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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was discrimination.

Topics

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the process of consultation on the CPP is a joint effort between the Government of Canada and the provinces. As we go across the country federal representatives are conducting hearings in co-operation with their provincial counterparts.

There are very few Canadians who have the kind of opportunity the hon. member has to make a contribution on a whole series of subjects brought before the House. This and other topics can be discussed in the House on any number of occasions. Whatever contribution the hon. member wishes to make to the consultative process on CPP we would be happy to receive.

To have members of Parliament take up the time of committees when they are travelling across the country does not appear to be necessarily the best use of committees time.

I want to tell the hon. member that whatever her views on this consultative process, I would be happy to receive them and will make sure they are taken into consideration.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that answer. It is the one that I did anticipate.

I would like to tell the minister to put a red circle around Tuesday, May 7 in Calgary next week because I will be at the committee hearing.

We keep hearing the government wants to consult with all Canadians on how to save the Canada pension plan. This should mean people from all provinces of Canada. The only hearing in British Columbia has been cancelled, well before the B.C. writ was dropped.

Will the minister explain to the House why he refuses to hear from people in all provinces on how to save the Canada pension plan?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, because of the nature of the Canada pension plan and how it can be modified, I am sure the hon. member knows it is a very complex situation requiring a large number of provinces representing a very significant percentage of the population of Canada before anything can be done. We will have as extensive a consultation as possible.

A very integral part of the process of consultation involves the provinces because the CPP is a partnership. As we enter into the consultative process, obviously we have to ask our provincial colleagues how they wish to proceed as well.

There is no intention on the part of anyone either at the national government level or at the provincial level to preclude the participation of anyone. This process of public consultation is only one of the many available to members of Parliament and to Canadian citizens.

I repeat my offer to the member and to any other Canadian who wishes to participate to make their views known to us. We will take them into account.

Francophones Outside QuebecOral Question Period

May 1st, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, on pages 88 and 89 of the red book, it is written that funding cuts to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation illustrate the Tories' failure to appreciate the importance of cultural development and that a Liberal government will be committed to stable multiyear financing for the CBC. The result of this other promise is close to $400 million in cuts since this government came to power.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday, the official languages commissioner voiced his concern about the impact of

cuts on francophones outside Quebec. Does the Prime Minister acknowledge that, by making these cuts, his government is directly responsible for the CBC's inability to meet the needs of the country's francophones?

Francophones Outside QuebecOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that Radio-Canada and the CBC must respect not only their own act but also the Official Languages Act. I think we can say that the corporation respects this act.

As for the cuts, it is very clear that Radio-Canada and the CBC have a board of directors and that it is up to them to make choices consistent with the needs they must meet throughout the country. We respect the responsibility of the CBC's directors.

Francophones Outside QuebecOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, the corporation may be respecting the act, but this government is not, when it comes to keeping its promises not to cut funding to the CBC. Everyone recognizes that the absence of adequate means of communication is a factor in assimilation.

By going back on his promises not to reduce the CBC's budget, just as he went back on his promises to scrap the GST, will the Prime Minister go on much longer denying that it is through measures such as these that his government is playing an active role in the assimilation of francophones outside Quebec?

Francophones Outside QuebecOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is astonishing what the member for Québec-Est comes out with. He is not capable of recognizing the facts. He is not capable of seeing what we now have in a country whose government has very clear commitments to its minorities, throughout the country, commitments that it has met. It supports minorities throughout this country and it will continue to do so.

We are not saying that things are perfect. What we are saying is that we stand by our objective of supporting all the minorities in this country. Show me another government that is doing as much as we are.

RacismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, Windsor-St. Clair is a diverse riding. Many of our constituents came to this country knowing that the majority of Canadians treat one another with dignity and respect.

Recent events have served to remind us that we must remain vigilant against racism, even in the House. Could the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism please tell the House what the government is doing to combat racism in Canada?

RacismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for this question because the incident to which the hon. member refers has created extremely deep wounds in the visible minority community of the country, wounds that no apology could erase for a very long time.

This country has been based on some very fundamental values such as respect, tolerance, justice and equality. The government has been committed to those values with our proposal of Bill C-41 dealing with hate crimes and our employment equity bill, both of which were voted against by the Reform Party. It voted against those issues of fairness and equality.

The department of multiculturalism has fostered racial tolerance and inter-racial harmony by working among youth, with the police chiefs and with the Teachers Federation of Canada to bring about racial harmony in the schools and among young people. We have continued to work with the public to increase awareness. Around the world we have been recognized as a country-

RacismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said he will cut the B.C. salmon fleet by 50 per cent to conserve salmon stocks. However, he knows this will not decrease the number of fish caught. It will only reallocate the fish to the large commercial fishing boats, putting small independent fishermen out of a job. This plan will kill jobs. It will kill fish and it will kill communities in B.C.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, what will you tell these communities--

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Always address the Chair, my colleague. The hon. minister.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did not finish his question but I can anticipate it.

Contrary to the belief of his colleagues, the Pacific salmon revitalization plan was developed over a period of about a year, stemming from the Fraser report, 70 stakeholders and a round table that went on for a long time.

It is not a perfect plan. It is not a plan which has 100 per cent consensus. I doubt if any plan would have 100 per cent consensus in the commercial salmon industry. However, the plan does address the difficulty of overcapacity in the fishing industry.

He is right, it may not result in fewer salmon caught. However, at least it will reduce the pressure on the salmon that exist. The salmon stocks are at a very low level.

This plan will address the problem. It will help the stocks. It will help the industry at a time when it is low. It will help in the revitalization despite the plan the member has, which would derail everything that would help the fishermen and their families.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, if it will not decrease the number of fish caught, how will it decrease the pressure on the fish? It makes no sense.

The minister is running a bloated, inefficient ministry and yet has decided to cut financing for salmon hatcheries based on some report he has refused to release to us for six months.

Will he table the report in the House this week and will he support a self-financing Sooke River fish hatchery?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I can understand why the hon. member has difficulty with the plan from what he said. I will not get into detail.

I suggest to the hon. member that if he has difficulty understanding the plan perhaps he could speak with his colleague, the hon. member for Comox-Alberni, who came out with a press release a couple of days after the plan was released to criticize it sentence by sentence, only to have one of his constituents, a fisherman, write to him to criticize his criticism, actually calling the press release drivel, which means silly nonsense, like the hon. member.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I urge members to stay away from any kind of personal remarks about other members.

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

In March 1993, the then Leader of the Opposition and current Prime Minister of Canada made the following comments about the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act introduced by the Conservative government, and I quote: "The Liberal Party is appalled by these measures. Obviously, by reducing benefits and further penalizing those who leave their jobs voluntarily, the government shows very little concern for the victims of the economic crisis. Instead of getting to the heart of the problem, it goes after the unemployed".

As his government is getting ready to adopt a so-called reform of the unemployment insurance program, which makes existing penalties even harsher, is solely designed to cut billions of dollars in funding and will have a more devastating effect than any reform to date, how can the Prime Minister justify this new about-face on the part of the Liberals?

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons why we had to find ways to improve on the Unemployment Insurance Act was precisely the fact that tens of thousands of women could not have access to the program at all.

The hon. member knows full well that, as a result of changes made to the Unemployment Insurance Act, women working less than 15 hours per week for instance, who used to be penalized for all kinds of reasons, will now be covered and have access not only to the unemployment insurance program, but also to a variety of programs also designed for those considered to be ordinary employees by their employers.

There is no doubt that the Unemployment Insurance Act had to be amended. Everyone agrees with that. But what is happening now? The government has introduced legislation. Members of the committee to which the bill was referred have proposed amendments. But all we hear coming from the official opposition party is that the bill should be withdrawn.

We do not know whether they in favour of the status quo, whether they have amendments to suggest that might be regarded as improvements, or whether they are just playing petty politics at the expense of the most vulnerable segment of our society.

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the then Prime Minister told people protesting against a reform less devastating that this one that they could count on the Liberals to demand that the bill be withdrawn.

Does the Prime Minister not agree that this reform is of no help at all in resolving the unemployment problem? In his own words, it does not go to the root of the problem. Worse yet, it is anti-employment.

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important point in her question and that is this concern with employment. The bill does provide among other things for $300 million to be invested in a transition fund, precisely to create jobs in the most disadvantaged regions of the country.

As an extra benefit, once the program is fully implemented, $800 million will be invested in job creation programs. There is one thing on which we agree with the hon. member, who is her party's critic on the subject. We agree that the solution to the problem facing the unemployed is job creation. And that is what we are working on.

Edmonton Institution For WomenOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, Correctional Services Canada is showing how innovative it can be in the Edmonton Institution for Women. There were three more escapes last night. That means that one-quarter of all inmates have walked away from that place.

Since it opened last November there has also been a suicide, an assault on staff, and several reports of attempted suicide and self-mutilation.

Does the acting solicitor general agree with the warden that there is nothing to worry about at this prison even though there are children being raised there? Or does he think it is time to close this mistake until they get their act together at the Edmonton prison?

Edmonton Institution For WomenOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right to raise this issue. The solicitor general is concerned about it, as are the department, the warden and I. We are taking steps to upgrade security at the facility.

Many practical steps have already been taken. Today the solicitor general called the attorney general of Alberta and arrangements have been made in the meantime to transfer many of the inmates to provincial institutions, another example of co-operation between the two levels of government and corrections.

Many of the inmates have been transferred to provincial institutions in Alberta. There are difficulties at the Edmonton facility and steps have been taken and will be taken to address them.

Edmonton Institution For WomenOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has built five such prisons in the country. I have visited two of them.

Virtually all of the guards at this prison in Edmonton were hired straight out of college. I think it is time the government look not only at the Edmonton Institution for Women but at the Nova Institution for Women and all the other facilities to revise its policy. Change it.

I ask the justice minister if that is the case. Is the government looking to change its policy on women's prisons?

Edmonton Institution For WomenOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the opening of the correctional facility in Edmonton was the result of a task force, established in 1989, which recommended the closure of the correctional facility in Kingston in favour of opening five regional centres.

To date we have had problems in Edmonton, but there are other facilities that have proven to be without incident, one in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan and one in Truro, Nova Scotia.

On the question of safety and security in Edmonton, today Correctional Services Canada announced an additional eight measures it is implementing to ensure safety, which was a concern expressed by my colleagues from Edmonton East and Edmonton North.

These measures are taken very seriously. We have implemented the procedures and are doing so immediately.

FloodingOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

David Iftody Liberal Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, flooding in southern Manitoba has reached critical levels. In the Red River Valley region alone 180 families have been evacuated.

The Government of Manitoba is saying national defence is not meeting its responsibility to the flood victims.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell the people of Manitoba what actions and financial help Canada has provided to southern Manitoba flood victims?