning was well under way when we took office. Given this and given the fact that we will be having foreign policy and defence reviews in the next year where all matters including testing of weapons systems can be debated, the government has decided to proceed with the two tests in 1994 beginning this month.

I should also tell members that we have communicated this in the last hour to the United States government. We have stressed the fact that it should make no presumption about the outcome of the defence and policy reviews Parliament will be seized of later this year, given the very strong feelings on the matter of cruise testing both within the country and certainly within our party.

[Translation]

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must be glad that the government has finally made a first decision after many days of consulting on various subjects. We are waiting for one on cigarettes, if that appeals to you. You are welcome.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs give us the details of this agreement and table it in the House?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member was in the House a year ago. He should know that the agreement was signed by the previous Conservative government. It was renewed in 1993 and it does provide for individual tests to be conducted bilaterally. The actual tests can be agreed on or cancelled at any time within the framework of that agreement.

All we are doing today is verbally acceding to the request of the United States to have two more tests in 1994 in the same way as we have had tests in the past nine years.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of immigration. The minister's department is struggling with a backlog of more than 14,000 refugee claims from persons already in Canada. Social services are also struggling with the flow of refugees, something the minister acknowledged when he announced that refugee claimants would be allowed to find work.

Why is the government increasing the number of refugees Canada will admit when we are already unable to deal compassionately with the current numbers?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as part of our immigration levels the government is committed to international obligations. The member rises from his seat today, as he did yesterday, and simply casts out of hand that we should not have had as many refugees in the country or we should not honour obligations with respect to allowing those individuals to have fair and speedy hearings.

What we did yesterday not only maintained our obligations under the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. We have encouraged private communities to sponsor refugees, not only because we believe there are more cost benefits in that they absorb settlement costs but also because when communities come forward prepared to accept refugees it is a celebration of what the program is all about.

The hon. member also spoke about welfare rolls. We should talk about facts as opposed to creating the perception and the myth that every refugee who comes to the country goes on welfare.

According to the Ontario government some 4 per cent of the 615,000 applications for social welfare assistance in Ontario alone in 1993 were refugee claimants. Within that figure there is some abuse this side is interested in, but I would urge the member to set the context of his deliberations.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the minister on a related issue. The Ontario government has already asked for an additional $110 million for immigrant programs. In response, the minister said: "You have to be a realist. There are limited dollars available in the pool". Why does the minister not reduce the number of immigrants until the government is able to properly support these newcomers to Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I had a meeting with my provincial counterparts in Ontario. For the first time the Ontario government has signalled an interest in entering into a federal-provincial agreement on immigration. Only three provinces do not have current agreements.

The government has signalled its intention to accept the request of the Ontario government and the Ontario government has made a request for federal assistance for resettlement.

Unlike the former government, this government is prepared to listen to Ontario's concerns. We will work with our provincial partners as well as those at the municipal level on behalf of all Canadians which is something the people want.

I simply said something that the hon. member and his party have been saying every day. We have a fixed amount of dollars available in the federal treasury. In fact, the member has made a campaign of talking about deficit reduction. I thought I was

being responsible in not only addressing it purely from an immigration viewpoint but also a fiscal one.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

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

Yesterday, the minister admitted that the government would put parliamentarians before a fait accompli regarding the appointment of the new CBC President, thus refusing to subject this appointment to the approval of the House, and that is now a done thing.

Since the government decided to impose its own choice, will the minister undertake to give members of the parliamentary committee on Canadian Heritage the list of candidates who submitted their resume to Mrs. Collenette, the wife of the Minister of National Defence?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the hon. member and I disagree on how appointments should be made. But I want to point out that the appointment of a person is a rather confidential process. Many candidates are eligible; many have a chance of being selected for the job but, in the end, there can only be one appointment. In my opinion, it would not be reasonable to publicly reveal the names, and there are quite a few, of those who were not selected for the position. Therefore, it is not my intention to make public the list of those who could have got the position which was filled today.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, to ensure greater transparency, the minister might consider tabling this list to the committee, in camera.

I have a supplementary question. Since the minister refused to consult the committee, will he at least tell this House what were the true criteria used for the appointment of the new President?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, there is no such thing as true or false criteria. There are only criteria, and the main ones were suggested by the CBC itself, because these people know what they are doing and they know how important such an appointment is.

We are quite willing to listen and, in fact, we did listen not only to their advice but also to the advice provided by those who take an interest in this issue. I already said that we had come up with a long list, following an announcement in the Canada Gazette , and I am pleased to repeat again that the president, whom I want to congratulate, will gladly meet the parliamentary committees interested in hearing him.

FisheriesOral Question Period

February 3rd, 1994 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The European countries import millions of dollars of Canadian fish and fish products every year. For the past two years the government has been asking to have Canadian fish products exempt from EC mandatory border inspections.

Has the government made any progress in its efforts to eliminate this restriction on access of Canadian fish products to this important market?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question and congratulate her on her first question in the House of Commons.

I am pleased to reply to the hon. member that due to the efforts of the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and officials of my department I can announce today that the European Community, after examining Canada's fish inspection program, has agreed to exempt all Canadian fish products from EC mandatory inspections.

This means that more than half a billion dollars worth of Canadian fish products will now have completely unfettered access to the European Community marketplace.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Tobin Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, in response to this unexpected question, I conclude by saying this is an early example of the speedy manner in which this government is ensuring that more jobs are created.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I ask this question on behalf of millions of Canadians including Mr. Norman Henderson of Ottawa.

Given the horrendous cost to the health of Canadians, to our over-burdened health care system caused by tobacco addiction, and more deaths earlier than the combined total of traffic accidents, drug abuse, murder, suicide and AIDS, will the minister assure the House and the people of Canada that the

government will do everything in its power to discourage smoking, particularly among the youth of Canada including the maintenance of high prices. There is a proven relationship between cigarette price and cigarette consumption.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have had many discussions with my colleagues on this issue.

We are very concerned that the smuggling problem we are facing now is seriously undermining years of policy building that has resulted in a reduction in smoking among Canadians. We are seeing an increase in smoking among young people especially that is very troubling.

We must act to restore the reduction in smoking among the Canadian population and any action this government takes will take all of these factors into consideration.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I applaud the minister's strong representations within cabinet. I would like to ask specifically if the minister has asked the minister of revenue to ensure that tax policies will not be fashioned to protect the tobacco industry or to cave in to law breakers, that is to cave in to people who would break the law, or to extract more taxes from people addicted already to cigarettes.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we also are very concerned with all aspects of the smuggling problem and we are going to deal with it in a very forthright and open manner.