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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debt.

Topics

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and it concerns the recent APEC summit in Vancouver.

Today we learned that the Prime Minister's office muscled UBC and the RCMP into moving protesters out of sight and sound of the APEC leaders.

In view of the the PMO's police state tactics of silencing aboriginal rights speakers, pepper spraying protesters and overturning UBC-RCMP agreements, will the government now order a full independent inquiry, not an independent inquiry into the RCMP, but into the role of the PMO in these tactics which are more appropriate to a dictatorial third world thug?

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The rhetoric is getting a little bit higher. I am going to permit the solicitor general to answer if he wishes.

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I already informed the House, the Public Complaints Commission announced yesterday that it is going to do a review of the incident. I think it is in the interest of all Canadians to get to the bottom of it. I look forward to its review.

Search And RescueOral Question Period

December 11th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party leader cynically manipulated a serious aircraft tragedy by linking it to the need for new helicopters.

In fact, the 24 hour wait endured by the victims was the result of botched decision making by search and rescue operations. A pilot in a privately chartered helicopter claimed that he followed Transport Canada guidelines while landing at the crash site.

Can the minister of defence tell us why his department failed to enlist locally available helicopters in this rescue as was the case in the Red River flood?

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian forces aircraft went in as soon as it possibly could. The weather conditions were terrible. Yes, a helicopter did get in about an hour and a half before our Hercules got on the ground, but only by getting underneath the ceiling and doing it at considerable risk.

I did not say that anybody broke rules. That is a point for the Transportation Safety Board to determine in its investigation of the matter. Certainly it was done at considerable risk.

Our people got in there as quickly as they could and they did in fact perform the rescue.

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, information has come to us that there was a meeting of the inner cabinet last Thursday at which the decision was taken to choose the EH-101. That information was subsequently leaked to the other bidders before it was announced to the full cabinet.

When the Prime Minister learned about this, we were told that he hit the roof. He even asked the officials to leave the cabinet room and put the entire process on hold until further notice. Can the defence minister confirm this?

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are moving as quickly as we can on the purchase of necessary search and rescue helicopters.

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, what is very clear is that this minister has tainted the entire process by his dithering. Well, time is up. In 25 days all four helicopter bids expire. If that happens, the defence minister will have to restart the process at a cost of millions of dollars.

What is the minister going to do? Is he going to try to sneak this announcement by Canadians on Christmas Eve, or will he have to start the process all over again from scratch?

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is a hypothetical question. We are dealing with the matter as quickly as possible.

We recognize the need for proper search and rescue helicopters. We have good equipment now. We have people who operate it and do an excellent job. There is no doubt that we are going to need new helicopters and we need them soon.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

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

The Canadian Dairy Commission is poised to set a price increase for industrial milk. Can the minister tell this House how this pricing regime operates? Second and most important, can he assure us that the Canadian dairy industry will continue to be competitive and a productive force in the Canadian economy?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the Canadian dairy industry is one of the most efficient, productive and innovative industries in the world.

Since 1990, as far as the pricing of industrial milk products are concerned, the Canadian Dairy Commission in consultation with the producers, the processors and the food industry have set the support price for skim milk powder and butter. This has given the producers of industrial milk a fair return for their production and has kept the cost to the consumer of dairy products lower than the consumer price index.

CoinageOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to know why the government is using taxpayers' money to compete with private enterprise.

The government has authorized the building of a $30 million coin plating plant in Winnipeg in direct competition to Westaim Corporation, a firm in my riding with a 30 year record of high quality products.

Why is the government risking $30 million of taxpayers' money to build a plant that will compete directly with a successful private firm?

CoinageOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, first let me tell the hon. member that Canadian taxpayers will not pay a penny. This project will be totally financed by the mint. We will also receive benefits because we will be able to pay dividends.

Most important, what the member does not know is that this decision was made to ensure that the mint would continue to have the necessary supplies. In January 1997 the supplier said that four years from now it will get out of the coinage business and therefore the mint would not have any more supplies.

Singer RetireesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former Singer employees, whose average age is over 82, have just had their first victory.

The Federal Court has just dismissed the case of the Minister of Human Resources Development, requiring it to recognize the representativity of the group of retirees and their spokespersons.

Will the minister finally stop playing the arrogant technocrat and allow this dispute to be settled by mediation, out of respect for these former workers, who have already waited far too long?

Singer RetireesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that the Federal Court acknowledged a few weeks ago, as indeed it does each time, that this could be a class action. This is nothing new and the government has not had its case dismissed, not in the least. The court itself is the one that wanted to clarify the matter of representativity.

As for the rest of the matter, it is before the courts and we have to wait for this extremely important decision.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

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

As the holiday season approaches, we know that bankers in Canada, like Scrooge, have never been more joyful. Yet there are millions of Canadians for whom Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is more than a story from the 1800s. Today there are 1.4 million Canadian children living in poverty.

Will the Minister of Finance take the children of Canada out of the 1800s? Canada deserves a finance minister who gives like Santa, not behaves like Scrooge.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the plight of Canada's children, which is why my colleagues have done so much and will continue to do so much. It is why we are now talking to the provinces about investing in the future of Canada's children. The member has raised a very important point.

The member referred to Scrooge. I look at the Leader of the Opposition and his speech yesterday. I must say that when we look at what the Reform Party would do, it would certainly scare the dickens out of you. In fact Reform would destroy Canada's great expectations. They would leave us with a tale of two unequal cities. In fact, if they were ever elected, this House would indeed be bleak.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this week the standing committee on justice completed its report on the firearms regulations. Many witnesses testified that the regulations will not have the effect on crime prevention and safety that we were told, but would target law-abiding citizens and create a logistical nightmare.

The Conservative Party supports effective gun legislation like Bill C-17, but this cumbersome set of regulations is a sham.

Can the Minister of Justice confirm that the department estimates of $85 million are low and that the true cost of implementation is closer to $500 million? And unlike her predecessor, can she give us those numbers and stand by them today?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would refer the hon. member to the opinions of the chiefs of police, the Canadian Police Association and victims groups from all across the country. They believe this law will be effective gun control and will lead to safer and more secure communities.

I would suggest that the hon. member look to those opinions.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, major increases in the number of displaced persons have led rich and poor countries to no longer accept refugees.

My question is for the Minister of Immigration. Can the minister guarantee to the House that Canada will continue to accept bona fide refugees who may be persecuted in their own country?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Yes, Mr. Speaker, Canada will continue to accept bona fide refugees who fear persecution. Canada's reputation at the international level is well established in that area, and we are very proud that our contribution was acknowledged by the UNHCR. Also, improving protection for bona fide refugees will definitely be the objective of our review of the Canadian legislation.

Season's GreetingsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have one further question for the Deputy Prime Minister.

Notwithstanding that the government has bungled this Kyoto deal, notwithstanding that it has angered half the premiers in Canada, and notwithstanding that it continued to tax Canadians to death, will the Deputy Prime Minister convey to the Prime Minister, Madame Chrétien and his colleagues the best wishes of the official opposition for the Christmas season?

Season's GreetingsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while I do not accept the preamble to the hon. leader's question, even though he does not know what he is talking about when it comes not only to climate change, lowering taxes, but to helping Canadians generally, I on behalf of the Prime Minister and all the members on this side of the House would like to convey to him and his colleagues and to all Canadians a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Happy holidays everyone and a happy New Year.

Season's GreetingsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Season's GreetingsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure if I should quit while I am ahead here. I think I will.

My colleagues, there was a House order agreed on for today. We will be taking our leave from this place for the next little while. As is customary at this time of year, I usually have a reception for all members of Parliament. This time the reception will be in room 216N and I am inviting you there for two reasons.

The first is to sign a banner wishing our Canadian athletes good luck at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. The second is just so that we can come together to wish each other personally good wishes for this time of the year. I think we are all in the right kind of mood and I hope the country is in the same mood as we are in now.

I do thank you and I wish you good holidays.

Order. This part of our day is finished of course, but we have other business to conduct. We are going to have tributes now to one of our colleagues whom many of us served with in this House, Mr. Tony Yanakis, who passed away a little while ago. We are going to begin the tributes. The hon. Deputy Prime Minister will lead off.