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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Capital GainsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the government and its ministers are skating around the issue, rich families are consulting with their lawyers, their accountants, their tax experts, and preparing to tax-shelter their assets by moving them out of Canada.

My question is for the Minister of Finance or the Minister of National Revenue. Would one or the other agree to suspend Revenue Canada's advance ruling, which could be used as a excuse to move major assets out of Canada? Would he or she agree to suspend this decision, yes or no?

Capital GainsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there are too few Canadians who have $2 billion in assets. I suggest that if Canadians continue their confidence in us, there will be more money in the country.

National UnityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution, secession and the rule of law require precise interpretation. But the Prime Minister continues to muddy the constitutional waters with his off the cuff comments about possible guidelines for future referendums on secession without saying what those guidelines are.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said: "If ever we have a referendum by any province, I hope there will be a discussion beforehand to make sure the rules are known by both sides".

I am wondering if the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs can explain what the Prime Minister was trying to say. In particular, what discussions or negotiations was he talking about, who would take part, and precisely what would be discussed?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada during the 1970s delivered a speech that is reported in his book in 1985. I have the quotation in French:

"We'll put our faith in democracy. We'll convince the people that they should stay in Canada and we'll win. If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebeckers and let them separate".

I am very proud of my Prime Minister and proud to show what a great democrat he is. A unilateral declaration of independence would not be acceptable in any way, shape or form in a democratic system. Democracy implies a mutual agreement to respect rules of law. And we will work with all Canadians to ensure that these rules are established in a context of calm co-operation between all concerned.

National UnityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said there will be negotiations on ground rules for the next referendum but provides no details at all.

He says 50 per cent plus one is not enough to separate, but he does not know what percentage would be acceptable. He says the federal government would never acknowledge a unilateral declaration of separation but cannot seem to outline the grounds for a democratic and legal secession.

Either the Prime Minister is making this up as he goes along or the federal government does have ground rules governing the next referendum on secession and is not disclosing them.

Which is it? Does the government have firm ground rules for governing a future referendum on secession? If it does, will it table them in the House?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

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

The point is for now the debate is, yes or no, whether a unilateral declaration of independence is supported by international law and accepted by Canadian law? The conviction of the government is that the answer is no.

When this is clear that will be the time to look at the specific issues which the hon. member is speaking about. However, for now the priority of the government is to work with all Canadians in order to reconcile Quebecers with Canadians to ensure they will improve the federation, that they will celebrate Quebec's specificity within Canada and that they will stay together for the next century.

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, if I understand the minister correctly, if that is the only guideline the government is firm about, will the minister then introduce a motion in the House declaring the House will not recognize a unilateral declaration of secession by any province in Canada?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is the conviction of the government that a unilateral declaration of independence would not be supported by international law and would be against Canadian law.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

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

They are at it again. In an internal memo, Lieutenant-General Armand Roy urged 140 or so senior officers to get cracking to help the chief of defence staff, General Boyle. The memo also states that a political decision had been made to muzzle the general and that only the minister of defence would be allowed to make public statements about the Somalia affair.

Does the minister realize that silencing General Boyle-a fact confirmed by his spokesman, Steve Wills-is not only an act of political interference but, worse yet, in direct contravention of the military rules and procedures behind which he hid on Tuesday and which state that the chief of defence Staff is the only official spokesperson of the armed forces?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I stated in the House some time ago-I think it was back in the fall of 1994 when this issue came up-that all members of the armed forces are not, as a condition of service, entitled to make public comments about their duties.

With respect to the incidents in Somalia, I advised the House that anybody who had anything to add to the situation, any evidence to give, should do so before the commission. That is consistent. That applies to everybody in the armed forces. It applies to the chief of defence staff.

However, the chief of defence staff has the unfettered right to communicate with his troops at any time. General Boyle exercised that right a few weeks ago but has since taken the position, the correct position and the one I directed in the House of Commons, that any commentary on Somalia should not be made in an external forum such as Parliament or in the news media but to the commission of inquiry.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, when will the minister come to the realization that a serious conflict of interest does justify suspending the chief of defence staff on a temporary basis, since he is personally under investigation by his own military police for allegedly having authorized the falsification of documents?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we dealt with this question a few weeks ago. The chief of defence staff is doing a very good job and is working extremely hard. At the appropriate time he will come forward to the commission to answer all of its questions.

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, Tuesday the Minister of Foreign Affairs tried to justify excessive awards of CIDA contracts to Quebec entities by citing cultural and linguistic ties to francophone countries receiving Canadian aid. However, public documents show that Quebec companies have major contracts in Central America, Indonesia, South Africa, China, Egypt, the Philippines and Bolivia.

Why will he not admit these deals have absolutely nothing to do with our ties to the francophonie and everything to do with trying to buy the loyalty of Quebec?

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, many of the companies and NGOs who work out of Quebec have been very effective in providing aid and assistance around the world representing this country as Canadians.

In the government we do not buy into the kind of regional divisiveness the hon. member and the hon. member from the Bloc

buy into. We think it does not matter where you come from in Canada; if you do a good job, you get the contract.

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I take it from the hon. minister's answer that Canada has only one region.

What we have over there is a government that is absolutely adrift. It is scrambling to find a national unity strategy and it is coming up empty handed.

Why will the minister not stop trying to explain away this blatant attempt at vote buying and admit his government has no policies that will convince Quebecers to stay in Canada and is trying to resort to bribing them instead?

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, a few weeks ago the word bribe was used in the House. I think it is the kind of word which causes us to escalate the rhetoric on both sides. I wonder if the hon. member would withdraw the word bribe.

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to withdraw that word.

Will the government stop trying to curry favour with Quebec by providing it with money?

Quebec ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will overlook the primitive nature of the hon. member's remarks and instead focus on the central issue which is what is the development program about.

Today the Prime Minister is hosting a meeting of the six heads of state of Central America who in the last five or six years have fought valiantly to establish democracies in that region of the world. Canada has been a full partner using its development programs. There have been Canadians from Quebec, Canadians from Alberta, Canadians from the Atlantic provinces all working in Central America to help those countries find democracy. That is the point of development.

Persons With DisabilitiesOral Question Period

May 16th, 1996 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Yesterday, when I asked him about cuts imposed on advocacy groups for the handicapped, the minister said he would keep on talking with these groups regarding their future and their funding.

Since the minister seems to be confirming his intention to resume the dialogue with these groups, is he prepared to go one step further and to restore their funding?

Persons With DisabilitiesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, several organizations are in a position to continue operating, because funds are still available to them. As we said on many occasions, we made a commitment. We informed the organizations concerned that the government intends to withdraw its financial support to several of them.

Originally, several agreements provided for funding over periods of one, two or three years. We will, as usual, continue to consult all our partners and discuss the issue with them.

Persons With DisabilitiesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, considering that these groups are often the only voice for handicapped people, can the minister tell us with whom he intends to discuss if, through his own fault, these groups disappear?

Persons With DisabilitiesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, most of the services available to people with problems of one kind or another are provided by the provinces.

Day in day out in this House members urge us to respect jurisdictions. When we do so and make sure that we do not interfere in areas such as health and so on, we are told that we should continue to fund organizations.

For example, we provide funding for Experience Canada and we are told we should not do so. Should we get involved or not? Make up your mind.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the deputy minister of revenue, under oath, was less than categorical in saying there was no political interference in the movement of $2 billion offshore, tax free.

Will the Minister of Finance dispel the perception of Liberal collusion in this decision by closing this loophole today?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question. However, I will just point out that one of the critical differences between our government and the previous government is that we take action. When we take action we take it in a very public way.