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 #14 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was reform.

Topics

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister is well aware that, since new entrants will now have to work 910 hours instead of 300 to be eligible for UI benefits, these young people will be forced to turn to social assistance.

Will the minister recognize that, in addition to being a terrible measure for the unemployed, this is a roundabout way of making the provinces pay part of the costs of the UI reform?

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and his colleagues are working very hard trying to create a situation. They talk about people who are going to go on social assistance. Then in the question the hon. member talks about new entrants onto the system.

If a person is already connected to the unemployment insurance system then he is not not a new entrant unless he or she has been out of the system for a number of years. Then that person becomes a re-entrant.

We are not advancing the quality of the debate or trying to deal with the problems facing real people by trying to raise all kinds of unnecessary concerns. The requirement for new entrants into the system is not based on just the 52 weeks of the calendar we have normally applied it to. They can actually bank the weeks, or hours as the case will be after January 1, 1997, from the previous year's work.

If the hon. member wants to put forward his arguments in a place where we can sit down and look specifically at what he is proposing and what concerns him and how we can respond to his questions, we will be happy to do that. However that is not the interest of the hon. member and his colleagues. They want to continue to provide ammunition to those who, for all kinds of other reasons than protecting those at the bottom end of the income scale, want to agitate and make even more anxious real families with real problems who want real solutions.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, when the current environment minister was in charge of immigration, he apparently ordered up to 30,000 copies of a 25 page booklet telling Canadians what a wonderful job he was doing. However, when the new minister of immigration learned that this Liberal propaganda exercise was costing Canadian taxpayers $20,000 she immediately ordered the secret destruction of all copies.

Can the parliamentary secretary explain how the government could spend $20,000 of taxpayers' money on producing partisan propaganda and then pay civil servants to destroy it?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Beaches—Woodbine Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Lib.

Mr. Speaker, as the new minister for the department, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was within her right and it is her prerogative to refuse a document which was prepared by her predecessor which did not reflect her prospectus or her priorities for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. Therefore, the document was not distributed and her staff took the appropriate action and means to have the document destroyed.

As the new minister of the department it is her prerogative to decide what the priorities of the department are.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, it is reported that the new immigration minister turned to CSIS to destroy these potentially embarrassing documents. If this is true, it would be another example of CSIS involving itself in partisan politics by protecting the party in power.

Before the solicitor general comments on these allegations, would he explain whether he has given any instruction to CSIS that it is no longer responsible for investigating threats to the security of Canada but rather that it is responsible for concentrating its efforts on investigating threats to the Liberal Party of Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

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, I have been advised that the allegations made by the hon. member that CSIS was asked to destroy these documents and did so are

totally false. CSIS was not asked to destroy these documents and it did not destroy the documents.

Furthermore, I am confident that CSIS is very well aware of its responsibilities under the law established by this Parliament and is carrying them out.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

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

Two Ontario women are currently challenging, in court, the parental leave provision of the unemployment insurance plan, which treats adoptive parents very differently from natural parents. There is a huge difference, in that adoptive parents are entitled to 15 fewer weeks of leave.

In light of the fact that the purpose of parental leave is to nurture the child, how can the minister explain this double standard for biological and adoptive parents?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult question. As the hon. member said, there is a matter before the courts so I do not want to specifically address that problem.

This is a question that has to be dealt deal with in the most sensitive way possible. I have been informed of the decision to move in this direction and I have been trying to become better acquainted with the rationale behind it.

On the question of maternity benefits, as the hon. member says it has the component of taking care of the child. It also has the very obvious and significant element of taking care of the natural mother as she goes through the process of childbirth.

I understand the concerns raised by people who feel there should be as much opportunity as possible for nurturing a newborn child or a newly adopted child in those situations. However, it would seem to me, and there is no doubt of the decision of the government in terms of how to deal with this issue, that there were differences not in the needs of children to be cared for by their mothers for as long as possible, but in the difference between the situation faced by a natural mother in terms of her own physical capacity to deal with a birth as opposed to that of an adoptive mother dealing with an adopted child.

I do not think there are ever any easy solutions to these questions. I hope my hon. colleague would understand there is at least that difference between the two situations of a natural mother and an adoptive mother, and the need to look at them somewhat differently.

Day CareOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, still on the subject of children's well-being, given that adequate child care can greatly improve their quality of life, could the minister explain to parents in Quebec and Canada what has become of the 150,000 new day care spaces his government has been promising for three years?

Day CareOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this is always a timely topic. Before Christmas, the Government of Canada made a proposal to the provinces and territories, suggesting that a national day care system be established.

It will come as no surprise to my hon. friend to learn that several provinces, including Quebec, have expressed serious reservations about the appropriateness of federal interference in an area of provincial jurisdiction. I agree with this reaction. What we are suggesting to our partners from all the provinces is that we need to sit down together and try to figure out how the Government of Canada could help resolve, at least in part, the problem raised by my hon. friend, while at the same time respecting the provinces' jurisdiction.

In this context, I promise, not only the hon. member who asked the question, but also the representatives of all governments across the country, that we will do our best to fulfil the commitment made by the federal government in the throne speech not to interfere unilaterally, through its spending power, in an area of provincial jurisdiction.

We will nonetheless try to find, within these parameters, a way to co-operate with the provinces in order to help those who need the kind of support that a financial contribution to day care would provide.

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, apparently the Liberal pork machine is well in gear for the upcoming byelections.

Pierre Pettigrew has decided that he may have trouble winning his seat so he has decided to try and buy it. He does not have the portfolio which would allow him to spend millions of dollars in his own riding, so he has decided instead to spend $3.8 million in Haiti in an attempt to buy votes in Papineau. Apparently he is shameless.

On behalf of Canadian taxpayers who will have to foot the multimillion dollar bill for this, I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs if he will bring this matter to the House of Commons for

debate so that we can see whether the $3.8 million is for the benefit of Haitians or for the benefit of Pierre Pettigrew.

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I find the question absolutely incredible. Canada is very proud of its longstanding commitment to Haiti and to the people of Haiti.

The announcement made yesterday by the minister who has the responsibility of the francophonie, of which Haiti is a member, is also the minister responsible for international co-operation. He made the announcement in a series of Canadian government announcements in support of the people of Haiti.

The two projects announced yesterday will be implemented by two Canadian NGOs, CECI and CESO by name. They will be working in collaboration with Haitian non-government organizations.

All of the funding is for the benefit of the people of Haiti, not for the people of Canada, whatever their origin, and certainly not for the personal benefit of the minister.

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, when a minister does not yet have a seat in the House of Commons, how convenient it is to spend money to buy a few votes in one region of his riding.

Canadians are justifiably proud of their commitment to Haiti. We have sent many people to Haiti. We continue to send money. We want to help to restore democracy in Haiti.

However, it is unconscionable that Pierre Pettigrew would funnel $3.8 million at this time, in the middle of a byelection, at a critical moment, in order to help himself in a byelection attempt.

Does the minister personally condone spending money 10 days before a byelection in an obvious attempt to buy-

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

Even by the furthest stretch of the imagination, the question does not fall under the purview of the minister's administrative responsibilities. It is out of order.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

On February 28, the community of Kanesatake voted a resounding no to the following question: "Do you want Jerry Peltier as grand chief and chief negotiator?" Yet, the minister seems torn since Mr. Peltier wrote him that he wanted to remain as chief.

Since the minister has long supported the principle of Native self-government, when will he recognize the Kanesatake community's inalienable right to choose its own leaders?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I responded to that question last week.

That community had an election. We hired Coopers and Lybrand to oversee the election. The report was returned saying that it was a proper election of Jerry Peltier.

The community had a meeting a few weeks ago and they now have a second chief. However, Mr. Peltier's term is for three years and he has not resigned. In the spirit of self-government, I am hoping the community will work itself through the process.

On the upside, the difficulty in the community has not affected the fact that there are seven members on the council. Six are still there. The majority is still working.

Why do Bloc members always pick on Jerry Peltier and the Mohawks? They are back to Mohawk bashing. Why do they not pay some attention to the Algonquins or the Abenakis? They do not have any interest north of here. It is always the Mohawks. Why? The Mohawks see through this party for what they are. They see them as ideologues and they will continue to ask these questions about the proud Mohawks.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the minister that I am a member of the Bloc Quebecois and not the Reform Party, thank God.

Does the minister not agree that, by continuing to protect former chief Jerry Peltier-who, may I remind you, used to work for his department-and by failing to acknowledge the February 28 vote, he is showing disrespect for the community of Kanesatake and treating all Native communities in Canada like children?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I face the separatists and the Bloc every day and I know they are very concerned about territorial integrity and the political position of the Mohawks.

These are not my words, these are the words of Daniel Turp, the candidate for the Bloc in Papineau and the man who gives this party advice. He said: "If Quebec were to object to sovereignty measures democratically approved, these native nations could undoubtedly claim that their democratic rights to self-determination and to secession have been violated". This party is violating this.

TerrorismOral Question Period

March 15th, 1996 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just returned from Egypt after attending an international conference on terrorism. Would the secretary of state for Africa tell the House the outcome of the conference and what steps is Canada taking to ensure that the peace process is not hijacked by terrorism?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, the conference that took place in Egypt this week sent a very important message to the international community that collectively people, including those who historically were sometimes antagonists, can come together to confront terrorism, violence and the cowardice of that in our world community. It is an important message, particularly to the Middle East peace process, at this time.

The summit was a very short process. There was agreement that a working group be formed. Canada will participate in that working group to find other ways in which the international community can improve its efforts and collaboration toward ending terrorism and violence around the world.

Our departments are meeting to see how we can, in fact, prevent fundraising and the organizational work of terrorists in our country.

Cornwallis Park Development AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Cornwallis Park Development Agency has some serious problems within it, not the least of which is political interference from the Liberal member for South West Nova.

For example, Mark Phillips got a management job for $33,000 and pocketed another $7,500 as a part time consultant. His qualifications were that of a cook and president of the Digby Liberal Association.

My question is for the minister responsible for ACOA. Will the government disclose the criteria and qualifications for selecting the board of the Cornwallis Park Development Agency besides being Liberal, or do we have to dissect this whole operation piece by piece?

Cornwallis Park Development AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, in question period I try to give every latitude in the framing of questions. I would ask members to be very careful in the preamble.

I have to wait until the end of the question to see if it is in order. That is what we are dealing with here. Sometimes in the questions and sometimes in the answers members are taking, in my view, a little bit of licence. I would ask them to please try to compact the preamble to questions so the wait is not so long before I can intercede and make a decision.

This question is in order and I will allow the solicitor general to respond if he wants to. I saw him on his feet.

Cornwallis Park Development AgencyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

I will follow your admonition most closely, Mr. Speaker.

I will say simply that I do not accept in any way what I consider to be the unwarranted insinuations and premise in the hon. member's question. I do not see why his question should start out with an unwarranted attack on a very distinguished and hard working member of this House.

I will be happy to take these allegations, in spite of their unwarranted nature, and bring them to the attention of the minister responsible for ACOA. I understand the new agency is in place and its administration is being put in place in the proper way. I am sure the minister responsible for ACOA will have full answers when he is back in the House.

In the meantime, I see no reason why the hon. member should make these unwarranted attacks on a very distinguished, hardworking and effective member of this House.

Cornwallis Park Development AgencyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

I guess, Mr. Speaker, when you are dealing with facts, you are dealing with facts and I do not see them as unwarranted at all, having already undertaken an investigation.

We have unsolicited bids, we have hiring of unqualified people and we have political patronage which are commonplace in this particular agency. The vultures have started picking at the carcass of a closed military base.

Will the minister agree to a public inquiry of the Cornwallis Park Development Agency? If he will not, will he allow the opposition to review the records of ACOA and the Cornwallis Park Development Agency with respect to its finances and its operations?

Cornwallis Park Development AgencyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in answering this question I want to make it clear that I do not accept in any way the premise, the insinuations or innuendos in the hon. member's question.

This matter will be looked into by the minister responsible for ACOA and he will be in a position to report back in the appropriate way.

In the meantime, in spite of the hon. member's reference to facts, he has not demonstrated in this House that he always has a complete grasp of them himself.