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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

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table in both official languages the government's response to four petitions presented during the first session.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

May 16th, 1996 / 10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary delegation to Chile, from April 8 to 11, 1996.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between the parties on a travel motion. I move:

Pursuant to its mandate in relation to the comprehensive review of the Young Offenders Act, phase II, and specifically, to observe how the youth justice system operates in practice, that six members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, four from the Liberal Party, including the chair, one from the Bloc Quebecois, and one from the Reform Party, be authorized to travel to Toronto, London and Windsor, Ontario from Sunday, June 2 to Thursday, June 6, 1996 in order to hold public hearings, visit sites, young offender facilities and programs, and meet with officials, and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

Motion agreed to.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty to present a petition signed by 25 residents from different ridings in the city of Calgary.

The petitioners note that section 43 of our Criminal Code allows schoolteachers, parents and those standing in the place of a parent to use reasonable physical force for the correction of pupils or children under their care. The petitioners call upon Parliament to end such legal approval of this harmful and discriminatory practice by repealing section 43 of the Criminal Code.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have a petition to present on behalf of 75 Canadians regarding the merchant navy veterans of World War II.

These petitioners are asking Parliament to consider extending the same benefits armed forces veterans receive to merchant navy veterans.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 25 Canadians in B.C.

The petitioners are concerned with the government's consideration of taxing supplemental health care and dental care coverage. The petitioners call upon Parliament to refrain from implementing a tax on health and dental benefits and to put on hold any future consideration of such a tax until a complete review of the tax system and how it impacts on the health of Canadians has been undertaken.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Cochrane—Superior, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition this morning on behalf of 45 citizens of Mattice, who are greatly concerned about clause 17 and the resolution the government will have to adopt in future.

There are serious concerns that this would create a precedent which would allow any provincial government to suppress the rights of a minority.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 28 will be answered today.

Question No. 28-

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Regarding the spraying of gypsy moths by Agriculture Canada in the McBride/Sappleton area in New Westminster, British Columbia: ( a ) what is the exact ingredient of the formulation Btk, ( b ) what were the gypsy moth counts before and after spraying over the past 10 years in the general urban area, ( c ) what specific notification procedures and what education programs have been conducted over the past six months to constituents living in the affected area, and ( d ) what alternative forms of dealing with the gypsy moth are available and what is the cost-effectiveness ratio of each?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

(a) Btk: Due to proprietary information exemptions in the Access to Information Act, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) cannot disclose the total contents of Foray 48B, the particular formula of Btk used for the eradication of gypsy moths. What we can say is that the active ingredient is a bacterial insect disease, Bacillus thuringiensis Kurstaki-Btk. Small amounts of chemicals are used in the commercial fermentation process, and the bacteria metabolize these into complex and simple sugars and water in the final formulation. The final formulation has been examined by Health Canada and Environment Canada and has been proven safe; it is even certified for use by organic growers.

(b) Treatment Effectiveness: European gypsy moths (also knows as North American gypsy moths) have been accidentally moved to British Columbia on household effects numerous times in the last 17 years from infested areas of eastern North America and elsewhere. Thirty-nine male moths wer caught in pheromone-baited sticky traps in B.C. in 1994 and again in 1995; prior years moths trapped have numbered over 200 males. (The pheromone is a sexual lure used to attract male gypsy moths only.) When gypsy moths are trapped at low density (one or two in a trap with no moths in surrounding traps), the figures do not necessarily indicate a sustainable population and therefore eradication is not necessary. However, the area surrounding such finds is always closely monitored for two subsequent years to determine whether the population is increasing or has failed to develop.

British Columbia is uniquely placed in that it has the pressure of introductions of North American gypsy moths by land and air from eastern North America and of Asian gypsy moths by sea and air from countries to the west. The Asian gypsy moth threatens its habitat far more than the European gypsy moth, being a more aggressive feeder, feeding on a wider host range, and having females capable of flying before they deposit their prolific egg masses. It was multiple catches of the Asian gypsy moth on the Vancouver waterfront that launched the intensive spray program in 1992. Asian and North American gypsy moths are capable of cross-breeding, the result of which is a North American gypsy moth with females capable of flying. Prior to determining a treatment response, it is thus essential to determine whether the gypsy moth is of the Asian, European, or hybrid genotype; this is done through genetic fingerprinting.

The following shows the number of male gypsy moths trapped before and after spraying during the last 10 years in the greater Vancouver regional district.

Vancouver waterfront (includes areas of North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby):

-1988-1 male was trapped1; -1989-6 male gypsy moths were trapped2; -1990-10 male gypsy moths were trapped3; -1991-33 male gypsy moths were trapped inside the spray zone (27 Asian gypsy moths introduced from Russian freighters in Vancouver Harbour)4; -1992-area was treated with Btk for Asian gypsy moth; following treatment 2 male gypsy moths were trapped, one just outside the treatment zone; -1993-0 male gypsy moths were trapped;

Burnaby

-1992-9 male gypsy moths were trapped (3 of these were outside the treatment zone); -1993-area was treated with Btk; following treatment no male gypsy moths were trapped in treatment area;

Richmond

-1991-3 male gypsy moths were trapped (just outside what later became a treatment zone); -1992-61 male gypsy moths were trapped; -1993-area was treated with Btk; following treatment 2 male gypsy moths were trapped outside the treatment block; -1994-0 male gypsy moths were trapped; -1995-1 male gypsy moth was trapped5;

1 Singleton moth not requiring immediate treatment.

2 Singleton moths not requiring immediate treatment.

3 Singleton moths not requiring immediate treament.

4 Information pertaining strictly to treatment zones was forwarded to MP's Ottawa office as a result of a request to Gypsy Moth Information Line.

5 Singleton moth not requiring immediate treatment.

South Vancouver

-1991-1 male gypsy moth was trapped6; -1992-5 male gypsy moths were trapped (1 just outside what later became a treatment zone); -1993-20 male gypsy moths were trapped; -1994-area was treated with Btk; following treatment no male gypsy moths were trapped in treatment area;

New Westminster (Sapperton)

-1993-1 male gypsy moth was trapped7; -1994-1 male gypsy moth was trapped; -1995-8 males gypsy moths were trapped in what is the proposed treatment zone;

New Westminster (other than Sapperton)

-1995-4 male gypsy moths were trapped8.

(c) Notification/Education:

(i) Gypsy Moth Open House public information session on February 15, 1996 in New Westminster; (ii) mailout to residences in treatment blocks; (iii) newspaper advertising of pesticide use permit application; (iv) newspaper and television education and interviews; (v) door-to-door contact with homeowners during egg-mass searching; (vi) resource materials in local libraries; (vii) information letters to the school in the New Westminster treatment block; (viii) frequently-asked question list sent to the newspaper (this list was not published): (ix) telephone 666-MOTH line to answer questions on a one-to-one basis; (x) presentations to city Councils in treatment blocks; (xi) consultation with local medical health officers; (xii) detailed information sent to B.C. Environmental Appeal Board in response to appeals against AFFC's pesticide use permit.

(d) Alternative Treatment Information: An aerial application of a chemical insecticide is the most cost-effective and efficacious method of eliminating gypsy moths. However, these chemicals tend to affect a wide range of non-target organisms and to raise public concerns about human health. While AAFC chooses not to use these alternatives and therefore does not know the cost-effectiveness ratio for such a treatment, it can be deduced that the treatment would be cheaper because chemical insecticides are cheaper than bacterial insecticides and only one spraying is needed to eradicate the moths.

Mass pheromone trapping is a non-viable alternative for eradiction because of the fact that it is not a legal option in Canada. It is an experimental approach of using huge numbers of traps to interfere with mating: 5,000 traps per square mile are set out two years running at a current cost of around $100,000/square mile.

For the eradication of the gypsy moth population indicated in Sapperton, the British Columbia Regional Office of Food Production and Inspection Branch of AAFC has chosen to use an efficacious ground-spraying program of Btk to take into consideration public discomfort with the aerial application of a pesticide. This year, the cost-effectiveness ratio of a ground application compared with an aerial application of Btk is 8:1, though this varies with the size of the areas.

6 Singleton moth not requiring immediate treatment.

7 Singleton moth not requiring immediate treatment.

8 Moths not requiring immediate treatment.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government House leader when I will receive answers to Questions Nos. 2 and 4. It was not clear to me yesterday. I have been waiting for 80 days for these replies. Prior to the prorogation of the House, I waited for 71 days without an answer.

The answers are a matter of public safety. They include government liability for injuries suffered by prisoners under its care and the unsafe storage of firearms by police and armies. When can I get an answer to these two important questions?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, as I explained to my colleague yesterday, both of those answers are being finalized. I regret there has been a delay, but we are attempting to make the answers as fulsome and as responsive to the member's request as possible. He will be familiar with the fact that neither issue can have just a yes or no answer. They deal with policy matters and need appropriate replies.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

moved:

That the House endorse the declaration of the Prime Minister of Canada, who stated in 1985, "If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebeckers and let them separate".

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, as the Standing Order allows, I would like to request that all speeches from here on be split into ten minute segments.

Now, to explain the context of this motion before the House, let us say that, recently, the Prime Minister has acquired the bad habit,

if I dare describe it as that, of going back on his word about certain things he has said, explaining to the public that, of necessity, in political life sometimes commitments cannot be met, and that politicians must not be required to keep their word.

We have seen that in the GST matter, where the PM had promised to scrap the GST and where, finally, the government's decision was quite different. It was the opposite, in fact: to expand the GST. Since the federal government is digging itself further and further into a constitutional hole by cosying up to Guy Bertrand in contesting the legitimacy of a Quebec referendum, we thought it worthwhile to review the statements the Prime Minister has made.

For this reason, we are submitting the matter to the House, and are asking our hon. colleagues, both those in the Reform Party and more particularly those in the Liberal Party, to join with us in ensuring that the House deals with a statement made by the Prime Minister, when he said in 1985 that "If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebeckers and let them separate".

This is a quote from Straight from the Heart , written by the Prime Minister himself. In 1985, the Prime Minister waxed most eloquent, saying: We'll put our faith in democracy. We'll convince the people that they should stay in Canada and we'll win''. It is normal for a politician to believe in what he is proposing, normal for him to think that he can win in his political undertakings. But he ends up saying:If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebeckers and let them separate''.

That is the quote, and the book, behind today's motion. The question being asked of our colleagues across the way is this: Are we going to take steps to ensure that the House in its entirety, through a majority vote or, who knows, even by a unanimous vote, endorses these words by the Prime Minister? Is what the Prime Minister promised, stated, in 1985, still endorsed, first of all, by himself-something we might well wonder-and then by his ministerial colleagues, of whom solidarity is required, and his caucus colleagues, who are also supposed to be in solidarity with their Prime Minister on a matter as basic as this?

To facilitate the decision, I shall be making use of some more quotes by the Prime Minister, for this is not the first time the Prime Minister has made a statement on this matter. Doing so may perhaps help them see that this was not just an unfortunate slip of the tongue that got past the Prime Minister in an angry moment, or in some speech or other, but indeed something that he felt profoundly, or at the very least, something he wanted to get across to his fellow citizens by writing it down and repeating it in a variety of ways.

During the proceedings of the Bélanger-Campeau Commission, on December 17 1990, which is even more recent, the Prime Minister declared, and I quote: "I am a democrat. I said in numerous speeches in 1980 that if we had not recognized that Quebec had the right to opt for separation, we would have acted differently. There were powers we could have used but we decided not to".

Therefore the hon. members across will appreciate that the Prime Minister formally recognized for a second time that Quebec has the right to separate. By saying that there are powers which could have been used but were not, he also excluded resorting to legal guerilla warfare as a means to challenge the referendum.

We feel concerned because unfortunately the Prime Minister went back on his word, on this point. We all know that this government decided to team up with Guy Bertrand in a legal war which could result in denying Quebecers the right to make a decision on their future. In 1990, the Prime Minister repeated his statement of 1985 according to which Quebec has the right to separate.

Even more recently, on October 24 1995, the Prime Minister declared in the speech he delivered in Verdun on the eve of the referendum: "Next Monday we will have to decide if we are ready to abandon a country which personifies them better than any other country. Think twice before voting". This means that the Prime Minister explicitly recognized that the referendum vote was decisive. Indeed, he declared: "Think twice before voting. Next Monday we will have to decide if we are ready to break away from our country". Therefore, on the eve of the referendum, on October 24 1995, the Prime Minister repeated what he had written in 1985 and reiterated in 1990.

On October 25 1995, in his address to the nation, the Prime Minister said: "The vote on Monday will determine the future not only of Quebec but also of Canada as a whole. This is a serious and irreversible decision". Once more he recognized what he had already admitted in 1980, 1985, 1990 and on the previous day, on October 24 1995: "Canada, our country and heritage, are in danger. Breaking Canada apart or building this country, remaining Canadian or becoming foreigners, staying or leaving, those are the issues at stake in the referendum. When we make our choice, we all have the responsibility and the duty to understand the impact of our decision".

In the mind of the Prime Minister, therefore, a referendum in Quebec is legitimate and its results are binding. The outcome of the referendum must be respected.

The Prime Minister has the support of one of his colleagues in cabinet, the super minister of the Quebec referendum, the present Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who said: "We have always said that Quebecers were entitled to have their say on Quebec's future inside or outside Canada. Ours is a democratic country, and we will respect the outcome of the vote". So the minister supports the Prime Minister.

In closing, since my time is running out, any doubts the Liberals may have had as to a vote in favour of this motion calling for the House's endorsement of the Prime Minister's declaration: "If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebecers and let them separate", are fading.

I will close by saying that, if it might reinforce their conviction that they must support what the Prime Minister has said, I will quote his speech to the nation on October 25, 1995.

In this last quote, the Prime Minister said, and I suggest they think about it: "My friends, we are facing a decisive moment in the history of our country. And people all across Canada know that decision lies in the hands of their fellow Canadians in Quebec".

In all that he has said since 1980, in 1985, 1990 and 1995, he has been consistent repeatedly. He has always said that Quebecers had the right to decide their future themselves and that a referendum would be decisive, binding and would change the nature of things in Canada.

Accordingly, there is no reason for the Liberal members to think the House will not endorse the statement he made in 1985. We could have taken all the ones he has made since then, but we chose 1985: "If we don't win, I'll respect the wishes of Quebecers and let them separate". We will see whether the GST is the only issue where the Prime Minister reversed himself or whether, in the constitutional matter as well, he will suddenly deny all he has said on different occasions over a very long period of time.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask the Chair to rule on an issue which was brought to our attention a few moments ago, whether it is either customary or even procedurally acceptable that members share their time on the original motion.

It has been customary in the past for the length of speeches of all members to be 20 minutes. Later on, for subsequent speakers, in particular during the second round, the whip can rise, and I believe under the rules only the whip can do it, to invoke Standing Order 43, by which he or she will then state members can from that point on share their time.

What occurred this morning was irregular in two ways. I would like the Chair to consider this and rule on it later. The initial speaker indicated to the Chair that he wished for all Liberal members to have their time shared. I believe that proposition is in itself irregular and that it must be done by the whip.

Occasionally members have between themselves agreed to share their time, but that was not the proposition advanced this morning. That proposition was put forward by an MP who is not the whip. He asked that all members of his party be allowed to share their time. I do not believe that is provided for in Standing Order 43.

The second point is that I do not believe the Speaker has entertained that proposition in the past at the request of the initial speaker on any particular motion. It has always been done with subsequent speakers.

In any case, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you consider the two points I have brought to the attention of the Chair and to rule whether the suggestion by the hon. leader of the opposition is acceptable under our rules. I contend it is not and I ask the Chair to rule on that issue.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of custom, I will not go back to times immemorial in this House but simply to March 20, 1996, which is not so far back. The same thing happened then. The hon. member for Medicine Hat shared his time. He was the first speaker, and the issue was the GST. Imagine that. He shared his time with the member for Capilano-Howe Sound who moved an amendment. This was on March 20, 1996.

The Chair did not see anything irregular in that. That time, our Liberal friends did not rise to protest. I understand that they may have regretted it afterward. They had some problems with the GST, but this was on March 20, 1996. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this double standard is unacceptable. Even a triple standard, a rule for the third party, a rule for the party in power and another one for the Bloc Quebecois.

On March 20, 1996, everything was clear. Unless there is an error in Hansard , nobody spoke up. I note that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was present. He made no objection. The member shares his time, the member with whom he shares it amends the motion. This was on March 20, 1996, not so long ago.

Beauchesne did not deal with this issue, he did not have the time. I suppose that if he had, people on the other side would have risen to protest that it did not make sense. Let us not try, by devious means, to prevent the opposition from holding a political debate of great importance.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are a few points I want to bring to your attention.

First, it is well-known that one case does not make a precedent. The Speaker has not ruled and so no jurisprudence can be invoked. If Mr. Speaker does not rule on the previous case no one can claim that it is good precedence.

I would argue the following and invite you, Mr. Speaker, to consider this. If this-

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Your French is very good.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

I want to tell the member opposite that I have no reason to be ashamed of the chance, the honour and the privilege I have, in this country, to speak both official languages. I do not have to apologize to him. I think I am competent in both languages and I am free to choose the one that pleases me. As a Canadian, it is my privilege and my right, a concept-

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I ask all those who want to speak to this matter to be co-operative and to stick to the point of order.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Chair to consider this proposal: if what was just done is allowed under our rules, it could-and I invite the Chair to think about this carefully-make it impossible to amend this motion or any other opposition motion in future. The first speaker could table his motion and the following one, from the same party, could ask the previous question, which would preclude all amendments.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, I ask you to do whatever is necessary to invalidate what the opposition leader asked for this morning. Otherwise, it would completely change the rules of the House of Commons.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this concerns me primarily, I would like to make a few points for your consideration. First, our Standing Orders are full of provisions which, when used properly by the House, shorten debates or prevent the taking of a vote, make it compulsory to have a debate or prevent debate.

The Standing Orders are full of provisions which, when used properly by parliamentarians, as is usually the case here, have an impact on the nature and the course of the proceedings.

Therefore, it is not justified to strike this particular provision from the Standing Orders or overturn the ruling already made, otherwise the Standing Orders would have to be reviewed entirely and many provisions amended. If the hon. whip wants to embark on such an operation, he should consult his House leader, and we will see. But for the time being, this cannot be taken into account, otherwise it would also apply to a lot of other provisions.

Second, I would like to respectfully point out to the hon. government whip that, before going ahead in this manner, mindful as I always am to follow not only the spirit but also the letter of our Standing Orders, I consulted the Chair and the Principal Clerk of the House, and they both confirmed, rightly I must say-they could just as easily have ruled otherwise-that the ruling already rendered and the practice of the House allowed me to ask that we all share our time.

Therefore, I followed the directive of the House, on the recommendation of its principal officer and on your recommendation, Mr. Speaker, and therefore I do not know why-

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

The Liberals had no objection.