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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-42.

Topics

Program For Older Worker AdjustmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that although the Société québécoise de développement de la main-d'oeuvre, the SQDM, has already set money aside, more than 500 workers currently eligible for the program will be deprived of benefits because he is not honouring his financial commitment to POWA? That is the reality.

Program For Older Worker AdjustmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, would the Government of Quebec like to continue the program? It would be interesting to find out. What I can say is that up to now only the more populous provinces have agreed to take part and that the less populous regions have been put at a disadvantage by the system.

The Government of Canada is trying to find another way to help older workers, which will be fairer to all regions, because too many of them are not participating in the system at the moment.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, because of the softwood lumber deal negotiated with the United States, U.S. lumber companies are reaping huge profits from increased lumber prices. Meanwhile, Canadians are losing sawmill jobs.

American consumers want this bad deal cancelled because according to the American National Association of Home Builders, the deal is costing Americans $3,000 more to build a house. Canadians want the deal cancelled because mills are forced to shut down, costing Canadian jobs.

The only group benefiting from this softwood lumber deal is the American lumber lobby, the same group the government caved in to during negotiations.

Will the minister take steps to immediately cancel the softwood lumber deal with the United States?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the prescription offered by the hon. member would create total chaos and disruption in one of the most important dollar earning export markets in Canada. It is simply a recommendation of lunacy.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should listen to my colleagues on this side: 600 jobs in one riding, 400 jobs in another riding. If chaos is being introduced, he has introduced it. Cancel the lumber deal. Cancel it now.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I fail to see any germ of a question in the hon. member's outburst.

However, I remind him that this is a multi-billion dollar industry which provides hundreds of thousands of jobs. To provide an orderly arrangement with our largest customer requires us to play by the rules. We know that the Reform Party is not used to playing by the rules. They do not even know there are rules.

If we are going to protect the industry and protect the jobs, we must make sure that the rules are honoured. Those rules were arrived at in full consultation with the provinces and the industry involved. That is why we intend to keep the rules in place.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

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

In his discussions with the provinces regarding the transfer of labour market training to the provinces, has the minister taken steps to ensure that the principles of the Official Languages Act will continue to apply? Does he have an assurance that francophones outside of Quebec will continue to be able to get their training in French and anglophones in Quebec to get their training in English?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the concerns about official languages generated by the Government of Canada's proposal for an expanded role for the provinces in the design and delivery of labour market programs.

I am very confident that the necessary safeguards have been put in place to ensure the linguistic needs of Canadians will be met

under the new arrangement. Actually, the Employment Insurance Act provides for: "the availability of assistance under the benefit and measures in either official language, where there is significant demand for that assistance in that language, no matter who delivers the program".

So I am fully confident that the current round of negotiations with the provinces will be a unique opportunity to improve employment services for Canadians and to deliver labour market development programs targeted to the needs of Canadians in this new economy.

Singer CompanyOral 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.

Last Wednesday, in response to a question about the Singer company, the minister claimed that lawyers from the department were engaged in talks and would be reporting to him by the end of the week. The minister also promised to report to this House. Clearly the minister spends too much time talking and not enough time on his files.

Considering that so far, counsel for the retired employees has not been approached, could the minister now tell us what the government's position will be in the dispute between the government and the retired Singer employees?

Singer CompanyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was given a report on the Singer company which I have not had time to read yet. In fact, what I spent too much time doing was discussing child poverty with the provinces all day yesterday in the council of federal and provincial ministers, all of which took place in a great spirit of co-operation.

I can assure you that was the situation I talked about all day. Our department is very active, since the recommendation is on my desk, and I will look at it within the next few hours.

Singer CompanyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister confirmed what I just said. He spends his time talking and does not spend enough time on his files. That is what he does.

This case has been dragging on for years. Three ministers have succeeded each other in this position in three years, and none of them bothered to pay any real attention to this case, and the present minister is no better than his predecessors.

The minister wastes his time moralizing and showing how compassionate he is, but what explanation does he have for his lack of consideration towards a group of retired employees who were given a raw deal and whose average age is 80?

Singer CompanyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, precisely because I wanted to spend some time on this case, on the substance of the case.

It has now been seven weeks since I became Minister of Human Resources Development. We are busy with negotiations on the transfer of manpower programs, as well as with the social union and the ministerial council. So when people say I waste my time talking, they are wrong. When I do say something, it has to be to the point. That is probably what bothers them. They do not like it when I talk, because we are working on co-operation.

We have a lot of compassion for the Singer employees, and because these workers deserve more than pretty speeches, we will examine the substance of the case.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was kind of a sordid little deal at work this last week. A memo was circulated by a private company in Ottawa, MDS Aero Support Corp., that asks its employees to give over $1,000 each to the Liberal Party. In return the company would give a bonus to cover the donation, the employees get their money back, plus a tax credit from Elections Canada. The company gets to write off the bonuses as a business expense and the taxpayer gets the shaft.

This has broken in the news. The company has since withdrawn the offer and returned the cheques.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister agree that this type of activity is unethical and what steps will she take to make sure that this type of activity is not only unethical but will be illegal in the future?

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government in no way supports or condones this type of scheme. The government was not aware of it before it came into the press. Revenue Canada has already said it considers this scheme improper and the company has called it off.

I am advised that amendments to the law are not required because the law currently says very clearly that this should not be done.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

The company is certainly fortunate that it broke in the news if that is the case.

I have spoken to officials in Elections Canada and the elections act apparently does not prohibit this type of activity. I would like the minister to consider that.

This type of behaviour is also coercive toward employees. It forces employees to make a choice. The boss says give donations to the Liberal Party and it is written between the lines-you can read it-your future depends on it.

This company received over $1 million in federal contracts. The president of the corporation paid tens of thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party. This thing stinks to high heaven and the minister knows it.

How can the minister make sure that this sort of thing does not happen and what steps will he take to make sure it will not happen in the future?

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the election expenses provision of the law is administered by Revenue Canada, as I understand it, when it comes to the matter of income tax receipts and deductions. I am advised that Revenue Canada considers the practice in question improper. They intend to monitor these situations very carefully to help ensure they are not repeated.

As I have said, I am advised that amendments to the law are not necessary. It is very clear that this type of scheme is not supported by the government and Revenue Canada will be following this very closely.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian children living in poverty need more than the minister's commitment to have his officials look into possible solutions to their crises.

Yesterday Saskatchewan's premier, Roy Romanow, called for immediate federal-provincial action to restore and enrich support for children that have been eroded by deficit cutting measures.

The premier called for a national plan for children modelled on Saskatchewan's, which includes reviewing all legislation for its impact on children, appointing a children's advocate and setting up local children's centres to provide services in health, nutrition, child care, abuse prevention and recreation that are now pieced out to various ministries.

Is the minister, on behalf of the government, prepared to heed the premier's call?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, yes, the government is presently answering the needs of children.

Yesterday Mr. Ned Shillington of the Government of Saskatchewan was part of the ministerial council that identified children as the priority of our ministerial council's work. I was extremely pleased with that.

There seems to be a consensus on a national benefit for children. The government will consider it and I will certainly inform my colleagues of the ministerial council's evolution in that favour.

We are extremely pleased at the great mood of co-operation which was a very good start for the ministerial council and I am proud of its priority on children.

Central AfricaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

John English Liberal Kitchener, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

All Canadians are pleased to see some positive developments in the great lakes region of Africa, notably the presence of General Baril in Zaire. We are also aware that the minister has participated in intensive consultations on this subject. Could he please tell the House the results of those consultations and what Canada can do to resolve this tragic situation in Africa?

Central AfricaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that as of about noon today we have received indications from over 20 countries that they are prepared to work with us and support our proposal to establish a multinational headquarters in Uganda, that we will undertake a capacity for drops for humanitarian purposes and that we will continue to work on reconnaissance missions.

That means we have succeeded in establishing a multilateral mechanism to help in the basic humanitarian needs in that area. With the kind of commitment we have received, plus the work our NGOs are doing in the area, the work of our military, the work of Ambassador Chrétien, Canadians can be very proud that we are in a position to really help the people of central Africa.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

November 28th, 1996 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question of privilege first.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Did this take place today during question period?

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Yes, I sent a page to inform you.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Well, if it is something that took place during question period, I recognize the official opposition House leader.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the period for members' statements, the member for Saint-Denis made some remarks about me that were inaccurate, accusing me of having used my householder, and therefore government money, my position and my budget as an MP to support my wife in a school board election in Montreal. This is not true.

For one thing, my wife's name has never been mentioned in any of my householders, and for another, the electoral territory of my wife, who is a school trustee in Montreal, is completely separate from my electoral territory. As a result, my householder could not reach my wife's potential voters. I therefore ask the member to withdraw her remarks, which are inaccurate.