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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

The Ethyl CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this government is convinced that for many reasons Bill C-29 is in the best interests of Canadians, both environmentally and healthwise.

Second, Ethyl Corp. is entitled to its opinion. Are you suggesting that a U.S. multi-

The Ethyl CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, always address the Chair in your answers.

The Ethyl CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Liberal York West, ON

Just when I was getting hot, Mr. Speaker. Is the member suggesting that a U.S. multinational corporation should dictate what the Government of Canada should do in the best interests of Canadians, both environmentally and healthwise? Our answer to that is a clear no.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the last two weeks there was a very serious lobbying effort by the heritage minister and her department on behalf of the cable companies with respect to the private member's bill that was before this House.

Does she deny that there was this lobbying effort? We need a simple answer, yes or no.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it has been brought to my attention by a number of opponents of negative option billing that when this issue was raised by a number of members on the government side of the House almost a year ago, unfortunately the Reform Party did not even think it was an issue.

Luckily its members have caught on. They understand that negative option billing is not in the interests of any consumer. Hopefully with the work of all members of the House, we will have a package that will ban negative option billing forever.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this member has become very familiar with the non-answer. She did not answer the question. Was there a lobby or was there not?

The fact is that Canada AM on Monday, September 23 quoted from a document dated September 17 from her heritage department, and again it was quoted in the Globe and Mail today. I simply ask her how in the world can she deny the existence of a lobby by either her department or her office?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, advice is given and people lobby on every occasion. The member opposite right now is lobbying in the House for his particular perspective.

The fact is that on Monday last there was a vote in the House which enshrined a principle to oppose negative option billing. This government opposed negative option billing last year. It opposed negative option billing this year. It will oppose negative option billing next year. As long as we are the Government of Canada there will be no negative option billing.

Federal Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Liberal Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Some 4,000 public servants could be affected by the government's move to create a new federal food inspection agency. These employees are concerned about their future. As the transition to the new agency takes place, what assurance can the minister give these public servants that they will be treated fairly?

Federal Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the new Canadian food inspection agency is an exciting new innovation in government operations which is widely approved and supported throughout the agriculture and agri-food sector.

The new agency will involve some new innovations in its human resources regime to provide the necessary flexibility for the agency to function effectively. But of course the core values of the public service will be incorporated into the operations of the new agency. Fair treatment of employees will be paramount in the transition process that we, of necessity, have to go through.

I would add that also paramount is our absolute determination to ensure that Canadians will continue to benefit from the safest and highest quality food supply in the world.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry. Under Bell Canada's latest proposal concerning business rates, phone bills will be higher for businesses located in regions, as opposed to those located in large centres. This gap could result in businesses moving to large urban centres.

Does the Minister of Industry realize that his current competition policy will have the effect of adversely affecting regions, and if so what does he intend to do about it?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of principle, this telecommunication service should be available to all Canadians, wherever they live in Canada.

As the hon. member knows, it is also necessary to have a very competitive telecommunications system, so that we can attract investments to create other opportunities for Canadians.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, given what the minister just said, does he not realize that the rate increases proposed to the CRTC for businesses located in the regions could cost some $115 million to these businesses and their communities?

Since the minister is behaving in a manner reminiscent of Pontius Pilate in this issue, are we to understand that he cannot do anything to protect the economy of the regions?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the answer is in the question, in that it is primarily an issue for the CRTC, which deals with services provided in Canada's rural areas and urban centres.

As I just said, it is necessary to have a very competitive system, because it is not easy for us to find investments, including in rural areas of Quebec, without a telecommunications system that can face the U.S. competition.

We must accept the fact that technology is changing, and so are the ways of delivering telephone services.

The time has come for Canada to make changes, while keeping in mind the need to provide a universal service to all Canadians.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, if the government's GST harmonization deal goes through in Atlantic Canada, housing prices will go up 5.5 per cent, municipalities will be forced to raise taxes, the sales tax on books, of course, will be doubled and the tax in pricing policy will wipe out profit margins for small businesses and gut jobs.

Will the government finally admit to Canadians that this was nothing but a desperate backroom deal to weasel out of its broken election promise on the GST? Will it save Canadian taxpayers a billion dollars by deep sixing it now before more damage is done to the Atlantic Canadian economy?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that the Canadian people agree on is that the GST harmonization with the provincial retail sales taxes are good for business and good for the people of the country and not harmful. The Atlantic provinces agreement is just the first step in moving to a harmonized retail sales tax across the country.

We hope that the hon. member will support us in this, if he is interested in business, if he is interested in developing the economy, if he is interested in this country at all.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, even the Liberal premiers are now saying that a billion dollars is not enough to cover up the bad smell from this deal.

Nova Scotia Premier John Savage says: "Ottawa can tax books as they do at the moment. We do not tax books and we will not". That sounds like a deal breaker to me.

Since the premiers are now saying they will walk away from the deal, will the finance minister admit that his deal is starting to unravel because the government does not know how to keep its word?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to listen to the members of the Reform Party talk about this, especially when it was the Reform Party that said in a minority report on the GST that a harmonized tax would do it.

This deal is not falling apart but rather it is a deal which will go through.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, unlike politicians, farmers have to plan well beyond the next election so they want to know the facts about the likely future of single desk agencies in the 1999 trade talks.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food who yesterday told us he had been at a Cairns group meeting where he took no farm representatives. There appears to have been no record of the proceedings of what went on.

Will he in future include wheat board advisory members as farm representatives and will he make available the record of such discussions so that all farmers may assess what is really going on, given that New Zealand and Australia, his two believed allies, tell a different story about 1999.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. gentleman has just said, in preparation for the Cairns group meetings there were discussions between representatives of farm organizations and myself, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and others.

The reports of the Cairns group meetings were published at the conclusion of the meetings and broadly carried in the international press.

May I just re-emphasize for the benefit of the hon. member and others, any future decisions to be taken about our marketing institutions or anything else having to do with Canadian agriculture will be made in Canada by Canadians for our own good Canadian reasons and we will not be driven by foreign capital.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister and it has to do with the Somalia inquiry.

I want to make a constructive suggestion to the Prime Minister today. I think he will acknowledge that this inquiry has deeply affected the morale of Canadian troops and that there will be a very long delay between the report and the proceedings. We also know that there are two different sets of events here, the events in Somalia and what happened afterward.

Given these circumstances, will the Prime Minister not do the sensible thing and ask for an interim report?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the inquiry has a mandate to look into what happened in Somalia when the Progressive Conservative Party was in government and it has to finish its job.

The question of an interim report or no interim report is not for me to ask. It is for the commission to decide. I hope that it will complete the work as quickly as possible. It will be in the interests of the armed forces and everybody that the file be completed, the report be handed in and the government act on the recommendations, if need be.

An interim report will not deviate from the reality that when the inquiry goes into the second phase there will be discomfort for some people because nobody likes to have an inquiry. It is the first time in the history of the armed forces that there has been a public inquiry. I understand that it is difficult. In the meantime the soldiers are doing their job very well, in Haiti and elsewhere. From inside it seems that those who are in-

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Order, order.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Let me finish. I do not abuse the time of the House.

All who are inside are doing their best to keep the armed forces in good shape and everybody hopes that the inquiry will be completed as soon as possible.

Presence In The GalleryOral Question Period

September 25th, 1996 / 3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Zhou Wenzhi, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, People's Republic of China.

Presence In The GalleryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.