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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 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 want to put on the record again exactly what was this party's election promise. It was spelled out not in the fine print of some hidden document but in the red book, the basic statement of the platform, the commitments of this party, on which it was elected by the Canadian people: "A Liberal government will replace the GST

with a system that generates equivalent revenues, is fairer to consumers and to small business, minimizes disruption to small business and", get this, "promotes federal-provincial fiscal co-operation and harmonization".

Our commitment was based on the concept of harmonization and any attempt by the Reform Party to say otherwise indicates how blind and deaf it is when it comes to the truth.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice intends to introduce, without amendments, Bill C-119 on juvenile prostitution, sexual harassment and female genital mutilation.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Why did the minister turn a deaf ear to repeated demands the of the Bloc Quebecois that severe sanctions be imposed on anyone who helps, encourages or incites someone to mutilate a young girl?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the bill which we will reintroduce provides clearly that for anyone who engages in the mutilation of a child or of a woman it is aggravated assault within the meaning of that term in the Criminal Code and will carry very heavy penalties.

The principles that apply generally in criminal law with respect to those who aid, abet, counsel or assist will be as applicable to this offence as they are to any other.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, since information and education are essential to solve this issue, why does the Minister of Justice, in co-operation with his colleague from immigration, not inform newcomers right away that the excision of the clitoris is considered to be a criminal practice that is not tolerated in Canada?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and her colleagues are aware that if we are to eradicate this criminal and savage practice we have to not only take steps in criminal law but also educate and inform.

The Minister of Health, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Justice have been working together devoting energy, time and effort to educating communities in Canada and those coming to Canada that this is criminal conduct and will be prosecuted where found.

The BudgetOral Question Period

March 8th, 1996 / 11:30 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we have learned the provinces are refusing the federal government's attempts to get them to harmonize the GST and raise federal taxes.

We know in the budget that the federal government is planning to cut transfers to the provinces for health, education and CAP by $7 billion over the next few years.

We all know the provinces have been balancing their budgets. Is it not the real budget strategy of the government to get the provinces to balance the federal budget as well?

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

No, Mr. Speaker.

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the numbers and facts in the budget and the actions of the government speak for themselves.

My supplementary is for the same minister and also concerns the massive cuts affecting transfers to the provinces, since the minister did not answer the first question. In spite of its sovereignist agenda, the Bouchard government pledged to eliminate the deficit created by the provincial Liberals. Must it also eliminate the deficit generated by the federal Liberals?

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the question is simply not valid. The premise is incorrect. The answer is that is not the case.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

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

Over the last five years, women's groups have seen their subsidies go down 5 per cent every year. Yet, on Wednesday, the Minister of Finance said, and I quote: "If there is one obligation before the government today, it is to do what we must so that confidence can overcome anxiety and hope can replace despair".

Given the disturbing rise in poverty and social problems, and given the importance of the role played by these women's groups, will the minister explain the new 6 per cent reduction which brings to 31 per cent for the last six years the cumulative cuts affecting these groups?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government in its budget has stressed very much the economic independence of women.

We have talked about initiatives in tax credits. We have talked about changing the child support program. We have taken money to be gained out of that program and placed it into ways to eliminate poverty. We have looked at how we can empower single women to go to school and to get training through tax initiatives. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, given her government's plan to promote gender equality, could the secretary of state tell this House about the impact that these new cuts will have on the promotion of women's equality?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, very important in terms of women's equality is that the government has agreed to put forward a plan for gender analysis that will cross every single government department.

Gender analysis means that every time a policy, a law or an initiative is taken there will be a lens to look at that policy, law or initiative to see how it could disadvantage women or men. That kind of thing has led to changes in the employment insurance bill and to all of the initiatives we have seen in the budget.

Canadian SovereigntyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government is still not backing down on B.C.'s inside passage. It is now threatening to charge ferries a toll for crossing between Vancouver and Victoria.

The cowardly inaction of this government has given the U.S. an upper hand. That is odd given that when the Prime Minister was in opposition in 1985 he demanded that the federal government prevent American boats from entering Canadian waters without permission. He talked tough then; he is now rolling over.

When will the government stand up to U.S. election year bullying and declare unauthorized transit of U.S. boats an active challenge to Canadian sovereignty that will not be tolerated?

Canadian SovereigntyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

He talks about the U.S. passing laws. The U.S. put its name to a law 150 years ago, the Treaty of Oregon, which recognized without contention that the inside passage was internal waters. In internal waters there is no right of innocent passage.

Irrespective of any laws the U.S. may have passed which ask it to look for the fees to be returned, which we have refused, this treaty has stood the test of time and will stand us in good stead if we have to look at this downstream.

Canadian SovereigntyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, at the core of this is the Pacific salmon dispute with the Americans.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said this week that our disagreement with the Americans over Cuba was a very serious affair, while the west coast fishing dispute was merely "an annoyance". His statement underscores the government's attitude toward British Columbia: just an annoyance.

Will the minister apologize to the people of British Columbia and tell the House what measures the government is taking to protect the interests of west coast fishermen?

Canadian SovereigntyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I certainly understand the thrust of the hon. member's question.

All members of the House are concerned for the 16,000 commercial fishermen in British Columbia who fish a very difficult species. There are 4,000 stocks, 1,500 streams and a migration pattern that takes two to five years leading to the Alaskan and Aleutians Islands. There is a great concern about this.

The mediation process that has been going on since last summer, of which the hon. member is aware, has stalled. It has not been 100 per cent successful but it has been at least 75 per cent successful. The success that has been achieved was the basis of a discussion between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and myself yesterday. I can assure the House he will be going to Washington with some very good and very strong options that will support the fishermen of British Columbia and their concerns.

Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

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

In November 1993, the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, which cost more than $28 million, underlined the need to legislate against the marketing of human embryos.

How can he explain the fact that, two years after the tabling of the Baird report which strongly recommended the criminalization of egg trafficking, nothing has yet been done by this government to follow up on the commission's recommendation?

Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

The Department of Health has taken the position that is consistent with the expectations of all Canadians. In all cases we will deal with solid research that is well analysed and properly evaluated. The health of Canadians will come first and foremost in all decisions, and every principle of the Canada Health Act will always be maintained. That is our position and we continue to hold it.

Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is the government waiting for before it legislates? Is it waiting for another crisis like the contaminated blood scandal?

Will the secretary of state recognize at least that the voluntary moratorium implemented last July is a total failure and that the situation is getting out of control and will he assure us today that he will take his responsibilities and legislate immediately?

Reproductive TechnologiesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the rhetoric is helping at all. What the department has done and the minister has reiterated in the House is to pursue a line that allows for the re-establishment of public confidence in our blood supply system, in maintaining the process, and in ensuring that all the principles of the health act are maintained, observed and respected by everybody.

The minister indicated in the House on several occasions that inquiries such as the one to which the hon. member has referred have been proceeding according to the mandate of the commission.

We are allowing the commission to go forward. It has already presented an interim report. The government has acted very quickly and decisively on all seven recommendations that related to the federal responsibilities.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

This week an unprecedented meeting was held in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia by a coalition of inshore fisheries groups from the Scotia Fundy region with senior officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Along with other hon. colleagues from the region I worked diligently to ensure this meeting took place, that fishermen's concerns were listened to and that a positive outcome could be achieved.

Would the minister please inform the House of the results of this three-day meeting.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member and his colleagues for their participation in the meeting to which he refers, along with Neil Bellefontaine, the regional director general, his staff and the fishermen. It went on for three days and involved 200 fishermen representing 47 different groups in six fishery sectors.

It involved some difficult subjects such as groundfish management, fisheries legislation, licensing policy and the commercial licence fees for 1996.

I will be holding a press conference following question period that will give all the details of this. However, the measure of success that was achieved in the three days of talks is a positive indicator to me as fisheries minister that the management of fisheries at difficult times when the resources are very scarce will go on in a very positive, understanding, consultative and co-operative manner.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

The finance minister, who is really the Liberal's defence minister, has announced $800 million in cuts to the defence department which are directed at equipment procurement, such as armoured personnel carriers, search and rescue helicopters, shipborne helicopters, submarines, that are all needed to maintain Canada's combat capability.

How and when will the defence minister manage to purchase this equipment which is essential to maintain our sovereignty and to support our troops around the world.?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertion is absolutely wrong.

In the white paper in 1994 we committed to three major purchases, the armoured personnel carrier, search and rescue helicopters, maritime helicopters and if a deal was favourable, submarines.

The question of submarines is still to be decided and has not been affected by the budget announcement of this week.

The armoured personnel carrier announcement was made last August and search and rescue in October. Those programs will proceed.

With respect to maritime helicopters, as a result of the $150 million one-time charge two years hence, we will be deferring the maritime helicopter program decision for one further year.