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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deputy.

Topics

The International Year Of The FamilyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as an MP and the mother of two daughters, Athena and Vasilike, who are here today, I would like to draw the House's attention, as many members have done already, to the International Year of the Family.

It is a very significant event and I would encourage all members to organize events in their ridings to promote the UN efforts in favour of the family unit. Contrary to a commonly held belief, regardless of its make-up, the family is alive and well. It remains the corner-stone of society.

If we are here today, it is thanks to our families' efforts and sacrifices. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for its support: my father Ioannis, my mother Vasilike, my sister Anastasia, my brother Bill, and last but not least, my husband, Constantinos Geropapas.

I call upon my colleagues to do their part in organizing events like single parent family support groups, family picnics and other activities to ensure that the International Year of the Family is celebrated throughout our country.

Home Buyers PlanStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise again in this House the subject of the RRSP home buyers plan in order to emphasize its importance to many in my riding and the Canadian economy as a whole.

The extension of the RRSP home buyers plan benefits will allow thousands of Canadians to withdraw existing funds of up to $20,000 from their registered retirement savings plans to finance the purchase of their principal residence without having to pay tax on the withdrawal.

The program also recognizes the importance of the housing market to economic growth. Its extension will stimulate residential real estate and job creation. The program also recognizes that a paid off principal residence is for many the cornerstone of their retirement plan.

I encourage all members of this House to support the extension of the RRSP home buyers plan which will allow additional time to re-evaluate the program and continue its important contribution to economic recovery.

RailwaysStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the House today about an important concern in Simcoe North that is indeed a major problem across the country. I am referring to the closure of railway lines and rail spurs which are critical to industry and economic development.

At a time when we should be investing in railways because they make good economic and environmental sense, Canada is allowing its railway system to be dismantled.

I implore the government to review Canada's transportation policy to ensure that railway spurs feeding into main lines are preserved. This will be good for industry, good for the environment and will assist the government in creating new jobs for Canadians.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the position on immigration put forward by the Reform Party earlier this week in response to the speech by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on immigration levels, we wish to emphasize in this House that the Bloc Quebecois is open to immigration. We recognize the major contribution made by immigrants to Quebec and Canadian society. In fact, we have been welcoming people from every part of the world and from every socio-economic background for over 300 years; they have contributed greatly to our collective wealth and helped make our country what it is.

However, we want to make it clear that we will keep an eye on the government to make sure that it does not weaken the principles of the 1978 Couture-Cullen agreement, which were reinforced by the 1990 Gagnon-Tremblay-McDougall agreement-

ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry, but I must interrupt the hon. member.

Social PolicyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government threw Canada's financial dice for nine years, taking a terrible gamble with our tax money. It bet heavily on a rising economy hoping that the economy would outgrow the deficit and the problem would just somehow go away. As we know the economy did not grow fast enough and the result is today's fiscal disaster.

In the budget to be brought down this month let us hope the government realizes that good intentions, wishful thinking, or hoping that somehow the right cards will turn up will never put anyone to work. Governments should learn from the mistakes of the past.

Reformers have been warning for years that high deficits and high unemployment are directly related. We will seal the fate of our unemployed by allowing deficits to balloon out of control.

Any budgetary plan that trusts in luck as a basis of its fiscal policy will keep the unemployed out of work and that, you can bet on.

Winter Olympic GamesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the athletes who will be representing Canada at the winter Olympic games at Lillehammer, Norway. These young Canadians deserve our recognition and full support for their hard work and commitment to their sport.

I wish to mention one athlete, Michelle Ruthven, a resident of Orangeville, a town in my riding. I wish to extend to Michelle congratulations on behalf of myself and the residents of Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe on her great accomplishments as a Canadian athlete.

House Of CommonsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my deep satisfaction with the debates that have taken place here over the past two weeks.

We MPs on all sides of this House represent the people who elected us. The various points of view have helped me to better understand this great country.

I especially congratulate my hon. colleagues across the floor, the Bloc and the Reform. They have spoken with conviction and passion. I doubt if there is a country in the world that would permit such a free exchange of ideas, ideas sometimes that call into question the very fabric of this nation.

We have heard here and felt the strength that is Canada. We do not pay lip service to freedom of speech, we live it. We should be the envy of the world.

House Of CommonsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Perhaps my hon. colleagues will permit me an observation. I notice that it is 14 minutes after the hour and all of the statements we had for today have been delivered. May I with respect to all hon. members compliment you, because we seem to be getting our work done in time now. I think it is great we are doing this.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

February 4th, 1994 / 11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

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

While it refuses to divulge its plan of action to put a stop to cigarette smuggling, the government expressed its intention to enforce the law everywhere in Canada, including on Indian reserves. In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister herself said that living on a reserve does not give the right to violate Canadian laws.

Mr. Speaker, my question is: Will the Deputy Prime Minister reiterate in this House her intention to enforce the law, and will she promise to take necessary action to ensure that the law is indeed enforced everywhere, including on Indian reserves, in spite of the reservations expressed to that effect by the Solicitor General?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, these days, the members opposite keep repeating that smuggling we do nothing about cigarette smuggling.

The Leader of the Official Opposition was a Cabinet member in the previous government for 781 days, but he did not act. We have been in office for less than 100 days. We will have a plan of action next week, and this is what I call true action and real governing.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we to understand that the government will intervene everywhere, including in Akwesasne, to ensure that the law is respected even though the Mohawk authorities in Akwesasne declared yesterday that the RCMP had no right to intervene on the reserve territory?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the problem of contraband smuggling is not limited to reserves. It is an unfortunate mistake on the part of the member if he leaves the Canadian people with the impression that this is strictly a problem on reserves.

The problem of contraband smuggling is one that involves organized crime. It is a problem that is spreading with rapidity throughout major parts of the country. It is also a problem that his leader sat in a cabinet for 781 days and did nothing about.

We have been in cabinet for less than 100 days. We have been working very hard on a concerted plan which will respect and indeed ameliorate the health conditions of Canadians and at the same time deal with the enforcement issues.

I would say that is a government that is not about talk, it is about action.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is strange to hear this government talk about action, considering that to this day only one minor bill was tabled, but we did hear a lot of lip service.

I am also surprised to hear the Deputy Prime Minister complain because we raise the issue of smuggling on reserves, since she herself made a statement yesterday on national television, regarding that problem.

Since other statements were also made on the national networks yesterday, does the Deputy Prime Minister intend to follow up the request for an urgent meeting made by Mohawk officials? As you know, some of their spokespersons have threatened to stage a major confrontation if the RCMP tries to enforce the law on their reserves.

Will the government meet with Mohawk officials from Akwesasne, Kanesatake and Kahnawake to discuss cigarette smuggling? Yes or no?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday and what the Prime Minister mentioned repeatedly, is that we are asking all Canadians to respect the law, whether it is in a convenience store or on an Indian reserve.

I am somewhat surprised by the member's question, because on the one hand he claims that this problem strictly concerns Indian reserves, while on the other hand he wants us to negotiate with those who created the problem.

In fact, we have already initiated a dialogue with all the stakeholders, including provincial governments. I know that the minister responsible for aboriginal issues is meeting with all our Cabinet colleagues to come up with a solution by next week. This is what I call action and I am surprised to see the Bloc Quebecois tell us about enforcing the law when it was precisely a member of that party who was bragging about prevention-

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bellechasse.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. The action plan on cigarette smuggling that the government is about to announce is said to include a six dollar cutback in taxes on a carton of cigarettes. Nevertheless, provinces in English Canada are joining forces against any cutbacks in taxes.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the government is going to proceed with its plan to reduce federal taxes on tobacco, even though it may be supported only by the province of Quebec?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

First, Mr. Speaker, there is no such thing as English Canada provinces. Canada is a country where all the languages of the world are spoken. Just take a stroll in my riding and see for yourself.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

Second, the Prime Minister stated very clearly that we were going to co-operate closely with the provinces and try to come to an agreement. However, if we can not reach an agreement, we are prepared to go ahead on our own. I should say to the hon. member that his leader asked us last week to make a move with or without Quebec. He should decide whether he wants the co-operation of the provinces or whether he wants the federal government to take the lead. As far as we are concerned, we want to make a deal with the provinces.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Deputy Prime Minister. Would she not agree that the tax cutback action plan may prove unefficient in Akwesasne, since this reserve is bordered by Ontario, United States and Quebec, especially if the government of Ontario refuses to lower its taxes on tobacco?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our plan has not been finalized yet and, therefore, it is very difficult at this point in time to discuss the details. We want the Canadian people to understand that it is not a problem unique to Indian reserves. Those who buy smuggled cigarettes, one pack out of three in Quebec and one pack out of five in Ontario, are all Canadians. It is wrong to say that the problem is unique to reserves. It is a smuggling problem, something which involves organized crime, and we will propose next week a plan which will deal with health and taxes, but especially with fair and equal law enforcement for all Canadians.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

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

It is reported that negotiations to end the labour dispute on the west coast have broken down. As the minister knows this is not the first time labour disputes on the west coast have completely disrupted the movement of resources and products to market, to the detriment and well-being of thousands of farmers on the prairies and other producers.

Is it the view of the minister and his department that grain handling should be declared an essential service? Has he made

strong representation to the minister responsible for labour, the Minister of Human Resources Development, on that position.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

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

The question he has raised is one of broad policy considerations. I must admit that in the last number of days I have been focusing more importantly on the immediate concern with respect to the work stoppage on the west coast. I am pleased to take the opportunity of this question to provide an update on the present situation.

As members will know the federal mediator that was made available in this dispute was appointed last Tuesday, February 1. The talks with the parties commenced on Wednesday. They continued through the day on Wednesday and in fact until 5 a.m. on Thursday. There was an adjournment during the day on Thursday. The talks resumed at 3 p.m. on Thursday. As the hon. member advised in his question, those talks broke off at some point yesterday afternoon or last evening.

The mediator, Mr. Lewis, will be providing a full report shortly-in fact it may be in hand at the moment-to my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development. The minister is making his senior mediator from the offices in Ottawa available to assist in bringing the parties back to the table and resuming the discussions in Vancouver.

The government would strongly urge the parties to reflect very carefully upon their respective positions and their responsibilities in this matter. The parties should resume their negotiations immediately.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister updating the House on this particular dispute.

Would the minister give us a clear answer on the broader question as to whether his department responsible for agriculture-whether your department and you as the minister favour legislating-