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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vice-chair.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I really wish the Prime Minister would embrace the merit principle when he picks his cabinet.

I remind the revenue minister that two years ago she said of the GST: "As Liberals we were elected to change the tax, abolish the tax, scrap it". That is what the revenue minister said two years ago, six months after the election.

Why is she and her government weaselling out of their commitment to abolish this hated tax? Why has she changed her mind?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question because nobody is weaselling out of a commitment to reform the GST.

We talked about harmonizing that tax. I know the Minister of Finance is working diligently with all the provinces to find a solution. I worked with members of the hon. member's party on the finance committee and we agreed that finding a harmonized tax is what Canadians want, and we will do that.

Quebec CitadelOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Defence. The events surrounding the mock terrorist attack on the Quebec Citadel, in 1992, brought back into the limelight the rather suspicious circumstances in which private Jonathan Brunet found a tragic death, in February 1994, at the Quebec Citadel. His mother does not believe he committed suicide and is asking for an independent investigation.

Can the minister explain why the Canadian forces gave the soldier's mother three different accounts of her son's death, and why several reports, documents, and personal effects have not yet been turned over to the family following the department's investigation in this matter?

Quebec CitadelOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, normally I would not want to discuss matters of such a personal nature in the House of Commons. This deals with the very unfortunate death of a former member of the armed forces.

There were a number of investigations. We particularly wanted to assure that the mother of the deceased was comfortable in knowing that the armed forces had dealt with the matter in the most appropriate of ways.

There has been some concern about the personal effects of that individual. Those are being addressed. That is all I can really say at this time.

Quebec CitadelOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the minister's answer, who wants to be reassuring and claims that an in-depth investigation was conducted, it has been confirmed by several sources that there was no such investigation.

Unfortunately, these recent revelations bring back to mind the wave of suicides which was revealed last year and was, to say the least, highly suspicious. Is the minister going to act at long last and order an investigation independent from his department to get to the bottom of this matter once and for all?

Quebec CitadelOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if I felt there was need for an independent inquiry into such a matter I would have no hesitation, as the hon. member knows. We have launched an independent inquiry into the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces to Somalia in 1993 so that is not really at issue.

I do take umbrage with some of the comments made by the hon. member with respect to a suicide wave. We have dealt with this in the House of Commons. These unfortunate deaths plague society at large, not just in Canada but worldwide and run about half the rate of Canadian society as a whole. We have made documents public which show there is no undue tendency of members of the armed forces to take their lives out of step with the rest of Canadian society.

TerrorismOral Question Period

March 4th, 1996 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are shocked and saddened by yet another bombing just a few hours ago in Israel. We join with all Canadians in sending our condolences to the families.

We are also outraged that terrorists receive support and funding from certain foreign countries. What measures will the Canadian government take to lead, I repeat lead, to punish the countries that fund such terrorism?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know all members of the House and all Canadians echo the sympathies extended by the member for Red Deer.

I should report to the House that the Prime Minister has already written to the Prime Minister of Israel on behalf of the Canadian people to express his deep sympathy and his outrage at the actions that have taken place. Unfortunately there was another bombing attack this morning, the third in a row. In many cases the injured and dead are children which makes the situation even more serious.

I will be making a statement in the House immediately following question period. We will outline the concerns we have as a government and the steps we will be taking as a country to help support the peace process in Israel and to counteract the very malicious and violent acts of terrorism that seem to be so rampant and which are so destructive to all.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that every country should condemn such sickening bombings. I do not think civilians are ever a legitimate target for such attacks.

We all think of Mr. Gerry Adams and his refusal to condemn the IRA after the bombings.

Will the minister take it upon himself to contact the ambassadors in Canada for all of these countries? If even one of them refuses to condemn these actions we could then call for an investigation and make it public in Canada and at least take some action. These activities demand some sort of action.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt at all that the increasing incidents of terrorism do demand the most intense and active international action we can possibly muster.

I remind the House that just a few months ago my colleague the Solicitor General hosted a meeting of the P-8 countries in Ottawa to deal with counterterrorism. It was a major conference which looked at a number of aspects.

It would certainly be our intention to promote some of those measures at the G-7 meeting which will take place this spring. It is something we can take some leadership on in trying to get the international community to act. As well, there are actions which we can take within our own country. As I said, I will outline some of those actions in a statement I propose to make later in the House.

I certainly welcome the points of view expressed by the member for Red Deer on behalf of his party. We all want to look at ways in which we can try to stamp out terrorism or restrain or limit it so that it does not become something that will destroy what is good in the country. It is a case of the bad driving out the good. We will certainly look very carefully at the representations from the hon. member.

SecuritiesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

In the speech from the throne, the government clearly states that it intends to create a Canadian Securities Commission.

Is the Minister of Finance aware that the securities business is a field of exclusive provincial jurisdiction in which he is not allowed to interfere?

SecuritiesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Securities Commission was mentioned in the speech from the throne. Its genesis was from the suggestion of the provinces. We were quite clear that it is a provincial jurisdiction but several provinces have been asking us about it. We have put forth an optional proposal to the provinces and they will be allowed to opt in or opt out. Anyone who has ever worked in the securities business in Canada realizes that the proliferation of agencies one has to go through is a dreadful thing. A national Canadian securities commission would be appropriate and would be of great benefit to Canadian business and the Canadian people.

SecuritiesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the secretary of state. It is incredible. He said that there is a proliferation of agencies and yet, the federal government is going to create new ones, top-loading the securities business. Mr. Daniel Johnson, who was Quebec Premier in 1994, wrote a letter to the minister or to the secretary of state, stating that Quebec and the then labour minister were adamantly clinging to the securities area. So, why this plan to create securities commissions?

How can the government say in the speech from the throne that it is going to withdraw from areas of provincial jurisdiction and, at the same time, that it is going to interfere in these areas, claiming there is a certain proliferation? Such an argument does not make any sense.

SecuritiesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member forgets that the provinces that do not want to follow this can opt out. Is that a compulsory system? Certainly not. Many provinces have wanted to opt in to a Canadian securities commission. It will replace the provincial securities commissions for those provinces that do want to opt in. It is an excellent measure and one that all Canadians should support.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

During the last year the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture has expressed serious concerns over how the feed freight assistance transition fund would be paid out. The federation has identified direct payments to producers would be the most useful option to help the industry adapt during this transition period.

Can the minister assure the members of the House that the concerns of the Nova Scotia producers have been listened to and when can we expect a final decision on this matter?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the hon. member's important question. As he knows, for the past several months a task force has been at work consulting with all of the affected FFA

stakeholders and offering advice about how the FFA adjustment process should proceed away from subsidization.

The task force has been guided by the able leadership of my friend the Secretary of State for Agriculture and Agri-Food. The final report has been received. We will be in a position to respond in detail this afternoon. I am pleased to say that we have been able to respond favourably to the vast majority of the task force's recommendations, including the specific point mentioned by the hon. member.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, Malachy McAllister is a former member of the terrorist organization Irish Nationalist Liberation Army. He was convicted of attempted murder of a Belfast police officer in 1982. In 1988 he arrived in Canada and claimed refugee status which was denied and he has been ordered deported. However instead of being deported, McAllister has been working here in Ottawa as a stonemason on yes, the Peace Tower.

I ask the Minister of Immigration: Does this government believe that a way of keeping track of people facing deportation is to give them a job on Parliament Hill?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is very normal for the person in question to use any legal means he can find in our Immigration Act. So he did use all the remedies permitted by law. In February, the federal court gave a ruling on the removal of this person. At this moment, the removal process is being finalized.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear that the minister is adamant in having this terrorist removed from the country.

On Friday the parliamentary secretary for immigration assured us that Bill C-44 was looking after all of these and preventing these types of individuals from using the appeal process. Will the minister continue in this vein and make sure that anybody convicted of terrorist activities in other countries will immediately be deported and be prevented from using the appeal system?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the priority of the department of immigration is first and foremost to guarantee the security of Canadians. As a country, we definitely will not welcome people with a criminal or terrorist past.

However, our Canadian laws allow some legal recourse that we must respect. Once all legal means have been used, as in the present case, we must proceed with the removal of the person and this is what we will do in this situation.

Agri-Food SectorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Agriculture. Once more, Canada is having a commercial dispute with the United States with regard to the agri-food sector. Some 138,000 Canadian jobs are at stake, including 45,000 in Quebec.

Could the government commit itself to do its utmost to make sure that custom tariffs determined by the World Trade Organization in the area of milk, poultry and egg productions are not tampered with in any way because of false American claims?

Agri-Food SectorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say that in the face of the NAFTA challenge launched by the United States with respect to Canada's supply management system, all of the relevant farm organizations, all of the provincial governments and the Government of Canada are totally united in putting forward the most vigorous, articulate and thorough defence of this valuable made in Canada system for the supply management of our agricultural products.

We are launching that vigorous defence in the face of the American action for three very compelling reasons: first, because supply management has served this country very well; second, because we firmly believe we are right as a matter of trade policy and trade law; and third, because this government promised Canadian farmers, including Quebec farmers that we would defend our system of supply management. We will keep that promise.

Agri-Food SectorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what it did in the area of lumber, could the Liberal government promise not to make any concession to the Americans, but rather to use all its resources and all the means at its disposal to force the Americans to abide by the rules of the WTO?

Agri-Food SectorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the last year or so the United States has repeatedly invited us on the Canadian side to renegotiate these tariff equivalents with respect to supply management. The Canadian government with the full support of all the provinces and the full support of Canadian supply management

agencies has consistently said no to the request from the United States.

We believe the United States is trying to obtain by the mechanism of the dispute settlement process what the United States could not obtain through the negotiating process. Canada intends to stand firm. Canada will not blink.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint.

At the launch of the $2 coin, the minister said: "In our efforts to reduce the deficit, we are examining every expenditure for potential savings". Despite this promise of frugality we find that the mint is spending in excess of $2 million to advertise this new coin.

Considering that the coin was already a fait accompli, can the minister explain how spending $2 million to promote the coin contributes to saving money? Is there a hole in the minister's logic?