House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

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 10 petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report from the meeting of the permanent council of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association that took place in Paris, from May 20 to 23, 1996.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, I have the honour to present the second report of this committee. This report deals with the Main Estimates, on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1997.

Merchant Navy Veteran And Civilian War-Related Benefits ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-320, an act to amend the Merchant Navy Veteran and Civilian War-related Benefits Act and the War Veterans Allowance Act.

Mr. Speaker, this bill is introduced to ensure that wartime Canadian merchant navy veterans will henceforth receive equal standing, rights, privileges and benefits to those afforded to all Canadian navy, army and air force war veterans.

Current legislation limits recognition of merchant navy service benefits to service on a high seas voyage. This bill will address this injustice by amending the definition of "high seas voyage" under the Merchant Navy Veteran and Civilian War-related Benefits Act to include all areas where actual attacks by the enemy occurred.

The bill will also clarify the measurement criteria for time of commencement and termination of service for the eligibility of merchant navy war veterans.

Current legislation excludes merchant navy service benefit eligibility from time of capture or the involuntary termination of duty travel assignment which left them stranded overseas. For example, half of the merchant navy prisoners of war held in the Far East who were captured after landfall fell into this category.

Further, this bill will amend the War Veterans Allowance Act to include merchant navy war veterans, thus ensuring them the same recognition and benefits provided to navy, army and air force war veterans.

Time marches on and it is vital that Parliament moves now to correct these long overdue inequities before it is too late; the average age of merchant navy veterans is 76 years.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-321, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (cumulative sentences).

Mr. Speaker, I stand again for those victims of multiple murderers and rapists who have been dismissed as irrelevant by Canada's justice system. My bill, seconded by the hon. member for Mississauga South, is a re-submission of Bill C-274 and calls for consecutive sentencing for serial and multiple murderers and rapists.

I re-submit this bill today encouraged by the words of the Minister of Justice on Monday night in committee. He said: "It seems to me that when we are dealing with someone who has taken more than one life we are entitled to take that into account". He continued: "I do not know why it is difficult to perceive the difference between a single offence and multiple offences. In terms of whether I would support consecutive terms for murderers, I might well". So says the Minister of Justice, who indicated that he has encouraged policy work on the subject and who said it should be looked at.

This bill offers the Minister of Justice and this Parliament the opportunity to defy the predator protection industry by ending volume discounts for rapists and murderers.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

On the Order: Motions

June 14, 1996-

Main EstimatesRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

-That, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)( a ) and Order made Monday, March 4, 1996, consideration of Human Resources Development Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 of the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1997, by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, be extended beyond June 21, 1996.

Main EstimatesRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Motion deemed adopted.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move that the House concur in the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs tabled on June 19.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

moved that the 22nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on Tuesday, June 18, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, I will be dividing my time with the member for Lethbridge.

I have mixed emotions about bringing this motion forward to the House today. I feel it is necessary that it be done. On the one hand, I am very proud and happy to do it. It is an issue that has been verballing around now since the last referendum in Quebec. It is something that should have been brought to a head with the report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and it was not.

By not bringing this issue to a conclusion in the report, the Liberal majority in the House has allowed this to continue to percolate. The feeling of sadness I have about this is that this will come back to haunt us in the days and years to come.

What happened is now a matter of public record. The member for Charlesbourg sent around a communique, now known as the Jacob communique. It asked members of the Canadian Armed Forces to consider joining up with the Quebec armed forces in the event of a yes vote. It was brought forward at a very tense time in Canada's history when, as members know, we came within a per cent of losing a very important vote to keep the country together.

It is a matter of record that the communique was sent out indiscriminately to Canadian Armed Forces members. It asked them, I think, to contradict their oath of allegiance to Canada. It asked them to consider their position in a new Quebec army, an army that had not yet even been formed.

Due to the diligence of the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, he brought this to the attention of the House and to the attention of the Speaker. You ruled, Mr. Speaker, this was a very serious matter and should be referred to the committee on procedure and House affairs to deal with.

The reason I have mixed emotions about this is that I had hoped it would have been dealt with and that a contempt of Parliament would have been rendered. The reason I say this is that we will be dealing with this again in the next referendum campaign. No action has been taken by the House and by the committee. No action has been recommended against the member for Charlesbourg and no one here has found it necessary, now that the crisis is over, to give

advice to the Canadian Armed Forces on how to handle its affairs in the future.

When the crisis was on, it was called by the government whip "dangerously close to inciting mutiny in a moment of crisis". It is now being sloughed off as "it may be a mistake, but just let it go". The Minister of National Defence said this was a serious matter and that we could not have members of the House saying those kinds of things. Those were the minister's own words. However, a few months later he says "well, it is over now, let's just forget it". That is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable for the House to brush aside something that was dangerously close to mutiny and unacceptable behaviour, by the government's own admission, and then a few months later it says let us hope it does not happen again. It will happen again.

The member for Charlesbourg says-

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have just heard my colleague accuse the member for Charlesbourg of treason, of breaking his oath of allegiance and of inciting mutiny. I would ask him to either withdraw his words or to make accusations right here in this House so that the case can be referred, as was the previous one, to the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Otherwise, there is a double standard here.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Speaker

I did not hear the word traitor. I did not hear the word sedition. I heard that the minister said he was dangerously close to mutiny. I do not find these words to be unparliamentary.

However, we are in a very emotional debate today and I caution all hon. members who are to take part in this debate to be very judicious in their choice of words. This applies to all members.

I will not tolerate the word traitor in the House. I will not tolerate the word liar in the House. But I will give as much latitude as I can to all intervenors in this debate. As long as the terms are parliamentary and they are not offensive to the House, I will permit the debate to continue.

This is not a point of order. I return to the hon. member for Fraser Valley East.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, you did not hear the word "treason". The expression "breaking the oath of allegiance" was translated, in French, by "trahison". That is what we heard on this side. We therefore have a problem.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Speaker

I will review the blues when this is over. There are no blues right now and I do not intend at this point to take a break in the House. If those words were used I will come back to the House. I am listening to every word that is being said here today. I know the importance of this debate. I will proceed calmly and with the co-operation of all members. I now go to the member for Fraser Valley East.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I realize that emotions are high. I would like to set a couple of things straight for the members of the Bloc Quebecois as well.

In their press conference yesterday there was talk that we had asked for the resignation of the member for Charlesbourg, that we had charged him with treason. That is not true. We have never asked for his resignation.

We did ask, however, that Parliament find the member in contempt in committee. We did say that contempt does not mean he has to resign but that he could have a censure or that he could be in some way disciplined by the House of Commons. Certainly that is true, but we have never asked for his resignation, nor would we.

There are things that happened in this committee that contributed to the headlines we see in the paper today. The headlines today say the report on this incident is a cop-out.

I called it, in my press release, a whitewash. It is because we were not allowed to invite members of the armed forces to come in and testify on the impact this communique had on the armed forces. We were not allowed to bring expert witnesses like the advocate general from the armed forces to say in his opinion what could be done, what should be done in the future. That was disallowed by the Liberal majority.

We heard from five people, from only House of Commons procedural people. Then this thing was dismissed.

That is not an in depth study. It is not like we were charged to do by the House of Commons when we were given this communique originally. That is why this has turned into a cop-out, as the papers say, and a whitewash.

We have come up with conclusions we think are obvious, given the testimony we heard. We would have been grateful to hear more testimony from the military personnel that we gave an extensive list to the committee.

We have said, and we stand by our record, that the House should have found the member for Charlesbourg in contempt. It should have taken some action. It does not mean, as some members have interpreted, that he should resign his seat. I am not saying that.

However, some action should be taken or else this will happen again. The member for Charlesbourg says indeed it will happen again. He will do it again. That is what is wrong.

There are no guidelines given to members. Next time there will not be one. I expect there will be 50 or 52 memos sent out from all members of the separatist group because why not? They got away with it last time so "let us proceed and go with gangbusters".

It says in the Toronto Star again today: ``The defiant Bloc MP says he would send a memo to the soldiers again''. In other words, we will face this again. That is what is wrong here.

The government has shirked its duty. It has allowed this thing to fester. It will fester to the next referendum. Will there be another referendum? Of course there will be. They said that. Mr. Bouchard has said that. We will face this again.

We will ask our armed forces to go into this without any guidelines. They will be saying "if we get 50 memos from separatist MPs on official letterhead, asking who knows what, we will have to accept it, I guess".

We do not have to accept it. We can say no to this. We could have. We could establish guidelines and we could ask the armed forces to put guidelines in place as well. It should have been done. It was not. That is what is wrong with the report. That is why it is a whitewash.

We said he should have been found in contempt and that some action should have been taken. We were not even specific. It should have been done on a contempt charge. Then it could be anything from a censure, a slap on the wrist to apologizing for whatever happened. It could be anything, but he should have been found in contempt.

We should have said there are guidelines now for members of Parliament in the future. The guidelines are necessary for members of Parliament. The guidelines are necessary because it is not like the member for Kingston and the Islands said, that this thing was just a joke. He said "when I get this thing, I throw it in the garbage, it is just a joke". We came within one per cent of losing the country last time. What kind of joke is that? It is no joke at all. It is serious.

The people over here say let us forget about it, sweep it under the table and maybe it will not come back. We came to the edge of the cliff last time, one per cent away from the abyss. They are willing to say let us take our chances again. It is not acceptable.

That is what is wrong with the whole plan over there on this national unity thing. The government does not have a plan. Because there is no plan, we will do this same thing again, only worse. That is the problem.

They have not helped our Department of National Defence. There are no guidelines given to national defence. They are going to be asked to head into this next referendum campaign blind and handcuffed, pointed to the edge of the cliff and told: "I hope you do not fall over".

It is not acceptable to ask armed forces personnel who have sworn an oath of allegiance to Canada to go into the next referendum campaign and hope they make it through okay. Our people in the armed forces deserve better, they deserve to be given help and guidance and we should have done that.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know not only if our colleague considers that the member for Charlesbourg has broken his oath of allegiance and has therefore betrayed his commitments to Parliament and Canada but if he also accuses him of those crimes? Is he accusing the member for Charlesbourg, or is what we are witnessing here a battle between federalists from both sides of this House?

Are accusations being made or not?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

The Speaker

As I said earlier in the debate, I would not permit an accusation using the word traitor and I will not. This is a question and I am going to permit it.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the member's question is no. I have not questioned the oath of allegiance of the member for Charlesbourg. I never did that in my initial presentation. We have never done that.

The oath of allegiance I was talking about and which we have discussed at times is the oath of allegiance taken by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. That oath of allegiance states that they are to be loyal to Canada. In their guidelines it states they are not to entertain anybody approaching them to join other armed forces or to consider leaving their post.

In other words, the oath of allegiance I was talking about is not the member's oath of allegiance, although I think that oath of allegiance is a bit of a lark in here. I am not questioning that at all. The oath of allegiance I am talking about is that of the Canadian Armed Forces, a solemn declaration to defend Canada. That is their oath of allegiance. That is what I was talking about and that is the issue which I think has been called into question here.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to hear that no accusations of treason and breaking the oath of allegiance are being made. I therefore conclude, and I fail to see how my colleague could conclude otherwise, that the Reform member was mistaken when he made accusations of sedition. I have difficulty imagining

how someone could be seditious, and act accordingly without breaking his oath of allegiance and committing treason against his country. It is either one or the other. One cannot simultaneously commit treason, be seditious and abide by his oath.

Our colleague having just said that the oath was not broken, will he admit today that his collegue was mistaken when he made accusations of sedition, unless of course he prefers to ignore logic? The people will judge; not only those in the House, not those in only in Quebec, but those in the rest of Canada. And they will come to the conclusion that Reform Party members make unfounded accusations without following rather elementary rules of logic.

How can there be sedition if the oath of allegiance has not broken?

[English]

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here.

One is the issue of sedition that the member brought forward. That issue of course was not given to the committee on procedure and House affairs to deal with. It was continually brought up by the Bloc but on the terms of reference that the House passed, and which you referred to us, we had to deal with the issue of contempt. I believe the member should have been found in contempt. I do not apologize for that. I believe that.

Contempt as brought to us by our legal counsel is anything that brings Parliament into shame, ridicule or disrepute, plus some other things. There are about seven categories. The communique does that and without a doubt it is, in my opinion and the opinion of our party, a contemptuous thing. That is why we disagree with the whitewash report.

On the issue of sedition, the member's right has been dealt with in the courts and it could still be appealed through the courts. If they choose to do that I am not opposed to it. They may choose to appeal it but that is up to the courts. The sedition issue was never dealt with in our committee and I have never brought that specific charge because that is not what we were charged with.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I hope to speak to this motion as eloquently as my colleague did just now. I will be moving an amendment at the end of my speech.

The Reform Party has expressed its opinion in its minority report. It feels very strongly, as my hon. colleague has stated here today, that the member for Charlesbourg is clearly in contempt of Parliament because he breached his privileges as a member of Parliament by sending a communique on the letterhead of the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to Quebec born members of the Canadian forces which directly conflicted with the oath of allegiance to Canada sworn by the Canadian Armed Forces members.

According to what constitutes a contempt of Parliament provided by Diane Davidson, general legal counsel for the House of Commons, who was a witness, the communique satisfies the requirement on eight counts. The communique, by contradicting the oath of allegiance and carrying the authenticity and legitimacy of the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, violated the integrity of this House.

The Reform Party maintains that the communique brought the House into disgrace, shame and ridicule. The latter are the first three categories enumerated by Davidson and meeting the requirement of any one of them amounts to a contempt of Parliament.

The next two means of contempt cited are from Erskine May's definition: "any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the discharge of its functions".

The Reform Party maintains that the discharge of the function of Parliament has been obstructed and impeded by the communique because it contradicted the oath of allegiance to Canada which came from Parliament and as sworn by the members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The communique impeded and obstructed the discharge of the function of the House to control the Canadian Armed Forces.

The sixth means of contempt is achieved by so-called constructive contempt. It is "misconduct of an indirect nature such as the publication of writings reflecting on the House". The Reform Party believes that the communique reflected on the House, given the letterhead used of the Leader of the Official Opposition, and was a misconduct because it contradicted the oath of allegiance.

Davidson cited the seventh way contempt is committed as that which is "an affront to the House". The Reform Party believes it was an affront to the House for members of the House to answer for this communique which the House as a whole was not provided the opportunity to prevent and would not have supported, given its contradictions to that oath of allegiance of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The member for Charlesbourg took it upon himself to release a document which contradicted another document originating in this House, the oath of allegiance. He released the communique with all the authority of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Finally, the Reform Party believes that the communique has specifically undermined the institution of Parliament and brought it into disrepute, to use Davidson's words.

The institution of Parliament was brought into disrepute because the Canadian Armed Forces members were forced to compare the

communique to the oath of allegiance which it contradicted. Both documents came from the institution of Parliament, yet they conflict.

The Reform Party agrees with Joseph Maingot, an expert witness on parliamentary privilege, who testified: "The making of an informal charge by the member of the House does not constitute a breach of privilege". He also said: "The freedom of speech that you have in the House is a freedom which the Supreme Court of Canada has set out for over 100 years. The freedom is to bring forth any abuses".

The hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt was exercising his right of free speech when he presented his substantive motion containing a specific charge as required in the House according to Maingot's testimony. You, Mr. Speaker, acknowledged the correct manner in which the matter was brought forth and proceeded to allow the House to deal with the matter. Further, Maingot underlined that the House collectively decided the matter was serious enough and forwarded it to the respective committee.

Finally, Maingot assured the committee that the House of Commons has the power to determine contempt of Parliament. We have the power to freely interpret the terms of reference the committee was given and decide what level of contempt of Parliament has been committed.

The Speaker of the House of Commons ruled that the question of the timing of the point of privilege raising this matter was moot. Matters relating to the timing of the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt's point of privilege were not a consideration as per the terms of reference for the committee.

The committee has not accomplished the work that it had to do, as we see it. The problem we have here is that we are not preparing our country for the next secession debate. The committee has the duty and the responsibility to work toward making it very clear what the privileges of members of this House are in terms of enticing the Canadian Armed Forces during a secession debate.

The Bloc Quebecois is overjoyed with the work of the committee thus far. The committee has shirked its responsibility and skirted the issues in terms of addressing the issues that need to be addressed. Members of this House could very easily be provided by the committee with guidelines which would make it very clear what the proper conduct of members should be in terms of their communications with members of the Canadian Armed Forces as they relate to secession debates.

The committee through the power of this House has the means to direct the defence department to provide our troops with policy guidelines that would assist them during the next secession debate.

The Bloc Quebecois and the Liberals have tried to obfuscate the business and the work the committee has to do. The Bloc has tried to label this work into some kind of separatism on trial. Nothing could be further from the truth. There can be good work done by the committee.

The government and the Bloc should be working toward preparing Canada for that next secession debate and taking a very responsible stand on the issue. In light of that, I move:

That all the words after the word "that" be deleting and the following substituted therefor:

the 22nd report be not now concurred in but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with instruction that they amend the same so as to recommend that, at a minimum, the House find the member for Charlesbourg in contempt of Parliament, and determine appropriate sanctions against the Member; and that in any secession referendum or negotiation the House shall be guided by the principle that any interference with the allegiance of members of the Canadian Armed Forces shall be considered behaviour unacceptable and a contempt of Parliament; and that the government instruct the Department of National Defence to draft policies and regulations to guide its members during any secession referendum or negotiation.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

The paper I have in my hand requires one very small correction. Does the hon. member have a copy of this in front of him?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I do not.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I would like to read to you the first ten words. I want to know if these are the words you want to use. I am quoting from this paper: "That all the words after the word `that' be deleting-".

Do you mean "be deleted" or "by deleting"? Would you please clarify that for me.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I would say "be deleted".

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

We will make that change. With that change I find the form of the amendment acceptable to the Chair. It will be received.

It is to be noted this amendment is seconded by the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

We now have five minutes for comments and questions.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to my colleague mention a few times that the communique and the behaviour of the member for Charlesbourg who wrote that communique were contrary to his oath of allegiance.

Throughout the history of British parliamentary government, I believe there is a custom, at the beginning of each session, whereby some members in Westminster question the very existence of the monarchy. Up until now, this has been defeated. To a certain extent, this is tantamount to breaking one's oath of allegiance, but our institutions have never been looked at it that way until now. They have viewed it that way because, when one takes the oath of allegiance, one makes a commitment to abide by the laws of the land and carry out the mandate received from one's constituents.

I would therefore ask my colleague if he thinks the member for Charlesbourg's behaviour is contrary to the oath of allegiance he has taken. If it is, it means he has not honoured his commitments. The oath of allegiance has therefore been broken, which clearly means that he is a traitor and an insurgent. If this is the case, let it be said unequivocally.

Let everyone show their true colours. Let them tell Canadians: "See how the Reform Party is standing up, how it dares to say what you think". That is what Reformers are constantly saying. Let them say it. It is not a problem for me. We will see what it leads to.

Still, in politics, when you have beliefs, when you have convictions, these must be voiced. That is what we do, on this side of the House. We are not afraid to state our opinions or to act according to our principles. We say what we think and we act according to our convictions.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the House leader for the Bloc Quebecois would certainly like to lead me down that road and lay those kinds of charges.

If the hon. member was listening he will know that it was very clearly stated in my remarks that the oath of allegiance was referring to the oath of allegiance by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Those members of the Canadian Armed Forces in their oath of allegiance make a commitment to Canada and to serve Canada and not to leave their duties or responsibilities during that service and to protect us as citizens.

It is the basic function of the federal government to ensure Canada has security with in the nation and security internationally. That is a basic function of the federal government. We expect the members of the armed forces to live up to that oath, commit to it and not to deviate from it.

The communique that was sent by the loyal-supposedly-official opposition, in our opinion, said to members of the Canadian Armed Forces that they could leave the armed forces. At that time it created a conflict in the minds of members of armed forces, those who were Quebec born and others.

They asked "who am I loyal to?" There was a conflict between the communique and the oath of allegiance of the Canadian Armed Forces. It was very obvious. There are many young men and women who are committed to serving the country. When they are presented with an order, edict or a communique from the House of Commons, the formal government of the country, the last appeal for Canadian people, can we not see their minds would be put into conflict? We feel that because of that there was a contempt of Parliament and certainly a conflict between the oath of allegiance of our people in the armed forces and that communique.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Berthier-Montcalm.

I am pleased to finally be able to express my views freely. For over three months now, I have been hearing all kinds of things and I have to say that I have sometimes heard falsehoods and rather poor interpretations of the facts.

Let me state at the outset, particularly to the Reform members and to the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, that if they believe a simple communique is capable of influencing members of the Canadian military to the point where they would actually desert and take their weapons with them, as the member suggested in this House, then they truly believe that members of the military are weak-minded. When the hon. member served in the armed forces, would he have been so weak-minded as to have been taken in by a mere communique? I do not think that we share the same opinion of members of the Canadian military, or of Quebecers who serve in Canada's armed forces.

I find it odd as well when people like General John de Chastelain say that when constitutional change comes-therefore, when the yes side emerges victorious in the next referendum-members of the military will have to chose their allegiance. These are not my words, but those of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Even General Roméo Dallaire mentioned that, in the military, Quebecers were a true reflection of the rest of the population of Quebec, that there were even some sovereigntists. The member for Saanich-Gulf Islands also said that there were separatists, as he put it, in the military.

Yet, when a Bloc Quebecois member sends out a communique, the people in English Canada who consider themselves as being beyond reproach take umbrage.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I just heard the member for Beaver River shout out "treason, traitor" in reference to the member for Charlesbourg. I ask that she withdraw her remarks.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I did not hear these words uttered.

I repeat that neither I nor my table officers heard this word. However, the hon. member for Beaver River is in the House now. There have been remarks made toward what she said or did not say. If the hon. member for Beaver River would like to clarify the situation I invite her to do so.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did use the word and I withdraw.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, regrettable things are said in the heat of the moment, and this is one such moment. However, when in the course of a debate, a person does not share the views of someone else, there is no need for him or her to sling insults at the other person, as we have seen happen.

Let me give you an example of how easily Reformers are offended, in particular the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt. In 1994, the members of the defence committee visited several military bases, including two in Quebec, namely Saint-Hubert and Valcartier. In all of the bases that we visited in Canada, the briefings were conducted in English. As a francophone, I did not have the benefit of simultaneous interpretation, although someone was on hand to translate for us.

The briefing in Saint-Hubert, near Montreal, was in English. Only at Valcartier was the briefing conducted in French. Let me quote to you the words of the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, as reported in the Pentiction Herald , to illustrate how easily offended one is if one is an anglophone. The paper reported that he had received a briefing in French.

"You can bet that if the situation were reversed there would have been screams of outrage".

He was referring to us, and to how we would react to receiving briefings in English. That has always been the case and we have never complained. We are tolerant, but when we outline our position clearly, we are accused of all sorts of things.

I could also quote several things the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt said in the course of the March 12 debate. He referred to Diane Francis of the Financial Post and to the fact that Quebec anglophones have filed charges of slander against her, the guru of the Reform Party. Yet, she has called francophones racist, intolerant and traitorous and she has said that they should be either extradited or banished.

The other Reform Party supporter, former General Louis Mac-Kenzie, compared Canada to Iran.

Imagine making a comparison like that. If a Bloc Quebecois member had said such a thing, we would not have heard the end of it, but there is no problem when the words come from someone else's lips.

In my opinion, and based on the findings of the procedure and House affairs committee, what took place here was essentially a political debate at the expense of a member, the aim being to pass judgment on the sovereignty program of my colleagues. Unfortunately, it was raised as a question of privilege, but could not be proved in committee.

The Procedure and House Affairs Committee, with its Liberal majority, concluded that there was no evidence the privileges of the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt had been breached. As for contempt or breach of privilege, I have to say that I was the one on the receiving end, as a result of the outrageous and false accusations brought against me by the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt. I saw my name splashed across the headlines: "Jacob Headed for Jail", "Jacob To Lose His Seat" and "Jacob In Hot Water". I will spare you some of the headlines in the English newspapers that were even worse.

In conclusion, let me say that it is unfortunate Reformers have such selective memories. They claim that they never made any charges of sedition or issued a call to arms or violence. Just check in the March 12 issue of Hansard . The member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt did make all of these accusations. He was never able to back them up, which means that any member of this House is free to accuse a colleague, whether he is a member of the Liberal or of one of the other parties, without impunity.

This is a serious violation of the freedom of expression of parliamentarians. As far as I know, I was democratically elected in my riding, just as they were, and the majority of people in my riding and in the province of Quebec accepted the communique at face value. After the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt made his outrageous remarks, I received insulting letters from anglophones and letters of support and encouragement from Quebecers.

The explanation for this is that Reformers have never understood what happened in Quebec during the referendum. As the Bible says: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do".

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with keen interest to the hon. member for Charlesbourg.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11 a.m.

An hon. member

Not to mention astonishment.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Yes, and astonishment. I have a couple of comments and maybe a couple of questions. I would like to answer to the charge by the hon. member that I presented this motion in a partisan or political fashion. I would like to say right here and now that this is one issue that crossed political party lines.

I acted because I was asked to act on behalf of Canadians from coast to coast to coast who phoned, faxed and wrote me letters. They asked me at meetings to do something about this because the government would do nothing about it. That is why I acted and it crossed political boundaries. It went further than that.

Joseph Maingot, who is undoubtedly the expert in Canada on parliamentary procedure, said in his testimony that I did things properly. The reason it went to committee is because I followed the rules given to an opposition member in this House of Commons. I followed the rules on behalf of Canadians and presented the motion in a proper fashion. There was nothing wrong in the way that motion was presented.

I would also like to ask the member for Charlesbourg to explain to this House and to Canadians exactly what the oath of allegiance that our Canadian Armed Forces personnel take means to him. I would like him to keep in mind that 11 Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Bosnia were killed. I would like him to be cautious in his answer because there are people who have laid down their lives for this country on the oath of allegiance.

Maybe he could explain why he dared to use the letterhead of the official opposition, Her Majesty's loyal and official opposition, to bring this House into disrepute. He used that letterhead to ask them to consider changing their allegiance.

Finally, I would like to ask the member for Charlesbourg, if it was a normal press release, if it was a normal communique in the course of a member of Parliament's actions, why it did not follow the normal course, which would be to the media? It did not follow that course. It went directly to Canadian Armed Forces bases in the province of Quebec. That is not the normal route for a press release coming from a member of Parliament-

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I am loathe to cut off any member, but that was two and a half minutes and I want to give an equal amount of time to the member for Charlesbourg to answer, if he so wishes.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the two questions raised by the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt were put to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee. I refuse to explain myself once again. If he hasn't understood by now, he never will.

Secondly, to my knowledge, the communique makes no mention of the oath of allegiance and moreover, when questioned about this by committee members, the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt was vague. When a member of the armed forces swears an oath of allegiance, he stands by that oath for as long as he remains a member of the Canadian military and I don't believe anyone defected.

I also find it odd that during one of his outbursts, he informed us that thousands of Canadians had called him and had come to the defence of Canadians. I mean no disrespect, but five months passed before he woke up. I don't know if these calls were late in coming or if he needed time to understand. I'm sorry, but the referendum took place last October 30. I worked with the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt for two months on the National Defence and Veterans Affairs Committee. There was never any mention made of the communique. Was he merely slow to come to this realization all by himself, or did someone put ideas in his head? I have to wonder.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find the members of the Reform Party have quite some nerve, this morning, to once again raise the issue of this report in the House when it has already been tabled, when minority reports have been tabled. How can they raise this matter in the House now, when we have been discussing it for three months. There were 25 hearings on the subject.

Why? Because, on March 12, a member of the Reform Party rose to convince you, Mr. Speaker, of the great importance of this issue. He rose on a question of privilege and said: "I have a specific charge and a substantive motion". What was his question? What was his charge? He said: "In the opinion of the House, is the hon. member for Charlesbourg guilty of sedition?" This was what gave rise to the debate on March 12.

What prima facie evidence did the member have? He said in this House that the member for Charlesbourg had sent a call to desert the Canadian military, that this communique was sent to francophones, that it was a call to arms and that it asked men and women who have pledged allegiance to this country to desert the Canadian Armed Forces with their weapons. These are serious charges.

They are so serious that, in a ruling on March 12, you said, and I quote:

I believe the charges are so grave against one of our own members that the House should deal with this accusation forthwith. I invite the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to put his motion before the House.

This was your ruling, Mr. Speaker. Could you have decided otherwise at the time? Probably not, because you had prima facie evidence, through accusations that we could now call unfounded but could not be verified at the time. You therefore said the question of privilege was in order and that is why a committee looked into this matter.

Why do I find they have quite some nerve today? Because after three months, we should conclude that the member deliberately and knowingly misled the House.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in three months-

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

I think I heard in French the words "induit" and "sciemment", which in English mean "deliberately, knowingly and in error".

I would ask my colleague to withdraw what he said and to use others words. Would the hon. member for Berthier-Montcalm please withdraw what he said?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I have a lot of respect for the Chair, I take back what I said. So I come to the conclusion that the member made these allegations unwittingly.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The member took back what he said, and this is enough for me. I invite him to go on.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I was interrupted, I was quoting the very precise charges the member laid, unwittingly, before the House. These charges are extremely serious and you ruled that they were in order.

However, after three months and 25 days of hearings, and after hearing the testimony of experts and of the member who laid the charges, who came before the committee to explain during two days of hearings, what did we learn? We learned that the charges were unfounded, that there was not one shred of evidence, that these were unwarranted charges. That is all. Two whole days.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

He had two days to prove his case, but he did not. However, we learned a few things during those two days, while the member who laid the charges was appearing before the committee. We learned that in November, after the famous seditious communique, the member sat five times with the member for Charlesbourg on the defence committee without ever raising that question. If this was seditious on March 12, why was it not seditious in November 1995? Why did he accept to sit beside somebody who had been seditious in Parliament? Because his charges were unfounded, that is why.

We also learned something else. On November 21, 1995, when for the first time, the Deputy Speaker of the House heard charges brought against the member for Charlesbourg, in a statement that was not directly related to that matter, but which charged the member for Charlesbourg with having issued a seditious communique, do you know what he did? He wrote to him. Mr. Kilgour, the Deputy Speaker of the House, wrote him a note telling him to be careful, that the charges he was bringing against the member for Charlesbourg were extremely serious, that he should consult the clerk of the House as well as legal counsel.

Guess what we learned. The member never consulted anybody, no counsel whatsoever, before laying those charges. Why did he lay those charges on March 12? It was two weeks before a byelection, that is why.

He was unable to prove a single allegation. He neglected to obtain legal counsel, to consult professionals in this House who could have advised him, guided him correctly so that he would not breach the privileges of one of his colleagues, a man democratically elected to defend the interests of Quebec.

Quebecers want to get all the information that is available. Quebecers too are members of the Canadian Armed Forces, they are not only francophones, they are not only anglophones. Within the ranks of the Canadian Forces based in Quebec, there are francophones as well as anglophones.

He even admitted that he had been careless when he said that the communique was intended for francophones only. I think he did not even take the time to examine the communique sent on October 26 by the member for Charlesbourg.

We also learned that the member knew practically nothing about the referendum context, that he had not even read Bill No. 1, the Act concerning Quebec's future where it is clearly written that a sovereign Quebec would have its own armed forces. He had neglected to read the tripartite agreement signed by Mr. Bouchard, Jacques Parizeau, then Quebec's premier, and Mario Dumont. He forgot to read it. He did not know-

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

An hon. member

Mario who?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mario who, he asked. See, Mr. Speaker, three months after the fact, they still do not know who Mario Dumont is and what is meant by tripartite agreement concerning the future of Quebec. As if Reform members had not already wasted enough of Canadians' and Quebecers' time, they continue to raise the Jacob issue in the House whereas, for us, the matter is closed. We are

turning a new leaf. It is true that they do not know what they are doing, that they are making extremely rash accusations.

But one thing is sure. One of us has been wronged. As you were saying on March 12, the accusations made were of an extremely grave nature. Today, we know, since the Liberals' majority report says so, that there was no contempt of Parliament, there was no question of privilege. However, we all know that the member's partisan accusations have undermined the parliamentary privilege of the hon. member for Charlesbourg.

And what happens today? The government is making itself the accomplice of Reformers by refusing to tell the member that he was not careful in establishing his proof before making accusations, that he made accusations without checking the facts.

At least, and that is what we ask for in our conclusion, in the recommendations, the member should apologize publicly not only to the member for Charlesbourg but also to all his parliamentary colleagues, because what he has done on March 12 to the member for Charlesbourg, he could do again tomorrow to the member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell; the next day, it could be the member for Outremont or the member for Québec-Est. Will we allow such things to take place in this House?

Freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is sacred. We asked that the member apologize to my colleague for Charlesbourg, to all the parliamentarians, but also to the people of Quebec and the Canadian people.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member who just spoke did some very emotional finger pointing on this whole issue.

The issue that the member for Macleod and myself are really concerned about is this. There was a referendum. A question was posed during the referendum. That question was ambiguous. It indicated or implied that if it was a yes that the Quebec government would negotiate for a year for some kind of association and give the federal government a year's time in which to do everything. Yet the letter written by the member, which is what this whole motion is all about said, implied, indicated that the day after a yes vote, it was time to move on over; the day after switch your allegiance.

Was the question in the referendum misleading and was it all along the intent of the Bloc Quebecois to declared Quebec sovereign the day after a yes vote?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, concerning the referendum question, I would like to say to the House that because the Reform members did not understand the referendum question, that does not mean that it is necessarily complicated. I think Quebecers have understood very well the referendum question.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

And 50 per cent said no.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Yes, that is true, there are people who said no but they did not do so because they did not understand the question. If that is the way you see it, that is your problem.

The question was clear. In fact, it was so clear that we had a federalist wave of love on October 27 because everybody understood that if Quebecers said yes, Quebec would then be sovereign. Negotiations would start the very next day and the Act on Quebec's future would be taken into account. The tripartite agreement was very clear. The process was understood by everybody. It was very clear. There was talk of partnership. It was very clear.

As for the communique, since it is what we are discussing today, the communique from the member for Charlesbourg was also very clear. They were trying so hard to find a hidden agenda and the action they took was so partisan, as the member for Charlesbourg said, that it took them about five months to decide do to something about the communique which was, according to them, so seditious.

I know there is a time differential between the west and the province of Quebec but I do not think it is five months. I do not think I need to go on about this issue. It was extremely clear and the only people who understood nothing are at the far end of the House and will stay there a long time, I think, because they understand nothing.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

We have approximately two minutes. I will permit another question or commentary for one minute and then I will permit the rebuttal by the member.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address three points. The member for Berthier-Montcalm indicated that in his opinion, the member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt sent this matter to the committee. That is, in fact, incorrect.

Mr. Speaker, you heard the charge and decided there was a prima facie case. The House debated it and it was sent to the committee by 295 members of Parliament, not by one man.

Second, ostensibly the reason the member for Charlesbourg sent that communique to the Canadian forces bases was to advise

Quebec members of the armed forces that if there was a yes vote, there would be a job waiting for them in the Quebec army.

The member also clearly mentioned that Bill 1 spells out the fact that there was going to be a Quebec army if Quebec became a separate country. Why then was it necessary to send that communique?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is at least one person who seems to have understood certain things. And coming from a Reform Party member, that is not so bad.

Indeed, the House made a decision and referred the motion to a committee. However, the accuser is a Reform member. The one who made the accusations is a Reform member and if I use that word to describe him, it is because in my mind someone who makes accusations is an accuser. But I will not tell you what I call someone who is unable to produce evidence.

If Reform members had read the tripartite agreement and the Act on Quebec's future, they would not have asked the questions they are asking today because it was clear. I say again: following a yes vote, we would have an army in Quebec. But in French, "au lendemain de" does not mean "the day after".

That is an example of Canada's duality. It is another proof. We are two solitudes. We say something in French and it is interpreted by anglophones in a way that suits them. It has always been like that in Canada. Next time, in the next referendum, if there is a lesson to be learned from all this, it is that if we write that kind of communique, we will send it with explanatory notes just for the Reform Party.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of debating this issue at length.

First of all, we know that a charge was brought before this House. Subsequently, a motion was introduced and amended because it led to a charge and dealt essentially with the lack of authority of the House. Some of those responsible for bringing these charges even recognized this later. The resolution or motion as amended was examined by a parliamentary committee. A total of 25 public hearings were held and, by the way, most of them were televised. Canadians were able to hear both, or should I say all three, sides of the story.

We sometimes say that there are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the facts. In this case, yours, mine and the facts can really express what occurred quite well.

This morning we heard comments from Reformers on the report prepared by the committee. They say that government members were in complicity with the Bloc.

We heard the Bloc members say the Liberal members on the committee were in complicity with the Reform. As I said, Mr. Speaker, the two parties across could be described as yours, mine and this side, the facts, because that is what we provided in our answer.

Having listened to the debate this morning on this concurrence motion, I cannot help but marvel at our rules of Parliament and the over 1,000 years it took to develop these rules, both at Westminster and here. These rules date back even prior to 1066, to the witans and others who preceded the parliamentary system of democracy that we have and the evolution of that process which made it such that throughout the years we have felt, although not my wisdom nor that of members who are here, although some have been here far longer than I and have far greater wisdom, and throughout the years we have developed processes whereby these issues are dealt with in a parliamentary committee in a more detached way than they are here in the House of Commons.

As the member for Lethbridge said, in dealing with those issues in that parliamentary committee they are dealt with in a more civilized manner, and I agree with him. He is a former speaker of a legislative assembly, no pun on the name, although there perhaps have been in many cases in the past. We have also all agreed that was the way to do it. I congratulate those who had the wisdom to develop that and I marvel at our system which has made it that way.

Today we see why this kind of issue cannot be resolved on the floor of the House and why it has to be detached one notch into the parliamentary committee with a narrower term of reference. We took the original motion which, admitted later, was inappropriate, and narrowed it. We brought it to committee and listened to all the experts.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

All the experts?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Yes, all the experts. We had 25 hearings on the issue. We had more hearings on this one issue than we had on the combination of dealing with the throne speech, the budget, the privatization of our railroads and half a dozen other things put together.

What, in its wisdom, did the committee conclude? It concluded there was not a case of contempt of Parliament.

That the actions of the member for Charlesbourg did not constitute a breach of parliamentary privilege.

But that does not mean the hon. member should be congratulated for what he did. Quite the contrary. Many, myself included, disapproved of the content of the press release. I feel that the member acted imprudently in sending out a press release like this, but this is not to say that his actions constituted a breach of

privilege, something which has a very specific meaning. We all approached the matter from this perspective.

Certain Reform Party members even asked some highly relevant questions in committee.

For example, I am thinking about the colonel, the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands, who himself asked some questions. He also spoke to the committee about what was relevant, and what was not. Some Reform Party members even told us that they were not talking about sedition or about a call to arms. I heard some Reform members say this. We saw that, at some point, the focus shifted.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

There was no basis for such a charge.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Correct. The charge may not have been founded, but that does not mean the release was OK, justifiable. Nothing of the sort.

I for one did not like it and I think it should not have been sent out.

Earlier on, mention was made of the fact that the French and English versions of the communique were given different interpretations.

I did not write the communique in either language. The member for Charlesbourg or the people acting on his behalf are the ones responsible for drafting it. The two versions of the press release were not identical. The committee agreed that the two versions were not identical and that one version was worse than the other. The English version was the more pointed of the two.

The committee agreed that the English version contained a reference to "the day after", meaning the very next day, whereas the exact words used in the French version were "au lendemain", meaning at some time in the future. That is what the two versions say, not the versions translated by the Liberals or by Reformers, but those produced by the member himself.

The committee spent many hours reviewing this matter. I truly feel that members on all sides of the House did a reasonable job.

That being said, Reform members concluded that the Liberal members, the majority on the committee, who helped write the report were in cahoots with the Bloc Quebecois, while the Bloc members felt the Liberals were in league with the Reform Party.

That is ridiculous. As my colleague for Simcoe North said, what the two parties have hinted at is impossible. We cannot be in cahoots with both of them. Nothing of the kind happened. We gave our honest opinion and, Mr. Speaker, if you read our report you will see that we did our work conscientiously, and all Canadians can see this as well.

There is no point in the people exercising themselves on the Bloc side of the House, pretending that one if not all are kind of modern day Louis Riels, and the people over there pretending they are Perry Masons of the 1990s in their accusations. Both these propositions are wrong. That is not was occurred and our report is clear as to what happened.

There was not, in the opinion of the majority of the committee, a case of privilege. Neither was there a totally neutral and likeable press release. That is also wrong. I did not like it and I am one of the people, contrary to the Reform Party, who fought against the Bloc Quebecois and its option during the referendum campaign. I was there on October 27, my colleagues were there and the Reform Party was not.

Canada came calling, Canada knocked at the door of the Reform Party and it was not even there. The lessons to take from it on my side are rather remote.

And I say the same thing to Bloc Quebecois members. The matter is closed, the referendum is over. Let us turn the page and get on with other things. We have presented our findings. The majority responsible for the report chose to side neither with the Reform Party nor with the Bloc Quebecois. It chose to make a fair, honest finding and that is what it did.

Therefore, I consider the matter closed.

I move:

That the debate be now adjourned.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

When a motion for adjournment is put before the house we deal immediately with the motion for adjournment.

On June 18, I received notice of a point of either privilege or order, however the member wants to put it, of an incident which allegedly occurred. I will hear more about it. I would propose to hear that point of privilege or order after three o'clock.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a motion which I would like to propose to the House. I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following:

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 the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, six members: four from the Liberal Party including the chair; one from the Bloc Quebecois; and one from the Reform Party be authorized to travel to Quebec, Montreal and Iqaluit from September 22 to 27, 1996, in order to hold public meetings, visit sites (young offenders' facilities and programs), and meet with officials and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That five members of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, including one member of each of the opposition parties, be authorized to travel to Edmonton on June 19 and 20, 1996 for the purpose of attending the meeting of the Provincial Disability Advisory Councils.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of information. I heard "June 19 and 20", but I may be a little hard of hearing. I assume this was a mistake; if not, I am sorry for not hearing right the first time.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it June 20? It is.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

An hon. member

We are already there.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be getting back to my colleagues with another possible motion for the transport committee. However now I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, during consideration of Government Orders this day, the House shall consider the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-8, an act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof, and the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-20, an act respecting the commercialization of civil air navigation, provided that, no later than the time of expiry of the time provided for Government Orders, all questions necessary for the completion of the aforementioned business shall be put without further debate or amendment and any division thereon may not be deferred to another day;

That, when the House adjourns this day, it shall, for the purposes of Standing Order 28, be deemed to have sat and adjourned on June 21, 1996, provided that nothing in this Order shall prevent the Speaker from convening the House for the sole purpose of attending a royal assent to any bills later this day, on June 21, 1996, or on any other date during the adjournment; and

Provided that, if, during the adjournment provided for in Standing Order 28, the members of any standing committee unanimously so direct, the chairman of any standing committee may present a report from the committee to the House by depositing the said report with the Clerk of the House in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 32(1).

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe you would find unanimous consent to revert to introduction of bills for the purpose of introducing one private members' bill. Apparently it was such that this bill could not be introduced a little earlier today. Then we will proceed with business as usual.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Identification Of Criminals ActRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-322, an act to amend the Identification of Criminals Act (forensic DNA analysis).

Mr. Speaker, the private members' bill which I introduce today is legislation desperately needed in our criminal justice system. In effect, this bill authorizes police to seize for the purposes of DNA analysis, individual hairs, buccal mouth swabs and blood samples of any person taken into lawful custody by the appropriate authority.

If passed, this law would allow the DNA information obtained through seized bodily substances to be recorded, retained and made available to police officers and other personnel engaged in the execution and administration of the law.

This law would allow such material to be retained and used for the prescribed purposes for 10 years. The justice system would benefit to a great extent from this legislation. I urge all members of this House to give it their full consideration.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Point Of OrderRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Earlier this week while we were discussing the Airbus affair during question period, the Minister of Justice agreed to table a letter he received from the RCMP. To the

best of my knowledge that letter has not yet been tabled and may I request that that be done so, please.

Point Of OrderRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I wonder if the hon. Minister of Justice could assist us in this matter.

Point Of OrderRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Privacy Act requires us to remove the names of individuals referred to in the letter. We are in the process of satisfying the Privacy Act requirements. I hope we have a chance to table the letter before the House rises for the summer. I will do my very best to try to achieve that. We will get it tabled as soon as possible.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present to the House pursuant to Standing Order 36.

The petition contains 119 names of constituents of Simcoe North and requests that the House regulate the longstanding Canadian practice of marketing generic drugs in a size, shape and colour similar to that of the their brand name equivalents.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, nearly 7,000 elementary school and junior high school children of eastern Quebec have signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to act on the commitments he made in 1990 at the World Summit for Children by prohibiting the importation of goods produced by child labour and by pressing world leaders to make the education and protection of children a priority.

The original of this petition will be forwarded to the Prime Minister's office, but I table in this House today a list bearing the names of 92 students of the du Rocher d'Auteuil school, which is part of the La Neigette board, whose head office is located in Rimouski, who have agreed to redraft their petition to make sure it meets the requirements of this House.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex—Windsor, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in accordance with Standing Order 36 to present a 212 page petition signed by citizens of Windsor and Essex counties as well as representatives from all part of Canada, who request the government to legalize the use of industrial hemp.

These 7,000 signatures request that the government deregulate the authority attended to low THC industrial hemp by the Ministry of Health and that it be placed under the jurisdiction of the federal minister of agriculture.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex—Windsor, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition from petitioners who argue that a tax on health and dental benefits would have a disastrous effect on the overall health of Canadians.

In tabling this petition I recognize that was not done in the 1996 budget.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present on behalf of the constituents of Simcoe Centre.

The first group of petitioners request that the Government of Canada not amend any federal legislation to include the phrase sexual orientation. The petitioners fear that such an inclusion could lead to homosexuals receiving the same benefits and societal privileges as married people and families.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition concerns the age of consent laws. The petitioners ask that the Parliament set the age of consent at 18 years to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the final petition is on the subject of Bill C-205, the private member's bill of the member for Scarborough West. The petitioners request that the House enact Bill C-205 to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the first of a number of petitions designed to draw to the attention of the House an issue of public interest.

It points out that the National Capital Commission proposes to add a third lane to the Champlain Bridge but the environmental assessment fails to assess the impact of such an expansion and alternatives to the expansion. It points out as well that the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and the city of Ottawa have both adopted motions opposing the expansion.

The government's policy requires leadership in meeting transportation needs in an environmentally friendly way and calls on Parliament to oppose the expansion and refuse to allocate any funds for this purpose.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition pursuant to Standing Order 36, on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Egmont and the neighbouring riding of Malpeque.

The petitioners are concerned with the profound inadequacies in the sentencing practices concerning individuals convicted of impaired driving charges.

They request and humbly pray that Parliament proceed immediately with amendments to the Criminal Code to ensure that a sentence given to anyone convicted of impaired driving causing death carries a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of 14 years.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Reform Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present three petitions today on behalf of constituents of my riding as well as those in the province of Saskatchewan. The approximately 250 signators are opposed to term 17.

They pray and request that Parliament not amend the Constitution as requested by the Government of Newfoundland.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today on behalf of Canadians who are very concerned about Canadian unity.

The petition calls for Parliament to confirm immediately that Canada is indivisible, that the boundaries of Canada, its provinces, territories and territorial waters be modified only by (a) a free vote by all Canadian citizens as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or (b) through the amending formula as stipulated in the Canadian Constitution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions I wish to present.

The first petition calls on Parliament to provide legislation that would allow a 30-day notice period before a gas company could raise the price of gasoline at the consumer level.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition bears the signatures of 136 residents of my community from the Frazer Heights Co-operative in Ajax, led by Sandy Gray, and calls on Parliament to review to the acts respecting co-operative housing from the federal perspective.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, finally I have the honour to present a petition which calls on Parliament to make amendments to the Criminal Code that will ensure that the sentence given to anyone convicted of driving while impaired or causing injury or death while impaired reflects both the severity of the crime and of zero tolerance by Canada toward this crime, in essence, supporting Bill C-201.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have drawn the attention of this House several times already to the plight of Tran Trieu Quan, a Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned in Vietnam for two years.

These petitioners add their names to the many petitions tabled so far asking Parliament to ensure Mr. Tran's safety and to see that he is released as soon as possible.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions on the same subject from constituents of Kootenay West-Revelstoke.

The petitioners point out to the government that 52 per cent of the price of gasoline is comprised of taxes, and that the federal excise tax on gasoline has risen by 566 per cent over the past decade.

The petitioners also point out that the federal government invests less than 5 per cent of its fuel tax revenues, and call on Parliament not to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline and to strongly consider reallocating its current revenues to rehabilitating Canada's crumbling highway infrastructure.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition signed by the constituents of Lambton-Middlesex, pursuant to Standing Order 36 and duly certified by the clerk of petitions.

The petitioners request that Parliament refrain from passing into law any bill extending family status or spousal benefits to same sex partners, and further that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex benefits or of homosexuality.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by several dozen of my constituents in the Desbarats, Echo Bay and Sault area of Algoma riding.

The petitioners are totally opposed to convicted criminals profiting from their crimes by the production of books, videos and other means by which it would be possible for average Canadians to make money off reasonable activities. They wish to express their support for Bill C-205 which would prevent convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions that I wish to present today.

The first petition opposes Bill C-33. It asks Parliament not to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms by adding the undefined phrase sexual orientation.

These petitioners state that society does not want privileges of married couples given to same sex couples, which we are already witnessing now that Bill C-33 is passed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from 294 residents across British Columbia, mainly from Vernon and the surrounding area, but also from Trail, Rossland, Bella Coola, Merritt, Smithers, Victoria and Campbell River, Fort St. John, Powell River, Kamloops and even Vancouver.

Due to the tragic events Easter weekend at Vernon, the petitioners request that gun permits not be issued for 12 months after the initial report of a threat of violence regardless of whether the threat is investigated.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions from people throughout the Ottawa valley.

They wish to draw attention of the House to the fact that Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which states on page 2: "Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, `the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including legal protection, before as well as after birth"'.

Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament support a binding national referendum to be held at the time of the next election to ask Canadians whether they are in favour of federal government funding for abortions on demand.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my honour to table, on behalf of my constituents in Lincoln, a petition calling on Parliament to enact legislation to amend the Young Officers Act so that young offenders who commit a crime causing serious injury or death be treated as adults and face the same penalties as adults.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Liberal Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased, on behalf of a number of my constituents, to present a petition calling on Parliament to pass Bill C-205 which would prohibit criminals from profiting from their crime.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions. The first petition states that section 43 of the Criminal Code allows school teachers, parents and those standing in the place of a parent to use reasonable force for the correction of pupils or children under their care, and whereas reasonable force has been interpreted by our courts to include spanking, slapping, strapping, kicking, hitting with belts, sticks and extension cords, and causing bruises, welts and abrasions, the petitioners call on Parliament to end the legal approval of harmful and discriminatory practices by repealing section 43 of the Criminal Code.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in support of Bill C-205 which would prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes through the publication of books, magazines, videos and other materials.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls on Parliament to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provide for the inclusion of the phrase sexual orientation.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions. The first has to do with taxation of the family.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that managing the family home and caring for preschool children is an honourable profession which has not been recognized for its value to our society.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to pursue initiatives to eliminate tax discrimination against families that decide to provide care in the home for preschool children, the disabled, the chronically ill and the aged.

That came from Hinton, Alberta.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from Kingston, Ontario.

The petitioners would like to bring to the attention of the House that consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause health problems or impair one's ability and, specifically, that fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol related birth defects are 100 per cent preventable by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to enact legislation to require health warning labels to be placed on the containers of all alcoholic beverages to caution expectant mothers and others of the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it I believe you would find unanimous consent to revert to tabling of reports from interparliamentary delegations.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is there unanimous consent?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Pardon me, Mr. Speaker, but I missed the interpretation on this motion.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

This is a motion to revert to tabling of reports from interparliamentary delegations.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Very well.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation to the 37th annual meeting of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group. The meeting was held in Alaska from May 10 to May 13.

The Canada-U.S. relationship is the most significant in the world. Daily two-way trade exceeds $1 billion and makes the Canada-U.S. trade relationship the largest in the world. Eighty-two per cent of all Canadian merchandise exports go south of the border and into the United States. The trade in goods and services between the two countries supports more than 1.5 million jobs in Canada and directly generates 25 per cent of Canada's GDP.

Even with our strong and friendly relationship, there are still some irritants between our two countries. The Pacific salmon agreement, the Helms-Burton legislation, the split run magazines are just a few examples of where we differ in opinion and approach. Nevertheless, our annual meetings go a long way in helping both sides understand each other's point of view and may therefore lead to mutually acceptable resolutions.

The 37th annual meeting was held with 55 delegates from the U.S. Congress and the Parliament of Canada. Twelve per cent of the U.S. Senate was represented at the meeting. However, we cannot take our relationship for granted. We must continue to build on our successes and strive to resolve our differences.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 31 will be answered today.

Question No. 31-

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Pursuant to the act amending the Department of National Revenue Act and other acts in consequence thereof, which organizations or associations of maple syrup producers received early payments for maple syrup production in 1994 and 1995 and: ( a ) what amount of money was used for each of these payments; ( b ) on what date were they paid, and ( c ) under what conditions?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Maple syrup producer organizations received early payments under the Advance Payments for Crop Act, APCA, for maple syrup and not the Department of National Revenue Act.

For 1994, no applications for maple syrup were made under the APCA.

In 1995, three organizations applied for and received guarantees under APCA: les Producteurs de sucre d'érable du Québec; la Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec; and la Coopérative des producteurs de sirop d'érable du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Les Producteurs de sucre d'érable du Québec was the only organization of the three to issue advances under the program. Its 1995 guarantee on maple syrup was $6,000,000; to date advances for maple syrup have been issued only in Quebec.

a) 1995 Interest payments under the cash flow enhancement program total $163,548.28

b) Dates of Payments Amount of Interest

04-07-95 $21,435.95 27-07-95 $32,441.44 07-09-95 $27,741.44 26-09-95 $30,739.73 27-10-95 $26,198.63 24-11-95 $24,991.09

$163,548.28

c) The APCA provides a loan guarantee to producer organizations to facilitate a loan from a financial institution for the purpose of making advance payments to individual producers for their crop in storage. This provides the producer with cash for the loan negotiated by the producer organization with the financial institution soon after harvest on the basis of crop in storage to allow the producer flexibility in marketing. The advances are repaid from sales as the crop is sold. There is no federal program expenditures under the act.

The cash flow enhancement program is a non-statutory program that pays the interest on the first $50,000 of advances made to each producer under the act.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

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

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, over three months ago, on March 4, I submitted a question to the Order Paper. I wonder when the government would be able to answer my question. It is Question No. 15.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member's sense of frustration. A large number of questions have gone into the departments. They consume many people's time and require many detailed answers because they want to be correct.

I was looking at that delay before I came into the House today, anticipating there would be some concerns. I would like to allay those. We are trying to catch up as fast as we can.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, a little earlier today I indicated to the House that I would be back with another travel motion.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the Standing Committee on Transport be authorized to travel to Vancouver, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint-Jean and Halifax between September 30 and October 25, 1996, in order to hold hearings as part of its review of Bill C-44, an act for making the system of Canadian ports competitive, and its study on transport, trade and tourism, and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

This motion is aimed at allowing six parliamentarians to travel.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the motions agreed to earlier today, I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to deal with all stages of Bill C-45. The purpose of this bill, which has just been brought back from a parliamentary committee, is to amend section 745 of the Criminal Code, an issue that is very important to all Canadians.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Do I have the unanimous consent of the House?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberalfor the Minister of Health

moved:

That the amendments proposed by the Senate to Bill C-8, an act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof, be read the second time and concurred in.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-8, the controlled drugs and substances act.

This legislation was first introduced into the House of Commons in February 1994 with a view to respond to the need for consolidation and modernization of the existing drug control legislation, the Narcotics Control Act and parts III and IV of the Food and Drug Act.

Bill C-8 will allow for better controls over drugs covered under these acts while listing new drugs and substances that are required under the three international conventions of the United Nations.

Bill C-8 is an important component of Canada's drug strategy, a strategy based on the recognition that we must favour a balanced approach of both demand and supply reduction when dealing with substance abuse and misuse. In fact, 70 per cent of the funding under this drug strategy is dedicated toward education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The remaining 30 per cent goes to law enforcement.

The drug strategy aims to reduce the harm caused by drugs to individuals, to families and to communities. It is an effort by many partners to co-operate in dealing with Canada's problems of substance abuse. These partners include all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, professionals, voluntary organizations and community groups. Health Canada plays a leading role in the strategy.

There is no simple solution to Canada's substance abuse problem. There are many programs in place, both inside and outside of government. Communities, provinces and territories have been working hard for a long time to reduce the demand on drugs and for drugs.

Many professional and volunteer groups have played an important role in helping people learn about drugs. They also help people cope with problems caused by drugs and abuse thereof.

Federal programs have also begun to stress even more the new drug law enforcement and crime prevention. A balance between reducing both demand for drugs and their supply in this regard is crucial.

When Bill C-8 was referred to the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Health all members of the subcommittee worked closely together to ensure the views of all were carefully considered. The subcommittee heard many witnesses and clearly examined the complexities of the legislation. There were representations from a broad spectrum of groups, organizations and individuals having an interest in the controlled drugs issues and legislation.

The Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs also took the necessary time to listen to a wide diversity of views.

The government has taken very seriously the concerns expressed by witnesses at the hearings of the subcommittee of the House of Commons on the bill, as well as those put forward by hon. members from all parties in the House.

Hon. members knows the consultative process is inherent in the parliamentary system. One of the strengths of that process is that it brings forward a range of opinions and perspectives.

Some witnesses who appeared before the House of Commons committee were not only addressing the proposed legislation specifically but wanted to put broader issues on the agenda. That is why the subcommittee recommended in a separate report that the Standing Committee on Health undertake a comprehensive review of Canada's drug policy to examine those broader issues. This review will no doubt give members an opportunity to explore the many facets of drug issues, namely scientific, political, social, legal and economic influences of drug use and abuse.

At the committee's hearings members of the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs also took note of the opportunities for the commercial cultivation of hemp in Canada. Hemp can be cultivated from varieties of cannabis sativa that contain a very low level of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive active ingredient in the plant.

The committee was of the opinion that this plant should be considered by government for its potential commercial applications. For example, it noted that hemp can be used in textiles, paper production or sometimes as a wood substitute. Research authorizations have been granted in recent years to examine the issue of the viable commercial cultivation of hemp. The research is still ongoing. The analysis, as well, is continuing.

Canada is learning more and more about hemp. One might conclude that Bill C-8 opens the door for future products such as commercial hemp because it allows the government to create regulations for scientific, medical and industrial applications of listed controlled substances.

The Senate committee made important amendments which will pave the way for the commercial activities involving hemp by facilitating its handling. Consequently, Schedule II to Bill C-8 has been amended to exclude cannabis stalks and fibre derived from such stalks from the application of the act. Although a licence will still be required to cultivate hemp, once harvested the stalks and fibre will not be subject to any form of control under the act.

I will come back to the general aim of Bill C-8. We have to keep in mind the overall intent of Bill C-8 is the protection of Canadians against risks to their health. Illegally obtained and unsafe drugs are among the greatest risks to health. Substance abuse too often contributes to isolate an important segment of our population. We must equip law enforcement professionals with the tools and techniques needed to deal effectively with those who prey on the addicted. This bill, I believe, provides those tools. We must promote sound law enforcement if we are ever to advance the broader social goal of maintaining safe and peaceful communities. This bill provides the means for accomplishing that goal.

As Canadians we believe children are entitled to grow up and to develop in a supportive and caring environment, one that spawns honest, healthy and productive lifestyles. The bill before us and the amendments with it in one way can help us to create such a climate for the children of Canada.

Drug dependence is a complex issue requiring comprehensive medical, psychological and sociological approaches. There is clear benefit in treatment. However, the element of motivation on the part of the patient is essential successful treatment.

Bill C-8 recognizes that drug dependence is also a health and social issue. It recognizes a positive approach to treatment programs for those affected by drug addiction. It supports the availability of help and appropriate treatment for those who want to get back their health and to resume a productive lifestyle.

Many people, at one time or another, develop a serious dependency on medication or drugs sold illegally. Moreover, many run the risk of becoming victims of drug-related crimes, such as break-ins or gangland violence. This situation does little to help the plight of individuals in general. It is unfortunately the cause of tremendous suffering. Many are likely to become frequent users of medication designed to treat or to temporarily alleviate anxiety attacks or some condition. There is no doubt that the efforts made

by the government to fight the abuse or ill-advised use of drugs must be maintained.

Another aspect which must be pointed out is that the bill promotes the rational use, for medical purposes, of several controlled substances, while prohibiting their illicit distribution. It recognizes that these controlled drugs are indispensable for medical purposes. Doctors, pharmacists and authorized distributors are all allowed to handle such substances, or to use them in the fulfilment of their duties. These substances must not be unduly restricted. They must be available when required, given the medical condition of patients, so that these patients do not suffer a drastic change in their quality of life.

Bill C-8 advocates the judicious use of medication by indicating how controlled substances can be handled, distributed and used. These substances are mentioned in the act to protect the health and safety of the public, by striking a fair balance between people's needs and the dangers of illicit use.

Bill C-8 covers other situations as well. It allows cancer patients, people suffering from debilitating diseases and those who have reached terminal phase to relieve their pain with prescription drugs such as morphine. A patient who is hospitalized, or who is under strict medical supervision, can even be prescribed heroin to relieve the pain.

The bill means that preparations containing cocaine can safely be used during examinations and surgery. It also gives access to many other products for the treatment of less serious, but nonetheless debilitating, ailments, such as migraine. Medications containing codeine are regularly prescribed; their usefulness is not in question.

This bill also mentions substances used to treat addictions. Methadone, for example, a substance covered by this legislation, is used to relieve pain, but also to treat heroin addicts. A number of treatment centres and hospitals use it. For a large number of patients, methadone maintenance therapy means that they can continue their regular activities and lead a constructive life. Some have jobs, others decide to pursue their education. They can thus lead a healthy family life and benefit from a stimulating social environment.

I believe that, in this bill, we have found the balance necessary to the well-being of all Canadians. It is for this reason that I urge all members, and even our senator colleagues, to give it their support, as I myself am doing today.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have just listened attentively to the speech by the member of the government party. In the bulk of his speech, he has indicated that the legitimate and normal use of drugs would continue to be possible in this country.

That, however, was not the issue being addressed by Bill C-8, which replaced C-7, which in turn, I would remind you, replaced a Conservative government bill, Bill C-85.

My hon. colleague made no mention of the work of the other place, which has confirmed the concerns I expressed on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois in this House in February 1994. In those first debates, on February 18 to be precise, the Bloc Quebecois acknowledged the obvious necessity of passing legislation in the drug field. The Bloc also expressed regrets, however, that Bill C-7 had several significant flaws and not only ignored the parameters to be defined in effective drug control strategy, but also opened the door to some major adverse effects. Quoting from my speech at that time, the flaws could be grouped under four questions. First, are legitimate activities of physicians, pharmacists, vets and dentists properly protected against abusive application of the legislation and especially against regulations the scope of which we do not know at the moment?

Second, would the significant powers granted to inspectors, to be designated directly by the minister, not possibly lead to some errors which could unduly penalize health professionals and their patients?

Third, how would the confidentiality of medical records be ensured when the bill allows absolutely anyone designated as an inspector by the minister to reproduce documents found in a physician's office or in a pharmacy and to seize electronic data?

Fourth and foremost, why are drug-dependent persons who need to be treated and not jailed considered criminals in this bill?

What we are talking about here is the fact that the bill now before us, which has already been before us and which was before us at the time of the Conservative Party, talks of controlling supply and totally neglects the elements of controlling demand. Controlling supply involves cracking down on those involved in trafficking. Controlling demand involves prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation.

This is why the Bloc voted against Bill C-7 at second reading on April 19, 1994 in this House. Subsequently, you will remember, the bill was sent to a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Health, which met many times over a number of years. Most of the witnesses before the sub-committee, with the exception of federal officials, need I mention, opposed the bill, because they felt it would likely compound problems relating to drugs, rather than contribute to reducing them.

As a result of the concerns expressed by the Bloc Quebecois, other members of the sub-committee were made aware and they in

turn made the members of their caucus aware. A period of reflection then followed, between June 1994 and June 1995, during which the committee did not meet.

In October 1995, the Bloc Quebecois proposed 14 amendments. Five were accepted by the sub-committee, four were rejected following explanation and five were similarly withdrawn. Furthermore, there were six amendments the Bloc Quebecois deliberately chose not to introduce, because the government tabled equivalent amendments, which had clearly been borrowed.

Before the other House considered this bill, it was amended, thanks to the initiatives of the Bloc Quebecois, in order to reduce if not eliminate most of the major irritants I mentioned earlier. So, now a judge will have to take clause 11.1 into account. With your permission, I will read it, because it makes Bill C-8 much more sensitive to the interests of those affected by the consumption of drugs.

This clause reads as follows: "The fundamental purpose of any sentence for an offence under this Part is to contribute to the respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society while encouraging rehabilitation, and treatment in appropriate circumstances, of offenders and acknowledging the harm done to victims and to the community".

This short clause in the bill is the only provision dealing with rehabilitation and detoxification but not, as you can see, with prevention. It is very little in a bill as comprehensive as the one before us today.

In addition, the Bloc Quebecois succeeded in having the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana reduced. We also succeeded in having medical records protected. Search and seizure will now be allowed only on reasonable grounds. The inspectors and analysts appointed by the minister must show that they have the necessary qualifications or they must acquire them.

Finally, on a related topic, the definition of practitioner has been sufficiently broadened to prevent people involved in the legitimate performance of their duties from being sued under the Criminal Code.

As our distinguished colleague pointed out earlier, the subcommittee was also told by many witnesses that the debate should be broadened and include concerns that Bill C-8 does not address.

In fact, the subcommittee submitted three recommendations to the Standing Committee on Health, which included them in its report. First, that a task force be set up to define the relevant criteria in determining which substances should be listed in schedules I to VII of the bill. Second, Canada's drug policy should be implemented. Third, the regulations and orders issued under this bill should be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Health. I should point out that the last two recommendations resulted from the comments made by the Bloc Quebecois.

I also want to thank the members of the subcommittee, who considered these issues and debated the validity of Bill C-8 with open-mindedness and honesty, before finally approving and drafting the recommendations I referred to.

On October 25, 1995, the chairman of the Standing Committee on Health tabled the report on Bill C-7 in this House. On October 30, 1995-need I remind the House that it was the day of the Quebec referendum and that, as a result, all the members of the Bloc Quebecois were away-the House passed Bill C-7 at third reading in the absence of Bloc members. The other place, which undertook the consideration of this bill on December 13 and 14, has recently submitted the amendments it wants this House to incorporate in the bill. In fact, that is the purpose of the motion before us. But I must tell you that these are only minors changes that the other place is requesting.

Still, it is interesting to note that, following on remarks made first by Bloc Quebecois members, and then by government members, the other place is also recommending that the Canadian drug strategy be reviewed.

This leads me to conclude that this bill still falls short of resolving the drug problem adequately. While the bill deals with the supply aspect, it fails miserably to address the demand aspect by providing for prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation. But the worst bugs of the bill had been ironed out before it was referred to the other place.

I must say that, unless provisions pertaining to prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation are included, the bill before us will never have any real positive effect. In this respect, I should remind the House that the other place was told by the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy that it was a shame that the legislators in this House and in the other place did not dare put in place a modern drug strategy.

As a matter of fact, this foundation recommended that the other place not approve Bill C-8, but the other place realizes that defeating the bill would mean going back to square one and starting all over the debate on repression while sorely neglecting the real issues of prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation.

To introduce legislation reflecting a modern approach to managing the drug problem, the legislator must feel he has public opinion behind him. It is precisely to allow the public to form an informed opinion on the issue that it becomes essential to have a national debate. Had the other place refused to approve Bill C-8, we would have faced a dead end.

That is why the Bloc Quebecois supports this motion. But our support must be construed as a very strong expression of our demand that the government act on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Health by opening as soon as possible a national debate on the drug issue.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-8 has been a complex and long lived bill in this House. It was the first bill I was the watchdog for, so I have watched the process very carefully.

Reformers had one big concern with this bill in that the bill gave very broad powers to the minister and to the bureaucracy that would have affected the health food industry. The clause that caused us the most concern said that the minister could deem any depressant, stimulant or hallucinogenic and include those in the schedules.

I am proud of Canadians on that issue. Canadians with a little bit of help decided that was not suitable. The health food industry has stimulants, depressants and hallucinogenics. Our office was a bit of a focus for what I consider to be a campaign against that clause in Bill C-8. There were petitions, faxes and a huge amount of interest on the bill and we were able to get that clause kicked out. Our efforts were rewarded.

There is still a problem in the bill in that the regulatory powers of the governor in council still allow anything that is deemed to be in the public interest to be inserted in the bill. Although that is better than the minister deeming, it is not what I consider to be an open and democratic way to include things in a bill.

I looked over the amendments. I found them to be pretty standard amendments, crossing t s and small changes, until I found a very significant amendment to the bill, an amendment that was spoken of in a press release yesterday. I received these amendments at 10 o'clock last night. It is difficult to look at amendments when one does not have the bill and the amendments, but there was something brand new in the bill which had not been debated in public.

The parliamentary secretary mentioned that hemp is now being facilitated by Bill C-8. I listened in the committee to testimony about whether or not hemp should be included. There were witnesses who talked about hemp as a product for agriculture in Canada. There was no significant approval at that point in time for this direction to be undertaken. A senator, along with other members of the other place, has inserted one very, very tiny sentence in the bill, that "mature cannabis stocks that do not include leaves, flowers, seeds or branches and fibre derived from such stocks are not included in the schedule".

I always thought that if we in Canada were going to have a change in direction it should have public scrutiny. This change in direction has not had public scrutiny. What possible problem would there be for a brand new agricultural product to come on the scene in Canada?

Why do the people concerned with marijuana legalization want so badly to have hemp included? I have never had anybody admit this to me, but I believe and will state on the public record, the reason for this is that the normal cannabis plant can be hidden very easily with the hemp plant early on in the growth stage. Detection at the early stages of cannabis sativa of the inadmissible cannabis plant is very, very difficult. As mature plants they are very distinguishable, but the young plants are not.

I have listened and discussed with those individuals who argue strenuously for hemp. I have tried to figure out whether their only motive was to have another good agricultural product in Canada. I do not find that argument persuasive, but if the argument were persuasive I would have loved to have had this debate publicly.

I believe this was an attempt to sneak this clause past the Canadian public and I use the word sneak advisedly. I go back to my original opposition to the bill, which is that the regulators could very easily include things in the bill that might not get broad public Canadian support. There is no public scrutiny of possible problems.

For the Canadian public who are watching, I say this amendment should have come before the health committee with broader public debate rather than the very quiet press release yesterday and presentation by the parliamentary secretary today. I am not happy at all.

With that issue on the table, I want to mention one other very significant inconsistency in the government's policies. I am going to use a health product as an example of how inconsistent the policy is. Melatonin is the health product.

Melatonin in the past few years has been used for a number of things. It was touted as a fabulous drug for aging, to keep us all young, the fountain of youth. It was touted as being very useful for jet lag, something parliamentarians have some problems with. Because melatonin is a natural product, it has not had the usual number of clinical trials.

Our Department of Health determined that melatonin did not have proof of safety and so it should be banned in Canada. I am fine with that. If there is no proof of safety, do not use it. But then we allow the private individual in Canada to purchase a three months supply in the United States and bring it into the country which seems totally inconsistent to me. Melatonin, if it is not good for us should be banned. If it is okay for us, we should be able to buy it in Canada.

The health food business is going to be impacted by Bill C-8. I am still opposed to the bill because of these broad regulatory powers. I am disappointed in the sneaky issue on hemp. I will now be quiet.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there were a couple of points raised which need to be addressed.

First and foremost in the hon. member's presentation, we ought to be clear on the lines of communication and the lines of responsibility. If it is his intention to have the department report directly to the House of Commons, that is an innovative way for establishing lines of accountability.

The reason the minister has been charged with certain responsibilities is that he is always accountable to this House and to the hon. member in debate. That is a mainstay of our democratic process. I do not think we can dismiss that as being somehow anti-democratic. It is a very important element in the lines of accountability. The Minister of Health is always accountable, not only to the House but to the electorate.

Second, I am a little concerned that the member would take umbrage with the fact that there is an industrial application of hemp that the department is leaving open. It is a little bit of a problem because members of his party, members of the other opposition parties and the general public have been suggesting for quite some time that we ought to at least give it an opportunity to demonstrate its value.

The member quite rightly reads the amendment. It is not sneaky nor is it some surreptitious, vague wording. It deals specifically with the stalk of hemp and with its fibres. It does not deal with anything else. It is the element that is the least likely to contain hallucinogenic qualities.

If we open the door for the industrial use of a product that has been used by others in what many might suggest is a fashion not so far tolerated but at least proven to have some merit, that is consistent with what the Reform Party has been asking for all the way along. It is not an amendment that has been sneaked in. It is one that has been debated publicly for quite some time.

In that regard as well, the House should know that what the members of the official opposition and the Reform Party have suggested, that there be a health committee review of Canada's drug policies, that is being undertaken. In fact, the health committee has already set in place a schedule for reviewing the entire process starting in September when the House resumes sitting.

I take what the member has said in a positive fashion, but I do not think that members of the House should be confused as to the direction, purpose and openness of the bill as it is before the House. I encourage concurrence.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, definitely I want to reply with vigour.

The issue which the member has missed completely is whether there is some risk with hemp. There is a risk with hemp: detection of the illegal plant. This should not have come through the back door. It should not have come through the Senate. It should not have come through as an amendment. It should not have come through quietly. It should have come through openly. The member sitting across the way knows full well that did not happen. I am disappointed and I believe the Canadian public will be disappointed.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is the House ready for the question?

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Controlled Drugs And Substances ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to, amendments read the second time and concurred in.)

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberalfor the Minister of Transport

moved:

That the amendment made by the Senate to Bill C-20, an act respecting the commercialization of civil air navigation services, be read the second time and concurred in.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Hamilton West Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this amendment is a technical amendment that does not affect any of the provisions in the bill. It is only a matter of timing.

Prior to the amendment all sections of the bill were to become effective upon royal assent. The intent of the amendment is to make three sections, sections 11, 13 and 100, come into force on the transfer date, which is expected to be 60 days after royal assent.

Section 11 pertains to the designation to the international civil aviation organization of Nav Canada as the Canadian authority for air traffic control services and aeronautical information services.

Section 13 provides Nav Canada with the right to plan and manage the airspace subject to the governor in council's right to make regulations respecting the classification and use of that airspace.

Section 100 is a consequential amendment to the Aeronautics Act which removes the authority of the Minister of Transport and the Minister of National Defence to impose charges for air navigation services.

If this authority were to be removed prior to the transfer date, it would have implications for the revenue stream of Nav Canada in its first few days of operation. This would be the case because of section 33 of the bill, which states: "The charges imposed by the corporation on or after the transfer date for air navigation services shall be the charges that were imposed by the minister immediately before the transfer date".

If the minister did not have the authority to impose the charges on the day before the transfer, Nav Canada would have no charges in place as it began operations. Nav Canada would be able to impose its own charges within two weeks, but the gap and the degree of uncertainty associated with the process would complicate its initial financing.

The commercialization of the air navigation system will provide significant benefits to Canadians. I urge my colleagues in this place to support this amendment as a way of ensuring this initiative takes off to the best possible start.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the other place sent us back Bill C-20 with some rather technical amendments. I take this opportunity to say that, the day after the Pearson airport legislation was killed, we have yet another example of the uselessness of the other place, which can even be a nuisance. Yesterday, a House of unelected people blocked a very important government bill. We should reflect on this.

As for Bill C-20, the proposed amendments are of a very technical nature. The government's excuse for not having moved these amendments earlier in this House, either at third reading or report stage, is that the Senate is there to do the work. How much did it cost to let the other place debate the issue, including the costs generated by the additional delays?

Today, the session is coming to an end. We are forced to pass bills while taking into account many elements and deadlines. Had it not been forced to send the bill to the other place, the House could simply have passed it at the end of debate here, and the government would have been accountable for it.

And had there been omissions such as the one corrected by the Senate, the government would have had to take responsibility for them. We should not rely on a House which is not accountable to Canadians to correct mistakes.

This example, along with yesterday's much more catastrophic end of the Pearson bill, shows once again a lack of seriousness on the part of the government. Let me tell you that, regardless of one's opinion on the Pearson bill, it was neither flattering nor pleasant to see that an unelected house could kill a bill that had been debated and passed here. Even though we were against this legislation and felt that many changes were needed, including the establishment of a commission of inquiry, the fact remains that this is a rather telling episode.

I think it is important to remember the reasons why the Bloc Quebecois will vote against Bill C-20. During the clause by clause examination in committee and the debate at third reading, we proposed amendments regarding safety that we thought were very constructive.

These amendments were intended to ensure that the new agency responsible for managing air navigation would be required to give priority to ensuring the safety of carriers. The intention was to have this obligation included in the legislation in the form of a preamble that would have served as an interpretation clause. The government did not yield to our arguments in this regard. Neither did the Senate. There is no recommendation along these lines.

We were not listened to. When the government does not listen, that may be what it chooses to do, it may think that this is not the right course of action. But as for the Senate, that is a concern they should have had. They could have presented us with something more useful than the three tiny amendments we have before us today.

The other point the Bloc Quebecois emphasized, and which was ignored, concerned the representation of small carriers on the board of directors of Nav Canada. We think that a few years down the road, it will be realized that this decision will have significant negative economic effects on a number of outlying regions in Canada, where there are carriers specializing in chartered flights, tourist flights, and utilitarian flights, and not necessarily regular passenger flights.

It is true that the composition of Nav Canada's board of directors includes almost all the stakeholders in the economic sector concerned, but we feel that large carriers are over-represented on the board, to the exclusion of small carriers. We think that will have an impact on charges. When it comes to deciding how charges will be levied, the voices that will be heard the loudest will be those of large carriers, and the small carriers will be lost in the shuffle.

It must be borne in mind that there was a need to rationalize in this industrial sector, a need to organize so as to reduce costs, and a good many of these objectives will probably be met by Bill C-20. What we would have liked to see was the pendulum swinging in the other direction in order to guarantee safety, something not found in this bill.

It seems to me that, at this final stage, that the Senate amendments do nothing to change the basic question. There has been no additional important element introduced by the Senate. The bill, in the opinion of the Bloc Quebecois, is identical to the way it was on third reading. For these reasons we will be voting against it, in order to let people know that the Bloc Quebecois feels safety ought to have more importance attached to it than the government has done in this bill.

We hope there will be no unfortunate accidents to prove us right.

We hope this will never happen, but we believe that, even when the bill is implemented, at least if there was no will to change it in the text, in connection with the administration of Nav Canada, there will be representations by the government to ensure that this is a concern in the day to day administration of Nav Canada, and that costs will not be the only concern.

To conclude, after this debate at every stage, I believe a number of members of this House, those on the committee with which I was associated at the end of the process, have worked very hard. I feel they have produced good legislation. It is unfortunate that they have not heeded the arguments raised, for the most part about safety, for if they had we could have joined with the government. I feel it would have been worthwhile, and important, for there to have been unanimity in the House on a bill of this type.

House CommitteesGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent in the House for the following motion:

That the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be authorized to travel to Toronto, Ontario from October 7 to 9, 1996, for the purpose of attending the National Conference on Disability and Work and holding a hearing, and that the necessary staff do accompany the Committee.

The opposition parties were consulted, and I think there will be unanimous consent.

House CommitteesGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

It is agreed?

House CommitteesGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not consider myself entering into debate because I agree with the government's position and the parliamentary secretary.

While I do not always agree with him, certainly this time it was both accurate and succinct. I hope he keeps those qualities in future debate as well, particularly on issues where we tend to differ.

As seems to be the norm with this bill and several others, I find the few comments I want to make relating to the previous speaker from the Bloc Quebecois. He talks about the lack of safety in the air navigation system now with Nav Canada taking over.

I have been a commercial pilot and also an air traffic controller for 22 years. The same people will be running the system after as before. We have in our system among the best in the world and it is safe.

I find it an interesting contradiction that the hon. member who just spoke talks about how the Senate hinders the process of this House. Then in the same breath he turns around and says the Senate should have listened and made amendments according to what the Bloc was looking for. It is starting to sound like the government with regard to the Pearson deal where it said it had to cancel it because it is too rich and it does not want to pay any compensation because they would not have made any money anyway. I am still trying to figure that one out. I bet the liberals are too when they stop and actually listen to themselves.

I found it very interesting that the Bloc is to vote against this legislation. This legislation is not being voted on today. The only thing that is being voted on is the amendment to the legislation which the Bloc said it would support. It is a bit confusing, the Liberals are a bit confusing. Thank God it is summer and we are all going home soon.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is the House ready for the question?

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The vote is deferred until 3 p.m.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find unanimous consent to suspend the sitting of the House until 2 p.m. today.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is that agreed?

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 1.45 p.m.)

The House resumed at 1.58 p.m.

Jonathan McCully SchoolStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the wonderful opportunity to present a Canadian flag to the children at the Jonathan McCully school in Napan. As we stood around the flag pole we talked about the importance of the flag as a symbol of nationhood and unity and about the respect and care that our flag deserves.

Also I learned about the Napan Pond demonstration project which is a collaborative effort between the school, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Ducks Unlimited. Together they are developing a small wetland/woodland site on the Napan Research Farm. This site will be used to educate school children about wildlife and farming and to demonstrate to farmers the potential value of wildlife habitat on farmland.

Today I congratulate and commend the principal and the students of the Jonathan McCully school for their efforts to improve environmental awareness and to promote Canadian nationalism.

NigeriaStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation that has prevailed in Nigeria since the 1993 democratic elections were cancelled could have a disastrous impact on a large part of Africa, where Nigeria is a major player. Such destabilization could also have unpredictable repercussions throughout the world.

The human rights violations, particularly the arbitrary arrests and executions as well as the persecution of the Ogoni minority, are all reasons in favour of the international community taking swift and firm action against the Nigerian government.

Consequently, at the Commonwealth conference next week, Canada must actively promote the imposition of sanctions, including an oil embargo.

It has been more than a year since the Prime Minister raised the issue with Commonwealth officials; it is high time that concrete action were taken against Nigeria, as was done previously against South Africa.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on this closing day, allow me to read a list of the Liberal government's accomplishments. The Minister of National Defence enriches his campaign manager and then hires the commander now under investigation for lying. The Minister of Justice bungles the Mulroney case and then denies misleading Canadians about same sex spousal benefits.

Liberals exonerate the Bloc after it tried to divide the Canadian army in Quebec. They make shamelessly partisan appointments to the Senate and install race based fisheries on the west coast. Their promise on the GST is blatantly broken, blamed on acts of God and loose lips and finally, a billion dollar bribe is offered to shore up their image.

The referendum debacle, the divisive distinct society and now the crowning glory-

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I ruled the other day on the word "bribe". I wonder if the hon. member would withdraw that word.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do withdraw that word.

We have had the referendum debacle, the divisive distinct society and now the Pearson airport fiasco. It took two and a half years for them to totally botch the Pearson privatization deal and now Canadians are left with nothing in the way of airport improvements and a $600 million lawsuit to boot.

In the throne speech the Prime Minister said: "No one can question the integrity of this government". Mr. Speaker, you cannot question something that does not exist.

Research And DevelopmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week Mississauga has once again been the target of massive investment in research and development.

Astra AB, the parent company of Mississauga East based Astra Pharma, has launched the development of a revolutionary new treatment for osteoporosis. In a new partnership with Allelix Biopharmaceuticals, also of Mississauga, Astra will provide Allelix with $50 million in licensing and development funds to move this new product forward aggressively.

I congratulate Astra Pharma and Allelix for bringing $50 million worth of jobs and investment to Mississauga and offering relief to the world's 200 million sufferers of osteoporosis.

American Coast GuardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, first we had the Helms-Burton act, that sleight of hand by the American Congress to legislate outside the territory of the United States.

Now we have the American coast guard stopping Canadian pleasure boats in mid-Great Lakes and demanding entry permission certificates that incidentally cost $20. These same people are threatening our citizens with seizure of their boats for future non-compliance.

The last time I looked there was no white line in the middle of the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. Canadian boats out for a cruise wander in and out of U.S. waters.

Perhaps the Ministers of National Revenue, Fisheries and Oceans and Foreign Affairs will collectively reciprocate with some of the 830,000 pleasure craft in the state of Michigan. At $20 per boat we could use the $16.5 million windfall.

Research And DevelopmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to acknowledge today the great mark of confidence the firm Hoeschst Marion Roussel Canada has just given Quebec, and Laval in particular.

A leader in the pharmaceutical industry, Hoeschst Marion Roussel is one of the five leading pharmaceutical companies in Canada. At the unveiling ceremony of the head office's new corporate signature, the company's president, Gérald P. Belle, announced a $200 million investment in research and development, at least one third of which will be invested in Laval.

At a time when the federal government is shamelessly withdrawing from high technology areas, to chose Laval as the site of a major research centre shows how much private enterprise values and respects the skills, innovation and reliability of Quebec researchers. This gives me one more reason to be proud to be from Laval and to be a Quebecer.

Marcia GunoStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we celebrate national aboriginal day. In honour of this event I wish to congratulate Marcia Guno who graduated from Simon Fraser University this month with a BA and is enrolled in a masters program.

Marcia Guno is a Nisga'a from the Nass Valley who wants to research how aboriginal students can be more successful in pursuing education. She wants to work toward ensuring tomorrow is a brighter day for the next generation.

The celebration of national aboriginal day should celebrate the success of community minded role models.

Education is a basic building block for full participation in Canadian society. I endorse the principle that Marcia Guno espouses in her academic endeavours. I wish her and the aboriginal community every success in achieving education for its young people.

Pearson AirportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Pearson airport sale was done in the summer of 1993, just three weeks before that Conservative government was reduced to two seats.

The Liberals who opposed airport privatization reversed the deal with Bill C-22, based on their fresh democratic majority and the Nixon report. Reform and much of the business community opposed Bill C-22 because it "broke a contract".

Strangely, the contract argument is ignored when these same people want to reduce pensions, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation or medicare. The Senate is now the focus. Senators are not elected. Neither are the Transport Canada officials who made the deal. The real question is, what happened to Liberal opposition to privatization of Canada's infrastructure like ports, railways, airports, et cetera?

The voters thought they had thrown out privatization along with the Tories. Who won the last election, the Liberals or Transport Canada's freedom to move. It certainly was not the people.

Léger & Léger PollStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, if there are still people in this country who are trying to understand what makes Quebec different, all they have to do is read the Léger & Léger poll published this morning. They will realize that there is no simple answer to the Quebec issue.

According to the poll results, 54.9 per cent of the 1,003 respondents support Quebec sovereignty, while at the same time 65.3 per cent of them hope that Quebec will remain in Canada.

Beyond the impression of ambiguity created by these figures, one thing remains clear: a substantial majority-over 60 per cent-of the people are asking Lucien Bouchard to work with us at renewing the Canadian federation.

Let us hope that the Quebec premier will hear their message and finally agree to shelve his separation option.

Genetic DiseasesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last fall all sides of the House rose together to give a standing ovation to John and Jesse Davidson on the completion of their long summer journey.

With the more than $1 million they raised, the Foundation for Gene and Cell Therapy has been established to promote research into genetic disease.

I am pleased to report that on May 20, 1996 at the first annual family day to celebrate Jesse's journey in Springbank Park in London, an agreement was signed by the foundation and the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Nine post-doctoral Jesse Davidson research fellowships will be established. The Medical Research Council will provide some matching funds to the foundation and will contribute its expertise in the selection and awarding of the fellowships.

Most important, this could not have been accomplished without the thousands of Canadians who gave their heartfelt support to a courageous young man.

To Jesse and John Davidson and to all those who gave so generously to this cause, our heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

Cities Of WaterlooStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, 40 people from the city of Waterloo, Ontario are on their way to Waterloo, Quebec to attend a bicycle festival this weekend.

The two Waterloos, after years of exchanges, officially twinned their two communities in October 1995 during the Octoberfest celebrations in Waterloo, Ontario.

The mayors of the two Waterloos, Bernard Provencher and Brian Turnbull, were in Ottawa on October 19, 1995 to exchange their respective municipal flags in the presence of the Prime Minister. The mayors made the point that people to people contact among Canadians is important to build understanding and to promote national unity.

Waterloo, Quebec voted yes to Canada and no to separation.

We commend the two Waterloos for continuing their ties and for promoting understanding and goodwill among Canadians.

Aboriginal DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 21, Canadians for the first time will be celebrating national aboriginal day. This occasion will allow all Canadians to gain a greater appreciation for aboriginal cultures and the important role aboriginal people have played and continue to play in our society.

National aboriginal day offers us an opportunity to understand our collective history and renew our efforts to build a better future.

I am proud to represent members of the Mi'kmaq community living in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. Together I believe we have taken steps to improve local economic opportunities while ensuring the preservation of the Mi'kmaq culture.

I ask all members of the House to reflect on the importance of this and, in so doing, we can embrace all cultures by sharing our collective wisdom and experience.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day CelebrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 20, 1976, a spectacular Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebration was held on Mount Royal. Gilles Vigneault sang for the first time a tune that epitomizes the sensitivity of the Quebec soul: "Gens du pays, c'est votre tour de vous laisser parler d'amour." In Quebec, this song has since become a central part of every public rally and political

demonstration. It talks about building a country, returning to our roots, and about the primacy of the notion of freedom.

It was in 1977 that Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day became Quebec's national holiday. How far we have come in 20 years. The people of Quebec have come of age and are preparing for their long-awaited country to become reality.

To all the men and women of Quebec, I wish a happy national holiday.

British ColumbiaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, 125 years ago on July 20 the colony of British Columbia joined the Dominion of Canada. Today it is Canada's third largest province, after Ontario and Quebec, in both size and population.

I was smart enough to be born in B.C., Canada's fastest growing province, which has been described as a large land mass entirely surrounded by envy.

Many eastern and central Canadians envy the fact that British Columbia has Canada's tallest mountains, oldest trees, longest frost free growing season, lowest per capita provincial debt and is the greatest distance from Ottawa.

B.C. produces most of Canada's sawn lumber and plywood. Its ports handle most of Canada's grain and coal and is Canada's gateway to the Pacific rim. Vancouver is closer to Hawaii than to Halifax.

I invite all my hon. colleagues to come to see for themselves as B.C. celebrates 125 years in Confederation.

Parliamentary InternsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know that all members of the House would like to join with me to express our appreciation to the young American interns who have joined us for the past few weeks and worked in the offices of various members of Parliament from all political parties.

They come from the United States, so they bring a new perspective to our offices. Best of all, they take back a good impression of Canada and become ambassadors throughout the United States on behalf of Canada.

To interns like Matthew Zweig and all of his partners, congratulations. Thank you for joining us. We look forward to the next group of Michigan interns next year.

Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Degussa multinational corporation announced that it would build a hydrogen peroxide plant at the Port of Quebec. The governments of Canada and Quebec each agreed to pay 50 per cent of a $10 million refundable contribution to help carry out this project.

This $140 million investment will provide work for 1,000 people every year during construction and create 150 direct and indirect jobs once the plant is up and running.

It should be noted that the process that will be used at the Quebec plant to produce hydrogen peroxide is non-polluting and that it will also reduce the toxicity level of the waste generated by pulp and paper mills during bleaching.

The hon. members representing the Quebec City region will surely join me in citing this as additional evidence of the benefits resulting from intergovernmental co-operation and consultation designed to promote economic development and create jobs.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is taking charge of its future. Through effective deficit reduction, industry deregulation, the lowering of internal trade barriers, Team Canada trade missions abroad and a tremendous effort by all members of the Liberal government, it has succeeded in creating a healthy economic environment for jobs and growth.

The OECD today pointed to Canada to lead the way in economic growth. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicts that Canada will have the fastest growing economy in the industrial world.

Thanks to a concerted focus on trade and lower interest rates, Canada's economic growth is projected to average 3.5 per cent over the next 18 months. The unemployment rate is expected to continue its downward course, averaging 9 per cent in 1997.

Canadians are a hard working, determined, results oriented people and so too is the government.

Lévis Gas PipelineStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the premier of Quebec and the Prime Minister of Canada pledged to extend the gas pipeline from Lévis, in Quebec, to Nova Scotia, through New Brunswick. A similar commitment is expected from the New Brunswick premier.

This project will maximize spinoffs within the Canadian economy. Natural gas is an environmentally friendly source of energy. Making it available to businesses in the lower St. Lawrence, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia regions will promote their economic growth.

For eastern Quebec, this project will make it possible to set up several businesses that will be competitive thanks to this initiative. The Bloc Quebecois will work to ensure that the project becomes a reality, since it will be a mutually profitable economic partnership for Quebec and Canada.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, June 24, French speaking Canadians will celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

All over the country, including in Quebec, French Canadians will be honoured for their contribution to the greatest country in the world, Canada.

Back home, in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, thousands of francophones and francophiles will get together in Alfred, Ontario, to celebrate the village's 125th anniversary, as well as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

On Sunday, we will welcome the Deputy Prime Minister, Sheila Copps, who will come to our riding to celebrate the Saint-Jean with all French Canadians, and also with those who will honour their contribution to our country.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the military police, having been forced to reopen the investigation after the appearance of documents implicating General Boyle in the cover-up operation, have just released their report.

It concludes that the chief of defence staff not only made a false statement to his own military police, but also was aware of the cover-up, and categorically refused to reply to questions by the military police.

My question is a straightforward one to the Acting Prime Minister. What credibility does the chief of staff of the Canadian Armed Forces have, when it is now known that he lied to his own military police, that he refuses to be cross-examined, that he was aware of the cover-up of the Somalia affair? Will the government insist on his resignation, or will it not?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the minister has covered this issue a number of times. The fact that I will not comment on any evidence to be presented to the commission of inquiry is firm.

The commission was established to examine all aspects of the deployment to Somalia. Let the commission take its course.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Minister of National Defence has said the same thing very often, that he refuses to budge. That we know.

If I understand the response correctly, the government tolerates its chief of defence staff lying with impunity to his own military police and, what is more, refusing to submit to any cross-examination. We also learned that he had the support of five officers-the Canadian Army camouflage brigade no doubt-in preparing his testimony before the inquiry, while the other witnesses had no such services available to them.

Can the government tolerate such a practice? Is this not utterly shameful?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the commission of inquiry is the proper forum for this kind of debate, not the floor of the House of Commons. Let the commission do its job.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the commission is doing its job, despite every effort to block it from so doing by the chief of defence staff. The one not doing its job is the government, that is the problem. I had hoped for more than a pre-recorded message in response.

The chief of defence staff will appear before the inquiry only in mid-August.

Meanwhile, he has lost all credibility, not only in the eyes of Quebecers and Canadians, but also in the eyes of Canada's allies. Who can have any confidence in him when he meets with other chiefs of defence staff? Does the government not realize that it is the entire credibility of Canada that is at stake, the credibility of the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole, as long as this general is left in charge?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, the minister has covered this issue a number of times. The minister will not comment on this because the evidence is presented to the commission of inquiry. Let the commission do its job.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

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

The other House definitively signed the death warrant for the bill on the Pearson airport yesterday. The government is now faced with damage suits, and the Liberals' blunders could cost taxpayers up to $662 million. All because the government has been refusing for the past two years to listen to the official opposition and to hold a public hearing to bring this whole political and financial scandal to light.

Rather than submit yet again to another partisan study behind closed doors, and because the government is in a tight spot, is it the minister's intention, finally, to hold a real public hearing into this whole matter?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the contradiction between one member of the Bloc's not wanting to have a commission of inquiry proceed but to have it discussed on the floor of the House and the next question coming from a member who would prefer to have a commission rather than discuss it on the floor of the House is very striking.

I agree with him that we have a concern here. The government will not allow the Conservative senators to put the Canadian taxpayer at risk to the tune of some $600 million of unearned and undeserved profits.

That is why the bill was introduced in the first place. We are now examining our options for our next steps. We are looking at all options before us. None is ruled out. There is one consideration paramount, that we protect the Canadian taxpayer from this attempt of the Conservative senators to provide $600 million or more of unearned profits to the developers.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is just as irresponsible as the Senate. We have been calling for a commission of inquiry for two years, not since yesterday.

The Government Leader in the Senate said, following the vote yesterday, that they would do everything in their power to ensure no Conservative interest group would benefit from the agreement.

What assurance do we have from the minister that Liberal interest groups will not benefit from this agreement either?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government's position has been put many times in the House and elsewhere, not just since this government was formed but also during the election campaign when this infamous deal was signed by the previous government 10 days before the election date.

We wish to protect the Canadian taxpayers by all the means we have available. I assure the hon. member we will make available to him and to other members of the House our decision in due course as to how we will proceed.

All I can say further is that what happened last night by the Mulroney appointed senators, unelected members, was a vote in favour of granting hundreds of millions of dollars of unearned and undeserved profits in an unacceptable deal done in the dying days of a federal campaign.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign the Liberals, not the Conservatives, made a number of ill conceived promises that are now costing taxpayers billions.

First it was the GST, then it was the EH-101 helicopter cancellation and now it is the Pearson airport development deal.

The Pearson deal cancellation was politically motivated in the first place. The attempt to keep it out of the courts was politically motivated, and now Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for $662 million and counting.

Who will take responsibility for this mess, the former transport minister, the present transport minister or the Prime Minister who made the wrong decision in the first place?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot in recent days about the right getting together, but there is something thoroughly unpleasant in the way

the Reform Party is cosying up to a group of people in the other place trying to provide the developers of this proposal with money they have not earned.

This party should recognize that in its efforts to get the right together, it is perhaps cosying up to the wrong people.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the minister pretending to protect taxpayers' interests. The way to protect taxpayers' interests would have been to have made the right decision in the first place, not to try to shield a wrong decision from the courts.

Nothing the government says can change the fact that this government cancelled the Pearson deal in the first place, that this government compounded the problem by trying to deny access to the court to affected parties and that this government will leave taxpayers on the hook for $662 million or more.

What will be done to undo the damage of this politically motivated decision and action?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the third party, the fourth party-Reformers must thank their lucky stars the Bloc Quebecois did not run a candidate in Hamilton or they would have been fifth.

The position of the government is clear. The contracts were entered into in the middle of an election campaign when it was indicated by one of the major political parties that if we were elected the appropriateness of the contract would be reviewed. It is appropriate to compensate the parties for their out of pocket expenses but not for profits they have not earned. That is our position and we will do whatever we can in the future.

The hon. member can stay tuned for our decision in the future and he will find we will be taking further steps to protect the Canadian taxpayer, whom he from time to time seems to have some concern for.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, what we have here is a huge infrastructure project of vital importance to Ontario and to Canada knocked completely off the rails by political interference.

In the Airbus case we have the Liberals trying to use the justice department to go after a political opponent. In this case we have the Liberals trying to deny both their friends and their political opponents access to the courts. This is political corruption of the sleaziest kind, and Canadians want resignations-

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Although no particular member was named, I find the words "political corruption" to be very strong. I wonder if the hon. leader of the Reform Party would consider withdrawing the words "political corruption". Following the withdrawal would he put his question directly.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the words but we continue to worry about why the words offend the House but what they represent do not.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, a simple withdrawal. Would the hon. member please just make the withdrawal of the words?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

I withdraw the words, Mr. Speaker.

Where are the resignations, not the excuses, that will convince Canadians that political interference in infrastructure development, in purchasing and in due process will stop and stop now?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the attempts to unify the right are reaching new lows. What groups should he be asking for resignations from, those attempting to protect taxpayers' interests or those that would assist the lobbyists and the developers get unearned income?

I suggest the hon. member from Calgary read the May 15 Hansard of the other place, read the changes that were made to the bill, read the statements made by the chief witness of the Conservative Party in that place, Professor Monahan, where we met all the objections with the exception of the issue of lobbyist fees and unearned profit.

Atomic Energy Of Canada LimitedOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

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

Earlier this week, the minister tried to convince the House that decisions by Atomic Energy of Canada did not involve her. It did not prevent her from claiming that this crown corporation would provide Quebec with $100 million in economic benefits with each sale of a CANDU-6, a figure strongly contested by those responsible for marketing this equipment.

Will the minister acknowledge that, if Atomic Energy of Canada moves from Montreal to Toronto, the businesses she listed the day before yesterday are very likely to transfer part of their operations to Toronto as well to be close to the source of their contracts? Will she recognize this?

Atomic Energy Of Canada LimitedOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me clarify to the hon. member that I did not say I was not interested in AECL and the restructuring that it is forced to go through like every other company, be it a crown corporation or a private corporation in this country.

What I said was that the government has an arm's length relationship with crown corporations such as AECL and we do not involve ourselves in the day to day running or management of AECL.

Atomic Energy Of Canada LimitedOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is sweet in her confusion, but my supplementary is as follows.

Is the minister aware that Canatom, which she put at the top of the list of companies benefiting from AECL contracts in Quebec, did not get the contract to build the CANDU-6s that will be sold to China. It was in fact the American firm Bechtel that got this lucrative contract. Is she aware and is she asleep?

Atomic Energy Of Canada LimitedOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Let me explain to the hon. member that the CANDU reactor business in foreign markets is a highly competitive one.

AECL puts together a consortium on the basis of partners who provide the most competitive bids in the circumstances. Canatom, like any other company in this country, has the right to bid, to participate. Canatom has a long and lengthy history in the nuclear business in this country and I am sure it will receive much work in the future.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals had kept their mitts out of the Pearson airport deal from the beginning it would have cost Canadians absolutely zero. The Prime Minister has stuffed the Senate with-

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Beaver River.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister stuffed the Senate with 16 of the best Liberal yes men in the country and he still could not get Bill C-28 through the Senate. It is dead.

When will the government get the hint and realize this bill was flawed from the beginning? What part of dead does it not understand?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a party that managed to come dead last in a byelection should understand the word dead, dead in the water, dead last.

As I have answered four times already, we are exploring our options because we believe the Canadian taxpayer should be protected from a major payout to the tune of $600 million of plain, unearned profit on the punitive Pearson deal.

To answer the other part of her question, we have arranged with another group for a not for profit management of the airport in local hands. I can assure her we are currently spending $250 million to bring Pearson up to where it should be, the number one gateway for North America, for the whole central heartland of the continent.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, if that deal had gone ahead that whole process would have been finished by now and we would have had a class act airport, not simply talking about the possibility of it now.

The minister talks about due process of law. I might remind you, Mr. Speaker, he used the due process of law some time ago to sue his own government, for heaven's sake. What credibility is that?

Tory patronage may have been replaced by Liberal politics but Canadian taxpayers are still paying the price and that is what they are angry about.

Instead of worrying about covering their own political assets, when will the Liberals come up with a plan that will benefit taxpayers, not Liberals, not Tories, but Canadian taxpayers?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is extraordinary. We have explained how we are trying through various measures to protect Canadian taxpayers from $600 million of unearned profit. These are the people who are not protecting Canadian taxpayers, yet the member has the audacity to stand up and suggest we are not protecting Canadian taxpayers.

It is about time they discovered who the Canadian taxpayers are. They are not just a small group of developers and Conservative members of the other place and lobbyists. They are more than that.

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

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

Last year, the industry department cut the budget of CITI, the Centre for Information Technologies Innovation, located in Laval, from $13 to $9 million. Now there are rumours that the government is getting ready to close down this research centre in the Montreal area by 1998, by reducing CITI's forecast budget for 1996-97 from $9 to $3 million.

Can the minister confirm our information to the effect that his department is getting ready to shut down CITI, thus eliminating over 70 high tech jobs, once again, in the Montreal area?

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as announced in the February 1995 budget, the first program review concluded that CITI's activities were not essential to the government's mandate and should be gradually excluded from it by April 1, 1998.

After looking at the options that would best serve the interests of employees and of taxpayers, I asked my officials to try to privatize CITI. Following a transparent public process, MicroCell submitted a duly completed proposal to us last April 29.

We responded with a counteroffer, and are now awaiting MicroCell's reply. We have informed the staff at CITI of the government's position in this matter.

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is the closure of Tokamak in Varennes, the possible move of Atomic Energy of Canada from Montreal to Toronto, the awarding of CANDU-6 construction contracts to Americans, and now the pull-out from CITI.

Does the Minister of Industry admit that his government has but one objective: to systematically reduce its investments in the greater Montreal area?

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member for Laval Centre should be embarrassed to ask such a question. Is she not ready to admit that we have a number of federal laboratories in Quebec, including the Food Research and Development Centre in Saint-Hyacinthe, the animal health and food safety laboratory in Saint-Hyacinthe, the research station in Lennoxville, the research station in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the space agency in Saint-Hubert, the earth resources branch, the systems provided in Hull, the environment service-

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

They often forget.

Centre For Information Technologies InnovationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport seems confused. He keeps referring to the Tories. There are more Liberals involved in this than Tories.

In two secret government documents, senior bureaucrats warned the government at the start of the Pearson process in 1993 that the contract was a better deal than trying to do it themselves and that cancelling the contract could leave the government and subsequently the taxpayers of Canada on the hook for up to $2 billion.

My question is simple and it is directed to the Minister of Transport. Why did the government not listen to its own advisors?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thought perhaps the hon. Reform Party critic would have the decency to simply sit quiet and let the others in his party speak.

The reason I say that is that last night a group of Mulroney appointed senators, unelected people, voted in favour of granting hundreds of millions of dollars of unearned, undeserved profits to unaccountable developers in an unacceptable deal.

The member in today's Vancouver Sun is quoted as saying: ``This defeat is a victory for all Canadians''. This is a possible $600 million liability to the Canadian taxpayers and the Reform Party critic has the unmitigated gall to get up and tell us that this is some sort of victory for the Canadian taxpayers.

It is time Reform members began to understand who taxpayers are. It is time for them to understand that they will never get themselves re-elected on the basis of Mulroney appointed-

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kootenay West-Revelstoke.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers are not on the hook for $600 million because of Bill C-28. They are on the hook because of the bungling of the minister.

The minister talks about the Tories and the Senate. It was a Liberal who cast the final ballot which shut down this bill.

Those same government documents provided all the figures backed up by independent experts to show that the crown construction option would have cost the taxpayers more than letting the Pearson contract proceed, even without the cost of the lawsuit added in.

My question is again directed to the Minister of Transport. If he was interested in saving the taxpayers money, why did his government not try to renegotiate or restructure the contract instead of ignoring the advice of his own experts and subsequently setting the taxpayers and this government up for a $600 million suit?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Remember, sparrows fly.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if the member will cast his mind back to the period prior to the election of this government, he will recollect that in the dying days of the previous government, the Mulroney-Campbell regime, a deal was signed against all conventions of this House and the parliamentary system. It was a major contract which the opposition party at the time, now the government, claimed it would re-examine if it were elected and if it was found to be not in the public interest it would indeed get rid of it. That is precisely what has been done.

Not only do Reformers not understand who their friends should be, they do not understand the workings of a democratic system where the people elected by the public of Canada have the right to determine how taxpayers' money will be spent.

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

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

Up until now, the federal government had always recognized the predominant role of the Montreal region as a major site for research and development in Canada. The Picard report and subsequent studies have always highlighted the importance of research and development for Montreal's future. Furthermore, during the last election campaign, the Minister of Finance reiterated, in his action plan for Montreal, the federal government's commitment to continue supporting these activities.

After making this election promise, how can the Minister of Finance justify his inaction in the face of the federal government's systematic withdrawal from research and development activities in the Montreal region, in particular the Varennes Tokamak, the Atomic Energy offices, and now the Centre for Information Technologies Innovation?

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I do not have enough time to list all the federal government's substantial investments, which are very important for the future of Quebec, and for the future of research and development throughout Canada.

Today, another Canadian astronaut working for the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, was launched into space.

Last month, a Canadian astronaut from Quebec, Marc Garneau, who also works for the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, was launched into space for the second time. We continue to invest in federal laboratories in Quebec, in the area of biotechnology in particular.

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, these investments are not presents from the federal government, but what we are owed in return for the taxes we pay to the federal government.

In his June 1992 action plan, the finance minister promised that in the greater Montreal region, a Liberal government would maximize the benefits from its national research and development program.

Does the minister admit that these promises were nothing but a smoke screen, as the federal government is systematically withdrawing from R and D investments in the Montreal region, with the minister's tacit approval? Where are the members from the Montreal region in this government?

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I think the opposition is giving us today a great opportunity to show how the federal government, the Canadian government, is omnipresent in Montreal's development. In fact, our government is the most actively involved of all levels of government.

We are involved in cultural matters, in pharmaceuticals, in aeronautics, in biotechnology, in environmental matters. My colleague, the Minister of Industry, has announced a technological partnership that will produce outstanding benefits.

Since the beginning of the year, and again recently, we have made major announcements in the Montreal region. Consider, for example, the millions of dollars invested in Delisle Foods and Galderma and the $712,000 invested in the Tristan and Iseut textile company. Consider-

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

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

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has made great strides in helping to improve the Atlantic economy. In this time of major adjustment there is still an important role for ACOA, but a

Senate banking committee has suggested that ACOA be merged with other agencies.

Will the minister confirm the government's commitment to a strong and independent ACOA? Yes or no?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Senate banking committee provided the government with a number of recommendations with respect to the functioning of the government's banks as well as the regional development agencies. I will be responding very fully to that report on behalf of the government in the Senate committee in the coming weeks.

I would like to say to the hon. member as clearly as possible that the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the other regional development agencies continue to play an important role in this government's plan to assist small and medium size enterprises in the regions of the country to acquire the capital and the technology they need to build jobs and growth for people in their regions.

It is not my intention nor my plan in any way to collapse the agencies into Industry Canada or into the banks, but rather to use them as real economic tools to build jobs and growth for Canada.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

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

I think it is fair to say that last night was a national embarrassment when the political hacks, flacks and bagmen in the Senate, including a Liberal senator, decided to call upon Canadian taxpayers to cough up about 600 million bucks to hand out to a bunch of land developers in Toronto.

Would the minister not agree that if we ever needed any evidence to suggest that the Senate should be abolished we now have it? Why does he not do just that?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure that is an administrative responsibility of the Minister of Transport, but if he would like to answer the question I will give him permission to do so.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as acting Prime Minister, I can say that the element I liked of the question was the part in the preamble where the member criticized the decision of the Senate on Bill C-28.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Pearson airport is a vital resource of the Ontario economy. Millions of business travellers depend on efficient airport service to give them an advantage in the global marketplace.

Under this government for two and one-half years the infrastructure at Pearson has continued to deteriorate. So much for infrastructure programs. For the sake of business confidence, we need to clear the air.

Will the Minister of Transport tell this House if he has a plan for the long, overdue redevelopment of Pearson?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question in response to an earlier question.

We regard Pearson airport as an airport of tremendous potential not just for southern Ontario but for the entire heartland of North America. Just as Vancouver is becoming the gateway airport for the Asia-Pacific, we want to have Pearson as the gateway for all Atlantic flights going into central North America. That is our objective.

To that end, three weeks ago we signed over letters of intent with a local airport authority, excellent people in the Toronto area who will be running the airport when we deal with the various items that have to be organized. We expect a final signing in January.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport knows the redevelopment of Pearson will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Now that the government has put taxpayers at risk for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, where will the minister get the same amount of money for construction?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we have undertaken a number of improvements in the Toronto Airport Authority which in total come to about $250 million despite the fact that we are handing it over to that local authority.

I am interested in the question. Finally comes from Reformers an admission that oh yes, the government and the public are going to be stuck for $600 million. That has been behind their questions to this date. Now they admit they know full well what the result was of that decision last night.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

In its annual report released today in Paris, the Observatoire international des prisons reports numerous cases of abuse in the area of immigration.

Does the minister not realize that by turning a blind eye as she does on a whole host of abuse cases, she has actually started undermining the reputation Canada enjoys around the world? Will she finally call for an inquiry into abuse cases instead of into processes?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration and Acting Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, did I hear correctly? Was the Canadian immigration system described as abusive? I cannot believe my ears.

Reports aside, do the members of the Bloc Quebecois not live in Canada? Do they not realize that the immigration system we have here is open, generous, welcoming, the most open in the world in fact? I will never stand for such statements coming from the Bloc.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence today is deflecting questions regarding General Boyle because he says the open public inquiry will get to the bottom of the matter. I would like to point out that this is a daily open public inquiry for the Canadian public. The Canadian public would appreciate a straight answer from that side of the House.

In the past, the Prime Minister has expressed his confidence in the chief of defence staff. Given the proof that we have seen today that the CDS disobeyed directives from the Privy Council Office and the Minister of National Defence's office, will the Prime Minister now restore confidence in the military and fire the Minister of National Defence and the chief of defence staff?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the minister has covered this issue a number of times.

I will not comment on any evidence presented to the commission. The commission was established to examine all aspects of the Somalia inquiry. The inquiry is the proper forum for this kind of evidence and debate, not the floor of the House of Commons. Let the commission do its job.

The EconomyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

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

The OECD has expressed its concern that deficit and debt reduction could have a negative impact on real economic growth in Canada. What assurance can the minister give that the prosperity of Canadians will not be negatively impacted by these actions?

The EconomyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the OECD said in its report that Canada would have in 1997 not only the strongest growth of all of the G-7 countries but more than likely the strongest growth of all the OECD countries.

The OECD went on to congratulate the federal government for its activities in cleaning up the balance sheet and in deficit reduction and essentially said that low inflation, high productivity, the reduction in the current account deficit and the huge increase in exports, some of which were announced today, are all leading to a very strong economy.

In effect, the OECD said that the Canadian people are really doing a job and the rest of the world is starting to take notice.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to bring to your attention the presence in the gallery of, if I might use the term, a fledgling democracy, and one that should have our support.

We have with us a parliamentary delegation from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I have a point of order and I am also going to render a decision today on a point of privilege, but we will go directly to the vote that has been asked for. I will hear that point of order and I will give a decision to the member for Lethbridge before this day is out.

The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to an amendment made by the Senate to Bill C-20, an act respecting the commercialization of civil air navigation services.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to adopt the Senate amendment on Bill C-20, an act respecting the commercialization of civil air aviation.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Amendments read the second time and concurred in.)

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, may I have your attention for one minute. I do not want to quote Yogi Berra in the House, it is not over until it is over, but if today is the last day that we are going to be sitting in this part of the session, as is the custom, I, as your Speaker, will be hosting a very small reception to just say so long for the summer.

I want to thank you very much for this part of the session. I wish you all a very pleasant and a safe summer. I look forward to welcoming all of you back on 16 septembre à l'automne.

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour of tabling a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act and related acts. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I have a point of order which I will get to, but I have a point of privilege which takes precedence over the point of order.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, you are in the chair, along with the three other people who chair this House of Commons, and I would like to extend to you and to the others in the chair and at the table a big thank you on behalf of this House for your patience, the esteem in which all of you are held and the fairness in handling this boisterous crowd out here on the floor of the House of Commons. It is at a time like this that I think we should recognize good habits and practices in the House. We thank you and the others for your fairness in handling all situations.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

In the name of my fellow Speakers, I accept all accolades.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think he is just trying to get extra sandwiches at your reception.

Mr. Speaker, my point of order pertains to comments made in this Chamber on Tuesday, June 18, 1996. The comments were recorded in Hansard on page 4031. The House leader for the separatist Bloc Quebecois, the member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie, then said:

-for having misled the House by making false accusations that called into question the honesty and integrity of the member for Charlesbourg.

The member then went on to demand an apology from me for having brought forth my point of privilege.

It is my understanding that it is unparliamentary language for a member to suggest that another member has misled the House. This morning Mr. Speaker ruled out of order another such accusation from the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

The member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie has impugned my motives and this is reflected in the official record of the proceedings of the Chamber.

I was not present in the House when these unparliamentary words were uttered. This is the first opportunity I have had to respond to bring the matter to your attention.

I refuse to apologize for defending the interests of the country against the people whose sole purpose for being in Ottawa is to desecrate and destroy what Canadians hold so dearly.

For his unparliamentary language, I believe the member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie should be required to withdraw his remarks and apologize for his accusations.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I used the word "intentionally" in reference to my hon. colleague. Intentionally means consciously. Listening to him in the past few days, I recognize that this was a bad choice of words. I should not have used a word meaning consciously to refer to him. I withdraw the word. I have to admit that he is not conscious.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I think that would close the matter. There has been a withdrawal. That is it.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question or privilege raised on Tuesday afternoon by the hon. member for Lethbridge concerning the text of Motion No. 1 standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

I thank the hon. member for Lethbridge, the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and the hon. member for Fraser Valley East for their participation in the discussion.

For the benefit of all hon. members, I remind the House the motion in question contains a number of charges against the hon.

member for Lethbridge relating to actions in which he participated at the beginning of this year.

Having rendered my ruling on Tuesday on the procedural acceptability of this motion's being dealt with under Private Members' Business, I will now address the matter of what the hon. member contends is a breach of his rights.

The member submitted that having this motion standing unresolved on the Order Paper has and will continue to seriously affect his reputation and his ability to function as a member. Further, the member argued that given my earlier ruling and that he felt he could seek no other remedy for the situation, he had no option but to bring this matter before the House as a question of privilege.

It has been repeatedly acknowledged by my predecessors that parliamentary privilege is narrowly defined as being limited to matters which affect members in the discharge of their parliamentary duties.

For a breach of privilege to occur, a member must sufficiently demonstrate that something has obstructed or interfered with his or her ability to discharge duties as a member of the House.

In ruling on a question of privilege, I, as Speaker, have to decide whether or not at first glance there has been a breach of privilege.

In this instance, I must determine whether or not the motion sitting on the Order Paper violates the member's privileges by, in some way, impeding him from carrying out his duties.

In the past motions regarding the conduct of members have been placed on the Order Paper under Private Members' Business and have been allowed to remain there, in some cases for the remainder of a session, without ever being brought to a decision by the House.

I refer members to Motion No. 132, placed on notice on May 5, 1986, Motion No. 459, placed on notice on May 24, 1989, and Motion No. 167, placed on notice on February 28, 1996. This last motion died on the Order Paper in the first session of this Parliament but, having been resubmitted under Private Members' Business in this session, was subsequently drawn and debated as a non-votable item of Private Members' Business on March 22, 1996. It was then dropped from the Order Paper without a decision of the House.

The motion now in question, Motion No. 1, was placed on notice on February 27, 1996. The hon. member for Lethbridge acknowledged he hesitated to bring this matter before the House until it had at least reached the point of debate.

While I recognize the hon. member's concern that in the near future he will not be able to respond to the charges made against him, I do not find the member has demonstrated his abilities to function as a member have in any way been affected or impeded over the course of the months that this motion has been sitting on the Order Paper. As such, I cannot find that there has been a prima facie breach of privilege.

The hon. member for Lethbridge sought guidance on how he might be able to address his grievance were I to find this matter not to be a prima facie breach of privilege. In the case before us, while the House will not have to take a decision on the motion in question, the hon. member will have the opportunity to respond to the motion when it is brought up for debate in the House.

In addition, let me reiterate what I said Tuesday: the rules of the House now in place allow for the proceedings on this motion to go forward. Should the House choose to re-examine these rules, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is empowered to undertake such an examination on its own initiative.

Might I therefore suggest that the hon. member consider pursuing this matter with the committee.

Again, I thank all hon. members for their contributions to this discussion.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. earlier today I did seek the unanimous consent of the House to debate at all stages Bill C-45. I thought I would seek this one last opportunity before we close to ask if the House would give unanimous consent to deal with all stages of Bill C-45 this afternoon.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent?

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

There is not unanimous consent.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would probably find unanimous consent to now move to private members' hour.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from June 3 consideration of the motion.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this debate is particularly timely considering what occurred last night. Many of the Liberals are beginning to wonder if sparrows might not need airports.

Taking the look at the situation we have suddenly discovered the other place does have effect. It is effective. It can do things. In our parliamentary system where we have a government like the current government which attempts to run roughshod all over the opposition parties and the concerns of many Canadians, it is good to have a House of sober second thought that truly is effective. We have seen that the Senate can be effective.

This motion, which calls for the abolition of the Senate, period, end of statement, is unacceptable. That is why the member for Vegreville moved the Reform amendment that after the word Senate, the words "in its present form" be added.

It has been a longstanding position of the Reform Party that we require an effective Senate. We require a Senate that can take a look at bogus bills like Bill C-28.

Bill C-28 was to come back before the House today for the fourth time, after passing through the other place, but even after all this juggling the bill was still flawed. There were a number of amendments to Bill C-28 which were passed by the Liberal majority in the other place in an attempt to water down some of the more odious aspects of the bill, but they still did not get it right, as was shown by virtue of the fact that Liberal Senate Sparrow decided he would do the right thing and join the other people in the other place to vote the bill down.

Bill C-28 attempted to retroactively cancel a contract. It went directly into the teeth of the privileges and the rights we have as Canadians. Whether we are individuals or corporations, it makes no difference, we should have the right to have access to a court of law. What the Liberal government was attempting to do was shut down due process in Canada.

We recognize there was a tremendous amount of money involved in this process. Because of the Prime Minister's promise during the 1993 election, he has placed the people of Canada directly in the way of at least a $600 million loss. This is unconscionable on the part of the Prime Minister. It was only the Liberals in the other place, with the exception of Senator Sparrow, who would put this through. They would not use their conscience. They would follow the direction of the former minister of transport.

There is a process in Canada which we all understand. There is a process within the House of Commons. The legislation from the House of Commons, when passed, goes to the Senate. The Senate should be effective, and it has been shown to be effective. The other place is to be there as a place of sober second thought and also to represent the regions.

We recognize there is some tremendous difficulty within the Senate at this moment. I speak as someone in business. The predecessors to this Liberal government, yet another Liberal government, brought us the great and wonderful national energy plan.

We had in western Canada, based out of Calgary, our very own made in Canada depression. It was made right here in Ottawa with bogus thinking, with centrist thinking that Liberals consistently possess. Sixty-five billion dollars was sucked out of western Canada and brought back to Ontario.

That would never have happened had there been an elected Senate. It is for that reason that we have put forth the amendment that yes, the Senate should be abolished, but in its present form. In other words, there is a place, there is a time, there is a function for the Senate and we must see that it remains. However, the problem is it is not elected and is totally unaccountable.

The Reform Party has been attempting to bring some semblance of order, some accountability to the Senate, in spite of the fact that the Prime Minister has said he will appoint the Senators he wants, who will represent his party and just on and on. He is the past master at manipulating and controlling the parliamentary system.

In addition, the Liberals will not let us make the Senate accountable for dollars and cents. They will not let members of the House of Commons, who are the duly elected representatives of the people of Canada, hold the Senate accountable for the $40 million plus that they are currently spending.

From the executive summary of the auditor general:

We found that the Senate has neither formally nor informally delegated clear responsibility to management, nor has it made clear for what to hold management accountable. We recommend the Senate should more clearly define the mandate of the committee on internal economy and subcommittees, and establish clear accountability relationships with its senior staff.

This is the most important part.

The Senate does not adequately report on its administrative, financial or human resource management performance and does not possess sufficient information to enable it to do so systematically.

It is the Liberal Party of Canada that wants to make sure that the Senators, its friends in the other place, are not going to be accountable to this place. Should we throw out the Senate? No, because as we have seen when there has been an odious bill such as Bill C-28, the other place from time to time will actually get it right.

We saw what the Progressive Conservatives did when they were being thwarted in bringing in the GST, the gouge and screw tax. Former Prime Minister Mulroney ended up padding the Senate so that he could manage to get the GST through the House of Commons. The Senate just broke up into bedlam with kazoos and all sorts of other exciting things.

The way the Senate is currently conducting itself, and occasionally showing itself to be effective, should give the people of Canada at least a glimmer of insight to how the parliamentary system in Canada should work. Why will it not work that way? Because the Prime Minister has made no less than 16 appointments to the Senate, every one of them patronage appointments. In some cases, the people who have been appointed have directly and clearly admitted that they were appointed as a result of patronage.

The second to last person appointed from the province of Alberta clearly stated: "I recognize that I am being appointed to the Senate as a result of the longstanding service that I have done for the Liberal Party". The Prime Minister was very happy to have him there.

The last person who was appointed to the Senate admitted that she should have been elected, to which I say that if she would do the honourable thing she would resign.

The Liberals are noted for half measures. I suggest to them that this might just fit. If Liberal members, in good conscience, were to vote in favour of this motion, as amended by the Reform Party, at least we could start along the process of seeing some changes happen to the other place because truly they must happen. The Reform Party stands for a Triple E Senate, elected, effective and equal.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a citizen of Quebec, as a representative of a Quebec riding, and as a member of the Bloc Quebecois, I have absolutely no hesitation about taking part in the debate today in support of the motion by my colleague, the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, calling for the abolition of the Senate.

The reason I have no hesitation is because I know that a large majority of Quebecers no longer want the Senate, and have not wanted it for some time now. We know that during the period surrounding the Charlottetown negotiations the consensus was generally in favour of abolishing the Senate.

This consensus had been reached much earlier, however, in 1980, the year of the referendum. At that time, the key federalist players, as represented by Claude Ryan in his beige paper, were calling for the abolition of the Upper House. So the nasty separatists were not the only ones to have had this idea.

A little background is necessary. I would like to remind you of a speech given in this House over two years ago by my colleague, the member for Richelieu, in which he gave a very interesting history of the institution known as the Senate. It is worth repeating briefly.

My colleague reminded members that the other House was a vestige of colonialism, that it had been created to protect rich landowners from the more populist sentiments of elected representatives. As proof of this, he mentioned the $15,000 one was required to have. Do we realize how large an amount this was in those days? Of course, only the rich had that much money. They protected the interests of their rich fellow citizens, a practice that has by no means been suspended, far from it.

Of course, the role of the Senate has evolved. However, as with many other institutions, theory and practice are often poles apart. Rich landowners were replaced by faithful political servants. Abuses of all sorts have been abundantly recorded and publicized. There is no need to go over them all again. The work of members has more to do with the political agenda of the major parties than with pure research. The Senate has become the means the government uses to avoid contradicting itself publicly, to protect its reputation when it finds it has made a mistake. It has become a discreet but oh, so faithful, tool for the elected members of the major parties.

A very good example of this is the process used for the bill on electoral boundaries readjustment. That time, the process was so flagrant that several members condemned it here in this House. As recently as yesterday, we were given proof of how undemocratic the very existence of the Senate is. All the newspapers reported that the Senate had refused to adopt the bill on Pearson airport. There can be no better example of the arrogance and power of the Senate.

How can it be acceptable that people who are appointed, not elected, not answerable to the public, can decide on their own initiative that a bill which has been seriously examined and debated for a number of hours in the House of Commons can be shoved aside just like that?

Even if I were opposed to the bill, I would still be disgusted to see that these people appointed for political services rendered, to either the Liberals or the Conservatives, and others who have no obligations to anyone, could take it upon themselves to decide the future of the biggest airport in Canada?

How do the members of the party in power, the members of the same party which made sure it had a majority in the Senate, feel today, now that they know that even the people they appointed to carry their colours in the other place have contributed to the undoing of a bill the vast majority of them in this House were in favour of?

How do they feel knowing that, instead of proposing amendments, the other House simply rejected the bill? That is not very flattering for the Liberal members, is it Mr. Speaker? This is the

best example of the absurdity of the Senate and the best reason for calling for its immediate abolition.

Despite their wishes Quebecers are paying the cost of an institution they no longer want. The cost is huge. In 1995-96, the budget is over $42 million. What about the unemployed whose benefits have been cut so the federal government can save money on their backs? What about women who are single parents living at the edge of poverty facing the possibility of having their welfare cut, because the provinces' money is being cut by the federal government?

What about young men and women looking for a first job and being hit with the repercussions of a lack of job creation policy. What about old people, whose pensions may well be cut. Imagine the frustration of all these people, who know that huge amounts of money are being spent each year to provide a sumptuous lifestyle for an institution that no longer fulfils its primary purpose and for which they have long had no use.

And then we wonder why Canadians opt out? Why they have become so bitter toward their politicians? How can people not see that Canadians feel they are not being listened to? Canadians are right. That is why, in supporting the motion by my colleague calling for the abolition of the Senate, I want to have heard the voice of those not listened to.

Power must be given back to those it belongs to-the voters-who, as my colleague for Kamouraska said, see the Senate as nothing more than the symbol of Parliament's inefficiency and ineffectiveness. I know the Liberal government has no intention of considering the abolition of the Senate, because we have been told there are other priorities.

It should be one of the government's priorities if we are to end duplication. With an elected House, I see no need to pay for another House to do the same work. We were elected and we are accountable to the people. We must be accountable, whereas the other House can intercept a bill without being accountable to the public. This is why I strongly support the motion by my colleague from Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

3:40 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first I wish to remind the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup that, as members of Parliament, we have a responsibility to work for the common good of our country. We have a responsibility to adequately represent the public and to serve its interests as best as we can.

The interests of Canadians have to do with economic prosperity, jobs, equality, justice, safety within their community and national reconciliation. The issue of whether or not the Senate should be abolished is not a priority for them right now.

The government listens to Canadians. Its response is clearly reflected in the measures announced in the throne speech and in the budget. These measures seek to improve relations between governments and to meet the concerns of Canadians. According to a Gallup poll, unemployment has been at the top of the list of concerns for Canadians, including Quebecers, for 10 years already. This is the issue they want their government to tackle.

During the first half of its mandate, our government took measures to create conditions promoting sustained economic growth and job creation. It launched a major administrative reform, reduced the deficit and took initiatives regarding trade and international investments.

However, these achievements do not tell the whole story. They do not tell that over half a million jobs were created in the Canadian economy since we took office, that the unemployment rate went down 2 percentage points and is now under the 10 per cent mark for the first time in five years. Our government also undertook to put public finances on a healthy footing.

As you know, since its election, our government has followed a pragmatic approach regarding the renewal of the federation. It remains focused, as always, on issues of interest for Canadians, namely the economy, jobs and social programs.

However, it is hard to believe this is the case for the official opposition. Instead of making a constructive contribution to help Quebecers join their fellow Canadians from the other provinces, the Bloc Quebecois disregards Quebecers' true interests.

It is clearly stated in both the speech from the throne and the budget that our focus will be on preparing Canada to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In fact, the first ministers' conference that will start in just a few hours fits in with our commitments, as a step toward renewing the federation.

The first ministers will be discussing how governments could better work at creating jobs in Canada, preserving our social safety net and developing a joint program of changes aimed at renewing our federation. Those are the issues that concern the people of Canada. Those are this government's priorities. These should also be the official opposition's priorities, because what do Canadians from all provinces want if not for their governments to work in co-operation to bring in changes that will have a direct and positive impact.

First of all, we have promised to limit the federal government's spending power in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. The government will no longer use its spending power to develop new shared-cost programs in areas of provincial jurisdiction. It is the first time in our history that the federal government offers to limit its own powers outside a formal constitutional negotiations setting. This is a milestone in the evolution of federalism. We believe that it

is through this spirit of co-operation with and respect for the provinces that we will promote Canadian unity.

At the social level, the government promised to ensure that Canadians can continue to rely on a secure and sustainable social safety net. Again, we will work in co-operation with the provinces to preserve the kind of social programs Canada is famous for. That is what our government's commitment to social solidarity is all about.

The government also made a commitment to clarify, in co-operation with the provinces, the respective responsibilities of the various levels of government. We are withdrawing from areas for which responsibility lies more appropriately with the provinces, the municipalities or other stakeholders, areas like occupational training, certain sectors of transportation, forestry, mining and recreation.

Three weeks ago, our government announced it was completely withdrawing from the area of manpower training. This is a fine example of allowing the provinces to adapt programs to their specific needs. This is an important step toward a federalism that better meets the needs and aspirations of Canadians.

At the economic level, the government will continue to work in co-operation with the provinces to reduce barriers to domestic trade and manpower mobility.

This is how our government is renewing the Canadian federation: by proposing constructive and practical solutions to the issues concerning Canadians, moving step by step in a climate of dialogue and respect.

I urge my colleagues in the official opposition to co-operate with our government in helping Canada, and especially Quebec, move forward.

Ever since I started my speech, Bloc members have been asking me: What does this have to do with the motion before us? I would like to quote from an editorial by Pierre Gravel that appeared in the June 5 edition of La Presse . This editorial, headlined ``Temps perdu'', ends like this:

-the harshest critics of the Senate finally realized that attacking this institution is totally futile under the current Constitution, which requires unanimous approval for any change at that level, something that is not going to happen tomorrow in Canada. Any member who tries to revive this debate must have nothing better to do. But the most troubling in all this is that his leader is letting him go ahead.

That is why I chose to use my time to show Canadians that we have a lot of work to do and that abolishing the Senate would not help us in any way to renew federalism. What Canadians really care about is employment and social security.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

June 20th, 1996 / 3:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to say a few words about abolishing or not abolishing the Senate and the value of a Senate.

I feel that the original motion which was to abolish the Senate is not good enough and we could not support it. However, I feel that by adding the amendment to the motion, in its present form, definitely has some merit. After having abolished the Senate in its present form, we replace the Senate with a representative body that is equal across the land from province to province, that is effective and that is elected.

Imagine a Senate where the people of Canada get to vote for its members. Imagine a Senate where there are three representatives from each province, or the territories when they get in, and they are elected by the people. Imagine a Senate that is so equal that it could now concentrate on its effectiveness in representing the regions of the country. Imagine a Senate which is allowed to protect the interests of the Atlantic provinces. Imagine a Senate that is allowed to protect the west. Imagine a Senate that is allowed to protect Quebec. Imagine a Senate that is allowed to effectively represent the province of Ontario.

Imagine if we elected senators who were effective and equal across the land, a Senate that could have some powers and truly be a chamber of sober second thought, that could send back to this House legislation which is ineffective or distorts the balance across the country or which unduly or unfairly, because it perhaps was overlooked by the House of Commons, hurts one region of the country too much while maybe helping another region of the country.

We are a country with five or six distinctive and different regions. We have a House of Commons which is elected on the basis of representation by population. Sometimes we miss, distort and hurt certain parts of the country because of that. Representation by population is a sound and the basic fundamental of democracy. It is necessary, important and must always be upheld.

However, there has to be a balance brought into rep by pop through regional representation. The only effective way that can be done is through the Senate. However, the Senate, in its present form, that is appointed by a Prime Minister who appoints only his political cronies and friends and then says "your there to represent my party", like this Prime Minister has said, is not the purpose of a Senate.

I am not questioning the quality of some of the people in the Senate. I am questioning how they get there. I am questioning whether their loyalties are to the party that is in power or to the

region and communities they come from, where they have grown up, made their living and have many friends. Would it not be far more effective and reasonable to have senators representing the areas they come from because they know those people and understand them?

It would enable them to send bills back to this House if they unduly affect the francophones outside of Quebec who are afraid of being assimilated. Could not those three senators from Quebec stand up and look at the Official Languages Act or an official languages bill and say: "Look, this bill is not good enough for Quebec and this is why. We want to send this back until the House recognizes why this is not good enough for Quebec." Would that not have a better balance of power than we have right now?

Our system is weak. It is weak that we freely elect a dictator every four years, somebody who, with his or her little cabinet, can do at will whatever he or she wants to do. That is democracy at its worse if it is abused. We have opposition members and backbenchers to keep them in line. However, we can swing the pendulum too far in one direction.

What we need is systemic change. Imagine a democratic system where Canadians could finally have a system of government, which we are close to having now, that would truly be effective, one which would not only have the principles of representation by population, which is fine the way we have it now as our electoral system is good, but one that would contribute and add a Senate that would be equal, effective and elected across the land so that we also know that these people have some strength, some force and some say.

What about effectiveness? What powers should senators have? The House of Commons should be supreme. Representation by population should be supreme. As a check or a control and a chamber of sober second thought, just in case, however inadvertently it may happen, something comes into the Senate which the senators know is wrong for the people whom they also represent, something that the masses of the House of Commons has ignored or overlooked, they then look into a bill.

Hypothetically they say: "On this bill, we say that this language act is unfair to Quebec and therefore we need to protect the francophones outside of Quebec a little better and this is how we recommend you do it". They make an amendment. They send it back.

Let us say that the Senate holds free votes. If two-thirds of the Senate says no a bill would come back here. We fix it. If the House then says: "No, we disagree", it goes back again. Then both houses will have listened to the debate and everyone understands everyone else.

On money bills, however, the House of Commons should be supreme. Senators would not have the right to deny the funds that the federal government needs to spend, which it thinks on behalf of Canadians is the way it wants it. The Senate could not affect money bills or money bills would need a higher percentage of votes to send them back in case the government is doing something that the Senate feels is unfairly hurting one region.

On money bills the Senate should have no say or need a higher percentage of votes to send them back. However, the budget is another matter. Bills that affect an allocation of funds and on other bills like gun control, Pearson airport, Official Languages Act or anything like that, senators would have the right to improve them if they need improvement. What would be wrong with that kind of system?

Imagine a system where we had a second check or control and that chamber of sober second thought said: "This is a good bill. This helps everybody across the country". Can you imagine the harmony, Mr. Speaker, and the unity and the national pride that we would create with a system where both houses work together as a team? I know, Mr. Speaker, your son knows a lot about teams and teamwork. That is what we have to do in this country.

We are creating a system that is divisive. We are supporting and defending a system that pits region against region. The funds that we are trying to redistribute to help those people who need help are not being spent in a way that gathers and earns respect. Why do we not look at the system and change it?

Here is an opportunity for people who believe in democracy to throw partisan politics aside and to think what is in the best interests of all Canadians. I would suggest it is a system that works. It is a system that Canadians could support. We need that. Even in the House of Commons we can do some systemic changes here to improve things. That is not the issue here today. It is the Senate.

We need to have an equal, effective and elected Senate, have the best Constitution and have the best legal minds work together on a parliamentary system that would complement this House of Commons, not fight the House of Commons.

I am sick and tired of making fun of the Senate. I should not have to make fun of the Senate. I do not want to make fun of the Senate. However, I will as long as we have a Prime Minister who abuses, misuses, misrepresents and openly, defiantly tells Canadians: "I will select whomever I want to select and he will represent my party over there". That is not what a senator is supposed to do.

I would be embarrassed to be the senator so named. I would want to come from Alberta as a senator and say: "I represent Alberta. I am glad the Prime Minister appointed me but I am going to represent Alberta, even if, like Senator Sparrow, I have to vote against a Liberal bill". That is effectiveness. If something is wrong with a bill, send it back here and we will look at it to see what is

wrong. Take this Pearson airport bill. It would be our job to fix it, get it through, so it is in the best interest of all Canadians.

That is what democracy is all about. That is what we should be working toward instead of this strict, biased, prejudicial, narrow-minded, self-serving, democratic dictatorship that we elect freely every four years. We pretend that it is working but it is not. I challenge all of those in this House, the 295 members of Parliament, to look at our democratic system and put their best efforts, put their thoughts into how it can be improved.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion of my colleague, the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup.

History has shown us that, from the very beginning of the Canadian federation, the need for the Senate has been constantly questioned. At the time of union, as I was mentioning the other day, the Fathers of Confederation could not agree on whether it should be elected or appointed, because, since 1856, they had had an elected legislative council.

Therefore, the united Canada which came into being in 1840 was more advanced than the institutions we know today. We took a step backward in 1867, with an appointed Senate with responsibility for protecting the regions, minorities, and, although this was not spelled out, the general public against the abuses and excesses that might be committed from time to time by the House of Commons.

It was perhaps justifiable in 1867 to think that the House of Commons might, in the heat of the moment, take measures requiring some control by the Senate. This is no longer true today, with the advent of universal suffrage. We must remember that women in Canada did not have the vote until 1919-20. Limitations on the right to vote were abolished and any Canadian citizen aged 18 and over is now entitled to vote.

Accordingly, the reasons set out in 1867 for having another House no longer obtain. Almost all Canadians are agreed that the Senate is no longer necessary, and that it should be reformed or abolished, but almost everyone agrees that that will not happen.

I was listening to the speech by the member for Calgary Centre a little earlier, in which he gave a perspective of the Senate of Canada quite different from mine. Personally, as an elected representative from Quebec, I am not interested in having a stronger Senate, an elected Senate, in Ottawa. What would be the result? This Senate, of course, would acquire legitimacy in the eyes of the public. If the 24 senators from Quebec were elected by the public, it would strengthen the central institution. It would be one more House to reinforce the power of the federal government, to the detriment of provincial governments, and it would take up a position somewhere between the provincial first ministers and the Prime Minister of Canada. It would be just one more obstacle, not to the Reform party but to distribution, to the proper operation of the system.

Some time ago we reached the conclusion that the Senate was not reformable, since everybody wants reform but nobody wants the same reform. The Reform members want one that is elected, equal and effective, suggesting six to ten senators per province, regardless of population, in a Senate that would have the same powers as the House of Commons and be elected by universal suffrage.

Liberal members, or rather the Liberal Party, stated in the red book that the Senate would merely be elected, so already there is a divergence between the two. And what do we want? Basically, we are here to promote Quebec sovereignty. We are therefore not fighting to reinforce federal institutions, but to reform this institution, theoretically, in a way which might be desirable. If indeed we were here to reform federal institutions that might be possible, but that is not what we are here for. As well, any reinforcement of federal powers will take away from the powers of the provinces, Quebec in particular.

Reform members have chosen to influence Ottawa by reforming institutions. They said: "If the provinces were properly represented in an equal, elected and efficient Senate, that would be one way for them to exercise more power". We take a different approach, knowing that we will never have a majority in this country, but that we will have a majority in our own space, which is: "Let us withdraw from the Canadian federation". It will probably be easier for Quebec to withdraw from the Canadian federation than it will be to reform the Senate.

So I have a hard time with the amendment by the member for Vegreville, who proposes to abolish the Senate in its present form. In principle, I could say yes, knowing nothing would come of it.

Earlier, the member for Vaudreuil said, getting back to the relevance of the debate, in his last two sentences, that an editorial had said the unanimity rule was required. It has not often been raised in the context of amending the Constitution to permit the abolition of the Senate.

In my opinion, section 38 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the seven and fifty rule, would normally apply with, in my opinion, the mandatory approval of Quebec, since sections 23 et sequentes of the British North America Act of 1867 contain provisions on

senators with respect to Quebec specifically. I think Quebec should be one of the parties assenting to the abolition of the Senate.

However, speeches in election campaigns and here in the House and perhaps the inability to do anything have prevented anyone from taking the initiative. Fortunately, the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup has taken this initiative, which will at least shed some light on things, following the latest events. Yesterday, for example, the bill on the Pearson airport was defeated by a House that is not accountable to anyone for its actions. Before that, there was Bill C-69 on electoral boundaries. A bill of this elected assembly which had been developed in committee for one of the first times in the history of Canada's Parliament was defeated by the Senate. It does tend to stop you in your tracks when people who have not been elected come and tell you how to get elected. Some things just do not work.

My colleague, the member for Beauce, said the other day that, in his riding, three voters out of four favoured abolishing the Senate. In my riding, the proportion is probably slightly higher.

In 1978, I was 30 years old and did not even have $4,000 worth of belongings-had I, though, and it does not take long to accumulate if you know you are headed for the Senate, you can get a loan-but had Prime Minister Trudeau been in my riding and said to me: "My fine young man, you would be an asset to the Liberal Party of Canada, would you be interested in being a senator in Canada's Parliament?", I might have said yes at the time. I would have been here for 45 years, because the Prime Minister liked my smile or enjoyed a brief conversation. There are no selection criteria, other than pleasing the prince of the moment.

I prefer the more difficult, demanding and valid rule of going before the supreme court of the electorate every four or five years as we do. This is what makes you and me and the members of this House, wherever they sit, responsible for our actions. This is what we have in common.

It is not just because our name appears on the ballot every four or five years, but it is generally because people reach us in the riding, because we see them. The calls come in, the letters come in and we are in constant contact with our electors, who judge us. However, 98 per cent if not 99 per cent of the time our electors are unable to identify the senator representing them.

So when it comes time to vote, I will see whether I will support the motion of the member for Vegreville, that is, the amendment. As for the motion by the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, I will certainly support it, particularly because the hon. member is currently circulating a petition addressed to the House of Commons in most ridings in Quebec seeking the abolition of the Senate.

I would suggest that voters lucky enough to be represented by a member of the Bloc Quebecois sign this petition. Those who are not, whose member is from another party, should ask their member or another one to have it sent to them. We would be happy to send it. It will be no easy job abolishing the Senate, but we have always said that the first step in such an undertaking is particularly important.

On this point, Mr. Speaker, I wish you a fine and restful summer. You look tired; come back refreshed in the fall.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief in my intervention.

I think the motion presupposes that the government, by a stroke of a pen, would be able to abolish the other place. That speaks to the ignorance of the Canadian Constitution.

There is no system of law making in any country that is perfect, but before we belittle the other place let us remember that in the history of our Confederation, with the two Houses in place, we are still the number one nation in the world in which to live.

With respect to the work that is done by the Senate, we have to recognize the thoroughness with which some special projects have been undertaken, the excellent research, the excellent reasoning and policy formulations which have made a great impact on the country. As well, we have seen some of its legislative work and even involvement in some of the diplomatic activities.

It is very important to remember that today the Senate is still the forum for regional concerns. On that basis it has a lot of merit. It is indeed a Chamber of second thought and second mind. I believe there will be a time when we will have an effective, equal and elected Senate.

The process of election of members to the other place is not the ultimate criterion for legitimacy. Let us recall that members of the Supreme Court of Canada are appointed to that body, yet nobody has questioned the legitimacy of the Supreme Court of Canada and the justices who sit in that highest court. It is fallacious to conclude that because the process is by appointment it is not legitimate. In other words, it does not make the process necessarily negative.

I believe the challenge to all of us is to have quality in appointments. I am proud that the Prime Minister of Canada has seen to it that the quality of candidates is truly excellent. That they happen to be Liberal does not detract from that quality. The Canadian people in 1993 entrusted their confidence in the Liberal Party of Canada.

And so we have to respect the other place. We have a sample of Canadian ingenuity and Canadian genius when one body is elected and the other body of Parliament is appointed. On that note, I would like to have an improved other place. However, we have to show continuing respect for that other place.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak to Motion No. 221 which calls for the abolition of the Senate. I am particularly delighted today to speak to it because of what happened yesterday when the Senate rejected the Pearson airport bill.

If this motion were a bill that would lead to the abolition of the Senate, if it were put before the House today and put to a free vote, I think the bill would pass. The general feeling in the House after what happened yesterday is that the Senate has walked on its own grave, it is time for the Senate to go. In the next general election I expect every major party to have a platform on the Senate because of what happened yesterday.

Why is it so significant? The Senate has rejected a piece of legislation that was passed by this Chamber, a Chamber which represents the people of Canada. Every member in this Chamber was elected by the people of Canada. The bill went to the Senate and it was rejected by a House, another place, whose members are not elected but appointed.

It is immaterial whether the senators are Liberal or Conservative or what their political affiliations are. The important point is the Senate interfered with a fundamental democratic process, which is that the House of Commons is supreme. When legislation leaves this place it cannot be rejected by the other place. It can be corrected, it can be amended. The Senate has an important role to examine legislation for flaws but it does not have the right to kill legislation, except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The Fathers of Confederation saw it as a Chamber of second thought that would step in should the elected assembly go completely out of control, but only in the most exceptional circumstances, a constitutional circumstance perhaps or a charter of rights circumstance, not in bread and butter legislation, which the Pearson bill was. It was totally inappropriate and the government is now in the position that it has to consider what its next move is to be.

I am only a backbencher and so I fortunately do not have to speak for the government, but I can provide an idea of the types of choices the government is facing.

We will obviously not back down on this. There is $600 million in taxpayer money at stake, so the government has to move on this. It has two choices, as I see it. It can redraft and make certain changes to the bill, run it through the House of Commons process and then back to the Senate.

The other option is to prorogue Parliament and have a new speech from the throne. Then the bill can be reintroduced exactly as it is.

I suggest the government will probably be considering that very seriously as a point of principle. To change the bill even slightly as a result of what happened yesterday in the Senate would be a concession to the Senate in a way that I do not think the government should do.

The government still has a problem. If the bill goes back through the process, it will cost countless thousands of dollars in the time of this Chamber, the clerks and all the people who are behind the preparation of the legislation. Even if it goes back through this House and to the Senate again, there is a risk of the same thing happening of a tie vote and the legislation being rejected.

The government has to look ahead and consider how it can guarantee the bill will go through the Senate the next time around. It has the option, as did the previous government over another bill, to create eight more Senators. The Prime Minister has the power to go to the governor general and create eight more Senators.

When the previous Prime Minister did that it caused quite an outcry. It was regarded as the Prime Minister's interfering in the Houses of Parliament. People did not see that the Prime Minister of the day had just cause, in my view. He was facing the problem of legislation which had gone through the entire democratic process and had been blocked by an unelected body.

The perception of creating new Senators underscores even more the uselessness of the institution when it comes to interfering in the proper procedure of the House of Commons. I do not think that is a good option. I do not think it would go down well. The government has to make a very serious decision about what to do with the Senate. Obviously we cannot allow it to go forward to have this incident occur a second time.

The motion put forward by the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup is a good motion, and the government should seriously consider it. We should abolish the Senate.

One of the objections raised by some members who spoke on this issue is that the motion does not define what we replace it with. I certainly have some thoughts about that, and the hon. member for Calgary Centre had considerable thoughts.

There is the suggestion of the three Es: elected, effective and equal. The problem with that scenario, an elected Senate, is we will have the same type of situation as in the United States of two democratically elected bodies. That would actually paralyse Parliament. It would not be effective at all.

We already have an efficient system. What we have to do is return the Senate to the original idea of the Fathers of Confederation. As mentioned during the Meech Lake accord discussions, it should represent the regions of the country. We should find a formula where the Senators are appointed for a very short term but reflect regions of the country. That would be a big step toward addressing some of the concerns of my Bloc Quebecois colleagues.

The motions simply says abolish the Senate. I agree. Let us do that first and then we can talk afterwards on the new formula for the Senate. I feel very strongly in light of what happened yesterday, the interference with the decision of the elected body, the House of Commons, that the other place should now become no place.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:15 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, time is going by rather quickly and I will probably be the last speaker on this topic. When there is discussion, things can change. The Liberal colleague who just spoke was shaken by the arguments of the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, but also by something that took place last night in the other House.

In fact, it is quite strange and unexpected that we should be discussing this today of all days. What happened yesterday was very serious. For lack of one vote, the House has been brought to a halt. As the member just said, if nothing changes and the government wishes to maintain its position, it will have to present a new bill and the same thing may happen all over again.

However, we should perhaps qualify this. It seems that what we saw yesterday was a certain laxity on the Liberal side of the Senate. Apparently a Conservative senator was not present at the start and would not have been able to vote, and that could have made all the difference. There was a lack of vigilance, such that the situation in which we find ourselves was avoidable. The system cannot bear the whole blame, but the situation is nonetheless amusing.

Coming from Quebec, as I do, and having discussed this many times with the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup-it is rather the opposite, the member for Bellechasse is right, we often alternate, particularly at the end of session. I think this is the ninetieth time I have risen to speak since the throne speech.

I do not, however, agree with my other colleague, the member for Vaudreuil when he says there is no point in discussing the topic. We cannot accept the comments of the member who just spoke, whose riding I have forgotten, Hamilton-Wentworth I believe. In question period, I saw the Minister of Transport upset at what had happened yesterday, and he was right to be upset.

The member for Vaudreuil spoke about everything under the sun. He seemed to be practising for the campaign trail. If his performance is any indication, we can expect an election this fall. He really seemed to be practicing a campaign speech. He said that it was useless to speak of it, that it cannot be changed, that unanimity would be necessary and cannot be obtained-a fine admission of powerlessness by a member of the House of Commons under the current federal system.

I agree, it is true that it is hard to change. I would even say virtually impossible. It is impossible for us here to abolish the Senate, we cannot. It seems that some sort of stratagem will have to invented somewhere if it is to be done, for it has become frozen in time.

Frozen in time since 1867, and this change cannot be made, although it translates the desires of many, in Quebec and elsewhere. No way of changing it. Talking Constitution or changes in Quebec, no way either, it requires unanimity. For the past 30 years, we have seen constitutional rounds come and go and we always end up in the same dead end. One day, something will have to be done.

We in the Bloc Quebecois think that, as far as Quebec is concerned, what is needed is for the rest of Canada to accept Quebec's becoming sovereign and to discuss with it an offer of economic and, yes, political partnership. I think that would make a huge change and would be along the lines of the formula of Upper Canada and Lower Canada, which was in place before the Union Act. That formula is worth re-examining, not just copying, for times have changed. That could bring about a change.

Along with the hon. member for Bellechasse, I am telling the people of Quebec and elsewhere who agree with us that the Senate should be abolished, because it costs $43 million a year and cannot be touched by the voting public, that they ought to sign a petition asking that the House of Commons abolish the Senate. This is an institution that is no longer of any use. I have nothing against the people individually, some of them are extremely decent people, but that is not the issue. When we do not have to be answerable to the voters for our actions, I think that the exercise of a modern democracy is not possible.

I therefore support the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup in his undertaking, which I must say is far from pointless. If a lot of Quebecers and Canadians support this motion, one day it will bear fruit, and we will manage to abolish this system which costs us $43 million.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me take my turn in wishing you, and all of my colleagues of all parties, a good vacation.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order, please. The hour provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has

now expired. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe you will find consent to proceed immediately to the adjournment proceedings and, once concluded, the motion to adjourn be deemed withdrawn. I suggest the sitting be suspended to the call of the Chair, which shall come for the sole purpose of a royal assent ceremony.

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, a clarification, are we proceeding immediately to the time provided for Private Members' Business?

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

That is part of the motion introduced by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary. Are there other questions, other comments?

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, pardon me. I will reword my question. Are we proceeding immediately to the time provided for the adjournment debate?

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

If we have the unanimous consent of the House, that is exactly what we shall be doing.

Does the House give its unanimous consent to the motion put forward by the hon. parliamentary secretary?

The SenatePrivate Members' Business

4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

The SenateAdjournment Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the adjournment debate. A number of questions have already been raised on the issue, but I am going to try once again to make the Liberal government listen to reason and review the decision by the Minister of Natural Resources to stop providing $7.2 million in funding annually to the tokamak project of the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion in Varennes.

I would first like point out that people were unanimous in condemning the minister's decision to make this cut. All those involved opposed her decision. Neither the minister nor her department consulted the public, the scientific community or even the financial partners in the project.

The absurdity of the decision is so obvious that even the federal Liberal organization in the riding of Verchères where the Centre is located was opposed and asked the minister to go back to the drawing board.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration along with the minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec apparently even met representatives of the local Liberal association to express their grave concerns over the withdrawal of federal funding for the Varennes tokamak project.

Not only does the Liberal government not have any respect for its partners, it clearly shows a lack of vision for the future. The tokamak project of the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion in Varennes is a future-oriented high-technology project since it concerns a new clean, abundant and job-creating form of energy. By withdrawing now from the international research effort in the area of fusion, we will deprive ourselves of the technology transfers associated with it and we will miss the boat when this new form of energy is finally implemented.

It must be noted that, once again, figures show a shameless waste of public funds: not only will 20 years of research and development work in the area of nuclear fusion be sacrificed, but $70 million in infrastructures will be wasted, including $11 million in equipment that has never been used. On top of that, the dismantling of these facilities will cost $20 million.

Besides these economic factors, we must consider the losses in terms of human resources. Without a job, these researchers, scientists and specialists will offer to other countries the expertise developed here with our taxpayers' money.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg because this is becoming a general problem. In terms of the share of total research and development funding invested by the federal government, Quebec is once again the big loser in this federation. The figures speak for themselves.

The minister tried to present figures in such way that it looked like Quebec was getting 25 per cent of the total research and development funding from her department. That is not the case at all. Not taking into account the regional concept invented by the minister and adding the expenditures correctly, we get a much different result.

In actual fact, Quebec's total share of the R and D spending of the Department of Natural Resources now stands at 17 per cent, and the total share that Quebec would receive without the tokamak project would drop to only 12 per cent. This does not include the AECL budgets, because when they are added, we drop from 8 per cent to 6 cent.

This withdrawal of the federal government is completely incomprehensible. Why cut the only long term energy research program, which is located in Quebec? What is the reason for this unjustifi-

able cut, the relevance of which is being questioned by all stakeholders?

While it is maintaining funding for the neutrino project in Sudbury, Ontario, while it is increasing by $15 million the funding for the TRIUMF project in British Columbia, the Liberal government has the gall to axe one of the most important energy research projects located in Quebec. It is quite simply scandalous.

The SenateAdjournment Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate about federal government funding of the national fusion program.

For a number of years the federal government has co-funded research and development of fusion, the national fusion program, in partnership with Hydro-Quebec and Ontario Hydro.

The cost of the Quebec part of the national program, the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion at Varennes, has been shared by the federal government, Hydro-Quebec and the University of Quebec. The federal government's contribution to the Quebec program is currently $7.2 million annually.

Since 1981 the investment by the federal government in fusion research at Varennes has amounted to $90 million. This investment has helped to develop scientific expertise and industrial technology in Quebec and it will continue to pay dividends in the future.

In nuclear energy the mandate of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is to seek to maintain a viable, competitive business in supplying and servicing CANDU reactors at a reduced cost to the federal government. This will mean that AECL will no longer conduct non-CANDU related basic science. AECL is working with the federal government to wind up or transfer elements of its basic science programs to other facilities if possible.

High technology industries in Quebec will continue to benefit from the nuclear industry through contracts developed from CANDU sales to Korea and through the good performance of the Gentilly 2 CANDU reactor.

Consultants' studies show that a typical CANDU 6 sale overseas could bring over $100 million in contracts to Quebec and generate about 4,000 person years of employment. AECL expects to sign contracts for the sale of CANDU reactors to China in the near future and there are prospects for the sale of additional units to Korea.

These two corporations, among the very largest in Canada, have received a year's notice of the federal government's intent to terminate funding for the national fusion program. The federal government will work with them to ensure a smooth transition. We are continuing to fund the program in the current fiscal year.

These are the principal reasons that have gone into the decision by the federal government to end funding for the national fusion program.

The SenateAdjournment Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

As per the unanimous consent of the House a short while ago, the House will now be suspended to the call of the Chair for the purpose, and the only purpose, of the royal assent.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 4.34 p.m.)

The House resumed at 6.49 p.m.

The SenateThe Royal Assent

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Government House Ottawa

June 20, 1996

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy Governor General, will proceed to the Senate chamber today, the 20th day of June, 1996, at 6.45 p.m., for the purpose of giving royal assent to certain bills.

Yours sincerely,

Judith A. LaRocque Secretary to the Governor General

Message From The SenateThe Royal Assent

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed certain bills without amendment.

A message was delivered by the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod as follows:

Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Deputy to the Governor General desires the immediate attendance of this honourable House in the chamber of the honourable the Senate.

Accordingly, the Speaker with the House went up to the Senate chamber.

And being returned:

Message From The SenateThe Royal Assent

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber the Deputy Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

Bill C-7, an act to establish the Department of Public Works and Government Services and amend and repeal certain acts-Chapter 16.

Bill C-8, an act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other acts and repeal the Narcotics Control Act in consequence thereof-Chapter 19.

Bill C-12, an act respecting employment insurance in Canada-Chapter 23.

Bill C-13, an act to provide for the establishment and operation of a program to enable certain persons to receive protection in relation to certain inquiries, investigations or prosecutions-Chapter 15.

Bill C-19, an act to implement the Agreement on Internal Trade-Chapter 17.

Bill C-20, an act respecting the commercialization of civil air navigation services-Chapter 20.

Bill C-31, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 6, 1996-Chapter 18.

Bill C-33, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act-Chapter 14.

Bill C-36, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Act, the Excise Tax Act, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, the Old Age Security Act and the Canada Shipping Act-Chapter No. 21.

Bill C-48, an act to amend the Federal Court Act, the Judges Act and the Tax Court of Canada Act-Chapter No. 22.

Bill S-8, an act respecting Queen's University at Kingston.

It being 7.05 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 1996 at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28 and 24.

(The House adjourned at 7.05 p.m.)