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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was armenians.

Topics

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, a clear consensus emerged, during parliamentary consultations, against the fee structure proposed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for coast guard services. All those concerned find it irresponsible on the minister's part to impose these fees without conducting complete and serious studies on their impact on the marine industry.

Can the minister tell us if he intends to go along with the consensus of those who are asking for a moratorium on the marine service fees until complete and independent economic impact studies have been carried out?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the imposition of the marine services fee stems from the 1995 budget approved by Parliament based on the principle of user pay.

The idea of how the fee could be implemented was put forward by the Marine Advisory Board. There were 800 people or thereabouts involved in the consultations which involved ports officials and every major industry in the seagoing industry.

The hon. member joined his colleagues from Parliament on the fisheries committee to hear the views of many witnesses. The hon. member is right; the committee made recommendations but the consensus was not that there be a moratorium. The committee did express some reservations with respect to the impact studies. I have to tell the House that I will respect its opinions. The impact studies will be carried out after the services fee is implemented at the lowest possible level of collection of $20 million a year before we get to the higher levels.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try again. Does the minister agree that, far from helping the economy, his draft regulations will result in marine traffic going to American ports, which means jobs moving to the United States and an increase in the number of the unemployed in eastern Canadian ports, particularly those along the St. Lawrence River?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is coming up with some far-fetched unsubstantiated ideas.

The hon. member knows because he has heard it often in committee and this House that the cost overall at the $20 million level is going to represent one-sixtieth of one per cent of the value of the goods itself. It is going to represent less than 10 per cent of what it costs the coast guard to maintain these services. It is going to cost less than three per cent of the overall value of the business of doing shipments in the ports of Canada. I think that is fair and equitable.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

April 23rd, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the irony in this House is unbelievable. On the one hand we have the Prime Minister who gives the boot to a member who has integrity, keeps his word and who does the right thing. On the other hand we have a defence

minister who is responsible for the collapse of morale in the armed forces, whose department hid documents from the Somalia inquiry and the information commissioner and there he sits on the front bench.

How much longer will the Prime Minister allow the defence minister to put his own career over the good functioning and morale of our troops? When will the Prime Minister ask for the minister's resignation?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the first time that a Minister of National Defence has asked for, authorized and recommended an inquiry into the operation and he has done it.

The time has now come to let the commission do its work. If the Reform Party has any respect for the armed forces, it will let the commission do its work rather than cause the problem with the morale of the troops in asking impertinent questions in the House of Commons.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister took swift action in the past when it was in his own interests. He disbanded the airborne without an inquiry but what is he doing now? Now he wants to wash his hands of the authority and responsibility for what is happening. If the minister is so confident that his hands are clean, then will he volunteer to appear before the inquiry to be questioned on his role in the defence department scandals?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has shown once again that he has not read the terms of reference for the inquiry. He asks about cover up; he asks about destruction of documents. That is all contained in the inquiry.

If he were to read the terms of reference he would find out who can be summoned to the inquiry. That is up to the inquiry and if it wants to summon whomever it wants, whether they are members of this House or members of the armed forces, the commission has the power to do it.

Before the member raised these kinds of questions, he could get the answers by reading the terms of reference.

RcmpOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday, we questioned the Prime Minister about the $176,000 contract awarded to Jennifer Lynch, chairperson of the RCMP external review committee, to examine the current grievance system. We think Mrs. Lynch is in conflict of interest since she is also the one who hears the grievances filed by police officers.

Now that the government has had 24 hours to check things out, I would like to repeat the question I put to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister explain why the RCMP granted Mrs. Lynch a one year contract worth $176,000 to review the current grievance system, when her duties require her to remain absolutely neutral toward both parties?

RcmpOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the grievance settlement process is one of Mrs. Lynch's initiatives. It is part of the consultations between senior management and employees of the RCMP.

I can tell the House that the RCMP agrees that these consultations and this new approach are better suited to the needs of the RCMP.

On the conflict of interest issue, I am also told that the ethics counsellor was consulted and stated that there was no conflict of interest.

RcmpOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his answer, but I have a supplementary question.

Besides an ethics problem, we are faced here with a process problem, since the call for tender contained specific requirements tailor made for Mrs. Lynch. Would the parliamentary secretary not agree that the contract was awarded following a rigged advanced contract award notice, as the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and chief government whip feared in a letter, dated July of 1995, to the solicitor general?

RcmpOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we sought the advice of our ethics counsellor, who reviewed the whole situation and clearly stated that there was no conflict of interest.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Finance announced the harmonization of the sales tax system in Atlantic Canada with the federal sales tax.

We hear that business will benefit by improved competitiveness from further export opportunities and a reduced tax burden. How will the average consumer in Atlantic Canada benefit from the reform of the sales tax system?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the calculation is made province by province depending on the particular circumstances. As an example, New Brunswick Minister of Finance Mr. Blanchard estimated that an average family of four in New Brunswick would save between $225 and $250 per year.

Similar numbers could be given for the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

In addition, consumers will benefit enormously because they will no longer have the cascading effect of embedded taxes built in which are the real hidden taxes consumers will no longer have to pay because business will be getting the input credits. In fact, consumers will be the great beneficiaries of all of this.

Another thing which is very important to note is that this is going to increase jobs in Atlantic Canada. The fact is that consumers buy because they have jobs. This is the best structural thing we could have brought to the maritimes.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of fisheries.

The government cost of fisheries management in Iceland is $24 per tonne of fish landed. In Norway it is $85 per tonne of fish landed. In Canada it is $455 per tonne of fish landed. In spite of this massive expenditure, DFO has been unable either to predict or prevent the fisheries crises on both coasts.

As the fisheries minister is demanding a 50 per cent reduction in the B.C. salmon fleet, is he going to cut his bureaucracy by 50 per cent as well?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the hon. member that in view of Reform's position on the GST and what is taking place with that, I am delighted that Reform is interested in having the government cut down its operations.,

In the last year the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has undergone quite a cut through program review. While we have not reached 50 per cent, the department I represent is cutting by over 40 per cent. That is not a bad perspective from where I sit.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about cuts. The government has cut the salmon hatcheries in British Columbia in the face of a crisis.

The minister's new licensing policy has nothing whatsoever to do with conservation. It does not put the fish first and it certainly does not put B.C.'s coastal communities first. Over all, fish harvesting capacity will remain the same, just concentrated in fewer hands.

Will the minister guarantee when his new licensing policy fails to reduce the total fish harvest in B.C. and after he has sacrificed the futures of fishermen in B.C. coastal communities, that he and his government will accept responsibility for that?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, when the member talks about coastal communities and economic viability and capacity reduction, he knows very well he is talking about an industry that is in very poor shape. There are fishermen over the last few years who have lost much money. This year over 50 per cent are expected to lose money. The industry itself is expected to lose around $10 million. He is talking about an industry that is in trouble.

I have to tell the member that the plan which is represented by the Pacific salmon revitalization program stemmed from a committee report of stakeholders of the commercial fisheries, the aboriginal fisheries, the recreational fisheries, the coastal communities and the province of British Columbia. They made 27 recommendations and we moved on them.

The member asked me if I was going to be responsible for the plan. I will take responsibility for this plan. Will Reformers take responsibility for the fact that they have no plan?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Industry admitted in this House that with respect to direct to home satellite services, and I quote: "There might be a potential problem for consumers-consumers must examine their options very carefully before they buy". But under the legislation, the Minister of Industry has responsibility for technological development, as well as protecting the consumer public.

Since the minister does not intend to follow up on the recommendation made to him by my colleague from Rimouski-Témiscouata that there be an information campaign on the real risks of buying a satellite dish and a decoder, does the minister intend to follow up on the suggestion from Quebec's culture minister, Mrs. Beaudoin, that direct to home satellite businesses be encouraged to rent their equipment rather than sell it, in order to protect the consumer?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member very well knows, technology is changing rapidly in the broadcasting sector. It is always possible that technological changes will mean that equipment bought by consumers is rendered unusable.

The most important thing for the consumer is to take the time to do a bit of research before buying. But they know very well, and I believe Mrs. Beaudoin knows it too, that regulating retail sales to consumers comes under provincial jurisdiction.

Krever InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, my dad had open heart surgery on Sunday and I am glad to say that everything went fine.

One of his biggest worries was whether he would need a blood transfusion. His concerns are shared by many Canadians. In fact, a new survey indicates that only 7 per cent of Canadians would accept a transfusion if they had a choice. The confidence in our blood system is slipping away from us.

I call upon the Minister of Justice to get rid of the lawyers that are holding up the Krever inquiry. Let Krever tell his story, all of it.

Krever InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I begin by expressing the hope that the hon. member's father recovers quickly from surgery. I know I speak for all of my colleagues in saying that.

Let us focus on confidence in Canada's blood system. The very reason the Minister of Health appointed the Krever inquiry, the very reason this government extended its term and increased its budget and the reason this government brought evidence before the inquiry was to ensure that a thorough and complete evaluation of the blood system would be carried out so that we would have the benefit of Mr. Justice Krever's recommendations to get the system right.

It is true to say that justice lawyers are in federal court for a hearing on May 22 in relation to procedural matters. We are there not to interfere with Mr. Justice Krever's work, not to delay it or to complicate it, we are there on specific questions of procedural fairness that are important points of principle.

We have asked the court to expedite the hearing. We hope it will be over quickly. We want the report completed. We look forward to the findings, whether they be findings of fault or otherwise. We want to get the blood system back where it should be and the confidence of Canadians restored.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation.

Canadians have followed with great concern and emotion the tragic events that have occurred in the Middle East these last few days.

Given the marked interest Canada has always shown for the quick settlement of this conflict, can the minister describe to the House the latest developments aimed at restoring peace for all the families and children of the Middle East?

Middle EastOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question, as this will be the first answer I give in the House.

Middle EastOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.