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House of Commons Hansard #167 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

LabourOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been informed the government has finally agreed to Reform's demands for back to work legislation in the current west coast labour dispute.

This addresses the immediate problem for Canadian shipping. What is the Minister of Labour prepared to do to prevent further disruptions?

LabourOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in fact the situation has worsened in British Columbia ports. As of midnight last night, there was a complete work stoppage, as hon. members are aware. Yes, since midnight yesterday, the transportation of grain and perishable goods has been halted. In the face of the enormous economic consequences of this problem, the government has decided to act and implement back to work legislation.

We are currently negotiating with the various parties to ensure this legislation is adopted as quickly as possible. I hope that we will obtain everyone's agreement.

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the minister on her move.

What is needed now is final offer binding arbitration, as put forward in our private member's Bill C-262. Will the minister make a commitment today to support Bill C-262? If not, will she present similar legislation of her own?

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I can understand my hon. colleague's concerns about strikes in British Columbia ports. Today, however, we have a major crisis with grave economic consequences. The government will act as soon as it has the co-operation of the various parties in this House.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Yesterday, the UN Committee Against Torture ruled that Canada's treatment of Mr. Khan, a refugee claimant from Pakistan, violated the international convention against torture, to which Canada itself is a signatory.

Since the decision concludes that this individual would be in danger of being subjected to torture if Canada sent him back to his native country, does the Canadian government undertake not to deport Mr. Khan?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for the question. I am aware of the UN committee's decision.

We have asked the UN committee to reconsider its position on the basis that this individual also had a criminal conviction in Canada in 1993. No longer is this simply a case of protection for an individual. There is also the claim that Canada has every right to uphold the protection of the community and society.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, how does the minister explain the fact that the Immigration and Refugee Board apparently did not look into the grounds for Mr. Khan's request, as the UN committee's ruling indicates?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the UN said Canada's system and how it deals with and treats refugee claimants is among the best in the world. With all due respect to the UN, Canada's house is quite clean and quite orderly.

However, it is our right as a country that this decision be not binding on Canada. We have every right to uphold our laws and the protection of our citizens. That is exactly the point we are making to this committee in asking it, even though its decision is not binding, to reconsider the sovereign right of a country to protect its borders and citizens.

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Iftody Liberal Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. I appreciated her response on the grain transportation problem.

I stood in the House on February 7 last year with regard to a similar problem. The government passed legislation to put the workers back to work. Now we are dealing with a similar problem again.

What long term measures is the minister willing to employ to ensure that year after year western Canadian grain farmers do not have to go through similar problems?

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the concerns of the hon. member for Provencher because work stoppages are indeed, might I say, excessively frequent in British Columbia's harbours. I intend to have an industrial inquiry commission look into the various existing collective bargaining procedures with a view to making a very specific recommendation so that we can have-

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

A review! Oh no, not again!

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I am unable to respond, with all the racket the hon. members opposite are making.

LabourOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again I appeal to members to listen to the questions and answers. It is a matter of common courtesy.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is confusion surrounding the Liberal position on the electronic transfer tax, otherwise known as the Tobin tax, which seeks to impede the flow of capital around the world.

Last week in Copenhagen the human resources minister said that it was a good idea. He repeated it again in the House on Monday. The finance minister denounced it and now it has been undenounced-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Douglas Young Liberal Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Undenounced?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Yes, undenounced by the foreign affairs minister.

What is the position? Does the government support the Tobin tax? Yes or no.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is important for the hon. member to remember

that we are making a major breakthrough by bringing to the agenda of the G-7 meeting the question of the revision of the international financial institutions.

During the course of discussions a number of alternatives will be discussed. The Tobin tax, which seems to be very interesting to the hon. member, is one of many subjects that will certainly be looked at and discussed at that meeting.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the world today international money traders are looking at Canada. They want some kind of feeling of security on where the government is going.

Why do 1970 ideas keep bubbling to the top whenever the Liberals get into their think mode? Do they support the Tobin tax? Yes or no.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are supporting a revision and an improvement of international financial institutions. We will be presenting recommendations in this regard at the time of the Halifax summit.

We have asked a parliamentary committee to look at it. I remind the hon. member that his party is represented on the committee. We hope the representatives of the Reform Party on the committee will make valuable recommendations.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal. At a press conference in Quebec City yesterday, the vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada revealed actual instances of public funds being squandered. Apparently, the federal government offered courses on stress management through humour, and defensive driving courses to civil servants who do not need to drive as part of their jobs. Talk about defensive!

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admit that these glaring examples of squandering show that the government is unable to end the cycle of waste in the federal administration?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we do not subscribe to government waste. In terms of program review we have gone through in great detail all the programs and services provided by the government.

In order to get our deficit down, in order to get our fiscal house in order, we have made the most major cuts that have been made in government expenditures since the end of the second world war. That will help to bring about a discipline and ensure more than ever before that we have the greatest efficiency and effectiveness in terms of the spending of public taxpayers dollars.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of the minister's answer, I believe he should have his eyes examined.

Why does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs turn a blind eye to the many instances of squandering brought to his attention by civil servants? Why does he not recognize that he should clean up his own backyard before hitting civil servants with massive layoffs?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we do not close an eye to any matter brought to our attention whereby we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and services. Any that have been brought to my attention have been or are being examined very carefully.

We do not take lightly the fact that part of our expenditure reduction program involves 45,000 people having to be removed from their positions in the public service. We intend to treat people fairly and equitably in carrying this out and ensuring that we get the fiscal house of the government in order.

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

March 15th, 1995 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Mr. Bill Bauer and Mr. Gary Carson, both former members of the Immigration and Refugee Board, confirmed that half the IRB members may not be competent to hear refugee claims, that some cannot function adequately in either of Canada's official languages, and that members are being pressured to make positive decisions.

Will the minister listen this time, dismantle the IRB and start over, or will he ignore Bauer like he ignored us and other Canadians and even his own employees?

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the matter should be put in its proper context.

The government has not accepted the status quo with respect to the Immigration and Refugee Board. We have moved serious reforms both legislatively as well as administratively. Last week the chairman of the IRB responded very comprehensively and very effectively to the Hathaway report.

No one is saying that institution or any institution of government is perfect. Equally so, we should not jump to the opposite extreme and say that everything the IRB does is wrong and every

member of the IRB is incompetent, because that is simply not the case.