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House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

Eric WinklerStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we put aside party differences to remember the late Eric Winkler.

Eric Winkler served at all three levels of government during his 29-year political career.

He served as mayor of his hometown in Hanover, he was a cabinet minister at Queen's Park and chief whip for the federal Tories when the late John Diefenbaker held power.

During World War II he served in the bomber command of the Royal Canadian Air Force where he was shot down and held as a prisoner of war from 1942 to 1945.

In 1957 he ran federally and was elected as the MP for Grey-Bruce, where he was re-elected four times.

In 1967 he left Ottawa and was elected the provincial member for the Grey riding, a position he held until his defeat in 1975. During his time at Queen's Park he became minister of revenue under Bill Davis in 1971.

In the 1980s he served as a member of the Ontario Racing Commission.

I extend on behalf of all my colleagues our deepest sympathy to his wife Frances, his children Mark, Tim, Jane and Mary, and his six grandchildren.

Eric Winkler served this country with pride and dignity and he will always be remembered as a great Canadian. May he rest in peace.

BurundiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that he too was concerned, like the official opposition, about the unstable situation in Burundi, and he stated the following: "It is sad that the ethnic conflicts which occurred in Rwanda and ended in terrible bloodbaths could now surface in a neighbouring country and trigger a similar tragedy".

However, Canada's honourary consul in Bujumbura said today on the CBC that he was not worried and that there was no comparison between Rwanda and Burundi, since the ethnic breakdown of the population is totally different.

We must ask ourselves whether this analysis contradicts the minister's and whether it calls into question Canada's capacity to speak with one unified voice and to really promote preventative diplomacy.

AlbertaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to comment on a remarkable story of growth.

The province of which I speak surged ahead of all other provinces in 1993 and its real GDP rose 5.1 percent, more than double the national average of 2.2 per cent. Both international and interprovincial exports rose and record crop and livestock production lifted farm incomes substantially. Labour income also rose markedly, accompanied by a significant jump in consumer spending.

How did this happen? Was large scale government intervention in the economy the cause of this excellent growth rate? No, it was not.

The growth that has occurred in Alberta, a province which has cut its spending by nearly 20 per cent in the last two years, is the result I am talking about.

To all of the McCrakens, the Whites, the Hargroves and the Axworthys of the world, if you want growth that benefits all citizens in Canada, do not increase government spending, cut it.

It is time the Alberta advantage became the Canadian advantage.

Rail StrikeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the present railway strike has already had a severe impact on many manufacturers and producers all across the country.

In my province of New Brunswick there are many lumber mills dependent on rail. As well, our ports have been greatly affected as they also depend on the rail lines.

I ask the House to allow legislation to be passed with unanimous consent which will quickly put an end to this labour dispute. I also ask the government to undertake a consultative process between labour and management that would result in a settlement that is fair and equitable while at the same time ensuring CN and CP are not at a disadvantage compared with their transportation competitors in the U.S.

I recommend to the government that a human resources sector consultative study be established for the Canadian railway sector. This would allow both management and labour to jointly study the changing business environment and the challenges facing the railway industry in Canada now and to the year 2000.

Rail StrikeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the railroad is the great symbol of Canadian unity. It provides commercial and personal access among all Canadians.

In spite of our great modern steps forward in the air, the progress of the railroad and our nation are inextricably intertwined.

Halifax needs the railroad. The Atlantic region needs the railroad. Ontario and the west need the railroad and Quebec also needs the railroad.

I call on all members of the House to remember that we represent all Canadians and get those trains running again.

Rail StrikeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is time to end this national rail strike which is crippling our economy. It is estimated that between $3 billion and $5 billion is lost from the Canadian economy in a single week by not getting our products to market.

National Gypsum, a company near Truro, produces 14,000 tonnes of gypsum a day which goes by rail, two trains a day, 7,000 tonnes a train, to the port of Halifax. From there it goes by

ship to the U.S. and to Quebec when the St. Lawrence Seaway is open.

National Gypsum is loading a ship at this moment, only partially and with great delay and extra costs because it does not have enough gypsum at the dockside. This company will have to lay off more than 100 men by week's end if the trains are not moving. The same may be said of companies throughout Nova Scotia as well as companies in Quebec and every corner of the country.

This is one case where a day really makes a difference. I urge the opposition and all members of the House to co-operate and end the railway strike.

Rail StrikeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernie Collins Liberal Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely disappointed with the events yesterday wherein the Bloc, supported by the New Democratic Party, refused to allow the House to bring an end to the economic chaos that has enveloped our country due to the rail strike in progress.

What is frustrating about this is there is no honourable basis for the actions of the Bloc party. It is simply sticking to its agenda of separation by allowing the Canadian economy to take a beating. Bloc members will not lose any sleep over that. They might see it as helping their battered agenda.

As for the NDP members, they continue to close their eyes to the real issues, the needs of farmers, manufacturers and many others negatively affected across Canada.

What does the premier of Saskatchewan say about their actions? Does his NDP government support what they are doing to the economy?

We have had a chance to act together for the good of our country and the Bloc and the NDP let us down for an alternate selfish agenda.

My constituents, my government and I are extremely disappointed.

Quebec SovereigntyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned today that a French speaking group in Ontario, concerned about social justice, denounced the position taken by the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne on the sovereignty of Quebec. The federation urged Quebecers to vote no in the referendum, something that this Franco-Ontarian group strongly regrets.

Members of the Bloc Quebecois reaffirm, like this group, that Quebecers have a sacred right to choose freely their own future. Members of the Bloc Quebecois also believe that links between francophones outside Quebec and within Quebec should be maintained despite differences we may have occasionally.

We cannot deny that francophones outside Quebec have had to fight long and hard for their rights, their existence and their development. The fight of Quebecers to assume full responsibility for their future is just as important.

Rail TransportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois pretends to be defending the interests of Quebecers, but is opposed to ending the railway strike, thereby adding to the seriousness of the situation brought about by the failure of the Liberals.

Last week, the Reform Party asked the government to act in order to avoid such a crisis. As usual, it acted too late. A lengthy strike will have only negative economic consequences for all Canadians, including Quebecers.

Saturday, 1,000 people were left standing on VIA Rail platforms in Montreal. Canadian Pacific is losing about a million dollars a day.

The Reform Party supports an end to the strike and if the Bloc is sincere about protecting Quebec interests it should agree to it right now.

Rail StrikeStatements By Members

March 21st, 1995 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ivan Grose Liberal Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will address the national transportation stoppage, not exactly a unique idea today.

In my constituency 14,000 General Motors union workers will be idle soon. I do not want to speak only on their behalf, as I feel I represent not only the people who specifically elected me but also the interests of all my fellow Canadians.

My union constituents will not suffer due to their hard won union contract. However, we must realize that their continuing benefits while they are not producing diminishes their sub-fund and also draws on the UIC fund. This is a cost which must be borne by all Canadians through higher prices and increased taxes.

We also must consider the workers in supplier plants who do not have the good contracts auto workers enjoy.

In short, this transportation tie-up transcends the interests of any group, province or party. All Canadians deserve relief from this problem and at this time that can only be provided by people of courage in the House.

Rail TransportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and again today, the Bloc Quebecois refused to co-operate with our government in order to quickly legislate rail workers back to work.

The official opposition does not seem to understand the scope of the negative impact of this work stoppage on the Canadian and Quebec economy. Allow me to quote the Quebec transport minister who recently said: "There is nothing quaint about trains. Their role is critical for the economy and the industry".

I will also quote its colleague for Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans who was recently pleading for the survival of rail services in these terms: "We cannot afford to lose the railroad. It would only weaken our economy further".

I urge the Bloc Quebecois to abandon partisan politics and to support the government's initiative without delay.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Commissioner Hope's report on labour relations in the rail transport sector points out the federal government's troubling behaviour during the negotiations leading to the current impasse. Mr. Hope concludes that the government was guilty of interfering in this dispute by systematically supporting the employers' position.

Does the Minister of Transport admit that the federal government's partisan pro-management attitude during the talks is responsible for the failure of negotiations and for the current dispute?

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think that solving the problem in Canada's rail system is in everyone's interest. We much appreciated the fact that CAW president, Mr. Hargrove himself, said that special legislation was the best approach.

Some people understand full well that Canada's rail system must operate so that materials and products like those of Ford, GM and Chrysler can be moved. I have no idea with whom the Leader of the Opposition is speaking because all those with whom we have spoken, without exception, told us that, after 18 months of talks, the time has come to find a solution allowing the Canadian economy to continue to grow.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, although the minister says that Mr. Hargrove supports the government's position and the bill, the CAW president does not want the bill to apply to his own members. What kind of support is that? Let the law apply to the others, but not to his union.

How dare the minister defend his government's role in these talks when Commissioner Hope stated, and I quote:

"The controversial and provocative aspects of the employers' demands are found in the partisan role played by the government in supporting the position of the railways".

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian recognizes that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to maintain a transportation system that is viable, that is competitive, that is affordable.

There is no doubt that over a long period of time every effort was made by the unions and by the employers to try to find a solution to this problem. They have not been able to succeed.

We regret very much that companies, farmers, people across the country are faced with a situation that is very unfortunate, very difficult to overcome.

All I ask the Leader of the Opposition to do is to listen to what Canadians are saying, listen to what Quebecers are saying, and make sure that we can get the railroads back in operation so that we can find a solution to the problem that has escaped the negotiators on both sides of the table for 18 months.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Hope report clearly states that the real responsibility for the current labour dispute lies with the federal government.

Given the current deadlock and its serious consequences, will the Prime Minister agree to set aside House rules and pass this afternoon a back-to-work law imposing a 60 day mediation period between the parties without the right to strike or lockout employees, so that a negotiated settlement can be reached?

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his offer. I think that the best solution is to pass the legislation immediately. Otherwise, if we wait 60 days, we will end up with the same problem. We will have lost a whole week, and will still end up with the same problem in 60 days.

I think that public opinion in Canada at this time is clearly that these problems must be resolved quickly. I have received telegrams from Quebec aluminum plants, for example, some of which are located in the riding represented by the Leader of the Opposition, which have been forced to cut production. It is the same thing for Kruger Inc. in the Mauricie region and for the

lumber industry in the northern part of my riding, in Parent, and so on.

That is why we decided that, under the circumstances, the quickest way-and I give the hon. member the opportunity to co-operate by withdrawing his objection so that the bill can be passed this afternoon.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was just offered in good faith by the official opposition an honourable way to settle the rail dispute once and for all.

How can the Prime Minister hide behind his trigger-happy minister's proposal? How can he hide behind this proposal and reject the official opposition's offer to settle the dispute this afternoon to the satisfaction of all interested parties, in compliance with work rules and without affecting workers' rights?

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the frustration of the opposition, which is trying to make up for the mistake it made yesterday. This government's priority is job creation. We must ensure that there is a rail transportation system to deliver the goods produced by Canadian workers to the markets, so that we can have more jobs in Canada, not fewer because of a strike that is against national interest.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, must the Prime Minister be reminded that our proposal has been on the table since yesterday and that it is a clear proposal? If he did not understand the proposal, that is his problem.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

It is now clear that the only ones to blame for the rail dispute dragging on are the Prime Minister and his government.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Can he tell us frankly if he is being totally honest when he says he wants the matter settled-

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Dear colleagues, the honesty of the members of this House is never to be questioned. I would therefore like the hon. member to withdraw his remark.

Rail TransportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

No problem, Mr. Speaker. You understood that I regard the Prime Minister as an honest man. No problem there. Being the honest man that he is-