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House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was institutions.

Topics

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, as we can see, the minister of defence is easily offended when we ask him questions on what goes on in his department.

Earlier, in response to my colleague from Charlesbourg, he took offence at being asked about events that call into question our armed forces' credibility and, above all, his own credibility and leadership. He has just done the same thing.

When the minister of defence mentions families that, in his opinion, are outraged by the opposition's attitude, he should perhaps consider the members of Corporal Daniel Gunther's family, who were told by the Information Commissioner of Canada that documents were missing from the corporal's file and that he could not explain why these documents were still missing. This is strangely reminiscent of the Somalia affair and it would be in the minister's interest to give this some serious consideration.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member has evidence germane to the inquiry he should submit it to the inquiry, not read it into the record here.

It is quite obvious by the bluster we have just heard that the Bloc Quebecois has joined the inquisition of the hon. member for Calgary West. Perhaps if the shoe fits they should wear it.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is all the members of this House and all Canadians who may soon be outraged by the minister's unacceptable attitude.

My question is a very simple one. The Information Commissioner of Canada can give the minister all the answers he wants. But would it not be normal for the minister of defence, who is supposedly responsible for the Canadian Forces, to know what goes on in his department and why some people routinely destroy and hide documents? He should know this, if he were truly responsible.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to listen to the hon. member when he claims to be speaking on behalf of all Canadians. This is interesting coming from a separatist.

It is interesting that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois has joined in a common front with Reform, a front to undermine the inquiry and the judicial process to look into this very serious matter.

Canadians want answers. The government wants answers. We will not get the answers from this line of questioning. We will get the answers from an impartial commission which is doing its job and doing it well.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the foreign affairs minister feigned outrage that Reform would ask questions about UN Ambassador Bob Fowler.

However, I remind him there have been clouds over Mr. Fowler for over two years. I remind him Mr. Fowler was deputy minister to the present defence minister, deputy minister during the Somalia affair. He was hustled out of town on December 23, 1994. He is a well connected Liberal.

Will the minister not agree that the allegations raised by the media, by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell and by Colonel Geof Haswell constitute a serious cloud of controversy that must be dealt with immediately?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me first clarify that I was not feigning indignation; I really was upset by the hon. member's remarks.

To suggest that being a deputy minister of defence, while it is a very difficult job, is somehow the reason why someone should be asked to be pulled back from a diplomatic post simply does not stand up to much credibility.

As we have repeated many times, the reality is there have been allegations made. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading Ms. Campbell's book. I may never have the pleasure of reading her book; in fact, I am almost sure I will not have the pleasure of reading her book. However, it is an allegation.

As the Minister of National Defence has explained many times, we have set up an inquiry to look into all allegations, to ensure that all information is given, to make sure all testimony is heard and that we will not prejudge any of the results of that inquiry.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about some clerk here. We are talking about Canada's representative to the world at the UN. This guy was around as a DND deputy minister for seven years. He is a Liberal friend. It is not enough to say that Mr. Fowler has not been proven guilty.

To do his job and to be sure Canada is not undermined at the UN-

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. It is 2.45 p.m. and I still have indications from many members who would like to ask questions. I ask that we shorten the preambles and get to the question.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, why will the minister not do the right thing and put Canada's interests higher on his priority list than defending a well connected Liberal appointee and recall Mr. Fowler until these allegations are cleared up?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as is so often the case, the Reform Party tries to intrude its own somewhat undercover form of politics in the debate of the House.

Mr. Fowler is a long time public servant. He has had no affiliation with any party as far as I know. He has worked in a number of posts with great distinction. He is continuing to play that role at the United Nations where he was fundamentally responsible in helping put together a Haitian rescue force which has helped the island. He has represented us effectively in the reform of the United Nations. He is responsible for providing a new budgetary formula for the United Nations. He is doing his job well.

The hon. member should not be so quick to dismiss the fundamental principle this country stands for, that one is innocent until proven guilty.

Tran Trieu QuanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

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

The government's carelessness in the Tran Trieu Quan matter has gone on for too long. The day before last, in an about-face designed to give the impression it is acting on this matter, the government asked Vietnamese authorities to demand that Paul Morgan be extradited. Just last week however, they claimed the matter was in the hands of Mr. Quan's counsel.

Given that the government is dragging its feet in this matter and failed to act until a reporter tracked down Paul Morgan, could the

minister tell us what the government and the RCMP were doing during all that time?

Tran Trieu QuanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that we share the member's concern about the serious situation Mr. Quan is in. But it is incorrect to say that the government did not act on this matter. We did take several steps.

The Prime Minister took the matter up with the prime minister of Vietnam. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs also raised the question. I myself discussed the matter with the ambassador.

This week, the Minister of Finance, who was in Vietnam, expressed our government's concerns to the deputy prime minister of Vietnam and asked that Mr. Quan be released. Meanwhile, I wrote Mr. Christopher requesting co-operation on the part of Vietnamese authorities in sharing information. At that time, We spoke with Mr. Morgan's lawyers with a view to getting the information and sharing it with the minister.

Tran Trieu QuanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, around noon today, one of the foreign affairs minister's own colleagues stated that the government would not act.

Now that it has been revealed that CIDA recently granted $7.5 million in assistance to Vietnam through the good offices of lobbyist Marc Lalonde, does this not prove that trade relations clearly take precedence over human rights in the eyes of the Government of Canada, even when the rights in question are those of a Canadian citizen?

Tran Trieu QuanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Canadian government has been to ensure that the assistance it gives goes to help the people of Vietnam in their development.

I do not think the hon. member or the members of the Bloc Quebecois would want to deny the kind of assistance that helps the health, safety and security of people who are coming out of a serious war situation and who are trying to rebuild their country.

It is important we dispel many of the myths the hon. member and others have been trying to perpetrate that action has not been taken on behalf of Mr. Quan. There has been a wide variety of representations. We have been working with Vietnamese authorities and American authorities to get the information.

We have made every effort possible to ensure that his rights within prison are demanded. We made the representations as recently as this week. We will continue to work on behalf of all Canadians abroad to ensure their rights are protected wherever they may be.

LebanonOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

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

Given the tragic situation and the human suffering caused to the Lebanese people by an occupation force, will the minister reaffirm Canada's position regarding UN resolution 425, which provides that Lebanon's territorial integrity and sovereignty must be ensured?

LebanonOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

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

The situation in Lebanon is indeed extremely serious. We support Lebanon's territorial integrity and we are asking that resolution 425 of the UN security council be implemented, in the context of peace negotiations.

We have also asked for a ceasefire in that region. In light of the current terrorist acts and conflict, next Monday, I will present Canada's positions at the Luxembourg meeting, asking for a reduction in the conflict, as well as for the protection of human rights in the Middle East.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is holding a gun to the heads of commercial fishermen in British Columbia. He has told them they must make a decision on license buy back before June but he will not set allocations until the fall at the earliest.

How can fishermen in British Columbia make rational decisions about their future in the fishery unless they know beforehand the rules of the game? Will the minister extend the buy back offer until after the allocations are set, as fishermen have demanded?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. The program is a voluntary program recommended by the industry, which is in great difficulty. I do not think he would dispute that.

The proposals were made by the industry as a result of a report, 70 stakeholders and a report of 27 recommendations.

In an industry going through so much difficulty, incurring such a loss of money, a potential loss of $10 million this year, we have to start somewhere. We started here. Many people are in support of this program. In response to the hon. member's question, regrettably not.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, at least we got a straight answer.

The federal government is currently reallocating the salmon resource in British Columbia through native land claim agreements, as seen in the Nisga'a agreement in principle. The overwhelming majority of British Columbians object to a racially based, separate commercial fishery. The native only fishery is not supported by either the Constitution or the decision of Canada's courts.

Will the minister not admit he is reallocating the resource at a time when he is asking the commercial fishing industry to downsize by 50 per cent? Will he abandon this bizarre policy of two commercial fisheries in British Columbia separated by race?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I have to refresh the hon. member's memory on what really took place.

In the consideration of the Nisga'a agreement in co-operation with all the partners in the resolution of an issue ongoing for 100 years, it was agreed the food fishery would stay in the Nisga'a agreement in principle and that the commercial harvest for the Nisga'a nations would give the Nisga'a less than they would have if they had ratcheted it up in succeeding years. It was put in the agreement in principle not specifically as commercial fishing but to be included in a harvest agreement to be looked at specifically.

There are not separate fisheries based on racial considerations. I think it improper that the hon. member would even suggest that.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

April 17th, 1996 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, intereted parties from the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes regions continue to appear before the standing committee on fisheries and oceans to oppose the new fee structure for coast guard services which the Minister of Fisheries wants to impose. Since his appointment, the minister has always refused to meet those affected by the new fees.

How can the minister explain his systematic refusal to meet these interested parties, given that formal requests were made to him, among others by the Government of Quebec and by five presidents of aluminum producers in Canada, which have sales totalling $4 billion and which provide over 45,000 direct and indirect jobs? How can the minister justify his refusal to meet these people?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this matter is before the committee, but I will answer the question.

In consideration of this matter the coast guard and the consultations, of which there were more than 350, looked at four different systems: port specific, national, east-west, and east-west and Laurentian. There have been many iterations but each iteration results in a refinement process.

The process now in place is the best process to address a fair and equitable balance among all those who will pay the marine service fee in response to the services provided by the Government of Canada.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, this does not answer the question, but since the minister wants to talk about the four different systems which he intends to create, I will give him a chance to explain what is going on in his neck of the woods. Why does the minister give preferential treatment to his province by granting substantial rebates for navigation aids to ships that will dock in Newfoundland, at the expense of the other regions, including the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, which already absorb half of the costs related to navigation aids?

How does the minister explain that? He creates three or four different systems and subsidizes his province in the process.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute tommy-rot and the hon. member knows it.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister said: "It is the policy of the Liberal government to protect the Canada pension plan for seniors and its viability in the long term".

What right does she have to say she can protect the Canada pension plan and maintain seniors' incomes before she has the approval from the taxpayers to increase CPP premiums from 5 per cent of their income to 15 per cent of their income?