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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Prison ReformStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks Canada lost two great champions of prison reform and criminal rehabilitation. Senator Earl Hastings of Alberta, who died last Sunday, was a great Liberal and social reformer. Until the end, he kept in close touch with the prisons and the many prisoners whom he was helping to get a new start on life. He received many awards for his outstanding work in corrections and criminal justice.

Claire Culhane was also a strong activist for a humane corrections system. She campaigned and wrote against the abuses of the prison system for many years. We should understand that effective rehabilitation means less crime and safer streets.

Senator Hastings and Claire Culhane should serve as examples for all of us.

Westray Mine DisasterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the grieving families and in commemoration of the 26 deceased miners who were killed in my riding of Central Nova in the Westray coal mine disaster on May 9, 1992, we will remember them:

John Thomas Bates, Larry Arthur Bell, Bennie Joseph Benoit, Wayne Michael Conway, Ferris Todd Dewan, Adonis J. Dollimont, Robert Steven Doyle, Remi Joseph Drolet, Roy Edward Feltmate, Charles Robert Fraser, Myles Gillis, John Philip Halloran, Randolph Brian House, Trevor Jahn, Laurence Elwyn James, Eugene W. Johnson, Stephen Paul Lilley, Michael Frederick MacKay, Angus Joseph MacNeil, Glenn David Martin, Harry A. McCallum, Eric Earl McIssac, George James Munroe, Danny James Poplar, Romeo Andrew Short and Peter Francis Vickers.

We will remember them.

Parti QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the separatists are at it again. They complained about the voting conditions for non-residents of Quebec. They complained that the referendum was lost due to money and the ethnic vote. They complained that too many people obtained their citizenship in the months leading to the referendum. Now they are complaining again about the fact that the director general of elections produced pamphlets in languages other than French.

Mr. Landry and the PQ MNA for Vachon, Mr. Payne, took turns criticizing the Director General of Elections for having voting instructions in 19 different languages distributed in ridings where large numbers of Canadians of other ethnic background live.

The separatists' obsession with anyone who does not have "pure laine", or old stock, stamped on their certificate of citizenship has invariably led them to commit enormities and, if yesterday is any indication, it is not about to change.

War CrimesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the first trial for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia opened in The Hague yesterday, when a Bosnian Serb accused of murder and torture by the International Criminal Court appeared before the court.

This is the first time since the end of the second world war that an international court has brought charges against alleged perpetrators of crimes against humanity and genocide.

While more than 50 war criminals have been charged, only 10 or so are currently in custody. The others, including the political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, are still at large.

Canada must demand that all those charged be handed over before the mandate of the multinational force expires in December. The credibility of the international court hangs in the balance.

Westray Mine DisasterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, four years ago today 26 miners died at the Westray mine in Nova Scotia when coal dust ignited with methane gas to produce an underground explosion.

With all the headline coverage about the ongoing inquiry and with all the difficulties in getting at the truth, there are often times when the actual tragedy and loss of life seem to have been forgotten. If anything positive is to come out of this terrible event, it should be an acknowledgement that we can never overlook the importance of safety in the workplace.

To this end it is an absolute necessity that government regulations responsible for ensuring safety must never be relaxed and the safety inspectors that are looked to for protection must be completely free from political interference if they are to be effective. If we can achieve this we can take solace in the hope that this tragedy will never be repeated.

Today Canadians remember and honour the 26 miners who lost their lives four years ago this morning. We extend our sympathy and support to their families and friends.

Human RightsStatements By Members

May 9th, 1996 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in this Chamber the member for Lisgar-Marquette said: "If we want to look at what homosexuality and permissiveness have done to some countries let us look at Africa and the problems it has run into". He went on to relate the civil war in Liberia to homosexuality and permissiveness.

What basis does he have for these statements? What proof is there that the troubles in Liberia are related to homosexuality?

The situation in Liberia is tragic. Many innocent people are losing their lives. Families are being literally destroyed. Children are being killed. It is an issue that all Canadians deplore and I am sure members opposite do also. To relate it to a permissive attitude

toward homosexuality is an insult to the suffering of the people of Liberia and it is an insult to the intelligence of Canadians.

The people of Lisgar-Marquette deserve better from that party-

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The hon. member for Windsor-St. Clair.

Hiv-AidsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Macleod the other day claimed that Bill C-33 will encourage a lifestyle that spreads disease, notably HIV-AIDS. The leader of the Reform Party has dismissed these remarks and supported them by saying that they are the opinions of a medical professional.

As a member of Parliament the member for Macleod has the responsibility to ensure public policy is based on fact, not on misinformation or fear. As a medical doctor he has the responsibility to speak to the research.

The research tells us that this disease affects men, women and children. The research says it is a preventable disease and that its sources are known. The research has taught us that responsible behaviour will help to control HIV-AIDS. The member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, who is also a medical doctor, seems to understand this.

Misinformation from the member for Macleod will have more of an impact on the transmission of HIV than any of his imagined impacts of Bill C-33.

HIV-AIDS is a serious public health issue. Canadians are entitled to responsible, constructive comments from their MPs in the fight against the spread of AIDS. Canadians deserve better-

Unemployment Insurance ReformStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to urge the Prime Minister to meet with the 100 representatives of the Gaspé and Lower St. Lawrence region, who raised a total of $7,000 in "toll collections" and personal contributions to come to Ottawa today to tell him, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources Development that they will not stand by and let their region wither while this unemployment insurance reform drains our part of the country.

They speak on behalf of 30,000 people who, throughout eastern Quebec and in every regional municipality of our ridings in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé Peninsula, have expressed their opposition to this reform. All these regions, whose economies depend on seasonal industries, would like to make you understand what they are saying.

Prime Minister, you cannot refuse to meet with these spokespersons who have had a 32-hour bus ride to get here and let you hear their cry from the heart.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the report he tabled this week, the auditor general said that Revenue Canada has perhaps totally eliminated Canadian income tax on capital gains on goods of enormous value for the future. Before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, he confirmed that all capital gains realized on shares of public companies could leave the country tax free.

My question is for the Minister of Finance, since he is responsible for the government's tax policies. Does the Minister of Finance agree with the comments of the auditor general to the effect that, in addition to the capital gains in family trusts, all capital gains on publicly held shares may now be exported without Revenue Canada collecting a single cent of tax on them?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we certainly said clearly when we came to office that there were weaknesses in the taxation system that needed to be corrected. We have supported the actions of the auditor general in this area and will continue to do so. This is in fact one reason why we asked the Standing Committee on Finance to look at all that, because it is vital it be done transparently.

That said, the moment we took office, we established specific measures to prevent the use of tax havens or foreign companies to get around the law.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, to be perfectly clear, in addition to family trusts, all shares of public companies may now be transferred out of the country without Revenue Canada being able to collect a single cent. The minister has not mentioned this.

Since Revenue Canada's decision was published on March 21 and since a tax evasion rush is probably underway, why has the minister not suspended the decision of Revenue Canada to put an end to this huge risk of billions of dollars being lost abroad?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think it is worth reading what we have done to set the record straight. At the start, we launched a three-pronged offensive to reduce the use of tax havens by Canadian firms and the outflow of money, what the Leader of the Opposition is referring to.

First, in the 1995 budget, we proposed substantial requirements with respect to statements on interests in foreign companies. Second, in the 1994 budget, changes were made to the Income Tax Act to prevent the transfer of profits realized in Canada to companies abroad located in tax havens.

Third, the government strengthened exclusionary efforts regarding foreign companies and specifically involving inter-segment sales by individuals.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully remind the Minister of Finance and all his colleagues that nothing he has just said in any way alters the situation criticized by the auditor general.

Since finance department officials, as the auditor general revealed, acted very quickly one December 23, after a series of meetings on December 23, to permit this tax loophole to be used, could the Minister of Finance not tell people watching us that his officials will get to work and act equally quickly to prevent the flight of capital out of Canada at great cost to the Government of Canada?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have just listed the measures we put in place on our arrival in office. It is very clear. One of the reasons we put this issue to the finance committee was our concern and our keen interest in seeing the whole matter examined.

Now the Leader of the Opposition is talking about officials. I remind him that we are talking about something that happened in 1991 under the previous government. In most cases, the officials who made the decisions are no longer in the same position today.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have suspected as much for two and a half years, and we kept asking, to no avail, the Minister of Finance to take action. Now, the truth has come out.

In this morning's issue of the Financial Post , we learned that, based on a confidential report prepared by Revenue Canada, no less than $60 billion worth of capital secretly left the country in 1991. This blatant case of tax evasion was made possible thanks to permissive and lax federal legislation.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Will the minister confirm these facts? Will he confirm that very rich Canadians secretly transferred $60 billion worth of capital outside the country without paying tax?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, because the questions tend to repeat themselves, I will switch languages.

The fact is that we are dealing with a situation on which this government began to act immediately on taking office. If there is a problem, we basically recognized it. We referred it to the finance committee. A series of measures were taken to ensure that taxes were paid and that they were paid when due. At the same time, we supported the auditor general on this and on everything else.

Let us be very clear. The Minister of National Revenue has referred this matter to the public accounts committee. We in the Department of Finance have referred it to the finance committee. If there is a problem here arising out of events which took place in 1991 under the previous government, then let the facts be made clear in front of the finance committee.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. The public must know that the Minister of Finance is responsible for tax reform, that we have been asking him for two and a half years to carry out such a reform, and that he is laughing in our faces.

Now that the whole thing has become front page news, will he take action or will he continue to condone and even help this capital outflow?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, when we came to office, we took action. We eliminated more loopholes and flaws than the finance committee recommended. We went a lot further than asked by the Bloc Quebecois finance critic.

The Minister of National Revenue just hired more auditors, at a cost of $50 million. We allocated more money to her department precisely to eliminate these loopholes. The question is: Why is the Bloc Quebecois finance critic opposed to a public review in that sector? Is he afraid of transparency? Is he afraid of discussing these issues?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that Canadians are demanding a greater say in the political process.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

In this democratic age it is no longer acceptable for Canadians to have unelected, unaccountable senators having anything to do with the passage of public laws and the spending of public money.

Alberta has a law on its books for the election of senators and Premier Klein wants to hold an election to fill the latest Senate vacancy. Will the Prime Minister agree to appoint to the Senate the individual elected under the Alberta Senate Selection Act?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago we had a vote in this House and in the nation regarding an elected Senate. The leader of the third party voted against the opportunity to have an elected Senate. Obliged by the Canadian Constitution, I will name a senator who I will choose and who will represent my party.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the view of Albertans and the Prime Minister on representation in the Senate is fundamentally different. Albertans' view is that the senators should represent the people of Alberta, not the Prime Minister's party.

The Prime Minister knows as well as I do that the Senate reform proposals contained in the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords were not the triple E Senate proposal that this party represents. The Prime Minister knows he can democratize the Senate without a constitutional amendment.

When Premier Klein holds an election to fill Alberta's vacancy in the Senate and hundreds of thousands of Albertans participate in that election, as they did the last time, will the Prime Minister recognize the right of those people to choose their own representative in the Senate of Canada?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since 1867 we have had a system where senators are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. For example, some senators have served this nation very well, such as Senator Hastings who was a first quality public servant for many years. I also had some very pleasant discussions with a senator by the name of Manning who had been appointed by Pierre Trudeau.

I think the member was for an elected Senate and now he is trying to cover his bad judgment when he voted against Charlottetown. When someone destroys something because there is an element he does not like, he kills everything. If the member had used his judgment, today we would have elected senators. However, he did not do that.

The same man has also been asking for free votes since the beginning of the session and he is now forcing his members to vote according to the party line or they are out. At least in this party we let some members vote with freedom.