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House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wildlife.

Topics

The Liberal PartyStatements By Members

June 13th, 1994 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have this opportunity today to bring to the attention of this House the results of a recent Angus Reid survey conducted across the country a number of days ago.

Although it comes as no surprise that the federal Liberal Party maintains considerable support from the vast majority of Canadians, it is very interesting to note that for the first time in decades the Liberal Party also tops the polls in my home province of Alberta.

The Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Due largely to the fact that the Prime Minister and his cabinet have demonstrated their commitment to the party's promises made in the red book, the Liberal Party enjoys the support and confidence of 52 per cent of Albertans, up from 40 per cent in late April and 25 per cent on election day last October.

I applaud the efforts of this government and encourage the membership to maintain the course.

Michigan InternsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is the tenth year that I have had the pleasure of welcoming young interns from Michigan to my staff in Ottawa. Every year, for about six weeks, these American students provide me and other hon. members from all parties with invaluable assistance in our various parliamentary duties. It must be said that their work is as impeccable as their behaviour is exemplary.

I want to take this opportunity to praise the work of Professor Helen Graves, the co-ordinator of this program. Many thanks to this year's crop of interns: David Backus, Caroline Borhani, Nancy Bortz, Thomas Corbin, Richard Frank, Matthew Hader, Stacie Littlebury, Kathryn Lloyd, Kathey Majid-Smith, Janice Smith-Scott, Craig Miller, David Mingus, Robin Mitchell, Sandra Nader, Dayna Robinson, David Rowe, Jalil Saad, Thomas Seely, Jonathan Shill, Susan Welsh, Christina Zini, Robert Entin, Stuart Sandler and Elizabeth Krug. Thanks to all these young-

Michigan InternsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I of course did not want to interrupt the hon. member because all of those names are important. I would ask all hon. members to please keep their statements within the limits.

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this question is directed to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tension is mounting now that a state of emergency has been declared by puppet president Jonassaint. The decision by the military junta of Haiti follows the announcement that trade sanctions will be stepped up, including the recent prohibition on air travel which is to start on June 25.

I want to ask the government whether it will acknowledge that prohibiting air communications is a sign that reinforcing economic sanctions has failed?

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to reply to this question from the opposition.

Canada has agreed to do its utmost to reinforce sanctions against Haiti at this time, including the cessation of commercial flights into Haiti. Commercial flights on the part of Air Canada are to cease by June 25. We are doing what we can to make sure that all Canadians who are in Haiti do leave Haiti. We have given advice to Canadians in Haiti that they ought to leave.

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we know that between 2,400 and 2,500 Canadian nationals are now in Haiti. I would ask the government to tell the House what steps it intends to take to guarantee that all Canadian nationals who wish to leave Haiti will be able to do so before June 25.

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that 2,400 to 2,500 people in Haiti are Canadians citizens, many of whom, however, have dual Canadian-Haitian citizenship.

We are in day to day contact with Air Canada to make sure that all those people who so desire will leave Haiti. Air Canada today did not send a flight into Haiti as intended because of threats against the airlines. Every effort is being made to make sure that there are at least two additional flights to get Canadian citizens out of Haiti.

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we know that seventeen different countries have recently urged the United States to send a military intervention force to Haiti.

Is the government prepared to indicate whether Canada still rejects the option of military intervention in Haiti, an option that is being mentioned more and more in Washington and that is apparently the only option that will be sufficient to get rid of the military junta and bring back President Aristide?

Situation In HaitiOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is committed as a I said before to strenghthening existing sanctions against Haiti including an increase to commercial sanctions in terms of the freezing of bank accounts against Haiti. It is our view that sanctions have to be given a full opportunity to be effective.

I just returned from a meeting of the Organization of American States in Belem, Brazil last week and it was also the view of the majority of the states of the hemisphere that sanctions should be given as much support as possible at this time in order that there could be a peaceful resolution to the difficulties in Haiti and that President Aristide can be returned to his rightful place as president of Haiti.

LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Le Devoir on Saturday, Quebec's former legal adviser in Washington, Mr. Elliott Feldman, said that trade interests were not well defended in the softwood lumber question and that federal negotiators were more concerned about presenting a pan-Canadian position than about defending provinces whose trade practices are above reproach.

My question is directed to the Minister for International Trade. Would the minister agree that in the softwood lumber question, the federal government should insist that Quebec producers not be subject to countervail measures applied in Canada, since Quebec does not subsidize its exports?

LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as a general comment, the hon. member will know that the matters discussed in the newspaper article to which he refers occurred at a period when this government was not in office. It is difficult for me to comment on the motives and the reasons of the government that was in office at that time.

On the specific issue of softwood lumber, the Government of Canada did support the assertion that Quebec lumber exporters should have a separate rate. Unfortunately, the free trade panel which ruled that Canadian practices do not constitute a countervailable subsidy upheld the decision of the U.S. Commerce Department not to exempt Quebec from the national duty deposit rate.

LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, would the minister agree that if he were prepared to technically treat Quebec as a country-in the meaning of U.S. trade legislation, not in the political sense-he would have saved Quebec lumber producers tens of millions of dollars in countervail duty?

[English]

LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, no.

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

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

World-wide and throughout history jurisprudence has confirmed the common understanding of the family. Canadian law also reflects a common understanding. To change the definition of family would be to shift some of the most deeply felt foundational values of our culture.

Could the minister on behalf of the government define family for this House?

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think I would refer the hon. member to a much more reliable source of dictionary definition than I can provide. I can tell her that those of us on this side of the House share her sentiments about the importance of family. It motivates what we do. It influences policies we develop. Strengthening the family is a fundamental objective of the government.

Insofar as a definition is concerned, we are quite happy to go with the commonly accepted definition. I commend the dictionary to the hon. member if she wants more detail than that.

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Dictionary of Canadian Law gives this definition: "Family includes a man and a woman living together as husband and wife, whether or not married, in a permanent relationship, or the survivor of either, and includes the children of both or either, natural or adopted-and any person lawfully related to any of the aforementioned-".

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is having difficulty in that we are asking for definitions and then giving definitions. The Chair always waits for the final question to come, but I would ask the hon. member to please couch her questions so that they deal with the administrative responsibility of the minister in charge. If the hon. member could please put her question.

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell us if he agrees with the definition as found in the Canadian Dictionary of Law?

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if that is indeed what the Canadian Dictionary of Law says I am sure that for the purposes of that dictionary it is quite adequate.

I am sure also that, as the hon. member well knows, the English language is a rich and beautiful one which can be used and adapted to suit contexts as appropriate. I am sure the hon. member will bear that in mind.

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure that we do have ministers who can deal with the more precise English, but if the question is to be put to a specific minister I would ask that it deal with his or her administration responsibility in government

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, not long ago the minister floated a trial balloon suggesting that the Liberal government is considering redefining the family perhaps as households.

Given the historic gravity of such a redefinition, will the minister commit to a broad formal process of consultations with Canadians before undertaking such a monumental task?

The FamilyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can remember testifying before the standing committee on human rights and persons with disabilities, speaking in answer to a question about the prospect of relationships being relevant for the purposes of government programs. I did not deal with households but rather with relationships, a term for which there is a precise definition available.

At the same time I made it clear that we would be consulting, discussing and listening to Canadians as we explore the best possible ways to deliver essential government programs in accordance with fairness and equity.

Peacekeepers In Former YugoslaviaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday after visiting Canadian peacekeepers in Visoko in the former Yugoslavia, the Prime Minister hinted that Canada could withdraw its peacekeepers if, in his words, "there is no progress toward peace".

My question is directed either to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of Defence.

Can the government confirm whether it intends to pull its peacekeepers out of the former Yugoslavia if no progress is made in the peace talks or if the arms embargo is lifted?