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House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, to correct what I said, there was no vote when we debated this a few nights ago.

The hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca gave an eloquent discourse which indicated why he as a member of the third party supported our troops in continuing to discharge their mandate like the other 34 countries in the United Nations, no matter how tough it gets.

We don't quit when the going gets tough.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

This morning, we learned that five Airbuses bought in 1992 by the federal government from Canadian Airlines International, at a cost of $250 million, are grounded eleven months per year. At the same time, the government has a $45-million-a-year contract with that company, to transport military personnel.

How can the minister tolerate such a waste and, at the same time, hit the poor so hard by slashing $307 million in this year's budget for social housing, and over $6 billion in the UI program, in the last two budgets?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question of the hon. member. Perhaps I could inform him and the House that the Canadian forces cannot afford to buy aircraft both for strategic airlift and for normal administrative movement of the troops.

The choice is to use either the airbus for strategic airlift and to contract out for administrative flights or to reverse it and to contract out for strategic airlift and use the airbus for administrative flights.

The hon. member may not be aware that we cannot rely on commercial aircraft for strategic airlift in time of crisis. We have decided to opt for using the airbus for strategic airlift, humanitarian purposes and for those things for which contingency plans are drawn up and may be required at a moment's notice.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister explain this situation other than by saying that Canadian Airlines International is being systematically favoured? First, that company benefitted from the sale of those aircraft to the government, then it was awarded the contract for their maintenance, and now it is enjoying a $45 million a year deal to transport Canadian troops while these Airbuses stay on the ground.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member refers to the contract award to Canadian Airlines International by the Department of National Defence, he might want to take into account that at the time the tenders were called for that service to be provided both Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International made submissions.

What I thought interesting as a result of that is both airlines, particularly the airline not awarded the contract, Air Canada, stated publicly the process had been absolutely fair and appropriate.

InflationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, the biggest economic news since the budget is inflation. During the last four months consumer prices rose at an annual rate of about 4.5 per cent, well above the target of 3 per cent set by the Bank of Canada.

In large part this inflation is caused by the depreciation of the dollar and the higher prices of imports and exportables it has brought.

Will the Minister of Finance admit this inflation if unchecked threatens living standards much more than the spending cuts needed to balance the budget and to fix the exchange rate?

InflationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, one of the main reasons for the increase in inflation statistically was the actions of the tobacco factor into the new numbers compared with the previous numbers.

Inflation must be monitored. The Governor of the Bank of Canada has stated there are no inflationary pressures in Canada at the present time. However, to anticipate such pressures is clearly the responsibility of the Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada, and we shall exercise that responsibility.

InflationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear there are different ways of measuring inflation. I am talking about the price increases in the last four months annualized, not year to year inflation where the tobacco increases are important.

The minister and the governor have already stated what the minister just repeated. However, unfortunately the tightening of monetary policy will again push Canada into a recession. It is inappropriate since inflation is caused not by excess demand but the depreciation of the dollar.

Will the Minister of Finance allow the Bank of Canada to precipitate another recession to fight inflation or will he do the right thing and stop the decline of the dollar by a new budget that eliminates the deficit promptly and decisively?

InflationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well the independence of the Bank of Canada is a very important asset to the country. Our record in terms of low inflation, while very dearly bought, is also a major asset in terms of job creation and it is something we intend to maintain.

The hon. member knows the last budget is also a major asset to the country.

Kanesatake ReserveOral Questions

March 31st, 1995 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting Prime Minister.

Yesterday the Prime Minister refused to rule out the possibility that Ottawa would hold discussions with Chief Jerry Peltier and the band council about setting up a casino at Kanesatake, although the Government of Quebec has categorically refused to consider it, primarily for reasons of security.

Given the refusal by the Government of Quebec, the sole games and lotteries authority, can the federal government tell us whether it plans to continue discussions with Jerry Peltier?

Kanesatake ReserveOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of the fact that casinos are a matter of provincial jurisdiction at the moment, and I hope that it will be possible to have discussions with parties wishing to set up casinos anywhere in the country.

Kanesatake ReserveOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the minister's response, are we to assume that the federal government will put an end to any discussion, present and future, on setting up a casino in Quebec?

Kanesatake ReserveOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there are rights of discussion and free speech in this country. The Government of Canada cannot stop anyone from

discussing anything. However I repeat that currently casinos come under provincial jurisdiction.

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the police association announced it was withholding support for the minister's gun control measures until it has the assurance the criminalization of current lawful firearm owners, such as non-compliance with registration, is taken out of the Criminal Code.

In view of this, will he now consider addressing the two areas separately, one that imposes stricter penalties for the criminal use of a firearm and one that deals with the regulation and ownership of a firearm?

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I must slay the hon. member's beautiful hypothesis with a brutal fact. Yesterday the Canadian Police Association, representing some 35,000 frontline police officers, endorsed every element of the government's firearms package.

I shall be happy to share with the hon. member a copy of the resolution. It endorsed the government's prohibition on small calibre handguns. It endorsed the government's prohibition on assault weapons and it endorsed registration of all firearms.

In respect of the specific registration system proposed in Bill C-68, the Canadian Police Association endorses it subject only to two points, that the costs would not be taken from the operational budgets in place at present for the police, assurance of which I gave readily yesterday, and that some means be found by which first offences for non-registration could be dealt with on a regulatory rather than a criminal basis.

In respect of the second point, I expressed concern about achieving compliance. The response given by the police association was that perhaps instead of a criminal offence, if someone does not register, the first time around their gun should be confiscated. My response was that based on that approach perhaps we can do business.

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have in my possession the stand the Canadian Police Association has issued. It is clear it has concerns in other areas such as the lack of enforcement regulations within the statute and the existing Criminal Code.

The police association has expressed concern about the inadequate enforcement of the present laws, as many of us are concerned. In Cornwall last year eight individuals were charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, three semi-automatic weapons, breach of probation and possession of drugs. They were given a $1,000 fine.

Given what the police association has said, given the case in Cornwall and other similar cases across Canada, what guarantees can the minister give us regarding the administration of justice? Will it provide for the adequate enforcement of the laws he is creating?

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in the course of the CPA's discussions this week on a whole range of justice issues, it identified areas where we can do better. There is no question there is room for improvement in every part of the criminal justice system.

It endorsed the firearms proposals by the government. The question had to do with enforcement mechanisms for criminal law. I assured the Canadian Police Association yesterday and throughout the week that we look forward to having its specific representations to the committee when it appears before it. If it has suggestions about improvements on the enforcement side, then working with the provinces, which are responsible for the enforcement of criminal law, we should be happy to see to it.

Marine TransportOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

As a result of an administrative error made by Transport Canada employees, who, in July, applied measures which were only to take effect in September, Canadian and foreign shipowners were overcharged more than $1 million. Instead of refunding the money, the minister is looking at introducing retroactive legislation to legalize this illegal collection of fees from shipowners.

Will the minister admit that the bill that he is getting ready to introduce legalizing this over-billing is a retroactive measure which fully goes against the fundamental principles of a society based on the rule of law?

Marine TransportOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

No, not at all, Mr. Speaker. It all started with an administrative error, but shipowners knew exactly what they were supposed to pay. A standing joint committee acknowledged that an administrative error had been made. It is nothing new in such situations to correct the error through legislation, without there being any bad intentions on anybody's part.

Marine TransportOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister justify penalizing businesses retroactively for an error committed by his own employees?

Marine TransportOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the error committed is one fully admitted to. The difference is who the Bloc Quebecois wants to pay for the error.

The vessel owners understood there were fees to be paid. They paid them. There has been an administrative error. It is not unusual to have the Bloc Quebecois try to have the taxpayers of Canada pay for administrative errors easily corrected by legislation.

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

Obviously my Reform colleagues did not understand the importance of the decision and the resolution taken yesterday by the Canadian Police Association in response to its appreciation for the safety to be brought to communities by the legislation.

Would the minister explain to us exactly who the Canadian Police Association represents? Is it not the policemen who work on the streets in our communities from coast to coast?

Gun ControlOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed.

We have had for several months now on the record a resolution passed by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police calling for a variety of measures with respect to firearms already in Bill C-68 and supporting full registration.

Until yesterday the Canadian Police Association, which represents the rank and file police officers, had withheld expressing a position on the bill or on registration until it had a chance through its own firearms committee to canvass the views of working police officers across the country.

Yesterday delegates from across Canada came to Ottawa for the purpose of making up their minds. They debated the issue and issued resolutions in which they support every element of the firearms bill the government has put forward subject to the conditions I have mentioned having to do with budgets and with decriminalization of the first offence.

It is extremely significant that this is a group representing the working rank and file police officers on the streets, the persons we look to for safety in the communities.

Patronage AppointmentsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Reformers knew it was only a matter of time before the Prime Minister got back into patronage as usual.

Unlike his colleague, Jean-Robert Gauthier, Mr. Berger will not be given a seat in the Senate but will be made ambassador to Israel. Perrin Beatty, who stands to receive $5 million from the MP pension plan, has been today appointed to the presidency of the CBC. I am sure he will give up his pension as a condition of that.

My question is for the Acting Prime Minister. Between junkets abroad and patronage appointments, why does the Prime Minister insist on doing business the same way Mulroney did, especially since the Liberals raised such a big stink on these matters when they were on this side of the House?

Patronage AppointmentsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Mr. Berger, what was in the press is simply speculation. Unless and until something happens in that regard, there is really nothing to comment on.

With respect to Perrin Beatty, he is an experienced former parliamentarian and minister who held portfolios involving national revenue, foreign affairs and communications. It is felt he has the necessary skills and experience to handle the position of the president of the CBC.

I can confirm his salary will be reduced by the amount of his pension. Therefore he will not be double dipping. Furthermore, since Mr. Beatty sat in the House as a Conservative, it is not a partisan political appointment.