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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

Topics

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the intolerable situation faced by Ogilvie Mills workers, does the minister not agree that he must urgently table an anti-strikebreaking bill so that the workers who are covered-I should say who are unfortunate enough to be covered-by the Canada Labour Code have the same rights as those covered by 75 per cent of provincial labour codes, including the one in Quebec, since 1977?

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I met last week with representatives of the unions involved in the dispute between ADM Ogilvie and themselves. Certainly as a result of that I agree that there is proper room for filing a complaint or a grievance against the way in which the bargaining has taken place.

I have already sort of signed off a request so that they can go before the Canadian Labour Relations Board and table their grievance, which I think is a proper one. We have already taken action on that specific request and as part of the general examination I spoke about we are looking at the labour codes of other provinces and how they apply to replacement labour.

Grain TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food commented that farmers exporting grain to the U.S. must obey laws that are in place.

Under the Western Grain Transportation Act railways face financial penalties for non-performance. These railways have continually broken this law for years without consequences.

How can the minister fail to enforce this law against non-performing railways and at the same time encourage law enforcement against farmers selling their own grain at the best prices available?

Grain TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in dealing with the situation pertaining to the railways to which the question refers, the hon. gentleman will know that while there are provisions in the Western Grain Transportation Act that deal with the performance standards of the railways, under the previous government the appropriate regulatory regime required under those legislative provisions was never implemented or enacted.

We have the draft regulations being prepared at the moment so that those provisions of the Western Grain Transportation Act pertaining to railway performance can be implemented and utilized in appropriate circumstances. The hon. gentleman can rest assured that there is no double standard.

Grain TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer.

As the minister knows very well, last May the subcommittee on transportation recommended that back tracking of grain was illegal, disruptive and should be stopped. In June the minister guaranteed that action would be taken. Now he is delaying this action six months at a time.

Would the minister explain to the House who is running this country, the railways or the Liberal government?

Grain TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, since May 16 I have been meeting on a very regular basis with not only representatives of the railroads but also their unions, the grain companies and all the governmental institutions involved in the transportation of western grain in order to ensure the backlog problems that occurred in the last crop year are minimized and hopefully avoided altogether in the current crop year and for the future.

Those meetings through the spring and the summer have identified a range of actions, including the solution to the back haul problem that the hon. gentleman refers to, plus the matter of demurrage and storage charges on rail car, plus improvements

in the efficiencies of the system, plus the addition of private cars to the fleet and so forth.

All those measures are going forward and, as promised in the spring, those which require either a legislative framework or a regulatory framework to allow them to be implemented will be proceeded with in the House this fall.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs. Last February 25, the minister said, in answer to a question from the Official Opposition, that he would do his utmost to solve the problems at Davis Inlet and that he would support the relocation of the Innu community, which is experiencing a tragic and inhuman situation.

Now we are told that the whole relocation process has been put on hold. How can the minister explain this delay, on the part of his government, in relocating the Innu community other than by saying that it is to meet demands from the Newfoundland government, which wants to put pressure on these people?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, tremendous progress has been made in Davis Inlet. Right now as a result of the agreements we have signed alcoholism is down 25 per cent; six houses have been built; the lodge has been reconstructed; they are working out agreements with Labrador Inuit College; we have agreed to the move to Sango Bay; and we are looking at a road pattern.

I was very disappointed with what happened last month. Part of those agreements, at least the spirit of those agreements, was that an Innu court would be developed and an Innu policing system would be developed, only a small part of a major agreement.

Most ministries are still working with the Innu, health, fisheries, coast guard. We will continue to work with the Innu people because they are making good progress. Hopefully Mr. Roberts and the Solicitor General will reach an agreement on policing within the next couple of weeks and progress will keep on flowing.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the grain growers in Wild Rose my question is for the agricultural minister and his department. These farmers would like to know if the minister believes that in Canada they should have the freedom to sell their own produce as they see fit. Y-e-s or n-o.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, sometimes those who are trying to avoid all the facts like to reduce things to simple one line answers and that is thoroughly inappropriate to these circumstances.

Farmers in western Canada would tell the hon. gentleman that this is a critically important and vital subject. It is a subject that is exceedingly complicated in terms of the administration of world markets. I have undertaken that farmers will have the opportunity in a forum which I intend to commence this fall to explore all of the pros and cons of the issue so that all the facts can be fully known and understood and that the information available to farmers is fully complete and not partial or biased.

Tuna FisheryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ron MacDonald Liberal Dartmouth, NS

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

Given that this year's quota of bluefin tuna on the east coast by the inshore fleet has been caught in near record time, resulting in the early closure of the fishery just last Friday, I have a question for the minister. Given that there still seems to be an abundance of bluefin tuna on the east coast and given the state of the Atlantic fishery, would the minister consider transferring some of next year's quota to this year's quota so that the fishery may remain open?

Tuna FisheryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. The short answer is, because this is run on a two-year quota cycle, that we are consulting with all the players in the industry. I met with senior officials today and once the consultation is completed, if such a transfer is recommended by the fleet itself, the majority of the fleet, we will look at it favourably. If not, we will stick with the current fish plan.

The bottom line is conservation will not be put at risk.

HaitiOral Question Period

September 27th, 1994 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we just learned that an American soldier was killed in Haiti. We do not have any more details about the incident and I want to ask the Prime Minister if, given the seriousness of the situation, he is being kept abreast of the latest developments and if he can inform this House accordingly?

HaitiOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that unfortunate incident. We believe that operations in Haiti are progressing rather well and that a much more serious bloodbath was avoided through the negotiating efforts of former President Carter.

We hope that President Aristide will be back in office in the next few days, and we intend to lift embargoes at the earliest opportunity, so that Haiti's economy can function normally and that the situation can go back to normal as quickly as possible in a country which has already experienced too much suffering.

[English]

Low Level FlightsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question concerns the federal environmental review panel investigating a proposal to expand low level flying in Labrador. All the public interest groups, including the Innu, the group with the most at stake in the process, have withdrawn from the proceedings.

How can the Minister of the Environment continue to give federal government approval to the assessment process when she knows how unfair and insensitive it is to the Innu and the traditional aboriginal way of life in the area?

Low Level FlightsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I stated in my reply to a letter I received from Ovide Mercredi earlier this week, the panel members include seven eminent people, the former president of the Canadian Geographical Society among others, who have impeccable credentials.

I also pointed out to Mr. Mercredi as I pointed out to representatives of the Innu community with whom I am organizing a meeting this week, if there is any evidence of a panel member showing any bias, I will be the first person to remove that member from the panel.

The panel needs to have an unbiased approach. It needs to have the necessary tools to hear all sides of the case. That is why I personally wrote to Ovide Mercredi asking him to encourage the Innu community, some of whom are continuing to participate, to participate fully so that their story can be heard by this impartial panel.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, during question period, my colleague from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve tried to put a question to the Prime minister, but you ruled that question out of order.

I may have repeatedly been out of order and I would ask you to enlighten me because, like other members of this House, I have on many occasions referred to remarks made by one member or another and asked, as is proper, the government, the ministers whether they rejected, supported, agreed with or wanted to qualify such remarks.

My colleague from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve did the same thing, making a very general reference to the remarks a government member made about the gay community.

My question is as follows: What is the difference between referring to remarks made by the hon. member for Central Nova and asking the Prime Minister whether he rejected or supported her remarks and the questions we have being asking in this House so far, referring for instance to remarks by the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell or someone else on other issues?

Why in this particular case did you rule the question out of order, while such questions have always been allowed?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, if I may, according to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, to citation 168 in Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms in particular, a member cannot appeal a decision by the Speaker nor consult the Speaker from the floor of the House.

Second, Madam Speaker, acting this morning on behalf of Mr. Speaker, took a matter under advisement. If I remember correctly, the Chair has not yet ruled on this matter which was referred to the Speaker this morning.

For these two reasons, I think it would be totally against the rules for anyone to question the Speaker's decision.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government whip has just spoken on a point of order I raised myself. I would simply like to remind him that, as the guardian of parliamentarians' rights, you have always agreed to provide guidance and information to ensure the smooth operation of this House.

The question I asked is very much in this spirit. I simply want to ask for the Chair's assistance in understanding the order of business and seeing that our behaviour is always in keeping with the letter and spirit of the rules and traditions of this House.

As far as the second part of my comments is concerned, please note that my point of order and the question from the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve did not deal at all with the problem now under advisement that was in dispute the other day. It is simply a point of order saying this: Why should a member not be allowed to ask the Prime Minister to confirm or deny remarks when it has always been allowed? That is it. So one should not confuse the facts, as the Government Whip seems to be doing.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I simply want to support the point of order raised by the Bloc Quebecois House leader. This morning, I raised a point of order pursuant to Standing Order 18. This has nothing to do with the point of order now raised by the Bloc Quebecois House leader.

The basic issue is whether or not a member of Parliament has the right to put a question to the Prime Minister regarding comments which are totally unacceptable and full of hatred. That is the issue. Mr. Speaker, I suggest you do not follow the Standing Orders during question period.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, we in the course of our debates and our questions sometimes use words that the Chair considers at the time to be inappropriate. The hon. member points out that at an earlier time some questions were permitted. I would hope that the hon. member at a later time will let the Chair know when there is this inconsistency.

As for an explanation, I am loath to explain why the decision was taken. Yet so that the House can understand, if it has to do with the administrative responsibility of the government, in my view I have allowed the questions. Whether a minister will be responsible for any other member of Parliament or what the other member of Parliament said, I do not think this is admissible. That is why I ruled that question out of order, because it called on a minister to give an opinion with regard to another member.

Again I would hope that members would not call upon the Chair at every turn when there is a statement or question that is ruled to be out of order. If the hon. member wishes to pursue this with me in my chambers I will be happy to hear him at that point.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Earlier today during members statements I was ruled out of order presumably based on Standing Order 18. If I am wrong in that assumption I would appreciate your information to the contrary. Standing Order 18 states in part:

No Member shall speak disrespectfully of the Sovereign, nor of any of the Royal Family, nor of the Governor General or the person administering the Government of Canada; nor use offensive words against either House, or against any member thereof.

Citations 485 to 492 of Beauchesne's talk about unparliamentary language. I would appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, that I did not use unparliamentary language in any portion of my speech.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is absolutely correct. I was referring to Standing Order 18. I would call this matter closed now.

I know that many times hon. members would like to pursue and debate but at one point the Chair must rule. As I said to the member, I am referring specifically to Standing Order 18 and I would hope that in future all hon. members, my colleagues, would give the respect due to the other place and members in the other place.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to say that I have no intention of challenging the decisions which you may make in this House.

However, you will recognize, as the leader says, that it is important in our role as members of Parliament to understand what kind of flexibility we have when it comes to asking questions. In my opinion, the issue raised by the point of order is this: When we tried twice to understand the comments made by an hon. member, we did so from a legal standpoint and in the context of the government's activities.

You are well aware that the comments made were paving the way for a review of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Allow me to point to your attention the fact that the question asked is closely related to a governmental responsibility of the Prime Minister.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Dear colleague, the question was deemed out of order because of the way it was phrased.

If it was referring to a government policy then the question would have been permissible. That is what I based my ruling on and I stand by my ruling with all respect here.