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House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Société Saint-Jean-BaptisteStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning I am calling upon all the sovereignists to dissociate themselves as quickly as possible from the words used by one of their group, the president of the Montreal Saint-Jean-Baptiste society. Guy Bouthillier is calling for the creation of a media monitoring agency to ensure fair coverage of the views expressed during the next referendum campaign.

Words like this are not only evidence of a form of total intolerance, they are also a perfect example of undemocratic behaviour that is both threatening and worrisome to the quality of life of citizens in a sovereign Quebec.

This sovereignist notion was also in the air during the 1970s. The Parti Quebecois government of the day had to move quickly to dissociate itself from it.

One might have expected the leader of the Bloc Quebecois to stand up at the first opportunity in order to speak out against such remarks coming from a sovereignist with whom he has crossed paths on numerous occasions, but there has not been so much as a peep out of him since these shocking words by Guy Bouthillier.

The silence from the sovereignists is a source of concern.

DevcoStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Cape Breton is becoming desperate. Today more layoffs were announced at the Cape Breton Development Corporation in addition to the more than 500 men who are already off the job.

The government says there is no Devco without Phalen, so Devco is now on a 15 month plan.

This government denied the 15 month plan existed and it denied that the cabinet memo existed.

Why will the government not be honest with Cape Bretoners and tell them that, yes, the government has failed to make Devco commercially viable and is now in the process of pulling the plug on industrial Cape Breton?

Honestly, that is all we are looking for. Is that too much for the people of Cape Breton to ask?

O'Neill Collegiate ChoirStatements By Members

April 3rd, 1998 / 11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ivan Grose Liberal Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to recognize a group of students from my riding who are in Ottawa today. These students are members of O'Neill Collegiate's intermediate chamber choir. Members who saw and heard them yesterday as they performed in the rotunda will acknowledge that they are fine.

O'Neill Collegiate bands and choirs have represented Oshawa and Durham region at music festivals and concerts across Canada and in Europe. One of the reasons for this recognition is the efforts made by their teachers to provide their students with outstanding quality opportunities to work with the best clinicians and hear the finest ensembles on the continent.

I am proud to tell the House that in Oshawa we not only make the finest cars in the world, we also turn out quality people.

We were not sure whether the O'Neill choir could be here because its fame has spread even to Ottawa. They were invited to perform at Gloucester High School.

To the members of this House I present some of the finest young people in this country from Oshawa.

The Late Rob ThompsonStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, last month Nova Scotia lost one of its favourite sons, Rob Thompson. Rob was 23 years old when he died of cystic fibrosis in a North Carolina hospital on March 17.

I first met Rob when I was a student at Dalhousie University, working as a lunch monitor at LaMarchant School where he was a student. Even then his optimism and his sense of humour were very evident. These were the traits that helped him in the face of adversity. His long fight with CF did not stop Rob from contributing to Halifax, Nova Scotia and to Canada as a student, an athlete, a journalist and, most importantly, a leader. In the words of Rob himself, “The more you put into life, the more you get out”.

On behalf of this House I would like to express our sincere condolences to Rob's family, his friends and his community.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of the Environment announced an action plan to manage toxic substances released from the electric power generation sector. This plan is the result of consultations with key stakeholders, including the industry, the provinces and environmental groups.

The action plan includes the development of environmental standards and performance agreements with the provinces and the utilities in order to reduce the release of toxic substances from the sector.

The action plan will reduce emissions of harmful particulate matter and toxic metals from oil and coal fired power plants by more than 100,000 tonnes annually by the year 2003. This represents a reduction of up to 85% of total emissions from the electrical power generating sector.

Human RightsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Supreme Court of Canada launched an unprecedented attack on democracy and on our constitutional order in what can only be described as an exercise of raw judicial power.

In the name of the charter of rights and freedoms the court ruled that Albertans do not have the right or freedom to govern themselves. In the name of the Constitution the unaccountable justices created a law that had been explicitly rejected by Alberta's elected officials and they did so basing this judgment on a right that cannot be found in the Constitution and one which was explicitly rejected by this parliament and the legislatures when the charter of rights was ratified.

In the name of protecting basic rights, the court has violated the rights of people to freely associate around common values in a private religious institution.

The Vriend decision was not about interpreting the Constitution. It was not about protecting rights. It was about unelected and unaccountable justices taking upon themselves the position of elected legislators and legislating from the bench.

Abraham Lincoln said that the candid citizen must confess that if—

Human RightsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Laurentides.

Member For SherbrookeStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the former Conservative leader announced he was in the running for the leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party, he said he was ”fed up with the endless squabbles cultivated and maintained by the sovereignist leaders, which are sapping our energies”.

Between 1960 and the present, the sovereignists have been in power about 12 years and the federalists more than 25. Did Fulton-Favreau fail because of the “nasty separatists”? Did Victoria fail because of the “nasty separatists”? Was the 1982 patriation and Pierre Elliott Trudeau's rejection of the Quebec Liberal beige book the fault of the “nasty separatists”? Were the failures of Meech and Charlottetown the fault of the “nasty separatists”?

If we have been up to our ears in squabbles since 1960, this is because the federalists are incapable of getting along together. That is why the only solution left is sovereignty.

The former Conservative leader claims he is going to succeed where all those before him have failed. We are anxious to know exactly how he will go about this, because at the moment we are simply faced with a big black hole.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the health minister has used the word “compassion” dozens of times this week when he was asked why he abandoned thousands of hepatitis C victims.

The arguments he advances for justifying the government's position are legal arguments, accounting arguments and political arguments. There is no real compassion in either the government's position or in the minister's deeds.

Where is the compassion in abandoning tens of thousands of victims of poisoned blood who were infected through government negligence?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government does have compassion. The government is concerned. It is expressing its compassion and concern in a practical way by putting forward $800 million aimed at helping tens of thousands of victims of this tragic situation.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a reflection on compassion. Just a few weeks ago this is what the health minister was saying to victims of poisoned blood.

He said “We have to remember what this is about. It is not about fiscal federalism. It is not about politics. It is about providing compassionate and fair and appropriate compensation to people who were injured through no fault of their own and we have to keep our eye on that goal”.

Why did the health minister take his eye off that goal?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, all governments in the country that worked together on this difficult problem kept their eye on the goal of doing the right thing in accordance with sound public policy. All governments, all ministers of health, worked together toward showing compassion as the Deputy Prime Minister has said.

We have now created an offer of $1.1 billion for the direct benefit of over 22,000 victims of this tragedy. That, in the judgment of every government in the country of every political stripe, is the appropriate response to this tragedy.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there used to be a day when ministers would actually resign rather than violate the principles.

If the health minister actually believes that this decision should have been based on compassion and morality rather than on legal or accounting arguments, why did he not go in to the Prime Minister and say “these are the principles I am committed to. If you can't accept them and if the cabinet can't accept them, then find someone else to do your dirty work?”

If the minister is really committed to compassion and morality, why did he not resign rather than violate those principles?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, is the Leader of the Opposition saying that Premier Ralph Klein of Alberta lacks compassion and morality when he said about this deal, referring to Premier Clark of British Columbia, “Without wanting to sound critical of Premier Clark, it seems to be sort of late in the game to start to change the rules and to express concerns?”

Is he saying that Premier Klein of Alberta lacks compassion?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the health minister's meetings with victims of hepatitis C he said that he would be their guardian. He said in fact that he would be their champion.

Today those victims ended up here on Parliament Hill and the minister somehow did not meet them. They ended up pounding white crosses into the lawn in front of his office to tell him what they think of him.

Did the minister fail to meet with those victims because he is ashamed to look them in the eye?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that in the course of the past several months I have met with many victims of the tainted blood tragedy, spoke to them directly, spoke to them about the approach being taken toward compensation and personally explained to those victims, as I have in the House of Commons, the reason for the approach taken by all governments in the country toward the issue of compensation.

I explained to them that as the ministers of health looked at the history of these tragic events they found there was a period between 1986 and 1990 when governments could and should have acted and did not, and that is the basis on which compensation is being offered.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have a solution for the public relations nightmare the minister is facing.

B.C. has said that it is ready to move. Saskatchewan is now ready to have a conference call on the issue. Why does the health minister not just lead a new charge for a supplementary compensation package for all the victims of hepatitis C so that he can once again look those victims straight in the eye?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, every provincial government stands solidly behind this agreement. Every provincial government respects the agreement that they themselves negotiated, including British Columbia and Quebec. Every province and both territories stand solidly with the agreement that they negotiated.

Last Friday we sat opposite victims, looked them in the eye and told them, as we believed, this was the right approach to the issue.

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Howard Bullock, Canada's ambassador to China and the senior official responsible for operation unity at the time of the referendum told the Bloc member for Repentigny, currently in China, that the Bloc Quebecois could ask all the questions it likes on Option Canada, it would find out nothing, because it was he who spent the money.

My question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. What can the minister, his boss at the time of these events, tell us about Mr. Bullock's statement?

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. We, and most Quebeckers and other Canadians, support the Canadian option. The leader of the Bloc Quebecois opposes it and he is mistaken.

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister can certainly not justify the expenditure of public funds by not responding to any question on the pretext that he is defending Canada. Is that what I am to understand from his response? It does not make any sense.

I would ask him whether the minister responsible for operation unity at the time, now the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, could confirm that the link between operation unity and Option Canada was such that the senior official of one ordered the other to spend?

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we have already answered all these questions many times. We have submitted over one hundred pages of responses. The matter is totally clear. There are very few responses, because we have already provided the documents required and requested.

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that Mr. Bullock, now the Canadian ambassador to China, was then director of Operation Unity and therefore reported directly to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Since Option Canada's budgets were apparently spent, as she herself said, by the director of the Operation Unity team, how could the minister claim not to be perfectly aware of how the $4.8 million given by the federal government to Option Canada right in the middle of the referendum campaign was spent?

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the question is based on false premises.

Second, we know that the Standing Orders do not allow ministers to comment on their previous responsibilities.

I repeat, it is too bad, but most Quebeckers and other Canadians support the Canada option and the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to it. Present polls show that the Bloc Quebecois is mistaken in its criticism.

Option CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister's response is also based on false premises.

Since the federal government could already rely on the services of Operation Unity, which had a budget of almost $12 million at the time, a budget which could easily have been increased if necessary, why did the federal government pay almost $5 million to a phoney organization like Option Canada, unless it needed a front to get around Treasury Board's usual accounting requirements?