This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister was quite right to call the Reform Party to order, but she could have taken the time to reply to the question, and especially to read the throne speech, which clearly says "withdraw from its functions". But yesterday the minister said the opposite, a bit like the former Deputy Prime Minister. I quote her again:

"Let there be no mistake that there are key federal areas where we will continue to be involved in both forestry and mining".

This contradicts point by point what was said in the throne speech.

So that no mistake is made, could the minister and this government be clear on this issue? Will she admit that the promise made in the throne speech means no more than the red book promise with respect to the GST? Will she realize that she has no more credibility than Sheila Copps?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate to the hon. member that we intend to keep this promise and we are keeping this promise.

This promise is about sorting out responsibilities. I assure the hon. member those areas that we continue to be involved with in forestry are within federal jurisdiction, for example the 25 per cent of forests on federal crown lands, the First Nations and their lands. Forestry is an important aspect of their economic self-sufficiency. National issues in relation to science and technology-

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the justice minister was forced to acknowledge the existence of his secret long term policy agenda listing future initiatives on family, dependant benefits for same sex couples and changes to marital and family status.

Canadians deserve honesty and open debate on these issues. Instead, policy agendas are hidden in the minister's drawer, away from Canadians and even members of his own caucus.

Here is a straightforward question for the minister. Will he table all discussion papers and policy initiatives related to same sex benefits or will he admit today he has no intention of pursuing these divisive policies?

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister replied very clearly yesterday. We are voting on Bill C-33 at this moment to make sure there is no discrimination against any part of society.

On the rest he gave an explanation that there are and will be cases in front of the courts. Citizens can appear before courts. Of course the Minister of Justice has to defend the Canadian position, and the Canadian position is the human rights act. The courts

decide according to the laws of Parliament. The minister said he is ready to defend the position of the government before any court.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yes, we are talking about the justice minister and the Liberal Party's long term agenda.

Same sex couples and marital and family status were not in the red book or in the throne speech. The justice minister denied intentions to move ahead on these initiatives. The House voted down marital benefits for same sex couples. This is a matter of integrity and democracy. He has demonstrated a profound lack of respect for both.

Will the minister commit today to challenge any future court decision which extends marital or family benefits to same sex couples based on the court's interpretation of amendments to the human rights act, yes or no?

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada will always perform in court the duties of the Attorney General of Canada. He is very capable and we are very privileged to have a man of his knowledge and stature as the Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

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

This afternoon, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will disclose his new fee schedule for the coast guard. Along with a near majority of Canadian stakeholders, the Great Lakes Commission, a U.S. organization representing the eight states bordering the Great Lakes, sent Raymond Chrétien, the Canadian ambassador in Washington, a letter asking the Canadian government to delay the implementation of its new fee schedule for coast guard services.

Since the unilateral imposition of a coast guard fee schedule could have serious repercussions on trade with the U.S., will the Prime Minister act on this request by the U.S. and ask his minister to delay his decision?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows these fees are not unilateral. They were voted on in the House of Commons. They were put forward in a study done last year. They were put forward by the Marine Advisory Board, which involves members of the industry from across Canada. They were studied. There were consultations with 850 organizations and individuals right across the country. They were tried four different ways. They were rearranged. The were reiterated. They were refined.

Everything possible that could be done with these fees to make them fair and equitable has been done. After the fees are implemented there will be studies to ensure they are fairly done and fairly put together with respect to marine services.

We are looking at 11 per cent of the overall fees for the coast guard marine services and the aids to navigation at less than an average of 3 per cent of the overall port charges.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is again for the Prime Minister because the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has just said once again that he would first implement the new fee schedule and then conduct a review. This makes no sense.

I wish to remind the Prime Minister that, according to the stakeholders who appeared before the fisheries and oceans committee, and according to the Great Lakes Commission, the new fee schedule will have serious consequences.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, by letting his Minister of Fisheries and Oceans blindly go ahead with his new fee schedule, he is endangering thousands of jobs as well as the economies of the regions along the St. Lawrence and around the Great Lakes?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, before the announcement of the basic fee structure in January, there was an IBI study carried out by consultants essentially to show the impact on the industry could be absorbed.

The results were positive and showed the impact could easily be absorbed at the level of $20 million spread in accordance with the prorated use of marine services.

I must tell the hon. member I am not proceeding in the blind. I am proceeding with the consultation of 850 other organizations and people, and the fees will proceed as planned.

PovertyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, 1996 has officially been declared the United Nations international year for the eradication of world poverty. Can the secretary of state tell the House what Canada is doing to play its part in the international arena to help eradicate world poverty?

PovertyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to my colleague's question on behalf of our Minister for International

Co-operation who takes major responsibility in the government for international poverty issues.

Canada is very committed to the issues of international poverty and works together with the multilateral community to effect progress. We have seen some progress but we hope that by the year 2015 we with the international community will be able to reach some further significant targets.

Canada works by providing up to 25 per cent of its official development assistance for programs of health and education, clean water, sanitation, micro enterprise works, programs that will have a benefit for women. We will continue to work with the international community to do more in this field.

BenefitsOral Question Period

May 9th, 1996 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. I realize the Liberals want a new leader but that is their problem. I will ask the Prime Minister a question anyway.

Max Yalden, the former head of the human rights commission, testified before a parliamentary committee in 1994: "We believe that if sexual orientation is included by the courts in the act and even if it is more obviously included by Parliament, it would be discriminatory on the ground of sexual orientation to give benefits of one sort or another to a common law couple and yet deny them to a same sex couple".

Why do the Prime Minister and the government insist exactly the opposite is true when the commission charged with administering the act disagrees with their opinion?

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are voting on a bill in the House of Commons that will ensure there is no discrimination against anybody based on sexual orientation. The completion of this human rights act makes Canada a country in which people with a different language, different colour, different religion and some with different sexual orientation can live. It is a society of tolerance that we have in Canada and we will be voting for that this afternoon.

What the judges decide, they will decide. If Parliament has to legislate, Parliament will legislate. There will be non-discrimination enshrined for the people who happen to be homosexual in Canadian society.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's answer does not address the question.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission disagrees with his interpretation. The justice minister in past statements disagrees with that position. Justice Lamer in the Mossop decision disagreed with that position. Even members of his own party disagree with that position. The MP for Ontario said-

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question, please.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is committed to the idea that it is not discrimination to refuse to provide same sex benefits, will he amend the human rights act to make that absolutely clear?

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question is out of order. The hon. member for Matapédia-Matane.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

On May 7, 1996, the coast guard informed its St. Lawrence region employees of the upcoming transfer of the Wilfrid-Laurier , an icebreaker, to the west coast region, before the coast guard advisory committee has completed its study on icebreaking operations in the St. Lawrence.

How can the Minister of Fisheries justify that, before the committee even got a chance to complete its study of icebreaking operations, one of the five icebreakers making up the St. Lawrence fleet based in Quebec is taken away, from Quebec again, while there are still nine icebreakers based in Nova Scotia, where they do not even have ice in winter?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is talking about is the reduction in marine services.

The Bloc wants it both ways. It wants to not have marine service fees and have the taxpayers pay for that, the small taxpayers. It wants to reduce the fees but it does not want to reduce the services.

Which way does he want it? The hon. member cannot have it both ways.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, following this cut carried out without consultation, in which 50 employees may lose their jobs, will the Minister of Fisheries undertake not to transfer the icebreaker before the advisory committee has completed its study?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, one of the comments and one of the observations made as we went forward with the marine service fees was that the

coast guard, aids to navigation and marine services cost too much. We take people seriously. We looked at the requirement to reduce and we are reducing.

Last year we reduced $27 million. This year we will be reducing $30 million. By the turn of the century we will be saving the taxpayer and the Government of Canada $200 million a year, which is good news to all taxpayers.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and again today members of the Reform Party asked question of the government with respect to future plans to grant spousal benefits for sexual orientation. We understand that on the document passed around MC stands for memorandum to cabinet. We understand now that cabinet has discussed this issue.

I wonder if the Prime Minister would care to inform Canadians precisely what cabinet has decided with respect to future benefits for gays and lesbians.

BenefitsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only discussion we have had is the bill which is in front the House at this moment. That is the only legislation. What goes on in cabinet is part of the cabinet. The result of the work of cabinet is bills that we introduce in the House of Commons. That is it.

Right now we have a bill that will be passed and it will be progress for Canadian society.