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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accused.

Topics

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to my hon. friend that the decision of the federal court indicated clearly that the government should spell out, in unmistakable language, what we thought we had done in the original request to bring the commission to a close by the end of June, and that is that we would not be asking the commissioners to report on matters which they had not looked into or which they did not feel were appropriate to report on.

What is going to be happening is, at the end of June, after two years of hearings, 125 witnesses and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, the commission of inquiry on Somalia will report on those matters it has had an opportunity to evaluate and which the commissioners feel are important to report on.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago in the House the former minister stood and said we are going to get to the bottom of this; whatever it takes, we will get to the truth.

The promise was made to the Canadian people, it was made to our troops who are out there trying to do their job, that the inquiry will go right to the top and get to the truth. Now we hear that we will change the mandate.

With its terrible record of broken promises and utter disrespect for judicial hearings and quasi-judicial bodies, why should Canadians ever believe this government again?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and his party, I know, have a long record of unmitigated support for the justice and court system of Canada. We have heard many times in here over the last three years the great respect Reformers have for the justice system.

What I would suggest to the hon. member is that if he wants to find out how the Canadian forces feel about the decisions of the government, he might demonstrate his intestinal fortitude and go on to the bases in this country and-

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Davenport.

Marine ProtectionOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Conservation groups are urging the government to declare the largest underwater canyon on the east coast, described as an underwater Grand Canyon, as Canada's first marine protected area.

Using the powers under the new oceans act, will the minister move swiftly to designate this biologically rich and diverse region as Canada's first protected marine area?

Marine ProtectionOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the passage of the oceans act, which concentrated and focused on conservation and the environment, made possible the marine protected areas issue.

To that end and before the passage of the bill, I met with Heritage Canada officials and spent a day with them discussing this issue, along with consultation with many fishermen in eastern Canada.

As a result of that, about a month ago I made an announcement with the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage which allowed for a marine protected area on the east coast of Canada as a test case so that we can develop policy and have a look at the evaluation criteria to make sure this system will work.

I am sure the hon. member would also be interested that with respect to the specific issue of the gully I have been in conversation with the World Wildlife Fund in the last week. I am sure that once the policies are developed we will be looking at this as one of our priority issues.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

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

When the Minister of National Defence tries to justify his decision to put an end to the Somalia inquiry, he always offers the same excuse of its going on too long and costing too much, despite the fact that Madam Justice Sandra Simpson considers that the commissioners have performed their duties with diligence.

Since the commission is now limited to explaining the events preceding the arrival of the Canadian troops in Somalia on January 10, 1993, how will the people of Canada and Quebec know exactly what happened on March 16, 1993, when a young Somali was tortured to death?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the decision of the justice of the Federal Court, it was clear that the government was given certain options to ensure that the commissioners were not asked to report on situations they had not examined.

Obviously, it made perfectly good sense not to ask people to report on matters they had no knowledge of. However, the hon. member is no doubt aware that the terms of reference given the commissioners by the government indicate clearly that they are to report on what occurred prior to the incidents in Somalia and on anything else they feel competent to comment on or reach conclusions about.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, in limiting the commission's mandate, the minister is very much aware that he is in fact limiting the activities of the inquiry. They will not be in a position to shed any light on such important matters as the disappearance of 60 documents from the archives of the former deputy minister of national defence, Mr. Fowler. That is set aside.

How can the minister continue to defend his decision to limit the inquiry, when we will never know what documents, which were so compromising, the former deputy minister, now ambassador, caused to disappear?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously I have considerable respect for the hon. member, but she has just alleged that a deputy minister committed certain acts.

In my opinion, she should pause to reflect before repeating such allegations outside the Parliament of Canada, because it is a fairly serious allegation to suggest that such an act was committed by a public official who was working at the time under the tutelage of a minister of national defence who subsequently became the Prime Minister of Canada. If the hon. member has knowledge in this regard, I am certain she will want to pursue her allegations outside the House.

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

April 7th, 1997 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ted Weatherill, chairman of the Canada Labour Relations Board, charged $21,000 in expenses to the Canadian government for expenses he incurred as a member of a private organization, based in the United States no less.

This was no ordinary travel and entertainment. He spent $733 in Paris for dinner for two. The average family in Canada does not spend that much on groceries in a month.

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board. When did it become public policy for the taxpayer to foot extravagant travel and entertainment bills for a patronage appointee who is not even travelling on government business?

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I read the story in the Ottawa Citizen . The auditor general has been asked to audit the expense account of Mr. Weatherill.

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope the auditor general looks at this expense account and the other expense accounts that we have raised over the years and finds them all at fault. This type of business cannot continue.

We have children going hungry in Canada while Mr. Weatherill and others like him spend. He spent $148,000 on meals over eight years; one person, $148,000. That is disgusting.

Why has the President of the Treasury Board let this abuse continue for the three and a half years that they have been in office? Will he get rid of these types of people who enjoy patronage appointments and abuse the trust they have been given?

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I invite the member to wait for the auditor general's report before making any conclusions.

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ExpensesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Liberal Saint-Léonard, QC

If they would listen maybe they would learn something. The problem with Reform members is that they want to have their cake and eat it too. If they would have voted for instead of filibustering Bill C-66, the bill that creates a new labour relations board, we could have dealt with this problem immediately instead of waiting. They cannot have their cake and eat it too.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

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

The American President and the Israeli Prime Minister are meeting today in Washington. They will be discussing ways of salvaging talks with the Palestinians on the last phase of the Oslo accords.

Since Israel is trying to acquire new land by going ahead with Jewish settlements in order to operate from a position of strength in the upcoming negotiations with the Palestinian authority, will the Acting Prime Minister agree that such a strategy will lead to an impasse inhibiting the peace process rather than renewing it?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada is indeed in Washington, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I am sure that the member across the way will want to wait until the Washington visit is over in order to be able to evaluate all the issues raised by the Prime Minister.

In Washington, the Prime Minister intends to raise a number of issues with his American counterpart. I am proud he has undertaken this visit. He intends to raise issues having to do with refugees, the Middle East and a number of other matters with his American counterpart.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport cancelled the Pearson airport contract, which would have seen $800 million spent on Pearson airport at no cost to the Canadian taxpayer.

Next, the minister's lawyers testified in a court of law that had the contract proceeded, the contractors would have lost money.

My question is for the minister. Given that he and his new airport authority are spending over $3 billion in legal costs, settlements, rent relief, terminal 3 purchase and the grandiose spending scheme of the new airport authority, can the minister tell the taxpayers of Canada how it is in their interests to spend $3 billion on a project that his department testified in a court of law would have lost money with an expenditure of $800 million?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and his party have consistently failed to understand the circumstances surrounding the Pearson situation.

When we entered government in 1993 we examined the Pearson agreement with the private consortium and determined that it was not in the public interest but it was, however, in the private interest.

We thereafter established a public not for profit corporation incorporating the various interests of the community and that is the authority to GTAA which is now engaged in developing Pearson airport.

Pearson airport will be developed by decisions made by the local authority on the ground in Toronto. It is not a question any more of the federal government second guessing or giving instructions to the GTAA.

If the member wishes to know how Mr. Turpen, the chief executive officer of GTAA, intends to develop Pearson airport he should address his questions to Mr. Turpen.

ZaireOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation.

In recent days, the media have reported that approximately 120 Hutu refugees are dying daily in Eastern Zaire. Thousands of people are awaiting humanitarian aid. What does the government intend to do to help them?

ZaireOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all Canadians were as upset and disappointed as I was at seeing this recent scene of hundreds of Rwandan refugees suffering and dying in Eastern Zaire.

However, the Government of Canada is pleased with the decision by Zairian rebels to give access to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees so that refugees can be helped.

I am pleased to announce to the House and to my colleagues that Canada will be making a contribution of $3 million to UNHCR in order to help repatriate refugees of the Kisangani region of Rwanda.

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the government's mandate it promised that an endangered species act would be passed.

Two separate ministers of the environment engaged in a very open and consultative process that developed and eventually drafted endangered species legislation. Over the last little while the environment committee has travelled extensively to discuss publicly the endangered species legislation.

I understand now that the government is internally discussing behind closed doors the future of the endangered species act. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment whether it is true the department of fisheries is trying to gut this new act.

Endangered SpeciesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to this question as government House leader.

I would expect that before too long the bill will be before the House and we can test the reproach of the NDP and the opposition parties by seeing whether they will enter into an agreement to deal very quickly and promptly with this very important piece of legislation.