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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

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Liberal Moncton, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I met Gabriel and Delila Grey, two very special constituents at the Ottawa airport.

The Greys, originally from Guatemala, arrived in Canada with their landed immigrant status. I cannot say how thrilled I was to finally see them.

Many of their supporters were at the Moncton airport to welcome them back to their homes. The Greys have waited almost two years for this moment.

The Greys lived in a church basement in Dieppe for nearly 18 months. On November 7, Gabriel and Delila left Canada for a temporary host country.

This was not an easy decision for Gabriel and Delila, but the people of Moncton rallied behind them and looked after them. I am very proud of the spirit of co-operation and generosity displayed by the people of Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe.

Delila and Gabriel can now resume their lives in Moncton. I wish them the best of luck.

Greek Independence DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, at our biannual convention held over the weekend, the Prime Minister stressed the unique character and rich cultural diversity of this country. This diversity is our strength.

It is this diversity that makes it possible for Canadians of Hellenic origin such as myself to join the millions of Hellenes around the world in celebrating Greek Independence Day, March 25, 1821. Canadians of Hellenic origin will be parading their pride and deep affection for their country of origin, Hellas, where democracy was born.

Today, on the eve of the 177th anniversary of Greece's Independence Day, we are joined in the House by a representative of the Greek government, Mr. Yiannis Anthopoulos, Deputy Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs, who also participated in the facilities organized by the Hellenic Community of Montreal.

Celebrations will be taking place across Canada and I encourage all my colleagues to participate.

Long live Greece; long live Canada.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

March 24th, 1998 / 2:05 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, membership indeed has its rewards. Liberal patronage continues: the Liberal campaign manager of Burnaby, B.C.; a prominent B.C. Liberal and oldtime golfing and business buddy of the Prime Minister; the nephew of the Prime Minister; the defeated Liberal MP for Halifax; the former legislative assistant to the Prime Minister; the wife of the former defence minister and director of the Liberal Party; the former president of the Liberal Kindersley-Lloyminister riding; the former Liberal MP for North York; the wife of a former aide to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; the failed 1993 Liberal nominee for South West Nova; a former board member of the federal Liberal Agency of Canada; the former executive director of the Quebec Liberal Party; the former Liberal Minister of International Trade; the failed 1993 Liberal candidate in Selkirk-Red River, Manitoba; the defeated 1997 Liberal candidate in Laurentides; and the list of Liberal patronage goes on.

Liberal Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the national Liberal caucus has established the national Liberal caucus twinning program, matching members of our caucus with Liberal riding associations across Canada.

I have the honour of being twinned with West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast. Mr. Hans Krause and the other members of the West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast Federal Liberal Riding Association have greeted me with open arms and Liberal hospitality as their representative in Ottawa.

In April, while the Standing Committee on Health is in Vancouver, I will be taking the opportunity to visit my surrogate riding. West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast is a magnificent area of our country with diverse areas such as Whistler, Squamish, Powell River and West Vancouver.

I am excited about the opportunity to visit this beautiful part of our country and especially to meet with fellow Liberals to discuss how we could continue to build this great country together.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs gave the oddest speech.

After a long weekend, in which he was isolated and told that his great constitutional scheme, Plan B, did not exist, the minister lost his cool and said he had had enough.

Before the Canadian Bar Association, the minister sent the Prime Minister and the Minister of Human Resources Development off to do their homework. “There is most certainly a Plan B and you are going to see it in action”.

In 1980 and 1995, representatives of the federal government threatened to deprive Quebeckers of federal services if they opted for sovereignty. Now the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is threatening to continue to provide services whether they want them or not. We have seen things that made more sense.

Who is telling the truth in this government? The Prime Minister, other ministers, members of the Liberal Party, or the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs?

Reform Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Reform members outlined their approach to health care.

They want an Americanized, privatized two tier health care system. They want more competition in health care. They want to amend the Canada Health Act to set up a parallel private system, a separate system for the rich and another system for the poor.

The Reform member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca even admitted, is it unequal? Yes. Does the Reform Party care? No.

Canadians believe their right to life and treatment for illness and injuries should not be based on income. Canadians should not become guinea pigs for Reform's irresponsible health theories playing around with Canadian lives to put in place a dangerous system in which low and middle income Canadians unnecessarily suffer and die.

We already have a crisis in our health care system. We need reinvestment to strengthen that system. Why should we require people to sell their homes or go bankrupt to pay for necessary medical treatment? We say no to Reform's ill health plan. We say yes to medicare.

Radarsat IiStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Limited of Richmond, British Columbia, was selected through the competitive process by the Canadian Space Agency and the government to construct and manage RADARSAT II, Canada's next generation synthetic aperture radar satellite.

The government will invest $225 million and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Limited will invest $80 million for the construction of this high tech satellite system.

It will be implemented at half the cost of RADARSAT I through the use of new technologies and engineering that will create a lighter, more capable and more cost effective satellite. It will create approximately 300 jobs across Canada. This will help bring prosperity to all regions across Canada, especially to the province of British Columbia.

Scheduled for launch in 2001, RADARSAT II will contribute valuable new information to areas such as ice navigation, geological exploration and disaster relief operations.

This is good news for British Columbia and all Canadians. RADARSAT II and the Canada Space Agency through the government's support will ensure that British Columbia and Canada will remain a world class developer of satellite technology for earth observation into the next millennium.

PensionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, when people lose their health it has a tremendous effect on their lifestyles. I am appalled at the government's lack of compassion for those who apply for the Canada disability pension. Today applicants for the CPP disability pension must wait on average close to seven months for a decision on their financial future. It is absurd to be put on hold like this, not to mention the strain it has on their state of mind as they try to recuperate from their illnesses.

It is even more frustrating that they put their faith in their doctors and in the system. Their doctors fill out reports and recommendations for their patients, only to have them rejected by a panel of nurses.

We are seeing the mismanagement of people's lives when there should be compassion for those who suffer from disabilities. We must revisit this system and make the necessary improvements to assure all Canadians in need of the program that it is fair and prompt in its service.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal patronage list goes on: the 1988 Liberal candidate and long time riding president of Brome—Missisquoi; a former Quebec Liberal MP and past president of Quebec Liberals; the wife of a former B.C. Liberal president who was herself a twice defeated candidate; the Prime Minister's former law partner and chief fundraiser in the 1984 campaign; the former Liberal Party president and 1970 Liberal MP; the Liberal president for Quebec East, 1990-91; the Prime Minister's 1984 Manitoba campaign leader; failed Liberal candidate in 1993 and former riding president in Abitibi; former president of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre Liberal Riding Association; the Prime Minister's leadership co-ordinator for Atlantic Canada in 1990; a former Liberal cabinet minister; the former Liberal riding president for Labrador; the defeated 1993 Liberal candidate in Mission—Coquitlam; and the list goes on and on.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the government what it was going to do for the British Columbia economy. B.C. is now in a recession. Its unemployment rate is up one half of one per cent in a single month.

Today we got our answer. For starters the Liberals are going to cut B.C.'s fishing quota in half. Up to 5,000 B.C. fishermen and plant workers will be laid off.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why does British Columbia have to pay the price for federal mismanagement of the west coast fishery?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we know there is a problem in British Columbia. It is the part of Canada that is most affected by the economic situation in the Pacific rim.

We have done everything we can and we are still working on many programs to diversify the economy of British Columbia. For example, we have helped it enormously with improving and maintaining Vancouver airport, one of the most important airports in North America, and many programs of this nature.

In terms of fisheries, stocks vary from year to year.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here is what a senior cabinet minister from B.C., the federal minister of fisheries, said about this quota cut: “It does not necessarily mean that people do not have work. It just means that they earn a lot less when they do work”. He actually said that, it does not necessarily mean that people do not have work, it just means that they earn a lot less when they do work.

Why is the Liberal economic plan for British Columbia fewer jobs and less pay?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the British Columbia economy benefits from the advantages of the economy of Canada. At this moment British Columbia has the lowest interest rate in generations, a climate resulting from Canada's managing to balance its books.

I explained there is a reduction in Pacific trade that is affecting all Pacific countries. It is the situation for British Columbia. It benefited during the rapid growth of the Pacific. Now that there is less growth it is more exposed than the rest of the country.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this means absolutely nothing to the people of British Columbia. The only significant natural resource the government directly manages is fish. Yet the fisheries department ignored scientific advice on conservation, it failed repeatedly to deal with foreign overfishing, it has presided over the collapse of the east coast cod fishery and now it is failing the west coast fishery.

Who is the Prime Minister going to ask to resign over these failures, senior bureaucrats in the department, the minister or both?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the report talks about the collapse of the fisheries in the Atlantic, for example, 12 years ago. Members of the committee looked at the original decision. We were not in government at that time. We have put in place some programs to help the fishing community in eastern Canada and the Reform Party opposed the TAGS program.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister was asked why so many of his bureaucrats work in Ottawa and so few close to the ocean. He answered: “Ontario pays a substantial amount of the taxes in this country, and simply people moving away from Ottawa and moving jobs from one province to the other will not necessarily be an easy task”. This is a big fish story.

Why does the fisheries minister care so much about his own department and so little about fishermen's jobs in Vancouver or St. John's?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have always been in favour of transferring jobs. In fact, when I was president of the Treasury Board I moved from Ottawa to Surrey, B.C. the taxation division of the department of revenue and almost 3,000 people working there. We have done it on many occasions and I hope we will be able to do it in the future.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1991 the Prime Minister told the House: “Every minister in the cabinet I preside over will have to take full responsibility for what is going on in his department. If there is any bungling the minister will have to take full responsibility”. The Liberal dominated fisheries committee has uncovered an ocean of bungling.

When will the Prime Minister demand that the fisheries minister do his job or put in the member for Grand Falls, Newfoundland who will?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the report looks at the problems since the collapse of the fisheries in the maritimes 11 years ago. The minister was not there at that time. He has now received a report which he will study. We will all study the report and make changes as quickly as we can.

I want to point out to the Reform Party that the problems occurred when there was not even one Reform Party member in the House of Commons.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

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

Over the weekend, Liberal supporters did their best to show openness toward Quebec by covering up plan B, but it took the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs less than a day to bring them back into line. The day after this four-day Liberal convention, he had already renounced the good intentions expressed during the weekend.

Are we to understand that the real government spokesperson on the issue has indicated that the fun is over by making his government's usual threats again? Are we to understand that the weekend party is over and that the government is once again taking the hard line?

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been saying the same thing all along. We have always explained clearly the headway we were making.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, like the other ministers, talks about the federal agenda globally. The Bloc Quebecois refuses to recognize that we have transferred manpower, that we have improved the situation on five, six or seven issues, that we have passed a resolution in the House of Commons recognizing the distinct character of Quebec, that we have passed a bill giving a veto to the five regions. Each time, the Bloc Quebecois voted no.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the convention, the Prime Minister made a candid remark, stating that there was not plan B, that it did not exist, that it had been made up by the press.

How can the Prime Minister stand behind this kind of statement when, as soon as the Liberal weekend party was over, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs reinstated all the means of intimidation in the government's plan B?

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 stated yesterday that, should Quebec secede unilaterally, the Quebec government would not be in a position to take over all the functions currently available to all Canadians without the agreement of the federal government. I presented an argument to this effect.

If the opposition leader can see a flaw in my argument, he should point it out, but he must understand that, failing this, he is wasting the time of the House by asking totally unfounded questions.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are going to carry on wasting time. I am going to quote the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

In his role as adviser to the Prime Minister not so long ago, his theory was to make Quebec suffer. Yesterday, the day after the Liberal show on the weekend, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs went back to his old line.

Are we to understand that it is not the Prime Minister or the other ministers who set the tone in the government, but rather the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs? Whose idea it is to punish Quebec and who gave us plan B.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.