This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was businesses.

Topics

Quebec Election CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Parti Quebecois is still spreading confusion. On the one hand, he talks about the need to discuss social union; on the other, he wants to prepare the way for a referendum on Quebec's separation.

The choice on November 30 is a clear one. A vote for the Liberals will be a clear vote for keeping Quebec within Canada and for economic growth.

A vote for the Liberals will foil the Parti Quebecois' wily efforts to prepare the way for another referendum. A vote for the Liberals will be a vote in favour of moving Quebec forward economically and socially.

On November 30, it will be up to Quebeckers to take a stand in the debate on the future of our country.

On November 30, I will be voting Liberal and I urge all my fellow Quebeckers to do the same.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, with their return to Parliament Hill the merchant marines' fight for justice continues. It is very disturbing today to see that the concerns of the merchant navy veterans remain unresolved many years after faithfully serving their country. The current treatment of merchant marine veterans is one that I personally, and as the federal NDP spokesperson for veterans affairs, find deeply disheartening.

Just as other brave Canadian service personnel, the merchant marines served our country proudly and steadfastly. They risked their lives to transport to our armed forces the necessary provisions for war. Our merchant marines paid a high price for their service, suffering a higher rate of loss in the second world war than any other branch of the Canadian services. Yet the surviving veterans have received and continue to receive unequal treatment at the hands of this government. When it came time to serve their country, Canada's merchant marines did so with dedication and courage equal to their military comrades.

Why then are the merchant marines not receiving equal treatment in terms of veterans benefits and access to programs and services? There is no reason to continue to deny the merchant marines the rights and benefits due them. I urge—

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny.

Yves BlaisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness and emotion that I rise today to mark the passing of my friend, Yves Blais, the MNA for the riding of Masson.

Mr. Blais was a member of the Quebec national assembly since 1981. I therefore had the privilege of getting to know him and of working with him and his supporters.

Yves Blais loved his work but, above all, he loved his fellow citizens. In spite of his health problems, he was convinced he could still be with them and work for them for some time to come.

Yves Blais was an enthusiastic and convincing sovereignist. He would often say “I am a sovereignist with hopes and dreams”. He will be greatly missed, but we will remember him for his fervour and determination in working to build our country.

I offer my condolences to his family, his friends, his supporters, and to his great companion and friend, Percival Broomfield.

Yves Blais, we thank you.

Quebec Election CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the referendum race is on again with the PQ.

This weekend, at a rally held in the Quebec City region, Lucien Bouchard made a plea for sovereignty. He does want a referendum. On the weekend, the social union was all but forgotten.

A vote for the PQ is a vote for a referendum. A vote for the PQ is a vote for separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. A vote for the PQ is a vote for political uncertainty in Quebec for another mandate.

On November 30, Quebeckers must vote for economic growth. They must vote for job creation. They must vote for their Liberal candidate.

Bill C-68Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to express the displeasure and disbelief of all law abiding gun owners in St. John's West and indeed all of Canada. This poorly thought out law, Bill C-68, which requires legitimate hunters all across the country to register their rifles and shotguns, is still subject to a supreme court ruling.

To continue to spend a significant amount of taxpayer dollars to advertise this program is absurd.

At a time when all policing agencies across the country are crying out for more money so they can do their jobs properly, government is spending an additional $1.3 million to advertise a law that will have no significant impact on crime. This advertising campaign is geared to rural Canada where crime rates are lowest, once again showing the absurdity of this law. This $1.3 million advertising campaign should be cancelled and the money redirected to fighting crime or, even more appropriately, to the victims of criminal acts.

Hiv-AidsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, November 23 to November 30 marks the eighth annual National AIDS Awareness Week. The theme for this year's campaign is the faces of HIV-AIDS. Communities across Canada will help increase awareness about AIDS and raise funds for services and programs through red ribbon campaigns and other activities.

HIV-AIDS continues to be an international issue. Canadians have taken a proactive approach in dealing with this growing epidemic in the Canadian strategy on HIV-AIDS. Our national strategy focuses on research, treatment, care and public education. I believe it is an excellent example of how all levels of government can come together and work in the best interests of Canadian citizens. I encourage all members of the Chamber and all Canadians to support National AIDS Awareness Week activities in their ridings and their communities.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, few finer examples of Canadian wartime success and magnificent effort can be found than in the annals of the battle of the Atlantic during which merchant seamen sailed the enemy infested sea to keep the Allies supplied. Canada's merchant navy of World War II kept England alive while the Atlantic war tide turned toward victory in 1943.

Now, fifty years hence, Canada's merchant navy veterans are still held hostage to unresolved concerns. Determined veterans threaten to fast on the steps of this House to garner government will to correct what has been wrong for far too long. Merchant navy veterans are not seeking great wealth, only the respect and benefits given their armed forces brethren, to be recognized as war veterans, to have prisoner of war status, to have compensation for years of denial of equality and to have recognition on ceremonial days.

The minister must respond to our merchant navy—

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Compton—Stanstead.

National DefenceStatements By Members

November 23rd, 1998 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, a month has gone by since the standing committee on national defence tabled its report on quality of life.

After visiting military bases across the country and the Canadian troops in Bosnia, the committee made 86 vitally important recommendations.

Today, unconfirmed reports are saying that the Minister of National Defence is asking cabinet for $700 million in order to implement the recommendations.

Is cabinet aware that the Canadian forces are facing a crisis? Is cabinet aware that some members of the forces do not earn enough to feed their family or even to heat their homes in winter? Is cabinet aware that the families of certain pilots are terrified every time they head out on a mission in helicopters that are over 30 years old?

Are the members of cabinet listening to their own minister? Are they not concerned about the life and future of the 60,000 members of the Canadian armed forces?

International Fishing DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, hundreds of young people from the Lafontaine community centre in Néguac took part in a march and in the raising of the orange flag. This was in preparation for the first international fishing day.

I was fortunate to spend some time on Saturday with the good people of Néguac in my riding of Miramichi to mark this important day. The livelihood and way of life of so many fishers have depended on the sea for centuries. However, over the past decades overfishing and environmental mismanagement have led to the problems we are facing today. Fishers from across Canada are on the Hill today to draw attention to the need to work together to protect the fish stocks of our waters. I congratulate and thank Madam Lucie Breau of Néguac for organizing these special events in my community and for all those who are here on the Hill today to celebrate with us the orange drapeau.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

One down and one to go, Mr. Speaker, Now it is the Prime Minister's turn to come clean.

Six weeks ago the solicitor general was caught red handed prejudicing the RCMP complaints inquiry, but for six weeks the Prime Minister's response was evasion, excuses, covering up, and even attacking people who asked the hard questions.

Why did the Prime Minister not fire the solicitor general six weeks ago when it might have meant something with respect to the RCMP complaints commission?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did not fire the solicitor general. He is an extremely honourable member of the House.

Because of the constant attack from the opposition he decided it was too difficult for him to do all his work and he decided to offer me his resignation. I have accepted his resignation with regret because he was a good minister. He is an excellent member of parliament. He is a man of great integrity and honour and that is why I was happy to defend him.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, for six weeks the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have been rabidly defending the integrity of the solicitor general. Even today, after he has been removed from his position for compromising the RCMP complaints inquiry, the Prime Minister defends him rather than give the proper explanation.

Is the Prime Minister's ethical standard to evade, to excuse and to cover up as long as possible and only to act when he is absolutely cornered?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only thing the government wants is for the commission, which exists under the laws of parliament, to look into all the controversy of APEC as soon as possible.

The government has absolutely no fear of the commission. That is why we made available all the documentation and all the personnel it wanted so that it could look into all the facts. We want the truth to be known completely as soon as possible.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, if that is true, if the Prime Minister has nothing to fear, will he then appoint a full blown judicial inquiry and will he testify under oath before that inquiry with respect to his role in the APEC security staffing?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the commission exists under the laws of parliament to look into this matter. We want the commission to do its work absolutely.

I said and I repeat that the government is willing to help the commission as much as it wants because we have nothing to hide. The RCMP has done its job and always did its job. Now if it has to explain some things it will do it and the commission will have access to any people that it wants to interview. Even my own chief of staff has offered to testify if it wants him to.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, this resignation is the last nail in the coffin for the public complaints commission.

Peter Donolo from the Prime Minister's Office said today that the government does not consider the resignation an admission that the commission process is tainted.

My question is very simple. If the former solicitor general did not taint the process, why in the world did he resign?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was because the solicitor general was attacked unfairly by the opposition day after day.

Being a man of honour, he knew that it was not giving him all the time he needed to devote all his energy to his job. As a man who has great respect for his job in the House of Commons, and as he could not give all his effort to the job that needed all his attention, he decided to step down and I have accepted that with great regret.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only thing worse than that behaviour is defending it. We are going to attack the government for 30 days more, for weeks, and the only bonus would be that this Prime Minister would step down at the end of it.

On the very day that the solicitor general quit the Prime Minister is still stonewalling and talking about what an honourable fellow he is. The only way to get to the bottom of this is an independent inquiry with an independent judge to find out what the Prime Minister's independent involvement was.

Will the Prime Minister stand right now and announce immediately a full judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of this and quit this charade that has been going on for weeks?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I hope the opposition will let the inquiry, which has been set under the laws of parliament, do its job.

It is quite evident that the opposition does not want the inquiry to work. It wants to postpone it. It cannot attack the government on many fronts so it uses the inquiry. This is why the Reform Party is now behind the Tory Party in the polls.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general's resignation is clear proof that he had no credibility left whatsoever. The solicitor general had no other choice. The Prime Minister has no other choice either.

Is he going to bow to the evidence at last and call for the creation of a commission of inquiry to cast full light on this affair so that everyone can know the truth Is he going to go right back to square one with the inquiry process?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, an independent commission of inquiry was struck under a law of Parliament, and is in operation at present. We have no intention of going back to square one. We want it to finish its work.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, lets us keep in mind that this entire business of APEC and “peppergate” has its roots in actions by the PMO.

Now that he has lost his cover, will the Prime Minister create an independent commission of inquiry in order to cast full light on the actions of the RCMP, the actions of his own office, and his very own actions, if he is still able to recall them?