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House of Commons Hansard #255 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the reply by the real Minister of Justice. But I must regret the lack of insight in his answer, which lead to my supplementary question.

Because two out of three Canadians are opposed to reopening the constitution, will the Minister of Justice admit that the only true path to change for Quebecers is the sovereignty of Quebec?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

No, Mr. Speaker.

National UnityOral Question Period

November 6th, 1995 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, polls over the weekend indicate that in the wake of last week's no vote a strong majority of Canadians, both inside and outside Quebec, feel that the country should be more decentralized. The polls also indicate that support for a distinct society clause is weak and that such a clause would likely run into problems if the government tries to introduce it.

Given these sentiments, will the government commit to abandoning the distinct society clause?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have made it clear that we intend to proceed with the engagements taken by the Prime Minister during the course of the referendum. We intend to respect those.

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the answer is a little vague, but let us try to pin it down a bit more.

Will the minister not agree that rather than trying to enshrine a distinct society into the Constitution, if that is what is meant by the answer, legitimate aspirations of everyone can be met through the devolution of powers for language and culture from the federal to all provincial governments without the need for constitutional change?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canadians made it clear, both Quebecers who voted in the referendum and other Canadians

across the country, that they want governments that embrace change and governments that are prepared to challenge the status quo.

We are the government that over the last two years has not only challenged the status quo, we have laid out a path for harmonization to make sure that governments that can best deliver to the people are the governments that are in the position of doing so. We believe that process should continue.

We challenge the status quo. Unfortunately, the two parties that seem to hide behind the status quo are the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week as he left a cabinet meeting, the Minister of Justice clearly raised the possibility of dusting off an ancient federal power of disallowance which has not been used for more than half a century or going before the courts to stop Quebec if someday it wanted another referendum on its political future.

My question is directed to the Minister of Justice. Could the minister confirm that he intends to use the power of disallowance which, according to the Supreme Court, has become obsolete, to prevent Quebecers from voting democratically on their political future?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the real question, the most important one for the future, is good government for Canada. The Prime Minister promised to provide good government for Canada. Constructive changes in the government's administration have been discussed, and once these are implemented, we are confident there will be no need for another referendum campaign in the future.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly, the Minister of Justice does not deny what he said last week, so I am back with a supplementary.

Does the Minister of Justice not think it was indecent to consider resurrecting the power of disallowance or going before the courts to silence the voice of the people of Quebec?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the questions last week about constitutional powers were technical but the concerns of this government are not only about constitutional powers but about this government's responsibility for political stability in Canada. The source of that stability is good government.

Canada Mortgage And Housing CorporationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of sick to think that the Conservative and Liberal governments over all these years have raised the debt in this country to $567 billion.

On the very day of the referendum, the government quietly tabled legislation to increase Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's loan liability by $50 billion, from $100 billion to $150 billion.

I would like to ask the minister of public works why is this government adding a further $50 billion liability to this country and an already overburdened economy, thereby expanding the government's authority in the area of housing?

Canada Mortgage And Housing CorporationOral Question Period

2:30 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 not surprised at the question from the hon. member who continues to show a lack of understanding on the various programs operated by the Government of Canada.

In the premise of his question, once again the hon. member alludes to facts which are incorrect. The hon. member and all hon. members should know that this fund is self-sustaining. There are no appropriations from the Government of Canada for this fund. In point of fact over 330,000 Canadians have benefited from this program.

I would suggest to the hon. member that once in a while he should get his facts straight.

Canada Mortgage And Housing CorporationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I guess after the rough ride the minister had this summer he wants to get back. That is interesting.

There are two types of liability in this country. One type is on the books of the government and the other rest in the 24 seats in the front here.

I confirmed with the vice-president of finance for CMHC that if any of these mortgages are defaulted they are a liability against the government. Perhaps the minister missed that idea.

Will the minister commit today to introducing legislation to guarantee exclusive provincial control of housing, and if not, why not?

Canada Mortgage And Housing CorporationOral Question Period

2:30 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 answer to the first part of the hon. member's question is no. The reason is that unlike the third party, the government does not have an ideology that the role of the national government is to be a Visa or Chargex for provincial governments.

We believe there ought to be a role for the Government of Canada in the affairs of the nation. Such a suggestion which has been proposed by the hon. member is not shared by other members of his own party who are asking the government to put more money into housing programs across the country.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Bloc Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

As my colleague from the Reform Party pointed out, an individual armed with a knife broke into the Prime Minister's official residence with disconcerting ease, thereby highlighting the shortcomings of the security system designed to protect the Prime Minister and all other Canadian parliamentary leaders.

How can the Solicitor General explain the fact that an individual was able to break into the Prime Minister's residence so easily, and does this come as a surprise to security officials?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a complete review of the security measures to protect the Prime Minister and the official residences is currently under way.

Security measures have already been tightened, and once this review is completed, I will receive a report, in light of which we will take all the measures required to prevent such incidents in the future.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Bloc Abitibi, QC

Does the minister promise to table in this House the results of this internal investigation?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the House would want the report to undermine in any way the security measures for the Prime Minister's residence. So, as I just said, I will do what I can to disclose the content of this report, but it may be impossible to release all the information, at the risk of undermining the security measures. I think that priority must be given to the security measures required to protect the Prime Minister and his family.

Middle East Peace ProcessOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. They are also concerned about the future of the peace process and our role in the Middle East.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what role Canada has played and what future role we will play in the Middle East peace process?

Middle East Peace ProcessOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, indeed we are saddened by the tragic and senseless death of Prime Minister Rabin. It is a tremendous loss for the peace process of a man who dedicated his life to his country and gave tremendous impetus to the peace process.

Canada has been a full supporter of the peace process and is playing an important role as chair of the refugee working group. Canada believes there will not be full peace in the region until the question of refugees is totally resolved. Canada will continue its efforts in this regard.

We hope that despite this great loss and tragedy the work engaged in and started by Prime Minister Rabin will be pursued and that all of Israel's neighbours will sign and agree to lasting peace in the region.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Penticton Indian band and the British Columbia government have failed to reach an agreement regarding the Green Mountain Road, a federally owned road. Yet another Indian band in British Columbia is poised to set up roadblocks and the band has threatened violence.

We have been constantly asking the government to exercise its constitutional duty to be responsible for Indians and lands reserved to Indians.

What is the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development going to do about the situation?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there is the B.C. treaty process which was really a creature of the present leader of the Reform Party in B.C. when he was a member of the other government in cabinet. We have to make it work. We have put a lot of money and lot of time into it. That deals with related issues.

The hon. member knows because we have discussed it that on roadblocks all kinds of other issues come in. The roadblock is used per se, almost as a bargaining tool for land, for the Penticton lodge, for all of these things. We have to keep those in the B.C. treaty process or we will destroy a process that we both support. It will not work unless we go to that process.

Specifically on roads, I met with the B.C. minister of transport Jackie Pement for an hour just before question period. We are trying to set up a process where we can work collectively if it is a road issue. If it is a broader issue we are trying to encourage the First Nations to go to the table. Otherwise, if there is success on all

the issues just because there is a roadblock, there will be more roadblocks and the 70 per cent of the First Nations of B.C. at the B.C. table will walk away.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that there is no roadblock at this particular point.

I have spent the past two weeks personally seeking out the minister in an attempt to have him do something about this situation. The British Columbia government is helpless. Its hands are tied. Canadians have already learned that the federal government's inaction was a major cause of the Oka crisis. The B.C. government has been consistently reminding the federal government of its duties and responsibilities.

Will the minister take action now and prevent another Gustafsen Lake?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the premise. We are working positively with the B.C. government and it is doing fine work.

In October 1993 we came into office. In December 1993 we opened up the office of the B.C. Treaty Commission. No other government before us was able to do that.

We have worked 10 solid weeks to get the formula which members have seen in the paper in the last few days and it is getting there for the B.C. treaty process. We are close to settling the Nisga'a. We deal positively on all matters.

My problem is not with the B.C. government; my problem is with the Reform members who come from B.C. and refuse to address the issues.

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Following a question asked on May 15 about copyright, the hon. member for Saint-Hubert was finally told, five months later, by the justice minister that he would transmit her question to the ministers responsible, namely the industry and heritage ministers.

Given that Quebec and Canadian composers, authors and performers have been waiting eleven years for this bill, will the Minister of Canadian Heritage pledge to table this legislation in the House as soon as possible?