House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transport.

Topics

Young EntrepreneursStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy Arseneault Liberal Restigouche—Chaleur, NB

Mr. Speaker, 12 university students from my riding of Restigouche-Chaleur had a chance to live a wonderful experience this summer in the young entrepreneurs program.

Each of these students created a business plan and next year during the second phase of this project they will create their own small business.

Under a Canada-New Brunswick agreement on the development of entrepreneurship, 16 young people had the opportunity to put into practice some of the skills needed to set up a business. I congratulate these young people on their desire to contribute to the economic future of our country.

I would also like to congratulate the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Department of Human Resources Development and the New Brunswick Department of Advanced Education and Labour for participating in this important program. Education and training are the key factors in the development of young people in Canada.

Tax ReformStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Minister of Finance has suggested that provincial sales taxes be transferred to the federal government, and the provinces be given a larger share of income tax in return. It is ridiculous to think that Quebec would agree to give up the area of taxation and its $5.7 billion in provincial sales taxes.

It is also ridiculous to think that all the provinces share the same economic reality. Blanket solutions will no longer work. Furthermore, some provinces, such as Alberta and Newfoundland, have already pointed out that Ontario's proposal did not reflect their situation. The Bloc Quebecois is proposing a much more flexible solution, which would make it possible to eliminate considerable overlap. They suggest transferring the GST to those provinces who request it, with an equivalent reduction in provincial transfer payments.

Freedom Of SpeechStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to address a very serious issue, the current threat to freedom of speech in this Parliament.

We are witnessing the decline of dialogue when a member in this House can be accused of hate mongering for expressing what she feels are the views of the majority of Canadians and which are rooted in her personal convictions.

No member of this House should be afraid of expressing their point of view because of a threat of being labelled as a bigot. Nothing shuts down dialogue and the freedom of debate more quickly than labelling.

It is extremely important to all Canadians that in the shaping of public policy alternate points of view must never be suppressed but must be allowed free expression.

Members of this House must never fear to speak out in defence of the views of their constituents, the convictions of their conscience or on behalf of the concerns of Canadians.

Cultural DiversityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, a young high school student in Montreal was sent home because she was wearing a hijab, the traditional Islamic veil, and a long tunic not considered acceptable according to the school's dress code.

Our schools play an important role in teaching our youth tolerance and acceptance of individuals regardless of race or culture.

All Canadians, regardless of their ethnic origin, religion or political affiliation have the right to have access to public institutions, including schools. The Parti Quebecois government must take the necessary action to ensure a climate of tolerance and harmony for all citizens of Quebec.

Davis InletStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank 217 constituents of the riding of Oxford for taking the time to sign a petition relating to the conditions in Davis Inlet.

These petitioners are asking that the federal government honour the commitment it has made to improve housing, sanitation, and education in order to enable a community healing process to occur and thus realize the vision of the Innu with respect to relocation to Sango Pond.

I am pleased with the work the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is doing to improve the living conditions for all those who live in the Davis Inlet community.

Selwyn TamStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to recognize the accomplishments of Selwyn Tam of Vancouver East.

At the recent Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C., Selwyn led the Canadian wrestling team to one of its finest showings ever with an outstanding gold medal performance in the 52 kilogram weight category.

Selwyn, the defending national senior champion, had a stunning 10 to 0 score in the final bout.

Selwyn is to be commended for his hard work, talent and dedication. Selwyn's contribution to the sport of wrestling has been generous and exemplary. He has given much to further the ideals and principles that sport embodies.

Selwyn is a truly remarkable athlete. We are all very proud of the entire Canadian team and of Selwyn Tam particularly.

Congratulations again.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should not worry so much about how foreign investors perceive the Quebec sovereignty issue. He told us repeatedly that the sovereignists were responsible for the increase of interests rates in Canada.

Yesterday however, members of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal were told otherwise by two renowned American analysts. Mr. Ravi Bulchandani, vice-president of the New York brokerage firm Morgan Stanley, and Mr. George Russell, editor of Time International , said that the Canadian debt was a greater concern to American investors than the sovereignty of Quebec.

I suggest to you that the Prime Minister should stop blaming the sovereignists for the economic problems of Canada on the erroneous basis of foreign investors' concern and get down to the task of resolving the debt problem.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

September 28th, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Justice expressed his total disregard for the principles of democracy that govern this country; the we know best attitude still prevails. You can change the name from Tory to Liberal but the game seems to remain the same.

The GST, FTA and NAFTA, to name a few, were shoved down the throats of Canadians by virtue of the fact that the we know best attitude was a hallmark of the Tory government. Now the Minister of Justice has effectively put his government in the same category by publicly proclaiming that any proposed gun legislation will not be determined by a head count. The justice minister does not take a head count. He is not influenced by numbers nor the message behind them.

Democracy does not prevail because the philosophy of the Liberal cabinet is that it and not Canadians knows best.

What can Canadians do about this atrocity? Their only recourse is to wait until the next election and remove this government from power as decisively as they removed the Tories from office in the last election.

SchizophreniaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, October 2, I will have the honour of taking part in

a walk for schizophrenia. This event which coincides with National Mental Illness Awareness Week has been organized by dedicated volunteers in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.

The goal of this walk is to generate greater public awareness for schizophrenia, an illness that affects one in 100 people. I had the pleasure of working in the psychiatric mental health field for 27 years and am pleased to have the opportunity to extend my support to this worthwhile cause.

I ask all members of this House to join me in congratulating those who have made this event a reality. I urge all of my colleagues to work in their ridings to bring greater awareness to schizophrenia and to promote mental health issues.

Domestic ViolenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of my colleagues and to all Canadians the recent StatsCan statistics on spousal assaults.

Domestic violence is a harsh reality which we can no longer choose to ignore. The report published by Statistics Canada found that one in three abused wives said they feared for their lives at some point in their relationship and that one in five abused women said that the assaults occurred while they were pregnant.

These figures are horrifying. A man who uses his size and strength to assault or otherwise abuse a woman is not only a coward but a criminal. I challenge all Canadians to speak out at every opportunity, declaring that there is no excuse for abuse.

It is time all Canadians worked together to eliminate spousal abuse once and for all.

Argentia Naval BaseStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, this week the U.S. naval base at Argentia, Newfoundland closed its doors. The negative impact of this closure on the historic town of Placentia will be far reaching. In addition to the number of people who will lose their jobs, we will have to deal with the severe economic impact on the business community as well as social and, last but by no means least, the environmental concerns.

I want to express my gratitude to this government and particularly to the minister of fisheries for their positive response to my efforts on behalf of the people of Placentia area.

I want also to assure the residents of Placentia that I will continue my efforts on their behalf in making sure that there is a very rigorous campaign to address the redevelopment and reuse of the base facilities.

Party FundraisingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, my hon. colleague from Richelieu introduced a motion to make party fundraising healthier in Canada. Our motion was somewhat successful in that it was supported by members from all parties. I wish to thank them for their support.

Nevertheless, I was shocked and even outraged to see members of the Liberal Party of Canada representing Quebec oppose this motion. They are familiar with the provincial public financing legislation in operation in Quebec since 1977 and should appreciate this basic democratic tool. By voting against the motion we tabled in this House, they show how little they care about the democratization of politics in Canada, which certainly does not do them credit.

Royal Bank Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to two worthy initiatives that will help guarantee Canada a place in the new economy.

Recently the Royal Bank of Canada committed $25 million to a venture capital fund. Along with its partners an alliance was formed that will provide capital to bring neuroscience breakthroughs to the market. This commitment marks the first time a pool of venture capital has been raised to fund the neurosciences.

In addition, the Bank of Commerce appointed a vice-president of learning organizations and leadership development. The function of this position is to provide a means of measuring intellectual capital.

We have reached the time when banks and other institutions will not measure worth exclusively in terms of tangible assets. Rather, the assets of the future will also be based on intellectual innovation and invention.

As of 7.32 this morning the national debt had reached $532,190,587,211.96.

Child PovertyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to child poverty in Canada the latest statistics produced by the Canadian Council on Social Development are startling.

The child mortality rate is twice as high among poor families as among richer families. The high school drop-out rate for

children from poor families is 2.5 times that for children from non-poor families, the list goes on and on. The statistics are getting worse, not better.

Tomorrow this House will discuss my motion M-261 which states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider the advisability of reaffirming its commitment to seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000.

This motion was passed unanimously in 1989.

It is my hope that this Parliament and this government will once again reaffirm its commitment to the national fight against child poverty. It is important that Canadians know there is a commitment to this fight as well as policies which will seriously address it.

[Translation]

Gun ControlStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, thousands of farmers, hunters and sportsmen, including many Quebecers, came to Parliament Hill to express their concern about new firearms legislation which would affect legitimate gun owners.

Members of the Bloc Quebecois were notably absent. Nevertheless, I know that at least ten members privately oppose such controls, but they do not have the nerve to stand up and defend their constituents' rights and privileges. They prefer to toe the party line and follow their leader blindly. Who will defend the interests of Quebec's rural regions in the House of Commons?

I call on all farmers, hunters and sportsmen in Quebec to put pressure on Bloc members.

The Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, last night CBC "Prime Time" exposed secret documents from Reform Party brass which seek to impose the party's right wing agenda on its membership at Reform's national convention in Ottawa next month.

While no surprise to me, no doubt the membership of the so-called party of reform will be alarmed by evidence of such old style politics. Reform campaigned on a promise to speak for the grassroots. Less than a year later the Reform Party brass has reneged on that promise, choosing instead to impose on the grassroots of the party resolutions and policy.

The Reform Party inner circle will impose its secret right wing agenda on its membership, like abolishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As I recall, or is that recall-oops, a bad choice of words-such old style politics was to be strictly verboten.

The party of teledemocracy stands exposed. To abolish free speech press one. To abolish free assembly press two. To recall your Reform MP press three.

The Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Welcome to wonderful Wednesday.

The Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said in the House last week that, and I quote: "no trace of any commitment was found" to reimburse Quebec for the expenses incurred in the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord. The truth is that there are not just traces but documents, including a letter dated December 15, 1993, from Mr. Bourassa, the Premier of Quebec at the time, to the then Prime Minister of Canada. This letter followed three other letters on the same subject to the federal Minister of Finance.

Why did the Prime Minister hide these letters from the House and the public?

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did not hide anything from the House. I said that in the government's files I found no commitment by Mr. Mulroney's Conservative government indicating that it would compensate the Government of Quebec. I was aware that requests had been made, and I did not make a secret of that. Some were made publicly. I knew that Mr. Bourassa had talked about this in the National Assembly. But what I did not find is a commitment from the federal government. I got in touch with Mr. Mulroney to ask him whether he had made a commitment. I wrote him a letter about this, and I am waiting for his reply.

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I may refer everyone to Hansard for September 22, where the Prime Minister says that no trace of any commitment was found. He knows perfectly well that to prove the existence of a commitment, one needs witnesses, and when the witness is one the parties, the case is clear. The letter dated December 15, 1993, which Mr. Bourassa sent to the Prime Minister, contains clear and irrefutable evidence of an agreement between Mr. Bourassa and Mr. Mulroney.

For the benefit of the Prime Minister, I will read an extract from this letter, in which Mr. Bourassa says: "The Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec has established that the direct cost of the referendum for the Government of Quebec as $47.2

million. That is the basis of our claim for federal compensation, which was transmitted to the federal Minister of Finance by Mr. Gérald-D. Lévesque on May 7, 1993." The letter goes on to say: "Unfortunately, no payment could be made before Mr. Mulroney left." Now for the crucial passage: "although Mr. Mulroney indicated last March that Quebec would be fairly compensated in this respect". How can the Prime Minister deny the existence of an agreement, considering Mr. Bourassa's own very clear testimony which he put down in writing?

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Bourassa and Mr. Gérald-D. Lévesque wrote to the government about this. I am aware of that. The Minister of Finance also discussed the matter with the Minister of Finance of Canada. This is about a request, a claim made by Quebec. It is not a commitment. A commitment exists when the federal government agrees to pay. However, there is no indication in any document that the government agreed to do so. If conversations took place between Mssrs. Mulroney and Bourassa, I would be delighted to know what they were about. I called Mr. Mulroney, who did not give me an answer, but perhaps the Leader of the Opposition, who knows Mr. Mulroney very well, could call him and ask him whether he gave his consent, yes or no.

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members to make their questions and answers as brief as possible.

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Robert Bourassa, in the course of his duties as premier and bound by his oath of office, testifies in this letter to the existence of an agreement and a commitment made by his counterpart, the federal Prime Minister. That is the truth.

On September 22 in this House, the Prime Minister challenged the Bloc Quebecois to give him, and I quote: "proof that my predecessor and the previous government made a commitment, and we will gladly pay". Here is the proof. Now, pay.

1992 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would not advise the Leader of the Opposition to go back to practising law, if he makes statements like that.

He says that Mr. Bourassa said that Mr. Mulroney-whom you know very well, who took you at your word and then you went back on it-told him such and such a thing. I do not doubt that Mr. Bourassa wrote the letter, since I read it. However, I asked the Privy Council to go through all the documentation. Was there anything in writing? Did a discussion take place in cabinet or elsewhere to confirm this letter? I was told that nothing could be found.

I called Mr. Mulroney and I told him: Mr. Mulroney, I am sending you a letter with a request to clarify the situation. He said that he would reply very shortly. I said in the House that if there was a commitment, it would be respected, and if there was no commitment, you can blame Mr. Mulroney.