This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Quebec Finance Minister's BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, with or without sovereignty, taxes will go up next year, said Jean Campeau, according to today's headline in La Presse.

Quebecers do not want taxes to go up, no matter who collects them. They want a responsible finance minister, someone who, like his federal counterpart and those in several provinces across Canada, works hard to reduce spending and the deficit without raising taxes.

The Canadian government has reviewed all government programs and proposed measures to reduce spending and the deficit. Its approach was logical, involving a great deal of consultation and skill and none of this rushing around to close down hospitals, for instance.

Quebec's budget is important to all Quebecers. The Government of Quebec should be less independent and listen to Quebecers.

Niagara District AirportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago the member of Parliament for Niagara Falls and I attended a ceremony initiating the transfer of the Niagara District Airport from the federal government to local authorities.

Local authorities in St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake have been working together toward the transfer for quite some time. The national airports policy announced by the transport minister last summer provided a perfect opportunity to make the transfer a reality.

Local control of the airport will provide a more hands on approach where local stakeholders can be directly involved in airport responsibilities. The transfer will enable the airport to run in a cost effective and competitive manner and be better equipped to respond quickly to local commercial opportunities.

We thank the Minister of Transport and his officials for a smooth transition.

Aboriginal RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of Indian affairs will soon table a policy on inherent right to self-government. This is a significant departure from past government policies.

Despite red book promises to consult with aboriginal peoples on the inherent rights policy, we now see Indian and Metis

leaders demanding that the minister go public with his document. I agree. All Canadians have a right to know what the minister is contemplating. This will affect future political relations between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians forever.

The Minister of Justice has shown he does not understand what consultation means with his gun bill. Now we hear that the minister of Indian affairs is imitating his colleague and has a secret draft policy that may also have considerable constitutional ramifications. Native leaders do not think they have been adequately consulted, let alone the rest of the Canadian people.

While meeting the needs of aboriginal communities I believe any inherent rights policy must respect the principle of equality for all Canadians.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

May 16th, 1995 / 2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, at a meeting with his Quebec counterpart who came to Ottawa with three bills for a total amount of $333 million, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs once again refused to meet his financial commitments. The minister even told Quebec, in no uncertain terms, to take the matter to court.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Are we to understand from the arrogant reply of his intergovernmental affairs minister that this is the new flexible federalism: asking Quebec to sue for payment of accounts in arrears?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the reply the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs gave yesterday was quite satisfactory. One aspect of the problem is being checked by the auditor general. Another aspect is being checked again. If there were any mistakes, we can correct them, but for the time being, we have no information to that effect.

As for the third matter, when determining payments to the provinces, the Minister of Finance does this according to formulas that are in the legislation. There is no flexibility, and if someone thinks the law was not interpreted as it should be, then that person should, and there are precedents for this, ask the courts to intervene.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is the same kind of answer we got for months to requests for reimbursement of referendum costs.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Exactly the same.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Ottawa has been particularly stubborn in the case of the cost of educating young aboriginal people, which amounted to $119 million, payment of which has been outstanding for eight years. As you know, this amount is payable under the James Bay Agreement signed by Ottawa in 1968.

I want to ask the Prime Minister to explain why, considering these delays and dilatory measures, the only offer he will let his minister make to his Quebec counterpart is to appoint a new committee of officials that will conduct more meetings.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the James Bay Agreement contains a section indicating the province and the federal government must agree on budgets and their content.

In this case, the Province of Quebec refused to fulfil its part of the agreement. It did not give the federal government a chance to check assets and the number of non-natives among the student population. Consequently, we had no way of knowing what the federal government's share actually was.

During that time we paid $464 million for aboriginal education. During that time, and in fact quite recently, we offered to review the matter with the Quebec government in an attempt to clear up this problem, and the ball is now in the court of the Parti Quebecois.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the minister wanted to know more about the case, he could talk to his colleague, the Minister of Labour, who used to be the Minister of Education responsible for this matter in Quebec City and as such filed claims that have gone unpaid for years.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Times have changed. She sold out.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not true that the Government of Quebec refused to provide the information. The fact is, more young aboriginal people are getting an education as a result of social measures introduced by the Quebec government, and the federal government, which finds this surprising, refuses to acknowledge this development.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Yes, tell it like it is.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Since the Quebec minister suggested to her federal counterpart that they leave their officials at home and sit down like two reasonable people and deal with the issue face to face, could the Prime Minister instruct his minister to sit down and negotiate and settle this immediately?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that both the Province of Quebec and the federal government will have to review the case and again

establish what the facts are. It is clear the Province of Quebec must co-operate and give us the information.

In this particular case, the federal government made it clear that it was ready to negotiate, but the Quebec government has yet to provide the necessary information.

Human Resources Investment FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

Bill C-76, which implements provisions of the budget, contains no provision on the human resources investment fund announced in the budget. The latest ministerial overview, an official document of the Department of Human Resources Development, indicates this fund will have a budget of more than $4 billion, at least $2 billion of which come from the unemployment insurance fund.

Would the Prime Minister confirm that the human resources investment fund will have a budget of $4 billion, financed in large part by the unemployment insurance fund, to enable it to interfere further with new manpower training, income supplement and day care service initiatives?

Human Resources Investment FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming more and more frequent for the hon. member to confuse numbers. I would not suggest she is doing it deliberately.

The hon. member knows quite well it has been explained that the human resource investment fund has a way of consolidating a number of existing expenditures so we can begin to provide a much more effective delivery in a decentralized community way. It gives our employment centres much more discretion, much more accountability to make decisions at the local level, working in partnership with their counterparts at the provincial, municipal and community levels.

To again try to elevate it into another wild attack about interventionism misses the whole point. It is really designed to give a lot more control in the local and regional community to make decisions about how to get back to work.

Human Resources Investment FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the central government does not have jurisdiction in these areas.

Are we to understand that, with this human resources investment fund, the minister is attempting to carry out the reform of social programs he has been unable to finalize up to now because of nationwide condemnation, and that, far from responding to the demands of Quebec, he intends to intervene further, thus adding to existing waste and muddle in the area of manpower training?

Human Resources Investment FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, almost a year ago I made a specific set of offers to all the provinces to share a number of our manpower programs. We would turn over institutional training and invite the provinces to join with us in the planning of programs we have in common and that we would transfer existing programs.

Mr. Speaker, to date the Government of Quebec has not given an answer.

[English]

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on April 24, the director general of public affairs for national defence, Ruth Cardinal, addressed a meeting of the Media Club of Canada. She emphasized that she would tell them what is really happening in the military.

Ms. Cardinal went on to imply that the suicide rate in the armed forces was acceptable because we get our recruits from the most susceptible portion of the population and that the airborne videos came from ex-soldiers who needed cash because they had blown their pay cheques on Camaros. These are remarkable statements to be made by the defence department's senior mouthpiece.

Does the Minister of National Defence agree that these comments are completely inappropriate, and does he still have full confidence in his director general of public affairs?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, certainly the comments that have been publicized on television and have come to my attention are disturbing. It is a matter that the deputy minister of national defence is looking into at the moment.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Cardinal was hired for her present position by Bob Fowler, the former deputy minister of defence, who has been under investigation by the Somalia inquiry.

In her speech to the Media Club she went out of her way to discredit one of the principal critics of what went on in Somalia, Dr. Barry Armstrong, saying that his story did not have credence and that he had been proven wrong by an independent group of investigators. The validity of Dr. Armstrong's testimony is to be independently judged by the Somalia inquiry, not prejudged by a DND spin doctor hired by Bob Fowler.

Why does the Minister of National Defence allow his director general of public affairs to make any public statements on the Somalia inquiry when she has a potential conflict of interest with respect to the issues and the individuals to be judged by that inquiry?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I agreed with that very point when it was raised last Friday. Any employee of the Department of National Defence should be very cautious in what he or she says, publicly or privately, with respect to matters which are now before the commission. We do not want anything to be said by anyone in a position of authority to give the impression that there would be some kind of prejudicing of the inquiry.

I also note that the individual in question, the director general of public affairs, won a public service competition for the post.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is really at issue is the minister's ability or inability to manage his department. The minister was the last to know about the airborne videos. He was the last to know about the high suicide rate at Valcartier. Now we have the department's senior mouthpiece attempting to bias media coverage of the Somalia inquiry in direct disregard of the minister's gag order concerning that inquiry.

When will the Minister of National Defence start to exercise the leadership of his department which Canadians deserve and expect?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a rhetorical question that was it. Considering the amount of controversy we have had in the last year and a half, I feel quite comfortable in the leadership I have given to the department.