This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

In its recent study the Canada 21 Council refers to the reconfigured armed forces. It would suggest a new and distinctly Canadian structure for Canada's army.

Does the minister see a revitalized reserve force in Canada's military, or what role does he envisage for Canada's reserves? If there is a new role for the reserves when will it be announced to the public?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that a joint committee of the House and Senate is studying defence policy at the moment. Certainly any recommendations it has with respect to force structure will be greatly received by the government.

The reserves have provided an integral part of Canada's armed forces for many years. In fact in Bosnia in the last rotation 20 per cent of those serving were reservists. We want to encourage that tradition remaining within the armed forces. To what degree I am not sure; it depends on the advice I get from my colleagues. At the moment we have about 30,000 and whether or not that is raised or lowered depends on the defence review.

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

May 10th, 1994 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

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

Yesterday the Prime Minister admitted that his cabinet ministers are using private chartered aircraft as well as the Challengers. Now we have a bizarre situation in which taxpayers are being gouged twice for ministerial travel. On the one hand they have to pay for the purchase and maintenance of the Challengers. At the same time they now have to pay for private chartered aircraft as well.

When is the Prime Minister going to put an end to this double dipping at the taxpayers' expense?

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry I was not here yesterday to answer the hon. member's question which was based on a faulty premise.

I am surprised that she watched "Le Téléjournal" and "Le Point", when I gave an interview, given the attitude of her party on bilingualism. It is a great surprise to me that she understood the French I was speaking that evening.

I want to say to the hon. member that yesterday the Prime Minister made no such admission in question period. Certainly the remarks I gave in that interview were entirely out of context.

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I suspect that in English yes means the same as oui en français, with the exact script we have in our hands.

My supplementary question is for the minister. Yesterday we did realize DND and the minister must give approval for ministerial travel. It seems very unfortunate we are looking at a situation where at least the perception is that people are having to pay twice. The Reform Party is asking that the government save tax dollars by using charter aircraft or rented aircraft.

I ask the minister to say either yes or no, oui or non. Are they using private aircraft and, if that is the case, would they accept the Reform Party's suggestion in its entirety that the Challengers be sold-

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Could the hon. member please be precise and put her question now.

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

I will put my question now. Will the government sell the Challengers now and have cabinet ministers travel by commercial flights when possible and only by charter when necessary?

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I should like to say that I have no specific knowledge of any chartered flights taken by any of my colleagues.

Again, the hon. member should have looked at the entire review. Had she been there when I did the entire 20-minute taping she certainly would not have got that impression. I would like to ask her a question.

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. This morning in the

Globe and Mail

Ministerial TravelOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We will go on to the next member.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Several immigrant aid organizations deplore the current sponsorship provisions of the Immigration Act that can lead to abuse from the sponsor, usually the spouse. It appears that immigration officers leave women and children at the mercy of violent family members and under the threat of sponsorship withdrawal.

In cases where violence and sponsorship withdrawal threats are involved, what measures does the minister intend to take to give the victim a recourse other than ministerial discretion, if she is not eligible for permanent resident status?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. It is an issue that our officials have been studying for four months.

We have an internal task force looking at sponsorship breakdown, the fact that some people fraudulently break their contract with this country. I think we should look very carefully and very toughly at those individuals.

Second, there are those individuals in Canada who, through no fault of their own, have been hit by the economic impact and are thus not in a position to sponsor those individuals.

There is a third category that is growing of individuals who, under the threat of going to the government and pulling the sponsorships, are physically violating women. That is under active consideration.

We have engaged the provinces so that we can come up with a package that is not only tough with those who break the law but sensitive to those individuals who through no fault of their own find themselves in impossible situations.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that some immigrant women sponsored by their spouses are extremely vulnerable and does he not believe that they should be better protected than they are now?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, yes, the government is sensitive to that. We should also say with some degree of pride that our country is the only country that has offered gender persecution guidelines within the IRB. It is the only country in the world. During my discussion with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees I learned that they are now in the process of trying to export those gender persecution guidelines around the world.

In the international context we have also raised the reality of there being some 20 million refugees around the world, the majority of whom are women and young children. Regrettably the majority of refugees selected from camps are men. We have spoken about that publicly. We need to redress some realities that have stared the world in the face for far too long.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

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

Today the bank increased its lending rate by 34 basis points to what is now 6.61 per cent. When the present Minister of Finance was in opposition he often insisted on the lowering of interest rates because high rates retard economic growth, reduce employment and tax revenue. We know that they also raise the cost of servicing the debt. The two effects combined will result in a larger deficit.

Will the minister now consider further spending cuts that he knows are the only way to prevent increasing the deficit and the

possible disastrous dumping of Canadian bonds by investors, which in turn will lead to even higher interest rates?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, at the time we brought in the budget it was one of a very few times if not the first time a government set in place contingency reserves in order to meet unexpected matters.

The member also knows that these contingency reserves, growth in employment and a number of other things arising out of confidence as a result of the activities of the government have given us better economic indicators in almost everything else. We are on target and there is no further need for a minibudget.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, a leading bank just published a report saying that if the interest rate remains one and a half percentage points above that predicted it will in fact wipe out the contingency reserve. Furthermore the contingency reserve is in the budget as spending and the deficit will be increased by this continuation.

What criteria will the minister use in deciding that interest rates have risen such that he has to act, that he has to make new spending cuts?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that any comments-he did this in the preamble to his first question-I made in terms of interest rates were made when I was a member of the opposition. It is not incumbent upon the Minister of Finance to make comments about interest rates. May I say, therefore, that I look forward to the member making continuing comments about interest rates for many years to come.

The fact is that in our budget we provided for substantial spending cuts arising out of structural reforms which are very important to make the economy work. Those structural reforms are in place and are working. We are also delighted to see that our budget is being brought on course and kept on course by high unemployment-by low unemployment insurance benefits.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Oh, benefits. They have to understand that unemployment insurance benefits is a phrase. I know it is hard for the opposition to grasp a whole phrase at one time.

At the same time there is confidence in Canadians. That is what is going to turn the situation around.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

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

Members of the public have shown concern for the need for blood testing of sexual offenders to determine if they are HIV positive or to determine whether they carry a transmittable venereal disease.

What if anything is being done in this area to detect such diseases and to prevent the spread of such diseases to victims?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I met last Friday in my office with a woman known publicly as Margo B., a victim of sexual violence, who discussed this matter with me from a powerfully personal perspective.

I want the House to know that I expressed to Margo B. on that occasion my admiration for the courage with which she has drawn public attention to this important question.

I want the House to know as well that I told Margo B. that we are considering the question. We recognize its complexity. It raises criminal law as well as health and constitutional issues. We have it under consideration. Indeed I told her that an interdepartmental report we received recently recommended against compulsory HIV testing in such circumstances but that I did not consider that the end of the matter.

Finally I told her then, as I tell the House now, that I expect the Department of Justice will be in a position to make its recommendation to the government in this connection by about September of this year so that we can get the matter before the public for discussion at that time.

SeniorsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for seniors.

The federal government is getting ready to introduce a centralized telephone system which uses voice mail to answer all inquiries about government programs from senior citizens.

In future, all inquiries from seniors will be routed to a telephone exchange in Montreal.

Given the special needs of seniors and persons with disabilities, will the Prime Minister recognize that the widespread use of so-called voice boxes in dealing with clients such as these is totally inappropriate?

SeniorsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I disagree completely with the statements made by the hon. member and by the president of the union.

On the contrary, our proposal calls for highly personalized and speedy services. For example, clients wishing to speak to someone in person will receive a response in half a day, instead of seven; those wishing to obtain pension information will receive a reply in one day, instead of thirteen; the response time in the case of appeals involving seniors will be reduced from eight weeks to one day.

Certainly our government has made it a priority to provide less costly, more efficient, and more humane services to seniors. This is not what the hon. member would have us believe.