House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offenders.

Topics

Canada Health DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is Canada Health Day, dedicated to the theme of building a healthy future.

The Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Hospital Association and other community and volunteer health organizations will showcase their work across the country with justifiable pride.

Canadians are being reminded today of the milestones in health our nation has achieved and what more as a people we can do to ensure the health of all.

That International Nurses' Day is also celebrated today is a happy coincidence. Nurses have always played a pivotal role in the building of a healthy Canada and a healthy world.

I salute the organizers, both associations and individuals for their initiatives. I salute this government and Parliament on their unwavering commitment to the mission of all health care professionals and volunteers to keep Canadians and all world citizens healthy.

Tracey FergusonStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to congratulate one of my constituents for her outstanding athletic achievements and dedicated community work.

Tracey Ferguson, a resident of Markham, was honoured last week with the YMCA's Young Woman of Distinction Award. The sponsors of the award selected Ms. Ferguson, citing her as a stellar role model for the youth of my riding.

Although only 19 years of age, Tracey has achieved an exceptional list of athletic and volunteer awards. As an Olympic wheelchair athlete she has won gold medals for basketball at the 1991 World Games and the 1992 Paralympics. She has also received the 1993 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for volunteer work.

On behalf of my colleagues in this House I congratulate Ms. Ferguson.

The Late John SmithStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today on behalf of the NDP caucus to pay tribute to the late Mr. John Smith, leader of the British Labour Party.

It is often said that in Britain the left owes more to Methodism than to Marxism. John Smith, a Christian socialist, exemplified this tradition, a pragmatic Scot whose political beliefs were shaped by both Christian faith and ideological analysis, who was cut down at the zenith of his popularity with the British people.

To his family we extend our condolences and recall the words of the biblical tradition: "Well done thou good and faithful servant".

To his comrades in the British Labour Party we say the struggle continues. To the United Kingdom we say a fine alternative Prime Minister has been tragically lost. To his fellow Scots we invoke the words of the famous Scottish song: "O flower of Scotland when will we see thy like again".

PollsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Public Works.

As various observers sound the alarm on the disturbing state of public finances and the federal deficit, the government announced that this year, it will blithely spend $67 million on polls to which Canadians will not have access although they pay for them through their taxes.

Considering the present state of public finances and the federal deficit, what justification can the minister give us for the fact that his government will squander as much as $67 million on polls conducted by friends of the government, since the contracts will be awarded at the discretion of the ministers?

PollsOral Question Period

2:15 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 want to thank the Leader of the Official Opposition for his question, but he is factually incorrect.

The $63 million that he refers to is an expenditure of the Government of Canada which will be made for the purposes of advertising and polling. It is something that governments, since the beginning of Confederation if you will, have spent money on in order to inform Canadians of the various programs that they have and how Canadians can take advantage of those programs.

PollsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister would be more factual if he told us that the government's real reason for deciding not to reveal polling results is that it does not want Canadian taxpayers to know it has already started on a massive series of polls in Quebec in preparation for the referendum on sovereignty. Will the minister admit as much?

PollsOral Question Period

2:15 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 am disappointed that the Leader of the Official Opposition would not find favour with the new guidelines that the government has produced.

I want to quote for the Leader of the Opposition as well as other members of the House: "I am delighted to note that the processes and the review of the principles to provide openness and transparency and to avoid concentration of an excessive amount of business in one region or to one supplier is good news". That comes from Claude Boulay, president of the Association of Quebec Advertising Agencies.

I say to the Leader of the Opposition that it is important for governments, whether they be provincial or federal, to have the benefit of providing information to Canadians across this country on the variety of programs and the various things they are doing on behalf of their constituents.

PollsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that things are not what they seem. The government claims that its policy is to inform Canadians. In fact, it made a commitment during the election campaign to promote transparency in government, but now this policy, which is apparently so transparent, will let the government keep the facts and information under wraps.

Specifically, I want to ask the minister how he can reconcile with previous commitments the government's decision to hide from the taxpayers the results of countless polls that will be conducted to fight Quebec's sovereignty.

PollsOral Question Period

2:20 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, when the hon. member opposite was a member of the previous administration I did an examination of the guidelines that the previous administration had and I want members to know that is the extent of the guidelines-

PollsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I hate to interrupt the hon. minister but I would remind him that it is better if we do not use any props in Question Period.

PollsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Dingwall Liberal Cape Breton—East Richmond, NS

Mr. Speaker, I say to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that this is the first time that a cabinet, federally or provincially across this country, has dared to put in place guidelines procedures which address the fundamental issues of accountability, competitiveness, openness and transparency.

What I expected from the Leader of the Opposition was that he stand in his place and say he wished to apologize, that he wished he could have done it when he was a member of the former Tory cabinet.

National DebtOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the state of the Government of Canada's public debt remains a matter of extreme concern, while the financial community has reached negative to the government's budget and deplored the timid expenditure reduction measures it contained. Neverthe-

less, the government insists on turning down requests for a much needed examination of all public spending.

My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. Considering that Canada's debt represents 84 per cent of GDP, while in other G-7 countries, with the exception of Italy, the debt represents less than 33 per cent of GDP, would the minister agree that the government should clean up public spending by eliminating waste and duplication?

National DebtOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree that waste and duplication should be eliminated. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we asked the minister responsible for public service renewal to initiate a program by program, line-by-line analysis of government spending.

National DebtOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, would the Minister of Finance agree that the way to stop wasting public funds-and I am thinking of the government's decision to spend $67 million on polls-would be to have a special committee analyse public spending item by item, as we have been asking since the beginning of the election campaign?

National DebtOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a system already exists, and I am referring to the committees of the House when they consider the Estimates. If the hon. member were sincere about what he is asking, he would ask his colleagues to go to committee meetings and, as part of the process of considering the Estimates, analyse the budgets of all government agencies.

Committee by committee there is a way of looking at government expenses. It is called the estimates and what I would suggest to the hon. member opposite is that if his colleagues would go to committee and do their job maybe they can examine these expenses.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

May 12th, 1994 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

In a response to a question put to the minister on May 5 the minister told my colleague for Calgary Southwest categorically: "In the legislation that will be before the House dealing with aboriginal people he will see clearly that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply".

Yesterday, however, the Minister of Justice said that application of the charter within self-government remains an open question.

Who speaks for the government on this issue? Will the minister guarantee this House that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply under self-government for aboriginal people, yes or no?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me make it plain that the federal government believes that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should apply to all Canadians, including aboriginal Canadians, under self-government arrangements.

I emphasize that this government remains committed to ensuring that the individual rights and freedoms of all Canadians will continue to be protected even under new aboriginal self-government arrangements.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my supplemental is for the same minister.

Yesterday the Minister of Justice said that the question of human rights is a priority for federal negotiators. There is a big difference between a guarantee and a priority.

Does the minister consider the charter rights of aboriginal people to be a bargaining chip in the process of self-government negotiation or will he offer an ironclad guarantee that the government will not enter into any arrangement that does not ensure full and complete charter rights for all Canadians?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I cannot add to what I have said. I think it was very clear that this government remains committed to the proposition that the charter applies to all Canadians.

As we embark upon the negotiations for the implementation of the inherent right of self-government our intention, our resolve, will be to assure and guarantee that human rights are available to all Canadians including aboriginal persons in any self-government arrangement.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have been assured over and over again of that fact and yet we seem to be getting a mixed signal from this government. My final question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

Yesterday the minister admitted he does not fully understand self-government, he does not know where it is going and that many aboriginal people including chiefs do not approve it. In spite of this minister has said that once the machinery of self-government gets rolling there will not be any way for anyone to stop it.

What right does the minister have to conduct this uncontrolled experiment on Canadians when he admits that he has no idea of the consequences?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if my good friend had come to our Liberal convention yesterday he would have heard the speech, but there is hope some time maybe in the future he will cross over the floor and he will get the benefit of hearing-

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ron Irwin Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Well, there is always hope. He would get the benefit of hearing the entire speech in which we laid out the things that we have done from the B.C. tree process to co-management starting in Saskatchewan, to dismantling in Manitoba, to the Labrador Inuit and Nunavut, throughout the country, all in a six-month period. We also were very clear that it is difficult.

When Liberals make a promise, even if it is difficult, we keep that promise.

BiovacOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians will receive two million doses of flu vaccine made in the U.S.A. this year. The federal government as broker has so decided. The other vaccines will come from BioVac, which says it is dissatisfied with the agreement because it must lay off 26 people in addition to cancelling a major investment project.

My question is addressed to the Solicitor General. Can he tell us whether it is a new provision of his code of ethics that led his Minister of Public Works himself to send a draft letter in which BioVac should express its satisfaction to him with regard to his decision to separate into two parts the contract for supplying vaccines, and does the Solicitor General support such a procedure?

BiovacOral Question Period

2:25 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, the hon. member is raising the issue once again of BioVac and Connaught Industries in terms of what the Government of Canada did on a particular contract which provided a vaccine primarily for the purposes of provincial governments across this country.

I want to say to the hon. member that we believed then as we do now that the arrangement was a very equitable one. It was in the best interest of all of the various stakeholders. With regard to the reference about a requested letter, I have no knowledge of this information and will be happy to take it under advisement.