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House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to allege that someone is afraid of the truth. It is another thing to demonstrate that one is less than familiar with the facts.

The gentleman to whom my hon. friend alludes, the current ambassador for Canada to the United Nations, was appointed to the position of deputy minister at the Department of National Defence during the previous administration's term of office. That individual retained the confidence of that government after the minister of national defence who was in office at the time of these incidents occurring became the Prime Minister of Canada.

The hon. member should be a little bit more careful with how he describes friendships of individuals and with whom they were, at least at one time, passing acquaintances if not friends.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government is guilty of political interference in its own judicial inquiry, an inquiry that is supposed to be independent.

The Liberals have broken their own promises to find the truth. They have betrayed the trust of the commissioners they appointed and they have betrayed the trust of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who expect justice to be done at the top, not just at the bottom. The minister knew his decision would bury

the truth but Canadians will not let him. Again, why is he afraid of the truth coming out?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in mid-September the hon. leader of the Reform Party asked the Prime Minister of Canada to ensure, to guarantee-to use the exact word-that the results of the Somalia inquiry be made available before a federal election. He did not talk about the truth. He did not talk about friends of the government. He did not talk about getting to the bottom of everything. He simply said "to guarantee that the commission respond and report before the election".

Is the hon. member suggesting that we should be telling the commissioners of the inquiry who they should call? That would be political interference. They have had an agenda for two years to call whatever roster of witnesses they wish. They had an opportunity to set their work plan in whatever manner they wish. Now after two years and $25 million the government decided it was time, after three extensions of their mandate, to make sure that it had a report by June 30.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Prime Minister or any other minister who may wish to reply. There are so few of them here this morning.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member is well aware that we cannot comment on the absence of members or ministers.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, we can say that there are ministers here. The Hyundai plant in Bromont has been shut down for a few years. Business leaders and stakeholders, including the Société de développement régional, the SODER, still do not know about the company's plans regarding this important plant which employed over 800 people. In January, the Prime Minister visited South Korea, where Hyundai's head office is located.

Could someone tell me if, during Team Canada's trip, the Prime Minister asked Hyundai's top executives about their intentions regarding the disused plant in Bromont?

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it seems that all the Bloc members who are here will ask questions. As regards the Hyundai plant, the hon. member knows full well that we co-operated with other levels of government to find a way to revive this plant.

Hyundai decided to close that plant. The company repaid the money that had been invested by the governments, pursuant to the agreement signed by the government and Hyundai. As for us, and I believe it is also the case for the Quebec government, these amounts were paid back under the bilateral agreement between the federal and Quebec governments.

We will try, together, to find a way to bring jobs back to Bromont.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, unless I am mistaken, the Prime Minister did not meet anyone regarding this issue, during his trip.

Since the member for Brome-Missisquoi, who is responsible for Bromont, does not look after the concerns of his constituents, will the Prime Minister, or the minister who answered my first question, since he has some authority, pledge to ask Hyundai's executives about the future of the Bromont plant, through Canada's trade commission in South Korea?

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I hear a lot more about Bromont from the member for Brome-Missisquoi than I do from Bloc members.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

An hon. member

He is a very good member.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

He is indeed a very good member. He understands something Bloc members do not understand. It is not Hyundai that will save the plant it used to operate. Hyundai has made its decision.

There may be other possibilities for that plant, but the solution will not come from Hyundai.

Employment EquityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. According to a recent report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the private sector does a better job of hiring and promoting minorities than the federal government.

Considering that the employment equity program has been in place for 10 years, what is the reason for this shortfall and what is the government doing to correct it?

Employment EquityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Public Service of Canada agrees that it must reflect the composition of the public it serves. I regret that it may not be the same in all the governments in Canada but the Public Service of Canada does want to reflect the composition of the population.

In doing this, in the last few years we have increased by 50 per cent the relative representation of visible minority groups. Treasury Board has even put together a program called the special measures initiatives program. This program has been supporting a series of innovative activities to assist visible minorities, including recruitment programs, initiatives to upgrade skills and promote marketability, and career development training to prepare individuals for senior positions. In this area the Public Service of Canada has clearly been doing its job.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the defence minister said clearly in this House that there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia.

I would like to give the defence minister the opportunity of either withdrawing that statement or telling the House and the Canadian people how he knows there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I assume that we are speaking about the incidents in Somalia that occurred in early 1993 for which individuals have been charged and for which individuals have been found responsible. The names of the Somalia citizens who were killed are known to Canadians and to the hon. gentleman if he is interested in finding out. The incidents have been described, reviewed, investigated and the subject of judicial proceedings.

What I said yesterday, and what I believe the Canadian people understand very well, is that what happened in Somalia was absolutely unacceptable. Two years later Canadians know that what happened subsequent to those incidents in Somalia, how the military justice system responded, how the military investigative capability was not up to snuff, was also intolerable.

We believe that Canadians expect us to do something about it and that is what we are going to do.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister has not answered the question. He made a clear statement of fact yesterday that there was no cover-up of the murder of the teenager in Somalia and yet that is the very reason that the inquiry was called in the first place.

I ask the minister one more time: Is he prepared to tell the House the facts on which he based the statement that there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia or is he going to leave us with the conclusion that he is making an erroneous statement in the House?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not want the hon. member to spend a sleepless weekend worrying about whether or not I understand, and that Canadians understand, what happened with respect to the murders in Somalia.

What I said yesterday is that every Canadian who really wants to get a clear understanding of what took place in Somalia knows who pulled the trigger. Everybody in Canada knows exactly what happened on the ground in Somalia to the extent that it can be determined after two years of work by the commission, military investigations, the courts martial and everything else that took place.

The hon. member cannot distinguish between the problems that occurred, the incidents that resulted in death and the difficulties that the system had and the inappropriate responses that took place subsequent to those events. I think he should give Canadians more credit for understanding this than he has so far. Canadians know-

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

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

If the CRTC gives in to Bell Canada's demands, business customers in small communities will pay between $44 and $54 a month for telephone service, while in larger centres the bill will be about $10 less.

What action does the Minister of Industry intend to take to ensure that telecommunications and telephone services essential to the competitiveness of businesses are just as affordable for SMBs in rural areas as for those in urban settings.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member knows that the CRTC is in the process of examining issues related to the affordability of telephone services.

I think this is a very important question. One of the objectives of our information highway policy was that all Canadians should have affordable access to telephone services. But I think the member also knows that some very important changes are taking place in the telecommunications sector. There are new services, using advanced technology, and all Canadians would like to receive them.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware that the CRTC is presently studying the whole question of telecommunications and telephone rates, but I have put my question to the minister, not to the CRTC.

In its red book, the Liberal Party said that it would do what was necessary to promote job creation. With the proposal now on the table, SMBs could see their telecommunications and telephone bill shoot up by 41 to 77 per cent.

How can the minister reconcile these huge increases with promises of increased productivity and job creation?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member is confusing the government's responsibility with that of the CRTC.

I would point out that the basic issue here is that we have put in place a system of competition that has already resulted in a substantial reduction in long distance rates, thus benefiting all SMBs. This system has made it possible to set up competitive services not just for Canadian businesses, but also with respect to American businesses. Here in Canada, we will receive modern and different services, and prices will be-

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

EmploymentOral Question Period

February 14th, 1997 / 11:55 a.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

Anyone who has signed a paycheque understands that payroll taxes are a disincentive to hiring. Employment insurance, workers' compensation and the proposed new Canada pension plan premium of nearly 10 per cent means payroll taxes will be almost 20 per cent of earnings. Then the victim pays income tax and then the GST. No wonder Canadians are tax poor.

How can the government create an economic climate conducive to job growth, particularly for first time job applicants, when payroll taxes make it more cost effective to pay overtime or to utilize part time contract employees?

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that as a result of the actions of the government, employment insurance premiums will be down by $1.7 billion. That is money which will be put back into the hands of Canadians.

I want to thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to elaborate on this. He said there should be incentives for first time hiring. The hon. member may have forgotten that in the last budget we brought in a measure that forgave employment insurance premiums for all small and medium sized businesses. Some 900,000 businesses across the country will be able to employ young Canadians without having to pay the premiums.