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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Manitoba FloodOral Question Period

May 10th, 1996 / 11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Elijah Harper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks the people of Manitoba have experienced severe flooding. News reports blame the federal government for changing funding arrangements and for treating Manitobans less equitably than others.

On behalf of my colleague, the MP for Provencher, who is meeting with officials in Manitoba on this very issue, would the acting Prime Minister please assure Manitobans affected by this flood that they are being treated fairly under the same rules as the rest of Canada?

Manitoba FloodOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, as part of the way in which this country shares responsibility, the federal government over the last 25 years has provided well over $260 million to various communities affected by disaster. Of that portion, Manitoba has received 20 per cent in the last 10 years, well over $50 million.

The fact that the premier of Manitoba has been making comments to the contrary simply shows that he is not aware of how the agreement works or that he is not aware of the responsibilities of the province. I simply suggest that it would be very useful if the premier of Manitoba stopped trying to make cheap political points and got to work with us to help the people affected by this serious flooding problem in Manitoba.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has been promoting how far the corporation can send a letter for 45 cents with full page colour newspaper ads and nationwide household flyers.

Canada Post is a crown corporation funded by taxpayers with a monopoly over first class mail. I question why taxpayers should be funding advertisements when, because of the postal monopoly, no other service is available.

Can the minister of public works explain why Canada Post is advertising its mail service when there is no other choice available to Canadians?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could set the record straight and ensure that everyone is aware that there have been no appropriations of moneys from the federal government to Canada Post since 1988.

We looked into the fact that Canada Post was advertising the sale of its stamps. It must promote its products because there is so much competition from E-mail, the Internet and many other modes of delivering messages. They compete with Canada Post. Therefore, it must continue to promote the services it provides to every region of the country, to every Canadian. It is a very good service. It is one that is very much needed.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would appear the minister is quite prepared to see Canada Post become Canada toast.

Why would Canada Post advertise a stamp when the only place people can get stamps is in the post office?

The member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley asked this question two months ago. The minister said that she would look into it and respond. It would appear that her action is no action at all. Will the minister stop Canada Post advertising today?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely essential for the Canada Post message to get out so the taxpayer does not have to subsidize its operations.

We are concerned with the future of Canada Post. As such, we have a mandate review going on now. We look forward to receiving that report at the end of July. We are concerned, as every Canadian should be, to ensure the mail does get to everyone.

Federal Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

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

For six years now, Treasury Board has been developing a general classification standard for federal public servants, which was supposed to be universal and non sexist. However, according to the auditor general, the standard is sexist and would not pass the test of the human rights act.

How can the Acting Prime Minister explain that, after six years, public service officials have not been able to come up with a non sexist general classification standard?

Federal Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bruce—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Ovid Jackson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we agree with the

auditor general that this classification system is something to which we should pay attention. Since 1993 we have been working very hard in this direction.

The auditor general agrees that it is not a simple system to try to condense some 70 different categories into one. We are working hard on this. We have said that we would get government right and the auditor general has already reported four times to this House. By the next report I can assure the House that we will have made some substantive movement on this file.

Federal Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general underlined the excessive administrative costs associated with the standard's implementation.

How can the government allow such a loss of control over spending in a period of major budget cuts?

Federal Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bruce—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Ovid Jackson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, the government is using all the tools at its disposal to get government right.

In every plan that we have looked at we are trying to get the civil service to take over. We are trying to transfer these services. We will continue to work on that file. It is not an easy file. We have 16 different unions and we are working with each one to try to accommodate them.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to today's newspapers the justice minister, with the support of his provincial counterparts, plans to release all first time offenders from jail. The report indicates that the minister was emphasizing non-violent offenders.

I ask the minister's representative here today what constitutes a non-violent offence? Is drug trafficking non-violent? Is breaking and entering non-violent? What about white collar crime?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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

The hon. member is aware that the Minister of Justice has been moving to ensure that our homes and our streets are safe. In that vein he is taking measures to ensure that violent offenders are put behind bars, where they belong, for an appropriate length of time through measures to stiffen up the Criminal Code and, through the solicitor general, measures to stiffen up the conditional release act.

We will continue to take measures such as this to ensure that violent offenders are behind bars to keep our streets safe.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has made a designation and he has given us no definition of what non-violent offences are. With due respect to the member who responded to my question, he did not answer it. We are not any better informed than when I stood to ask the question.

What guarantee can the government give that the release of these offenders will not create a threat to members of society?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the hon. member, the Minister of Justice and his provincial counterparts have been working on such initiatives for a considerable length of time.

Such initiatives are consistent with what has been stated by the minister in the past and are quite consistent with the beliefs of the member opposite. We ought to ensure that violent offenders are kept incarcerated for an appropriate length of time to keep our society safe and to deal with non-violent offenders in a community setting.

Forestry IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome back our colleague from Carleton-Gloucester who is healthy and fit. On behalf of the House I wish a speedy recovery for the House leader, the hon. member for Windsor West.

Sustainable development is a major commitment of the government and Canadians are proud of their forest industry.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House what the government is doing to provide national and international leadership to ensure sustainable development in the forest industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, involvement in the criteria and the indicators process demonstrates Canada's ongoing commitment to sustainable forest development.

Extensive consultations are ongoing between the provincial and territorial governments, the federal department and other forest stakeholders.

The Canadian initiative with the international criteria and the indicators process will level the playing field by moving us closer to a common definition of sustainable forest development.

Quebec BridgeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question if for the Minister of Transport.

Yesterday morning the minister, appearing before the transport committee, again refused to commit to funding part of the repair work to the Quebec bridge. His excuse was that the federal government has already done its share, transferring lands to the CN for one dollar, the estimated value of which is in the millions.

Is the minister aware that the transfer of the lands concerned will probably not be completed before the year 2000? In the meantime, is the minister going to finally recognize that the federal government cannot shirk its responsibilities with regard to repairing and developing the Quebec bridge?

Quebec BridgeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, ten trains a day cross the bridge, whereas it is used daily by 25,000 cars and trucks.

The deterioration of the bridge, including the part on which vehicles drive, is due mainly to car and truck traffic, and to using salt throughout the winter season to make it safer.

Motor traffic in the province of Quebec is the responsibility of the Quebec transport department; it is not a federal responsibility. I find it rather surprising that the hon. member and his party would want the federal government to interfere in Quebec's affairs.

FishingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, we do not execute someone accused of murder and then have a trial to see if he or she is guilty.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is executing his marine fee structure plan before studying its impact. What good is a post-mortem if the industry is dead? Has he learned nothing from what he has done to the Canadian fishing industry?

FishingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Fernand Robichaud LiberalSecretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the impression should not be left that the minister went into this program of fees without first having studied the matter.

A study was done by a company for the coast guard before the fee structure was considered. After we had met with the stakeholders from one coast to the other, we decided that we would go with the plan we put forward. This plan will certainly not have the effect on the industry that the member opposite seems to think it will have.

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government and has to do with the first ministers' conference that was announced yesterday, which the government finally got around to bringing together.

Could the government inform us what will be the agenda of this meeting? Is it going to transfer manpower training? Is it going to pursue more devolution? Is it going to talk about economic union? Is it going to live up to the commitments it made during the referendum campaign? Since it has called a meeting, could it at least inform us and the premiers what the agenda will be?

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that the Minister of Intergovernmental Relations has had extensive consultations with all the provinces to determine what the agenda of the meeting should be, how we can come together on questions of the economic, social and political union to make this country work better.

We do things differently than the past government. We work with the provinces to get a common agenda that we can work on together.

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the status of women and public works to whom I have given notice.

In the continuing saga of the harassment case of Ann Raney, the female engineer on the Peace Tower project and of Ray Wolf and his project workers who followed in sympathy and solidarity, we now see that Mr. Karmash, the offending supervisor, is back on the site. Yesterday Colonial, his employer, refused to sign an arbitration process to resolve matters.

Since the government has failed in all of its efforts to apply ordinary commercial contract law to this situation, when will it apply the full force of the human rights clauses in the contract to resolve this ridiculous situation where Canadian human rights law is ignored by contractors right here on Parliament Hill?

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we clarify exactly what the cases are about.

More than one case is involved here. Let me advise the House that the discrimination case between Ann Raney, Mr. Wolf and

Colonial has been resolved. All of the parties have signed an agreement. That case has been set aside. There continues to be another dispute which we are working at facilitating. We hope it will be resolved in the near future.

We are extremely concerned, especially in relation to the discrimination which did occur. We want to ensure that in future any of our contracts are structured in such a way that action can be taken very quickly to prevent a reoccurrence.

TradeOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade. Export growth has been the key to much of job creation success since the government took office.

Can the Minister for International Trade tell the House what the future holds for Canadian companies in new and emerging world markets with respect to trade?