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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister ought to put an end immediately to the patronage system currently used to appoint IRB members.

Does the minister acknowledge that delays in processing files are inhumane to claimants and their family members, and a heavy burden to the taxpayers who have to pay for its inaction and disorganization?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I must admit to you that I am having trouble following the logic of the hon. member for Bourassa, since we now have a selection committee independent of the minister to evaluate the suitability of prospective board appointees. If the hon. member for Bourassa has in mind any cases of people who are not competent for their position, I trust that he will have the courage to say so here in the House of Commons, officially, before everyone.

That having been said, it is clear that we are working to ensure that all those applying for refugee status get a reply within a reasonable length of time. As you are well aware, however, we have a quasijudiciary process in Canada; we plan to maintain it and we intend to follow the rules.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

What will the Minister of Canadian Heritage do to counteract budget cuts such as those made at Radio-Canada and more specifically those affecting the news program Ce soir . Could she expand on that?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as you know, programming at Radio-Canada is the exclusive responsibility of Radio-Canada.

That being said, we are delighted to hear that following representations by the FCFAC and president Michaud, and also by the hon. member for St. Boniface and a number of other members, Radio-Canada has decided to reconsider its decision to terminate programming of Ce soir . In fact, programming in Saskatchewan and Alberta would be maintained, which would have a direct impact on francophones in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, we do not feel that the government is treating the question from the member for Red Deer with the gravity it deserves.

There is a former prime minister of Canada accusing a former deputy minister of defence, the de facto commander of the Canadian Armed Forces at the time, with participation in the cover-up of a murder in Somalia.

The head of a commission that is supposed to be getting to the bottom of this says that he cannot because of interference by the government.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he simply sit there and ignore this matter or will he take some action to get to the bottom of this accusation?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence said that we have appointed a commission and that it is the master of the situation. It can call any witnesses it wants. If it wants to call the former deputy minister of the time, if it wants to call the minister of the time, it can. It is up to the commission.

It is very well known that when we establish a royal commission we do not tell it who to interview and who not to interview. That would be a breach of the trust that we have invested in the commission.

This news is known to the commission. It is up to the three commissioners to decide, until the end of next month, who the witnesses will be. They have had the occasion to do that in the last two years.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the head of the commission to which the Prime Minister referred said: "It is not true that the inquiry has plenty of time to call all the witnesses such as Mr. Fowler and Mr. Anderson. Evidence on important matters presented without the possibility of real or substantial testing risks producing a whitewash of the alleged cover-up rather than an investigation of it".

Just to be clear, is the Prime Minister saying that he chooses to ignore the charge by a former prime minister of Canada that the former deputy minister of defence was involved in the cover-up of a murder?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we established the commission, to look into what happened in Somalia at the time of the previous government.

We established a commission with three commissioners. It has been in operation for more than two years.

It was the leader of the third party who requested that we finish the inquiry in time for the next election. Now he does not want us to fulfil that request.

The Minister of National Defence said very clearly that the task of the government is to make sure the armed forces can resume their work and operate as they should.

If the commission wants to interview anybody, it has the right to do that. We have given the commission three extensions so far. The Minister of National Defence told it to prepare a report and said that it had three more months to interview people.

The commission has known since early January that it will have to finish its work by the end of March. It still has the time to see Madam Campbell, the former deputy minister or anybody else it wants to see.

CopyrightOral Question Period

February 11th, 1997 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

According to the media, the fact that the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Department of Industry do not share the same views on copyright has further delayed progress on this bill which would finally recognize neighbouring rights and a compensation system for private copying for copyright owners.

Is the Minister of Canadian Heritage still being held hostage by her colleague in Industry or will she, by the end of this week, be in a position to bring back to the House for report stage and third reading a bill that is crucial to creators in Quebec and Canada, so it can be passed before the next federal election? Briefly, can the Liberal ministers stop fighting so we can get the job done?

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, cabinet is unanimous on the importance of proceeding with a bill as vital as the copyright bill. About 70 amendments have been proposed in committee, and we hope to be able to table all new amendments in the House very shortly.

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, my second question is directly related to the minister's answer. In committee proceedings, the Bloc Quebec proposed a number of amendments with which creators were very satisfied.

Is the minister prepared to protect the gains made in committee against pressure from users who like to see those gains diminished?

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly, the hon. member wants me to say in the House that I do not want to see the amendments proposed by his colleague. If that is the case, the hon. member's logic escapes me.

I think this is a good example of why we should take the time to ensure that all the amendments are satisfactory, because the bill is very important to creators. We want to proceed, and we also want the hon. member to speak to his former colleagues in the Senate to ensure that once the bill has been adopted by the House of Commons, it will not be held up by the Conservatives in the Senate.

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the grain shipping delays in western Canada have created a disastrous situation that will cost our economy at least $65 million, and the amount is growing daily.

West coast shipments are at their lowest level in a decade and at least 38 ships are in port collecting demurrage as they await their cargo. There is no accountability in the transportation system and farmers are being held ransom.

My question is to the minister of agriculture. What specifically does the minister plan to do besides just talk about the weather?

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, this situation is very serious. It is a situation that the government takes seriously, as I am sure do farmers and all the players in the grains industry.

I would advise the hon. gentleman that histrionics and cute lines do not solve the problem. The government is interested in solutions.

I have had the opportunity to discuss the situation with some of the players in the industry, both on the grain shipping side and on the railway side. In the course of the next few days those conversations will continue.

I want to impress upon all the players that this situation is critically important. It needs to be given priority. I am happy to see that the railways have already taken some steps to bring more locomotive power into the system. We all have to put our shoulders to the wheel to find solutions rather than play word games.

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister of agriculture is known in the industry as a master of word games and he is considered to be a third rate lawyer rather than a good minister who is interested-

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Without further preamble, the question now, please.

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will appeal to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister hold his minister of agriculture accountable for forcing farmers to pay for his mistakes? He had a chance to pick the transportation system and he did not do it.

Grain ShipmentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that farmers across western Canada notice is that this hon. gentleman and his party seem unable to deal with any issue in a serious manner without personal invective. Solutions are not found through insults. That seems to be a fact that escapes the hon. gentleman. But perhaps it is understandable that it should escape him since now in the reshuffling of the Reform Party he did not make the A team and he is seated so far back I confuse him with the NDP.

Ferry ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and relates to transportation to Christian Island in Georgian Bay and Georgina Island in Lake Simcoe.

In 1995 the federal government and the Government of Ontario agreed to joint funding to replace the ferry servicing these communities. The new government in Ontario is refusing to honour that commitment.

What is the federal government doing to ensure these communities are serviced by a safe and efficient ferry service which will promote economic development on the islands?

Ferry ServiceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member and the several members who have continually brought this to the attention of the government.

I will take just Christian Island, but Georgina Island is in the same situation. There are 400 aboriginal people and 2,200 non-ab-

original people living on that island. The ferry service is not safe, that is in Lake Simcoe, and people die. There are only elementary schools and the children going to high school have to come off the island in the fall and away from their homes.

We agreed with the former provincial government to pay one-quarter of the ferry cost of around $937,000, pay $1 million to the dock facilities and an annual maintenance of $665,000. The present Harris government without any notice pulled that deal away.

What we can do is stay at the table, stay committed, which we are with our money. The Tories in that area, and there are several, should talk to Mr. Harris and tell him to keep the commitment of the provincial government.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

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

It has been more than three years since he promised to eliminate the most hated GST. Since he has not delivered on this promise to Canadians, will the do nothing Prime Minister formally apologize today in this House for his-

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the Prime Minister heard the question. If he chooses to answer it, he may.

Colleagues, this will bring to a close our question period.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of a parliamentary delegation from Kenya led by the Hon. Bonaya Godana, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Sub-committee of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, and five parliamentarians.