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House of Commons Hansard #211 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in this matter the RCMP is acting as the provincial police service pursuant to an agreement between the federal government and the Government of British Columbia whereby the RCMP acts as the provincial police. This is a matter for the attorney general of British Columbia.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the attorney general of British Columbia has told the people that he will not interfere with the job the RCMP has to do.

If the attorney general of B.C. is not giving direction to the RCMP, someone is and is telling it not to enforce the injunction to remove the illegal blockade. I am sure the people of Canada, particularly the people of British Columbia and those who are involved with having equipment behind the barricades and are being kept from going into Douglas Lake ranch, would like to know exactly why the RCMP is not enforcing its mandate. Who is telling it not to?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in this matter the RCMP is not acting on behalf of the federal government when it comes to enforcing an order of the courts in British Columbia. The RCMP is acting as the provincial police service pursuant to an agreement with the Government of British Columbia.

Therefore I again suggest to my hon. friend that he direct his question to the attorney general of British Columbia. I understand my hon. friend's concern about the matter, but it is not one under which the RCMP is acting under the direction of the federal government.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

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

The federal government is abandoning the regions as it plans to close several employment centres, withdraw from air and rail transport infrastructure, cut regional development funds, and increase the number of weeks of work required to qualify for unemployment insurance in the regions with the highest unemployment rates.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his government's actions are hitting the regions hard and that thousands of people from Shawinigan to Saint-Siméon are directly affected by Ottawa's desertion?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member gets his information, but no decisions have been taken on the reorganization of the department.

I assure the hon. member that when we complete the reorganization there will be more points of service available to more small communities in Canada than there are today.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I get my information not only from the people in the region but also from employment centre staff, who are very concerned about the situation.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Is the Prime Minister aware that, by restricting access to unemployment insurance and reducing the duration of benefits, his government launched a direct attack against workers in resource regions who work on a seasonal basis in sectors such as fishing, forestry and tourism?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that in this government ministers make decisions, not people at the local level, in terms of the basic reorganization of the department.

I will be glad to share any information with the hon. member, but I do not think it is particularly prudent for him to be responding to rumours or suggestions or recommendations. He should wait to deal with the facts.

Babbar KhalsaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, on May 4 the Minister of National Revenue challenged me to provide him with information that the Babbar Khalsa was a terrorist organization.

On Wednesday, May 31, the RCMP named the late Talwinder Singh Parmar and six colleagues as suspects in the Air-India bombing.

Today I have provided the minister with a copy of a 1989 newspaper photo of Parmar holding a rocket launcher surrounded by dozens of machine guns and rockets. At that time Parmar stated that if anyone wanted to commit suicide he should board an Air-India plane. He also stated that then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi would not be allowed to live beyond 1990.

I have a question for the Minister of National Revenue. Which of the above items does he believe qualifies the Babbar Khalsa society for charitable status?

Babbar KhalsaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for sending over a copy of the document, which was on my desk when I arrived in the House. Unfortunately I do not speak Punjabi and it has been a little difficult for me to understand the true import of her question, but I thank her for the effort.

It is the policy of the Government of Canada not to support terrorist organizations of any type, whether on the Indian subcontinent, in the former Yugoslavia, in Ireland or wherever. We provide no support with respect to charitable status.

Where we have reason to believe a charitable organisation is not living up to its charitable status, which requires it to be promoting religion, education or certain social services, we launch an investigation. Any organization could be looked at, depending on the information we receive. Twenty organizations are now appealing their denials of charitable status in the federal court. We follow it up closely.

Babbar KhalsaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder just how much evidence the minister will require before he realizes that the Babbar Khalsa is a terrorist organisation and not a social club.

While I do not expect the minister to listen to members of the opposition, could he explain what rationale his ministry used to ignore a protest from CSIS made over a year ago that the Babbar Khalsa should be denied charitable status?

Babbar KhalsaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the denial of charitable status is something which I have suggested can be appealed in the courts. It is something we do on the basis of proper investigation and information.

We are quite willing to accept the views of the hon. member that a picture of a member with guns surrounding him is evidence, but I suggest it is totally contradictory to the Reform Party's gun policy that the mere presence of a photograph with weapons causes one to be investigated and causes one to lose charitable status.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Liberal Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

Recognizing that forest fires fall under provincial jurisdiction we nevertheless find ourselves faced with one of the worst outbreaks of fires in recent history. What are we doing federally to help thousands of Canadians affected by this horrible situation, not to

mention the preservation of the vast forest so important to rural communities?

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would like to update the House with respect to the situation right now in the country.

While the forest fire season got off to a slow start, unfortunately we are now seeing the destruction of many thousands of hectares of Canada's forests in the western part of the country. For example, in British Columbia 112 fires are burning; in Alberta, 24 fires; in Saskatchewan, 54; and in Manitoba, 27.

Very briefly let me say again that what we are doing at the federal level-

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Order.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anne McLellan Liberal Edmonton Northwest, AB

Perhaps they might be interested in listening to the answer considering that it deals with the economy of provinces like British Columbia and Alberta.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. minister to make her final point.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anne McLellan Liberal Edmonton Northwest, AB

Let me simply say that we work in co-operation with the provinces and in particular through the inter-agency forest fire centre which ensures that the federal government and the provinces make the best use of their resources to fight forest fires.

Social HousingOral Question Period

June 5th, 1995 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, the amounts allocated to social housing by the federal government have been falling at an alarming rate since 1992. Last March, the Minister of Finance cut the CMHC's budget by $307 million, effectively killing any hope of new social housing initiatives. Yesterday, 20,000 people demonstrated in Quebec City to remind the government that social housing was one of their nine key demands.

Does the Minister of Public Works not agree that his cuts to social housing subsidies are a direct attack against the essential needs of the most vulnerable families in our society, despite Liberal election promises that these people would enjoy an acceptable standard of living-

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, I agree that this is a long preamble. The hon. member will please put his question.

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Does the minister not agree that his cuts to social housing subsidies are a direct attack against the essential needs of the most vulnerable families in our society, despite Liberal election promises that these people would enjoy an acceptable standard of living in conditions of dignity and respect?

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:55 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 think the hon. member will know each department and each agency of the Government of Canada has had to undergo an extensive review of its programs. Canada Mortgage and Housing has been no exception.

The hon. member will know the Government of Canada provides on an annual basis $2 billion for approximately 140,000 units across the country. Furthermore, the government was able to provide $100 million under the auspices of RRAP. There have been a number of other initiatives too long to mention.

Perhaps I could conclude with a final one. Under the auspices of the private-public partnership centre of Canada Mortgage and Housing and the private sector, 49 projects creating over 2,500 units in the country have been put in place.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, in amendments to the Young Offenders Act the justice minister included a provision to have 16 and 17 year olds tried in adult court.

Provisions in the Criminal Code and carried on in Bill C-41 stipulate persons under 18 convicted of first degree murder are eligible for parole after serving between 5 and 10 years. Adults convicted of first degree are not eligible for parole until serving a 25-year sentence.

I have a question for the Minister of Justice. What is the purpose of having 16 and 17 year olds in adult court if they are not going to receive adult sentences?