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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was education.

Topics

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have been in this House for quite a long time. The people of Canada elected me here 11 times.

I know that when you cannot attack somebody above the belt and you are gutless, you hit below the belt. That is what we see today.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The record will clearly show that the Minister of Finance introduced Bill C-28. We assume the Minister of Finance knows what is in the bill before he sponsors it. The bill provided for clear benefits that could accrue to his own company.

When the ethics commissioner appeared before the finance committee yesterday, he said that when legislation is being drafted in the Department of Finance that could benefit the Minister of Finance, he or his office is always informed ahead of time so he can check out conflict of interest possibilities.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister, in speaking to the Canadian Club, admitted too many Canadians are unable to attend college or university today because they cannot afford it.

The Prime Minister says that he cannot hide his enthusiasm for the millennium scholarship fund but students cannot hide their horror at having to wait another two years for help.

Will the Prime Minister rename the fund the 1998 fund so that students can get help today when they need it, not some time in the future?

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for supporting the program. We cannot do it this year because we have to negotiate with the provinces to make sure that the system functions well, that there is no duplication. We have done it before.

When we had the infrastructure program, it was a successful program because we managed to have three levels of government working together for the benefit of Canadians and we intend to do the same thing for the benefit of students.

I am happy to see that this member will be supporting us on that.

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Prime Minister said that the government promises to put in a spring in the steps of students, to let them leap forward and see the dream in the new millennium fund.

The millennium fund is for future students. At a current undergraduate degree cost of over $25,000 our current students are drowning in debt. Will the Prime Minister throw today's students a lifeline or just another line?

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been working. There was some provision last year to help students. I cannot say what will be in the budget, but wait patiently. Now it is only six days.

Of course we will do the right thing and I hope they will be applauding.

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister believes that this millennium fund will be his government's legacy. I say that his education legacy is one of shame.

Today's students have paid for this future fund by shouldering massive cuts to education. Today's students do not need a legacy fund, they need an education fund.

Instead of repackaging his cuts of the past, he is trying to create a personal legacy. What is the Prime Minister prepared to do for today's students?

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we would have been able to act much faster if we did not have to deal with the legacy of the Conservative Party, the $42 billion deficit in our first year.

That was the first priority, to put order in the finances of the nation. We have done it in our dealings with the problems of the nation.

It is too bad I had, as Prime Minister, the legacy of the Conservative Party. It was no fun.

National DefenceOral Question Period

February 18th, 1998 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. As the minister knows, there is substantial concern about the treatment of civilian employees at Canadian forces bases where certain operations are being privatized.

Is the minister prepared to take action so that employees at our bases are treated fairly?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think we have an obligation in our department to meet our budget reduction targets. We have an obligation to perform our services in an efficient and effective fashion. If we can do so and save the taxpayers money, we should do that. That is what we can do with the alternative service delivery program.

However, at the same time, this government and our party have an obligation and a desire to make sure that our employees are treated humanely. We have demonstrated that with the way we have gone about downsizing the public service. We will demonstrate it again in terms of how we treat employees in the alternative service delivery program.

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday when I asked the national revenue minister about the leaked income tax return he denied it. On Tuesday he referred to clearing up ambiguities. What about a clear and honest answer today? How many more ambiguities are there, 100, 1,000, or 10,000?

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I responded yesterday to the matter the hon. member has brought forward. I want to be clear again to make sure I put the facts on the line.

In the case the member was referring to, there was a consent form provided to Revenue Canada, the basis on which information was provided. The issue at hand is whether the consent form should be clearer and more precise. I say yes. That is why as of January 15 we have asked the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation to make its consent form clearer so there are no misunderstandings as to the information to be provided.

Medical Research CouncilOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

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

In September 1997, the Medical Research Council distributed $49 million in grants to universities. We now learn that there is a considerable imbalance between the number of grants awarded to English language universities and the number awarded to French language universities.

Can the Minister of Industry explain to us, for instance, why McGill University received twice as many grants from the council as did the Université de Montréal?

Medical Research CouncilOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development—Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the honour, on behalf of the government and the Medical Research Council, of announcing grants to the Université de Montréal and to McGill University.

I am also honoured today to tell you that, of the money awarded by the Medical Research Council over the last five years, 33% went to the Province of Quebec, and that the Medical Research Council thus made it possible for research that will create lasting and quality jobs to continue.

That is what this government has been committed to doing since 1993.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Right Hon. Prime Minister, of which I gave him notice a couple of hours ago.

Senator Thompson is only the last straw that broke the camel's back in terms of the public's intolerance with our Senate. Our Senate is undemocratic, unelected and unaccountable. It is a house of hacks, flacks and bagmen. Enough is enough.

Is the Prime Minister ready now to take the initiative to break the log-jam and introduce into the House a motion to abolish the existing unelected Senate? If he does that I assure him of our support.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always been in favour of reforming the Senate. We voted in this House on the Charlottetown agreement. We wanted to have an elected Senate, one that represented all the regions. Unfortunately the people of Canada did not accept that proposition. In particular, the Reform Party voted against it.

If there is occasion to reform the Senate, this party has always been in favour of a reformed Senate. However, we need to do it by amending the Constitution. In order to amend the Constitution in Canada we need the consent and advice of the provinces.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great regret, but important to remember, what the ethics commissioner said yesterday. We cannot ignore his testimony. He stated that he was called in to investigate the apparent conflict of interest between the finance minister who did sponsor Bill C-28. He also said that he contacted CSL executives to determine the impact on CSL.

Why did the ethics commissioner contact CSL to find out what the impact would be on CSL? Why did he not contact a tax expert?

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I presume the ethics commissioner contacted everyone who had facts and asked them to make a contribution so that he could render the opinion he gave yesterday which was very clear.

“One thing is clear”, he said, “the allegations are completely unfounded. Mr. Martin—the Minister of Finance—is not in a conflict of interest situation”. In order to arrive at that opinion, he obtained all the information required to be able to give a clear opinion on the matter.

Sierra LeoneOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa and it concerns the continuing crisis in Sierra Leone, west Africa.

The last 10 days of fighting have produced hundreds of thousands of refugees and a serious food shortage. Just yesterday a Canadian, Dr. Milton Tectonidis with Medicins Sans Frontieres, was seized by rebels.

Can the minister tell the House what plan our government has to provide aid to Sierra Leone and to help Dr. Tectonidis return to safety?

Sierra LeoneOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Southeast Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nepean—Carleton for his question.

On the humanitarian aid I am very pleased to announce that Canada is going to send $600,000 to the international committee of the Red Cross to alleviate the horrible suffering in Sierra Leone.

With respect to Dr. Tectonidis, our high commissioner to Sierra Leone indicates that an Ecomog force has now been sent to Bo and Kenema to try to rescue the two men the hon. member just referred to. We wish them well in that voyage.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

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

It is quite clear that the overwhelming majority of Canadians do not support the Senate in its present form. It is nothing more than a posh country club for political hacks.

The Prime Minister in his previous answer suggested that the people of Canada rejected Senate reform when they voted against the Charlottetown accord. That is simply not the case.

Will the Prime Minister recognize that most Canadians do not support the Senate and will he undertake—

The SenateOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I explained to the House that we wish to be able to reform the Senate, but under the Constitution of Canada the Parliament of Canada cannot reform the Senate alone. The powers and the numbers are subject to constitutional changes. We are willing to do that when the provinces are ready.

At this time some people are proposing an equal Senate, with the provinces having equal representation. In order to change the Senate we need the consent of the provinces and at this moment the provinces are not pushing—

The SenateOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Skeena.