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

Topics

National Day Of MourningStatements By Members

April 29th, 1996 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, through the concerted efforts of employers, employees and various levels of government, the number of work related injuries, accidents and deaths in Canada has dropped substantially over the past ten years.

Much still remains to be done, but we are convinced that the climate of co-operation that exists between our partners, and the various prevention initiatives will help eliminate this perennial problem, which has terrible human consequences for our country.

Beyond the annual cost of work related accidents with respect to health and social services, it is the human dimension that most concerns us and that we are commemorating today.

Mr. Speaker, certain ceremonies-

National Day Of MourningStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time is up. The hon. member for Mercier has the floor.

Time Allocation MotionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Liberal government decided to take the shameful action of gagging debate in order to ram through two controversial legislative measures: Bill C-31 on the GST and Bill C-12 on unemployment insurance, once again demonstrating the federal government's lack of sensitivity to the public.

Before the Liberals came to power, no government, not even the Conservatives, had dared make use of the House to gag the deliberations of a committee.

The Liberal government prefers to obey its mandarins and certain powerful lobbies, rather than lend an ear to the population.

Time Allocation MotionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, it is not generally permitted to discuss a vote that has taken place in this House. Moving on, the hon. member for Nepean has the floor.

Drunk DrivingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently in my riding of Nepean three tragic deaths have been the result of drinking drivers. I refer to the loss of life of Dr. Michael Agapitos, Linda LeBreton Holmes and her son Brian.

Despite proclaimed amendments to the Criminal Code, cases before the courts are consistently being stayed, unnecessarily delayed or even dismissed. Grieving families, like the Agapitos and Holmes families, experience prolonged and unnecessary suffering due to court delays.

The Canadian justice system and the provincial court system must bring their full weight to bear on these criminals. The laws are there. They are in place. The courts and all Canadians must demonstrate zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Breast CancerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, "Survivors in Search of a Voice: The Art of Courage" is a

unique collection of art works inspired by the stories of pain, hope, fear and courage of breast cancer patients and survivors.

This internationally acclaimed art exhibit of 24 of Canada's top women artists appearing this week at the Government Conference Centre was inspired by 100 breast cancer survivors who told the artists of their life and death struggles with cancer. It is from these moving experiences that this show's powerful images emerge.

Breast cancer strikes one out of every nine women in Canada. "Survivors in Search of a Voice" has become a monument to the courage of women and their families in their fight against breast cancer.

We can numb to the realities of the daily battles for life that happen around us, but I encourage members of the House and of this community to support much needed breast cancer research, education, programs and services by taking the time to view this exhibit and to become a partner in this endeavour.

Tragedy In HobartStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, 34 people in Hobart, Australia, have been shot down in cold blood by a madman, and another 18 wounded. Among the wounded are two Canadians, Simon and Susan Williams of the Canadian High Commission to Australia.

Regrettably, this event calls to mind the recent tragedies in Vernon, B.C., and in Dunblane, Scotland, as well as the École polytechnique massacre in Montreal, in 1989.

On behalf of my colleagues, and on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish to express our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims. We hope that they will be able to find in themselves all of the courage and energy required to get through this terrible ordeal.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today in the House of Commons my hon. colleague from Fraser Valley West introduced a motion calling for a victims' bill of rights. This proposal could make historic changes to our judicial system by finally enshrining victims' rights on an equal footing with those of criminals.

In the past two years the legislation presented by the Liberal government has proven that the very last thing it considers is the victim. This astounds me when Canadians from coast to coast tell me violent crime is on the increase and therefore we know the number of victims will increase as well.

This is evident in the number of victims' rights groups formed over the past 20 years across the nation. I have met with many of them and all are in support of a victims' bill of rights. In my opinion a victims' bill of rights is the least we can provide them so they are no longer victimized by our so-called justice system.

This is an opportunity to do the right thing and give the rights to the victims, as they so well deserve.

Premier Of QuebecStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago the premier of Quebec gathered together business people and union leaders and, in response to pressure from these people, everyone agreed to talk not about the referendum but about economic and social matters in Quebec.

And now, this past weekend, the premier of Quebec threatened not only the Government of Canada, but the people of Quebec, with an early election and another referendum if the Government of Canada took it into its head to clarify the rules on referendums.

Quebecers are not pawns that are moved about on a board to satisfy the ambitions of political parties to the detriment of the economic recovery and prosperity of the people of Quebec.

YouthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the ministerial task force on youth, I am pleased to announce the launch of youth week '96, which begins today and continues until May 5.

Youth week 1996 recognizes and highlights the many contributions young people have made to building Canada. Some 50 events will be held throughout the country to celebrate their many achievements. More than 60 youth organizations will co-ordinate activities to encourage young people to come up with new ideas for the betterment of their generation.

In the coming weeks, the task force will ask young Canadians and employers what can be done to do help young people make the transition between home, school and the working world. We are keen to hear what the young people have to say, because investing in youth, that is, in the future, is a priority for the Government of Canada.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, now that the Deputy Prime Minister is here, we can start.

Editorial writers in the weekend newspapers were appalled by the attitude of the Deputy Prime Minister, who now refuses to honour her formal promise to resign if her government did not scrap the GST. The Globe and Mail is now calling for the Deputy Prime Minister's resignation, while La Presse argues, with good reason, that her attitude seriously undermines the credibility of all politicians in Canada.

Since the Deputy Prime Minister had the time to reflect on all this on the weekend and since there is a wide consensus across Canada that she should resign, does she not feel that she should go back on her decision and honour her promise to resign?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, one thing is for certain: I did not make any decision on my political future because of the editorials in the Toronto and Montreal newspapers.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since the Deputy Prime Minister herself had insisted that killing the GST should be a formal election promise, she cannot claim today that she spoke a little too fast, without thinking, and that it was an honest mistake.

Will she admit that not only her credibility but that of the whole government is at stake in this matter and that she should therefore resign, at least as Deputy Prime Minister and as a cabinet member?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we have always told voters-before, during and after the election-that a two-tax system causes many problems for small and medium size businesses, many problems in terms of trade, and that what we are doing with the new tax is introducing a harmonized system in keeping with our commitments on page 22 of the red book.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister should note that what causes problems for business, for all Canadians and for politicians is that a cabinet member is not keeping her promise. That is a source of problems.

By failing to resign, does the Deputy Prime Minister admit that she is undermining the integrity of the whole government and that she will then bear the heavy burden of creating a precedent in Canada by refusing to respond and to honour her promise? Does she not realize that she is undermining the integrity of the whole government, since she must honour her promises as a member of the government?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are meeting our commitment. On page 22 of the red book, we promised to replace the GST with a new tax that would be easier for trade purposes as well as for small business and for consumers.

That is why the Consumers' Association of Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association and the organizations representing Canada's small businesses support what we are doing. That is why I do not have to resign for fulfilling our promises on page 22 of the red book.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that, by not fulfilling a formal commitment made during the election campaign, she casts discredit on all politicians in this country, and that her only option is to resign? She has no choice, she must resign.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not accept the claim of the hon. member that I am discrediting women in politics.

I do not want to brag about women in politics, but Canadian women are well aware that if there is someone who worked hard to include them in politics it is my leader and my party.

During the last election campaign, the leader of the hon. member's party did not believe in a policy to recruit women; he did not want one. We had such a policy and I am proud that 37 women are currently in this House, thanks to our policy.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the seriousness of the situation, and given that the Deputy Prime Minister refuses to resign to fulfil her commitment and preserve the credibility of her government, will she agree to submit her case to the Prime Minister's ethics counsellor, so that he can submit his written conclusions to the House?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, what is really sad is that the Bloc uses one of its few female members to do this job. I find it deplorable and so should the other women in their caucus.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, broken promises are fast becoming the watchword for this Liberal government. It has broken its promise on the GST. The Deputy Prime Minister has broken her promise to resign. By booting the member for York South-Weston out of caucus, the government has broken its promise to give its MPs greater freedom.

The red book clearly states that more free votes would be allowed in the House of Commons. I ask the Deputy Prime Minister this. Will her government keep one crucial promise and allow MPs to represent the wishes of their constituents in a free vote on the proposed gay rights amendment?

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, since we formed the government we amended the rules of this House. We allowed free votes on every private member's bill and motion. We allowed committees to propose legislation which was never done before. For example, take the case of Bill C-69. This was a bill that came from the procedure and House affairs committee and was sent to the Senate, but was passed by this House. It was a bill that did not come from the government. It came from committee.

We are gradually implementing all our reforms on how this place is going to work and we will continue to do so. We have had free votes and free votes will continue to exist.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on page 92 of the Liberal red book the Prime Minister promised that "more free votes will be allowed in the House of Commons".

To date we have yet to see one free vote on any piece of government legislation. Canadians have some very strong views on the gay rights issue and they deserve to be truly represented in this House.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister again, will her government allow a free vote on its proposed amendments to the human rights act?

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member has been. For the last two and a half years practically every week when this House is in session we have free votes on private members' bills and private members' motions and we continue to do so.

In terms of her specific question, she has to wait. The Prime Minister will make a decision in due course.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it appears the Prime Minister is not willing to hold a free vote on this amendment. I hope that does not mean that closure is next.

How times have changed. The Liberals used to howl with outrage every time the Mulroney Tories limited debate. Now, whenever they start taking political heat from Canadians, they automatically introduce closure. They did it with MP pensions, they did it with gun control, they did it with the budget and UI reforms to name just a few.

Will the government allow all Canadians to have their say on this important amendment? Will the Prime Minister promise not to use closure to ram it through the House of Commons?