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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

AirbusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

The minister said on a number of occasions that he had informed the RCMP about allegations concerning the Airbus issue a few days after being appointed Minister of Justice.

Can the minister tell us if the allegations made by journalists and to which he is referring are the ones he was informed about at the beginning of 1993, when he met with two journalists, as the Toronto Sun was told by one of his political advisors, Cyrus Reporter?

AirbusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the question is convoluted. I have no idea of the Toronto Sun article the hon. member is referring to. The chronology of the facts is clear from what I have already put on the record.

In November 1993 I was given information by two journalists. I consulted with the deputy minister and with the solicitor general. After that consultation I communicated the information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In doing that I was acting responsibly as the chief law officer of the crown. As I have observed in the House already, I was also conducting myself in exactly the same way as predecessors in office have done, including the Right Hon. John Turner.

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice repeated in this House that he was not aware of the negotiations between the lawyers representing the government and those representing former Prime Minister Mulroney.

How then does the minister explain that, yesterday, he indicated negotiations had stopped when he said that it is difficult to negotiate with someone when, 24 hours after an informal meeting takes place between lawyers, all the details are on the national news?

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I said exactly that. I saw, along with everybody else, the report on the nightly news.

It became immediately obvious to me there is no point trying to discuss anything with anybody when that information gets directly on to the national news. It is no way to conduct any such discussions.

TaxationOral Question Period

June 18th, 1996 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the GST has hijacked the meeting this week of the finance ministers.

The finance ministers across the country are trying to meet to discuss true pension reform this week. Instead they have to talk about how the Liberals are pitting provinces against each other with a billion dollar GST harmonization pay-off.

My question is for the minister of the GST. If the harmonized GST is such a great and fair deal, why are 63 per cent of the people of Nova Scotia dead against it?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the finance ministers will be discussing a number of issues at their meeting today, including CPP, which is an important part of the meeting and an important issue. They may also be discussing the GST.

We have support from business groups and consumer groups across the country for a harmonized GST. Every major business and consumer group supports the harmonization project.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems fairly clear that 63 per cent of Nova Scotians, the very people the Liberals are trying to butter up to buy into this harmonization program, are not supporting it. How can the minister say every major group across the country is?

The GST still puts the financial screws to Canadians every single time they go to the cash register. Now it is causing bitterness and division instead of progress at the finance ministers meeting.

Remember how we got into this mess in the first place, Mr. Speaker, you were here: a Tory tax, a public outcry, a Liberal promise; and now crass manoeuvring by the finance minister to distract attention from his own broken promise.

Why does the minister continue to divide Canadians with this harmonization scheme? Why will he not unite Canadians by living up to the election promise to scrap, kill and abolish it? When will he do that?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is always nice to listen to the Reform Party.

We especially listened to it when it came out with its minority report from the finance committee on the GST. It said harmonizing was the way to go. That is what we did, but here we have the Reform Party squabbling again.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

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

On Saturday, Le Journal de Montréal released the content of a coast guard internal document entitled ``Fleet Merger'' and dealing with the cuts affecting the coast guard. Once again, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is displaying a blatant lack of judgment by cutting everywhere, except in his province of Newfoundland.

After favouring his province with the fee structure for commercial traffic, how can the minister justify that he is about to make drastic cuts of $25 million in all regions of Canada, except in his own province, where the cuts will only total $140,000?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, my response to the hon. member in this instance in essence is the same as it was in the previous instance.

What is happening to the coast guard is the result of a number of studies that went back to 1962, 1975, 1990 and which ended in the mix of DFO and the coast guard. As part of this we are rationalizing this fleet of 162 ships, reducing it by over 30. The decisions have not been made. The discussions are still continuing.

I am not familiar with the document to which the hon. member refers, but I can assure him that in this instance, as in any other

instance with the government, there will be no favouritism. The decisions will be made with fairness and equity for all.

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not comment on the figures mentioned in Le Journal de Montréal . I am asking him the same question again.

How can the minister so blatantly favour his province of origin, considering the coast guard budget for Newfoundland is the same as for Quebec and British Columbia, even though traffic in Newfoundland ports is lighter, and in spite of the fact that the coast guard is less busy in that province?

Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is trying to compare different aspects of a very complex program. Whatever the figures are, I am not sure where they came from, because a decision has not yet been made.

My advice to the hon. member is to read the reports with a certain amount of circumspection and a certain amount of understanding because the decisions have not been made.

I will tell him one more time that when the decisions are made they will be made with fairness, equity and just treatment for all.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the finance minister denied that his changes to the GST were increasing taxes. Here is a real life example of the damage these changes are causing.

Dave Quest from Kallal Pontiac Buick in Tofield, Alberta had a customer come in to sell a truck. As a direct result of the new GST changes, this dealership's profit has shrunk from about $1,000 to $80 on the truck; a $920 tax grab for the government.

I want the government to explain to Dave and all the thousands of other small businessmen out there why it is continuing to pursue taxation policies which gut business and kill jobs.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I thought the Reform Party was playing for political points when its members asked this question every day for the last week or so, but it seems they really do not understand it. Let me give them an example for Dave or for whomever out west.

A used car under the old system was subject to the same GST tax as it is under the new system. A new car under the old system was subject to twice as much GST as-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Doug Peters Liberal Scarborough East, ON

We put an input tax credit on it and the net is exactly the same. The new system and the old system have exactly the same GST.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

He really straightened me out, Mr. Speaker.

Let us look at the RV business. Don Sneyd at Ruston RV Centre in Burlington said the GST change has directly cost his business $13,000 since April 23. Dave McKee from the Hitch House in Barrie says his losses have been closer to $25,000 in the last seven weeks.

They laugh at that. They think that is funny, but I know there are Liberal members who are lobbying the finance minister and the revenue minister over these very changes.

Why does the government continue to deny these GST changes are anything but a tax grab? When will the minister admit and recognize that taxes, taxes, taxes kill jobs, jobs, jobs? When will the government get rid of this boondoggle?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party has demonstrated its ability not only to come last but to misunderstand government policy.

The taxes raised under the new and old system of the GST are identical. They are exactly the same.

How these dealers can lose money when they are paying exactly the same tax is beyond me. I will be glad to explain it to the hon. member when he has time.

U.S. Helms-Burton BillOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade.

When a Canadian citizen inquired of the head office of American Express why he had not been able to use its travellers' cheques in Cuba, he was told that it was the policy of that company and of all of its affiliates throughout the world to follow to the letter the American embargo on Cuba.

Since American Express is clearly violating the current Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, does the minister intend to prosecute the Canadian subsidiary of this American company as promptly as possible?

U.S. Helms-Burton BillOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we expect companies incorporated in Canada to follow Canadian law. That is what the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act which was brought in in 1984 is all about. The

amendments we announced yesterday that would be subsequently presented to this House deal with strengthening that act in terms of the provisions of the Helms-Burton law.

I would be pleased to look into the particular case the hon. member raises because we expect that company and all other companies to abide by Canadian law.

U.S. Helms-Burton BillOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce to the minister that his officials have known for two years that American Express is breaking the law, yet they have done nothing.

As he prepares to propose to beef up the present legislation on foreign extraterritorial measures, can the minister tell us that it is his intention in future to apply that act more stringently than he has to date?

U.S. Helms-Burton BillOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our intent in the amendments is to neutralize the effects of the Helms-Burton law. It is a last resort measure. It is one I hope we never have to engage in. It is a framework law which allows that if a company is sued in the United States courts, we could either block them from getting any of the assets of the Canadian company here in Canada or a court action could be instituted here in Canada to recover any funds. It is to neutralize the effect.

I hope that it acts as an effective deterrent and that companies think twice before they proceed in the U.S. courts under Helms-Burton.

The United States government's quarrel is with the Cubans. It should not be drawing the Canadians or any other country into that quarrel.

CyprusOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday my private member's motion on the demilitarization of Cyprus as the first step in finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem was debated in the House. It received all-party support. MPs from both sides of the House and Canadians of Cypriot origin are looking now to the government for support.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell this House what he intends to do in response to this unanimous request for action on the part of the Canadian government?

CyprusOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to compliment the hon. member on the resolution. It was a very important statement by members of this House that, if followed through on, could provide a very important contribution to the reduction of the conflict and the resolution of the differences in Cyprus. We can certainly endorse the position taken by the hon. member and other members who spoke in the House in support of that resolution.

Dangerous OffendersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I and several other MPs received sneering personal notes from child killer Clifford Olson to which he attached his new line of serial killer cards, a collection of police photographs taken of him at different stages in his criminal life.

In his letter Olson brags about his prospect for early release this August using section 745 of the Criminal Code. He claims it is his democratic right within the charter of rights and freedoms and common law.

Why will the justice minister not immediately repeal section 745 to wipe the smirk off of Clifford Olson's face and send the message that early release is not a democratic right or even an option for cold blooded killers?