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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was research.

Topics

Former Employees Of SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The federal government was a trustee of the pension fund of former employees of the Singer company from 1947 to 1962. Its mandate was to protect the interests of the employees of this company. However, the federal government allowed Singer to draw funds from the pension surplus, thus depriving retirees of an amount that today is estimated at more than $8 million.

Will the minister acknowledge the demands of former Singer employees by granting them their request for compensation, and do so before the last pensioner dies?

Former Employees Of SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have noted the question put by the opposition member, and I will give him a reply as soon as I have had time to look into the case.

Former Employees Of SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I got in touch with the new minister and his office about this almost three weeks ago, and I may add that the average age of the Singer employees is 80. So we cannot afford to wait.

Would the minister agree that if he lets this dispute go to court, because that is what is bound to happen, it would generate tremendous costs for the taxpayer and mean intolerable delay for the retirees, whose average age is more than 80?

Former Employees Of SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to a decision that was made in 1962. I must admit that I was nowhere near the government at the time, so, as I said in reply to his first question, I will look into the case as soon as I have a chance. I can assure you I will give the most comprehensive answer that I can, because this issue is certainly very important to the people concerned, and I think it is entirely legitimate to look into a case instead of improvising an answer.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia finance officials are predicting that the changeover for the GST harmonization deal is going to cost businesses in Nova Scotia about $200 million in the first year alone, and $100 million annually in ongoing costs due to tax and pricing.

How can the minister justify implementing this disastrous plan when it will mean lost jobs and higher prices and hundreds of millions of dollars in higher costs for the people of Atlantic Canada?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. In fact the most recent independent studies that have come out of Nova Scotia have demonstrated that it is going to lead to very large scale job creation among small and medium sized business.

What was indicated in the study that came out yesterday was that the harmonized tax was going to reverse the cash flow drain that was coming out of Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces as a result of the original introduction of the GST.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case. The finance officials in Nova Scotia are saying $100 million annually and $200 million in the first year.

While the finance minister is promising jobs, jobs, jobs, the government robs, robs, robs.

Large chains will survive this because they can pass on higher prices to consumers across Canada, but small business will either be forced to lay people off, charge customers more or simply go out of business. Those are not very good options. When Canadians are crying out for jobs, why is the minister setting out to kill jobs?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party in terms of its questions lobs, lobs, lobs.

It was made very clear by independent studies in Atlantic Canada, specifically in the case of Nova Scotia, that the harmonized sales tax will lead to substantial job creation because it will lower the costs for small and medium sized business. For the first time they are going to have the opportunity to incorporate and put tax credits into their cost base which is going to lower their costs. That is the reason they did it. It is a reason that Newfoundland did it.

I do not understand why Reform Party members consistently stand up in front of this House and say that they oppose measures that allow Atlantic Canada to compete. Why can they not speak for the whole country?

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment and sustainable development.

A previous endangered species proposal came under intense criticism. How does the legislation tabled by the minister today

respond to these criticisms and provide effective protection for species by also protecting their life sustaining habitat?

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question.

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Liberal York West, ON

Quite frankly, the Reform are specialists on this file: endangered species.

The government listened to the task force that was put in place, a task force that reflected industry, agriculture and environmental concerns. If members look at the legislation that we tabled today, the first ever federal legislation on endangered species, they will find that 80 per cent of the task force recommendations are covered.

If they check, they will find more territory covered by the legislation than previously. Also, whether the quality is on habitat, offences or including the public, the files have been moved forward.

Last, the provinces and territories need to be complimented on agreeing on a national accord so that we have a national plan and not a patchwork plan to protect and safeguard endangered species.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, on September 30 when I asked the minister of immigration about the government's ineffectiveness in deporting foreign criminals, she responded that her government's Bill C-44 had solved all the problems.

However, on October 18, a Federal Court judge found many parts of the government's legislation to be lacking and quashed the decision in the Williams case.

Since the government has used Bill C-44 as a cure-all for all the immigration department's problems, what is the minister going to do now to protect Canadians from immigrants and refugees who pose a threat to Canadians.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as you know, in the existing legislation, we have all the powers we need to turn away criminals who come to our country. We even have the power to prevent them from going before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

That was the purpose of the new legislation we passed in this House. Clearly, Canada will never be a haven for criminals.

New Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In June, the minister tabled his policy on new reproductive technologies, announcing among other things the establishment of a federal agency responsible for monitoring the use of these new technologies. After the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a new agency is threatening to interfere in health matters.

Knowing full well that reproductive technologies are a health matter, which makes them a provincial jurisdiction, and knowing how much establishing such an agency will cost, how can the minister justify establishing yet another federal agency in these days of budget restrictions?

New Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I believe hon. members opposite were the first political party to call on me, as the minister responsible for health, to move with dispatch as it relates to new reproductive technologies. We have done that.

We have come forward with a bill that will go to committee. It will be examined. Hearings will take place. If improvements are necessary, they will be made.

It is certainly not the intention of the government or the administration to have any overlap and duplication. Where it is pointed out, we will act accordingly.

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

October 31st, 1996 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, earlier today to the media and in question period, the Minister of the Environment talked in glowing terms about his plan to protect endangered species and habitat in Canada. In doing so he has conceded that the co-operation of the provinces is critical to making this process truly effective.

As far as federal lands are concerned, is the minister prepared to do a full habitat inventory for species currently on the list? As far as provincial co-operation is concerned, can the minister tell us what enforcement powers he has at his disposal if any or all provincial governments fail to include habitat protection within their own legislative framework?

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for too many years in this country when it has come to endangered species the time clock on the species has ticked while federal and provincial governments have bickered over the rock that the bird lands on. We argue: Is it your rock, is it my rock and what do we do about it?

Instead of continuing in that old, frustrating and losing manner the government decided to start on the other end. We started with the endangered species.

We will take responsibility on federal lands. We will take responsibility for co-ordinating interprovincial species. We will take responsibility for international cross-border species. The

provinces and the territories have signed on to a national accord that they will take their proper responsibilities.

If we do that, it is not a question of patting the federal or provincial governments on the back, the endangered species will be the winners. That is the object of the exercise.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women.

The minister recently made an announcement regarding the government's race relations and multiculturalism program. Could she please tell the House why she made the announcement now and whether the results of the program review reflect the recommendations of a report which called for the elimination of funding for ethnocultural groups?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.

I would like to state that first and foremost, the Race Relations Foundation is in keeping with a red book promise which we made. Second, multiculturalism is not about ethnocultural organizations. Multiculturalism is about how all the peoples of Canada-the aboriginal people, the French, the English and people who have come here from every corner of the globe-learn to live together in mutual respect with social justice and with compassion.

We will continue to support that and we will continue to fund whatever groups and institutions encourage that.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of Mr. Sean Doherty, leader of the delegation of the Public Accounts of the Dail of the Irish Parliament. He is accompanied by members of Parliament and officers.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the government to tell us what is on the legislative agenda for the coming week.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, November 1, and next Thursday, November 7, the House shall consider the address debate, the concluding portion of the debate on the speech from the throne.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we will consider legislation beginning with Bill C-41, the divorce and child support bill. When this is complete, we will return to the list on which we have been working, namely: Bill C-34, the agricultural penalties legislation; Bill C-47, the reproductive technologies bill; Bill C-62, the Fisheries Act amendments; Bill C-59, the water transportation bill; Bills C-39 and C-40, the York Factory and Nelson House agreements bills; and finally Bill C-46, the Criminal Code amendments.

This completes my weekly business statement.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, we will have statements now with regard to the Remembrance Day ceremonies. I recognize the hon. minister of veterans affairs.