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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mmt.

Topics

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Yesterday the premier of Manitoba made some serious allegations concerning the federal government's response to the disastrous flooding of last spring.

Has there been a response to date and, if not, when will one be given?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, all payments under the disaster financial assistance arrangements are made according to the same criteria and all the provinces are treated fairly and equitably.

The Manitoba government has already been paid advance payments of $7 million for the 1993 floods. In July of this year we received a request from the Government of Manitoba telling us the amount of damages for the 1995 and 1996 floods but there was no request for an advance payment to be made and therefore no advance payment was made.

In this case, all the rules have been followed and Manitoba has been treated in a totally fair and equitable manner.

Gun RegistrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice on more than one occasion told members of the House he had consulted extensively with Canadians, including his provincial counterparts, regarding his gun registration bill, Bill C-68.

In view of the fact Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon have notified the minister they will be opting out of administering the new federal firearms' regulations and are launching a court challenge, does the minister still stand by those statements?

Gun RegistrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Of course I consulted, Mr. Speaker, closely and continuously. The fact that the attorneys general of some of those provinces did not like what was done does not mean they were not asked for their views and their views were listened to carefully.

The hon. member is factually wrong in saying that Ontario is opting out. As I understand its position, it is challenging the regime in court but it has not decided to opt out.

The fact is that there are some provincial governments who do not support gun control. That is the sad fact: some provincial governments do not support gun control. It is a good thing there is at least one level of government in this country that is prepared to represent the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians who stand up for gun control.

Gun RegistrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is all provinces support crime control.

As a result of these court challenges the federal government will end up fighting these challenges using taxpayers' dollars, the same taxpayers' dollars which will be used by the provinces and the same taxpayers' dollars the federal government will need in its out of court settlements for the Pearson airport deal and the Airbus fiasco.

I ask the minister this. Have the court bills been tallied?

Gun RegistrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to save us some money perhaps he can speak to his friends in the Alberta government and have them drop the lawsuit.

I read in this morning's newspaper that the attorney general of Alberta gives himself a 50:50 chance. It is for the courts to decide. We have to respect the role of the courts.

I will say this. I am very confident. From the federal perspective it looks a lot better than 50:50. Let me say that this is on the part of my hon. friend just another shot in the dark.

The Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications CommissionOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, six Quebec associations of artists-composers-performers and record producers joined their Canadian colleagues to ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage to withdraw the licences granted by the CRTC to DMX Canada and Power Music Choice.

As the minister admitted herself that the terms of those licences did not comply with Canadian standards on Canadian and francophone content, will she have the courage to cancel these licences?

The Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications CommissionOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the member shows some interest in Canadian content because that issue concerns us all. The question he raises is now being studied by Cabinet, and therefore I cannot comment any further.

The Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications CommissionOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, you know quite well the Canadian content includes 25 per cent French channels. That is very important. In the case we are concerned with, Mrs. Barshefsky, the U.S. Secretary of State for Trade, has asked her Canadian counterpart to take steps so that DMX can operate in Canada under the conditions agreed to by the CRTC and thus to ensure, without saying it in so many words, that this issue does not become an irritant between the two governments.

Concerning the intervention from the U.S. Secretary of State for Trade, what weight does the minister intend to give this request?

The Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications CommissionOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ensure the House that the Government of Canada is very concerned with protecting Canadian culture. That is why we are making representations to the World Trade Organization to protect Canadian publications.

As for the issue raised by the hon. member, he knows very well the matter is before cabinet and the deadline for a decision is October 22.

Canada Communication GroupOral Question Period

September 27th, 1996 / 11:55 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, Reform believes that government operations should not compete directly with the private sector and supports the privatization of services offered in the private sector at an equal and competitive rate.

We now understand that the new buyers of the Canada Communication Group will get special access to lucrative federal contracts that bypass the bidding process. Privatization should save money, not cost taxpayers more.

My question is for the minister of public works. How can the minister guarantee to Canadians that the government will get the best deal on printing contracts if contracts are not awarded through an open, competitive bidding process?

Canada Communication GroupOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the minister, I can point out to the hon.

member that there are times when the standard procedure of open competitive bidding, which is the general policy of the government, has to be varied by reason, for example, of some trade mark or copyright.

They require standardization of equipment that can only be obtained from one supplier. In addition, there may be other reasons of a similar nature. I can only assure him that our general policy is, of course, open and competitive bidding.

Canada Communication GroupOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about integrity of government. That is one of the lamest answers we have come across in quite a while.

I have been part of the government operations committee looking into the open bidding system. This has nothing to do with open bidding. This has to do with giving a lucrative contract to one special segment. The government has sold the corporation to the employees and are now giving the employees special access. This is not open government.

My question, again, is for the minister of public works. Will the minister guarantee that the private sector will not be put at an unfair disadvantage and allow all companies a fair chance to bid on all government contracts above $30,000, as required by Treasury Board guidelines?

Canada Communication GroupOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have a little difficulty with the hon. member's supplementary. The first question was about open bidding. In the supplementary he is not talking about it.

What I would like to point out to him is that it is simply not possible in a complex system such as the federal government to make such totally sweeping guarantees.

For example, if we have computer software of a particular type, it is not possible to open it up to open bidding to companies that could not supply that product because of copyright infringement problems. There has to be some give and take.

In addition, there have to be some elements, which are successor contracts, where we already have developed a system in place. To throw out existing work and start completely afresh every time a new contract may come down on a program would simply be bad business management and exactly the opposite of what the private sector would want this government to do when it protects taxpayer dollars.

Hong KongOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

John English Liberal Kitchener, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific.

A large number of my constituents are of Hong Kong origin and are deeply concerned that they must return to Hong Kong before July 1, 1997 to maintain their permanent resident status. Many of them use that status to build trade links with Canada.

What is the Government of Canada doing to address this concern of these constituents about Hong Kong permanent resident status?

Hong KongOral Question Period

Noon

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalSecretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

There is a lot of concern among Canadians of Hong Kong origin that in order to maintain their permanent resident status in Hong Kong they were asked to return to Hong Kong by July 1. But their concern is with how long they have to stay after that and how long before they have to be in Hong Kong. Does it mean that all Hong Kong residents who have foreign visas or who have foreign citizenship status have to remain stagnant in Hong Kong after July 1, before they register?

I expressed that concern to the foreign affairs minister of China when he visited Canada last week. He agreed to look into the matter and give us a decision in the near future.

Returning OfficersOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

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

This summer in my riding, the government appointed Noël Girard, the defeated Liberal candidate in the 1993 general election, to the position of returning officer.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not think that the time has come to modernize the rules for selecting returning officers and to put in place, as Quebec did, a system in which returning officers are chosen by competition based on their qualifications rather than their political affiliation?

Returning OfficersOral Question Period

Noon

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that all appointments are made by the governor in council and that this has been the practice for years. All appointments are made based on qualifications and not on political affiliation.

Now if the hon. member wants to recommend certain people, he should submit his recommendations to the governor in council.

Business ContractsOral Question Period

Noon

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation.

When Markham Electric bid on a Caribbean development contract in Belize it underbid its two main competitors by a very large amount. Markham has been arbitrarily excluded by this minister from bidding on a contract in Mali and guess what? Those two high priced competitors are on the minister's list.

Since the minister's policy is clearly to favour Quebec companies, my question is how much does his preferential treatment for his few hand picked buddy-buddy firms cost the Canadian taxpayer?

Business ContractsOral Question Period

Noon

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed at the persistence of this Reform member to always come back to one single issue.

He knows very well that I have toured Canada. I went from coast to coast last July. I organized seminars and did business with CIDA as it had never been done before in such a professional, clear way.

We want to provide the Canadian International Development Agency with the best expertise that exists in Canada. There are members in the west who are extremely pleased. If I could cite a small but important quote, the president of Agriteam Canada Consulting Ltd., Bob Francis, said: "As a western firm, we find CIDA is like any other client. If you do your homework, submit first rate proposals and have people on the ground to sell your product where the decisions are being made, you get fair consideration. We at Agriteam Canada are definitely westerners, yet we have won a number of CIDA contracts. We do not do it by crapping on Quebec. We do it by showing that we have more to offer than firms from Quebec or Ontario". That is the way it works.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 30th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

If the House gives gives its consent, later this day I will move concurrence in the report.

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to present the 31st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of certain committees.

With the consent of the House, I will move concurrence in this report later today.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the 31st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred.

(Motion agreed to)

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

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

That notwithstanding any Standing Order the House shall not sit on Friday, October 25, 1996.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to present to the House two petitions signed by residents of York North.

The subject matter of the two petitions is closely related, as they deal with deficit reduction and job creation, the top two priorities of the government.

The first petition draws the attention of the House to the government's red book commitment to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP and the fact that we have surpassed that goal.

The petitioners call on Parliament to continue to keep its commitment to Canadians and pursue its deficit action so that the government will reach its deficit target of 2 per cent of GDP by 1997-98.

Mr. Speaker, the second petition draws to the attention of the House that in the past year alone short term interest rates have declined three percentage points and that for the last two and a half years inflation has averaged less than 2 per cent and that by 1997-98 the federal deficit will have been reduced by $25 billion.

The petitioners further draw to the attention of the House that since this Liberal government took office over 600,000 jobs have been created. The petitioners therefore call on Parliament to work diligently to create a healthy environment for jobs and economic growth.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a group of residents from Manitoba stating their disapproval of a constitutional amendment to term 17 of the Terms of Union between Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada.

These petitioners are concerned that this action might set a precedent for permitting any provincial government to suppress the rights of minorities.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Hamilton West Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

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