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House of Commons Hansard #164 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was telemarketing.

Topics

Chinese CommunityStatements By Members

April 25th, 1997 / 11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Chinese community has constituted an important part of society in Quebec and Canada since the arrival of the first Chinese immigrants in 1858. Their participation in railway construction and in both world wars are but two of many examples of their inestimable contribution to all sectors of our society.

Yet the legislation permitting exclusion of persons of Chinese origin was abolished only on May 1, 1947. This week we shall be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Citizenship Act, which finally enfranchised Chinese-Canadians. In order to commemorate the abolition of this discriminatory act, and to encourage equal opportunities to participate in, and contribute to society, the Chinese Canadian Council is organizing a series of events this week.

I join with them in recognition of these generations of Quebecers and Canadians of Chinese origin who fought against discriminatory legislation and battled for citizenship.

Member For Elk IslandStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, what a privilege it has been to have been a member of the House of Commons for this session.

As I stand here I look around and see all my colleagues. I have learned a deep respect for parliamentarians and their work. I have come to respect not only members of my party but I have a new respect for members of all other parties. I think particularly of members of the Bloc who have a vastly different political agenda than we do. However I respect them as individuals and wish we could stay together.

I think highly of the support staff in the House. They have served us well. I am pleased to say so. One group that is often unnoticed in our committee meetings and in the House are those behind the glass doors in the little cubby holes. They are the people who do the interpretation. They are important to those of us who are unilingual. I thank them. I have great admiration for anyone who can hear in one language and simultaneously speak in another. My thanks go to all.

National Composting Awareness WeekStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Liberal Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week communities across Canada including my constituency of Dauphin-Swan River are involved in the celebrations of National Composting Awareness Week.

Local recycling programs have tremendous support. Organic waste represents 30 per cent to 50 per cent of Canada's total waste. It is imperative that greater attention be placed on diverting this valuable material to a more productive usage.

Reclaiming the organic waste from landfill by applying compost to our soil will result in many benefits including improved plant growth. No longer must organic waste be thought of as garbage but rather as a valuable renewable resource.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of National Defence.

This morning we heard that military personnel were involved in a series of incidents in Cambodia, including physical abuse, racism, arms trafficking and running a brothel.

The army has been involved in a series of scandals in Somalia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and now in Cambodia. What does the government intend to do to restore discipline among these and all other members of the Canadian military?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

There were allegations that events occurred in 1992-93. I understand that the allegations were investigated and wherever there was substantiation action was taken. The file has been made available under access to information. It is available in the reading room of the department to anyone, including the hon. member if he wishes to review the entire history of those investigations.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the incidents in Somalia, the government abolished the airborne regiment. After the incidents in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army took punitive action. However, in the case of Cambodia, the government simply put the lid on the whole affair, and no one really knows whether any punitive action was taken in the case of military personnel.

I realize we can probably get the documents via the Access to Information Act, but I would ask the minister to give us a clear answer. Could the minister tell us whether punitive action or disciplinary measures were taken, and if so, what kind?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is persistent in his question.

We must remember that this action took place five years ago under the former Conservative government. It is an action that has been investigated and where there were grounds for charges, charges were laid.

The whole background of the investigation is available to the hon. member at his convenience in the reading room of the Department of National Defence.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, theft, misappropriation of funds, prostitution, racism, physical and verbal abuse of Cambodians, arms trafficking, unauthorized use of cannon and pornographic videos.

I realize people in the army like videos, but I think making pornographic movies at the Crown's expense for an armoury in Toronto is going a bit too far.

Does the minister agree it is high time the government woke up and introduced specific measures to improve co-operation between civilian and military authorities, in order to prevent further occurrences of this kind, which are totally unacceptable?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has taken a number of actions to shore up training programs to bring about better ethics and performance in the field by our soldiers and our officers as part of the renewal plan. Action is in place in our training programs at both the non-commission level and the officer level.

The article in the paper, which has been dressed up with liberal use of adjectives by the writer to gain readership, may be under question. I suggest the member take my advice, go to the reading room, read the evidence and then think it over.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of these troubling revelations about the events in Cambodia, the minister ought to agree with us that the government has made a mistake in terminating the work of the Somalia Inquiry, when it would have put an end to all this secretive attitude which is so common with Canadian Armed Forces staff.

Can the minister, or his parliamentary secretary, tell us why the Armed Forces staff persist in worrying about the possible political fallout of the abuses committed by personnel becoming public knowledge, and in denying the public's right to the truth?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again I address the hon. member's persistence in following up on a newspaper article.

This action took place five years ago in 1992-93. It was investigated. The file on the action is open to the member. He can review it at any time. Some of the things that were questioned may be valid. Certainly it was investigated and the file was closed, but it is available under the access to information.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the answer will not be forthcoming this morning. What the parliamentary secretary is doing at the present time is rerunning an old tape we have been hearing over and over for the past two or three years. We have asked questions about the Somalia inquiry, we have made proposals to the government, but it is obvious that nothing works; no answers are forthcoming.

Does the Minister of Defence, or his parliamentary secretary who is here today, agree with us that, out of concern for openness, his government ought to give thought to creating, in accordance with Professor Albert Legault's proposal, a position of parliamentary military ethics commissioner reporting to the House of Commons, who could carry out a totally independent investigation into the Armed Forces?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know the methodology of the hon. member is valid and honourable, but in this situation with the feigned acting we know the election is at the door.

If the member had read the report of Justice Dickson he would know that military justice was reviewed by Justice Dickson. We intend to bring forward all the information and reforms he suggested. They will be tabled and will be part of military justice in the future.

It will give us a stand alone justice system with an ombudsman to hear complaints where the justice system has gone wrong.

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal pre-election brochure is kind of like a bad smell. I got in the mail yesterday. I threw it away and there it was again in the newspaper this morning. It is kind of like something I stepped in and I just cannot shake off my shoe.

The first thing-

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. I ask the hon. member not to get in any deeper than he is.

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when you open up the brochure one of the first things it says is: "Why support the Liberal Party of Canada?" Why indeed after 37 tax increases and after broken promises on things like the CBC, day care and a number of other issues? The GST promise has to be the biggest whopper of all.

It is very clear the Liberal record is in complete disarray, that the Liberal record is in flames. Why would people of right mind support the same hucksters who sold them off last time, ran away with their wallets and dashed their hopes in 1993?

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal record is a solid record of achievement for Canadians across the country. If my hon. friend is aware of a bad smell it must be coming from the Reform platform he is carrying around in his pocket.

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the next section of the government's election document it says: "Liberal policies at work".

Maybe their policies are at work but certainly Canadians are not at work. Right now we have 1.4 million unemployed Canadians, almost exactly what it was when the government came to power. There is 20 per cent plus unemployment in Cape Breton and Newfoundland. The national youth unemployment figure is 17 per cent. The real unemployment rate when we count all the people who have dropped out of the workforce is approaching 11 per cent.

Given that horrid record, is the government really intending to run on the worst job creation record since the great depression?

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member keeps making a statement at the end of his questions that is not accurate as far as I am aware. With respect to the Liberal record on unemployment there is certainly more to be done, but the unemployment rate has gone down by some two percentage points since the last election and close to 850,000 jobs have been created.

When we talk about a good start, this beats the smelly fresh start program of the Reform Party. The hon. member should clean out his pockets. Then he will feel a lot better.

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, so many people have dropped out of the workforce that unemployment is virtually unchanged from when the government came to power.

One of the other headings in the document states: "Make a donation today". Indeed if a donation is made, in return the Liberals say they are willing to listen to you. Certainly it has worked for Bombardier. We know that.

I think the Liberal grease my palm approach to gathering public opinion says a whole lot about their opinion of regular Canadians and about their opinion of why they should listen to regular Canadians. Given their record of pork-barrelling, scandal, broken promises and incompetence, why should Canadians believe anything they say when they go to Canadians in the upcoming election?

Liberal Party Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will believe Liberals far more than members of the Reform Party when they listen to questions like the one just placed because there is an inherent contradiction in the Reform position.

On the one hand Reformers are complaining about not enough jobs being created and on the other hand they are criticizing measures taken by this government, like the Bombardier investment, to create thousands of jobs. No wonder the Reform Party is not believable.

Speaking of dropping out, according to the polls and according to the statements in the House every day, the dropouts are all on the side of the Reform Party. They are quitting and running as fast as they can. Why do they fear the electorate? Let them answer that question.

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

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

On April 14, the minister said, in response to a question by the Bloc Quebecois on the future of Mirabel airport, that he was prepared to co-operate with any organization wishing to improve the utilization of Mirabel, without specifying whether he would take part in the joint commission created by the Quebec government. Again yesterday, a spontaneous public protest was held. Eight hundred people gathered to oppose the closing of Mirabel, and this is just the beginning.

Given the enormous responsibility of the federal government in this matter, and considering that its mistakes resulted in considerable losses for the Lower Laurentians, will the minister finally be clear and say that he will take part in the work of the commission announced by Premier Bouchard?

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reply to the hon. member. As the member knows, she and I both represent ridings that are close to Mirabel.

The member raised a serious issue, and I find it totally unacceptable that her colleague, who represents another region, would not think that the future of Mirabel is important. It is definitely important to me and to my constituents.

Let us not forget that ADM made the decision regarding Mirabel. As everyone knows, that decision was not made by the federal government. Moreover, ADM was set up by a previous government and is structured in such a way as to preclude federal representation. I am prepared, and so is the government, to do whatever must be done to help protect the future of Mirabel airport.

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister really cared about this issue, he would give us a clear answer today.

On April 16, the transport minister announced that he would spend another $60 million, paid in part by Quebec taxpayers, in addition to the $185 million given to Toronto's Pearson airport on March 25, to make up for his blunders.

With an election about to be called, will the minister show the same stubbornness regarding Montreal's airports and say that he is prepared to sit on the commission to correct the mistakes he made regarding Montreal and Mirabel?

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Transport, indicated that the Government of Canada had contributed as much, if not more, per passenger, at Montreal's airports than at Toronto's facilities. The hon. member opposite knows that.

The hon. member is asking whether the government will take part in a meeting convened by the Quebec premier. To this day, we still have not been invited.