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House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debt.

Topics

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is a false accusation and slanderous.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, I ask you to be very careful in choosing your words.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs made the statement, in case he has forgotten, on March 15, 1995 in Toronto before a group of intellectuals. He said “The more it hurts, the less support there will be for sovereignty”.

Is he now going to deny that his entire speech and the government's plan B are based on his long held belief?

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I still believe the member to be an honest man and I will give him the opportunity to prove it.

Two days later, a correction appeared in the same papers to the effect that I had never spoken these words ascribed to me at the time.

Secondly, on another matter, what I said yesterday I said because I am a Quebecker and because I do not want my society to find itself in a situation that flies in the face of democracy in which a government would be trying to grab all jurisdictions not its own in an unacceptable state of confusion.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, Andrew Thompson has finally said adios and bid goodbye to the Senate in order to collect his pension. Instead of using talk about Senate reform as an excuse for not acting, I want to ask the Prime Minister the following question.

Why not seize the opportunity of this vacancy, which now creates a vacancy in the upper house, and announce today that he will not be filling this vacancy as the first step toward the abolition of the unelected, unaccountable Senate of this country?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have tried and are willing to try to reform the Senate. We have a system of two houses in Canada. The member is proposing something that I cannot do. If I have an institution, I have to use it.

If some day Parliament were to decide not to have it, of course it would be different. But it is not what we are proposing at this time.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister could easily decide not to appoint a senator and bring a resolution before this House as the first step toward the abolition of the other place. If he does that, he would have the support of our party, he would have the support of several premiers and the support of the Canadian people.

Instead, he wants to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate the Parliament Buildings, millions of that to move the senators to a temporary home and renovate the Senate. Why not save that money, bring in a motion to abolish the other place and do it now?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that the government cannot abolish unilaterally the Senate. It needs the consent of the 10 provincial governments.

FisheriesOral Question Period

March 24th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the fisheries committee tabled the east coast report. The committee recommended that senior DFO personnel who are viewed by the fishing community as being responsible for the crisis in the fishery be removed from the department.

Does the Minister of Fisheries agree with this recommendation?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the minister when he comes back to Ottawa will certainly be reviewing this report and responding at an appropriate time.

I can say one thing for certain. The minister is not going to get into finger pointing and witch-hunting. He will be wanting to develop things forward in a positive fashion for the future.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, can the parliamentary secretary confirm that he also agreed with the recommendation to remove senior DFO personnel until he came under pressure from within his own government who threatened to remove him from his position as parliamentary secretary?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The member could not be further from the truth, Mr. Speaker. If you look at the report and read it, you will see a supplementary opinion and a number of members decided that rather than get into this witch hunting that you seem to be promoting we wanted to move forward—

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, please direct your questions and answers to the Speaker.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbians have been following the Pacific salmon treaty discussions and they have seen four years of inaction. They have seen hundreds of meetings, two negotiators and countless empty promises.

What is the result? A 50% reduction in quotas and 5,000 fishermen and fish plant workers laid off.

Why will the Prime Minister not tell the minister of fisheries to stop talking and take action or find someone who will?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have made very significant advances in coming to grips with the United States on getting a solution. We had the Ruckelshaus-Strangway report which recommended a series of steps. We have during the visit of secretary of state Madeleine Albright come to an agreement on a new negotiating regime which will focus specifically on getting an agreement for this spring fishing season and at the same time establish a proper framework of negotiations.

There are two countries to the treaty. We have to get agreement between the two countries. To follow the hon. member's advice—

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Island North.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister and the foreign affairs minister do not know who is in charge for starters.

The fisheries minister is always talking conservation, conservation, conservation. What about honesty, integrity and leadership on this issue?

The priority of the fisheries minister has been to avoid upsetting the Americans. Meanwhile 5,000 fisheries workers are going to be out of a job.

Why will the Prime Minister not give the job to someone who will do it?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the hon. member has a very distorted sense of priorities. He criticizes the minister of fisheries for being concerned about conserving the fish stocks. If there are no fish, there are no fishermen. We must get a co-operative framework in which the two countries of North America can work together to preserve the fish stocks and preserve the livelihood of the fishing communities.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

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

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is now convinced of the federal government's responsibility in the collapse of northern cod stocks and of its obligation to provide support to fishery workers affected by the moratorium.

Since fish stocks have not yet been renewed, and thousands of fishers still have no way of earning a living, will the Prime Minister admit his government's responsibility for mismanaging the fishery and will he promise to make money available to extend the TAGS program?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic fisheries crisis began before we were elected to office. We assumed our responsibilities.

Four years ago, we implemented a program to support fishers and fishery employees. The program is scheduled to end this year, and the government is now looking at what it can do. The Minister of Human Resources Development is working on this right now, and we hope that it will be possible to announce something concrete in the coming weeks.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Prime Minister does not seem to have abandoned the idea of extending the TAGS program, can he tell us whether or not he shares the opinion of colleagues in his own party regarding the federal government's responsibility for the mismanagement?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we inherited this problem from the former government. As soon as we formed our government, and although we were in very difficult financial shape, we created a program to provide support to Atlantic fishers at a time when the deficit stood at $42 billion. We assumed our responsibilities in the wake of the disaster caused by the mismanagement of the Conservative government of the day.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, finally after 30 years of absenteeism and chronic abuse of the system, Senator Andrew Thompson has resigned from the Senate.

Since 1993 the Prime Minister has made 28 patronage appointments to the Senate. With Thompson's leaving, we now have another Ontario vacancy.

Has the Prime Minister learned anything from the Thompson and Fitzpatrick scandals, or is he simply going to appoint another unelected and unaccountable Liberal hack to sit in the Senate?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the senators I have named. They are working very well. I believe I put a lot of pressure on Senator Thompson to resign and I am happy to see that he listened to what we asked him to do.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Prime Minister has learned nothing from his past mistakes. He is going to make those same mistakes over and over again.

Even the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council admits that “we cannot boast of the most democratic Senate in the world”. At least one member on the government side recognizes that the Senate is undemocratic.

Apparently the Prime Minister has learned nothing from the Thompson and Fitzpatrick affairs. When will the Prime Minister allow Canadians to democratically elect their own senators?