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House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vancouver.

Topics

QuebecOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recognize the great Quebec society also, but the Liberal government should know that there is no appetite in Canada for the distinct society clause it is proposing.

A report by the member for Simcoe North, a member of the government, given to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, leaked to Barbara Yaffe of the Vancouver Sun , states: ``British Columbians feel a profound sense of alienation from Ottawa over the federal government's handling of the national unity issue''. The government's own member goes on to say they feel the national agenda is controlled by separatists.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the people of British Columbia and will he abandon the idea of a distinct society status for Quebec?

QuebecOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I spent much of my professional life at university, fighting the claim of many of my Quebec colleagues who said "we in Quebec think this, we in Quebec think that". I know Quebec is a pluralistic society. And I am sure that British Columbia is a pluralist society.

The hon. member does not have the right to say "we in British Columbia think this or that". I know that many people in British Columbia think that to recognize Quebec would be a great thing. We will work with them in order to convince our fellow citizens.

The Middle EastOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Canadian government's position on the crisis in the Middle East appeared confused, to say the least, last Friday, when the Minister for International Cooperation refused to commit the government regarding the closing of the Jerusalem tunnel.

At a time when the Security Council has passed a resolution calling for the tunnel to be closed, can the minister give this House a clear indication of his government's position in the current crisis?

The Middle EastOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the speech I gave during the meeting of the Security Council, I mentioned the importance of having a period of calm in the Middle East, particularly in order to reduce the number of incidents that could lead to general conflict, including keeping the tunnel closed during the period of discussion and negotiation between the two parties.

The Middle EastOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the President of Palestine is saying that his participation in the Summit is conditional on firm commitments from Israel, the Israeli government is refusing to close the tunnel, and is deploying tanks on the West Bank and threatening to disarm Palestinian police.

Given the impasse, I ask the minister whether he can tell this House exactly what the Canadian government's position will be?

The Middle EastOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have already explained that we have made our views known very clearly to the security council on Friday night. I had direct discussions with the acting Israeli ambassador at the UN on Friday. We expressed our very strong concern that the two parties come back to the negotiating table. The president of the United States has now invited the head of the Palestine authority and the new prime minister of Israel to do that. Negotiations are underway now to determine the meeting.

I think it is really in the interests of all Canadians, not just the Government of Canada, to express strongly their great hope and earnest feelings about the importance of the two parties coming

back to the table and continuing to follow the Oslo accords so there can continue to be negotiations toward peace in that area.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the government introduced amendments to the Immigration Act, the previous minister of immigration stated: "When this House approves the amendments we will see a significant improvement in our enforcement procedures and the speed in which we can remove foreign criminals from our soil". However, out of 734 criminal immigrants certified by the president minister as a danger to the public, only 140 have actually been removed.

Can the minister explain where the improvements in enforcement and speed have taken place when over 590, 80 per cent of the criminals, are still in Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the legislation passed in this House facilitates the expulsion of criminals from Canada far more rapidly.

This is a law which has been passed by the hon. members of this House precisely in order to make it possible for Canada not to harbour dangerous criminals. This is very clear and is what the act was intended to do. We are seeing the results today in a number of cases.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I fail to see where 80 per cent still in Canada are results.

This summer, Dennis Garcia, a declared dangerous offender serving a 20-year sentence in Montana, escaped prison and fled to Canada. He claimed refugee status and was released by an adjudicator and disappeared in the Vancouver area.

Is this an example of the government's commitment to protecting Canadians from foreign criminals?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Canada will never be a country which welcomes dangerous criminals. It will, however, continue to be a country which welcomes refugees in need of protection and immigrants who wish to live in our country. Clearly, in this connection, our view is totally different from that of the Reform Party.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

A few days ago, Islamic fundamentalists seized power in Kabul, and the situation for women there has become intolerable. Women are being beaten, enslaved or killed by those who are now in control of the country.

How does the Canadian government plan to react to this tragic situation in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, to be very realistic in terms of the actual influence Canada can exercise in the conditions that accompany the takeover of Kabul, there is very little we can do other than to join the international community in expressing our great outrage at the travesties of justice that are taking place and to try to provide as much protection as we can for those who are continuing under siege.

It is a takeover by a group of militants who are exercising very extreme tactics. The matter was discussed at the security council this weekend. Expressions of concern have been raised and we join in those very strongly. We will do anything we can to assist the United Nations and other bodies to try to bring about some form of calm and an end to the violence in that area.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Canadian government make a firm commitment before this House, as it did in the past with respect to South Africa, not to recognize the Taliban regime, since it is against fundamental values held dear by the people of Quebec and Canada?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, certainly in any recognition we would take into account the values, the stands and the behaviour of the recipient state. I will certainly take the hon. member's point of view as a strong representation.

Parliament HillOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

A number of newspapers reported on Saturday that the Department of Canadian Heritage refused to lower the flag on the peace tower to half mast for Sunday's ceremony to honour police and peace officers killed in the line of duty.

Can the parliamentary secretary please explain why the flag was not lowered to honour these brave men and women?

Parliament HillOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Restigouche—Chaleur New Brunswick

Liberal

Guy Arseneault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. It gives me an opportunity to inform this House and all Canadians that the article in question was entirely inaccurate.

The flag was lowered to half mast at the memorial services yesterday. The Deputy Prime Minister was informed of the concerns of the Canadian Police Association on Friday and at that time immediately asked her officials to ensure that the flag was lowered to half mast. It is truly unfortunate that the news reports failed to report this fact.

Canadian Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the DFO is proposing to remove over $7 million from the Canadian Coast Guard fleet thereby putting Canadian lives at risk on the waters of Canada's west coast. However outside of its budget, as a result of the heritage minister's wild imagination, she is blowing away $23 million on her free flag program.

What are the Liberal government's priorities that it would cut funding for the coast guard while flying feel good flags?

Canadian Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this government's concern is primarily with safety. Our standards are going to be maintained to the highest order. What the hon. member talks about is a required adjustment to the budget in order to contribute to deficit reduction.

I am not sure what the hon. member would do with his party and the speed with which they would go forward with deficit reduction, but we are proceeding in a responsible manner. It is in a manner that will ensure the main concern is safety for Canadians.

Canadian Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it begs the question: How responsible is it to blow away $23 million on flags while cutting $7 million from the coast guard? The Liberals are also proposing a $3.5 million lighthouse staffing budget cut to save money. Of course that is necessary because the heritage minister's unnecessary expenditures are driving it. An example is her Canada Information Office. There are information after information after information offices available to Canadians right now; $4 million on Inquiries Canada alone.

I ask again: What are this government's priorities when it gives a free hand to the heritage minister to blow money as she sees fit yet makes cuts that put people's lives at risk on the waters around Canada?

Canadian Coast GuardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is taking this entirely out of proportion.

What I want to tell him in respect to DFO and the budget for which I am responsible, we are in fact reducing in four years $450 million, largely at the behest of the opposition to reduce budgets, and 2,700 person years as well. It is difficult to do that without rearranging priorities. However, the priorities will be and will continue to be. That is the way it is now, that is the way it should be and that is the way it is going to be.

I want to ask the hon. member: What does he have against Canadian unity?

The Tokamak ProjectOral Question Period

September 30th, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

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

Last spring, in order to justify cutting off federal funding to the Tokamak facility, the Minister of Natural Resources maintained that the sale of the CANDU reactor to China would generate spinoffs of over $400 million for Quebec and the creation of hundreds of additional jobs. The main enterprise to benefit from the spinoffs from this sale, CANATOM, has lost the main contracts related to the construction of the CANDU reactor sold to China.

Since CANATOM no longer has the main contracts for the Chinese project, how can the government continue to maintain that the sale of the CANDU reactor to China will generate spinoffs of $400 million for Quebec?

The Tokamak ProjectOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the focus and priorities of this government are creating a climate for economic growth.

The Candu business brings significant benefits to Quebec. As the minister has said over and over again in this House, the sale of one Candu reactor brings significant jobs and economic growth to the people of Quebec.

The Tokamak ProjectOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid she did not get the question.

Last spring, the Minister of Natural Resources declared that she was looking for a way to continue federal funding for the Tokamak

project. We have just learned, however, that Tokamak staff will very shortly be receiving their layoff notices.

Can the Prime Minister finally tell us, after three months, whether or not his government has found alternative funding for the Varennes Tokamak?

The Tokamak ProjectOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, our government is making difficult choices and it is setting priorities.

In the field of R and D, let me remind the hon. member that Quebec gets its fair share. Quebec receives about 23 per cent of all federal R and D expenditures. Our agenda is clear.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, several years ago national defence announced that the Nanaimo army camp would close. Since that time the city of Nanaimo, Malaspina College and the local school board have been trying to get an agreement out of Ottawa for the use of the land. They have been trying without success. Yet when there is a base closure in the maritimes or Quebec, it seems to be quite a different story: they not only get the land quickly, they get money to go with it. Why the double standard?