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House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreed.

Topics

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows this is pure speculation and I am not going to comment on that.

We are very much aware of the situation. We have heard him and members in the House. We know each other and I think he knows that when this program is finalized it will address those issues he and other members of the House are concerned about

The government is working very hard to put this program together and it will be announced in the very near future.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, of course, people speculate when they see that the members opposite are taking too much time to react.

By setting aside a mere $550 million to replace TAGS, the Minister of Human Resources Development is only deferring the problem, since it will take just six months to go through this money.

Does the government realize that, with only 25% of the budget of the previous program, it will be unable to take proactive measures to reorient the fish workers and will only point them towards civil disobedience?

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is not given to alarmist statements and superlatives that would exacerbate the situation.

We are very much aware there is a lot of anxiety in the Atlantic provinces and in Quebec. This process takes time because we have to consult with the province. We have to make sure we take the time to get it right because this has to be an excellent strategy. It has to be right and it has to be done soon.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of Indian Affairs knows that the Delgamuukw decision has created a great deal of uncertainty in British Columbia. She knows that the native summit is claiming 100% of the province and she knows that some bands are now taking action to stop logging and mining.

The minister says the way out of this is to negotiate, but that process to date has not produced any results.

How long does she think British Columbians will have to wait to see a resolution to this problem?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, not only I think the right approach is to negotiate aboriginal rights, it is the people of British Columbia, 9 out of 10, who say that the appropriate thing to do is settle land claims at the negotiating table.

It is the business community in British Columbia that understands settling land claims will add to the GDP of the province.

It is the supreme court which directs us to find in these modern times an appropriate way to reconcile aboriginal rights and directs us to do it at the negotiating table.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the business community in British Columbia that said not one more nickel of investment in that province until this issue is resolved.

The track record of the government is zero in seven; seven years of negotiating, not one agreement, over one hundred bands that qualify to be in negotiations.

The people of British Columbia deserve to know. How long will they have to wait to see this uncertainty cleared up and the question of land ownership in British Columbia resolved once and for all?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, let us clarify another thing. If we want to talk about the B.C. business community, let us look at what Milton Wong, a prominent B.C. business person, said about the treaty process.

He said that through the treaty framework we can establish a social, political and economic certainty that will encourage investment in British Columbia and therefore be of enormous help to business communities across the province.

We have made progress. When we took office there was one table in action, now there are over 50. There are 30 that have frameworks of action in place and we are proceeding to agreements in principle.

Contraband TobaccoOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Government of Quebec announced that it would replace the QST with a specific tax collected at the source by manufacturers and wholesalers, which would go a long way toward solving the cigarette contraband problem on native reserves and would allow the Quebec government to recover lost revenues from uncollected taxes.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Does the federal government intend to harmonize its policy what that of Quebec by replacing the GST with a specific tax collected at the source on tobacco products?

Contraband TobaccoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly the federal government is concerned about illegal activities and continues to work closely with the provinces and law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband goods.

However, we are not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We feel that only goods essential to the well-being of Canadians should be exempt from sales tax such as basic food items, prescription drugs and medical devices. Clearly tobacco products do not fall into this category.

Contraband TobaccoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in five years this government has done nothing to fight contraband, to eliminate this black market estimated at $6 billion a year according to the auditor general.

It is a lot easier to take money from the employment insurance fund, to take money from the unemployed and the sick, than to fight contraband.

There is a simple solution to that problem. Will the minister apply this intelligent solution proposed by Quebec, a practical solution that would allow the government to recover millions of dollars in uncollected taxes on contraband cigarettes?

Contraband TobaccoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the federal government is concerned about illegal activities. I said quite clearly that we will continue to work closely with the provinces and also with law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband products.

Quite clearly I stated earlier and I will restate that this government is not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We will remove the GST on those products which we feel are essential to the well-being of Canadians. Again, tobacco does not fall into that category.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have now learned that the RCMP used money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance its Montreal based money laundering sting operation because of a lack of government funding. This lack of resources also contributed to the overall failure of this important undercover operation.

Why has the government denied the RCMP the resources to do its job? What has the government to say about the use of money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance portions of this operation?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, as the solicitor general indicated yesterday, he has asked the RCMP commissioner to make a complete review of this case. He will then make the appropriate decisions based on the full report that will be provided to him.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, RCMP informant John McKay was an agent working on a smuggling investigation in Manitoba called operation decode.

After receiving death threats, including a sympathy card sent to his mother, McKay asked for protection and was denied. He was murdered within months.

I would like to ask this government why the RCMP did not protect the life of John MacKay. Something is very wrong.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the solicitor general I will take note of the facts that were brought forth by my hon. colleague and ask the office of the solicitor general to answer in writing as soon as possible.

ScrapieOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, 8,000 sheep have been slaughtered in Quebec in an effort to eradicate the sheep disease called scrapie. This measure was taken without a full report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and for a disease that does not affect human health. Producers are desperate for help.

The industry is still waiting for an answer from the Minister of Agriculture. What does the government intend to do to help the sheep industry, and when will it act?

ScrapieOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand LiberalSecretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food)(Fisheries and Oceans)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her interest in this issue.

Scrapie is indeed a problem that greatly concerns the Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Between 7,000 and 8,000 sheep were slaughtered, and we are currently conducting an economic analysis with the industry to change certain criteria and see if any compensation is possible.

Breeders currently receive $150 for ordinary sheep and $300 for purebred sheep. However, this is not a crop insurance, but an incentive to report sick animals.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Kosovo is rapidly deteriorating with thousands of refugees fleeing their homes. The international community has an obligation to act and to act quickly. Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs report to the House on what precise actions this government is taking to help stabilize the situation in that troubled region of the world?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the level of violence and the plight of refugees in that region. At this moment the foreign minister is meeting with the G-8 foreign ministers and we are agreeing on collective measures. These include security enhancement in neighbouring countries and an immediate increase in humanitarian aid.

At the national level we have frozen all Serbian Yugoslav assets in Canada and we have banned all export of funds to Serbia Yugoslavia but we will act in concert. It is a grave problem for one of the most delicate areas of the world.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we see on the front page of the Globe and Mail that the minister of fisheries is going to throw more money at the fishing industry. We agree that money is necessary but there must be a plan on how to spend it.

The all-party fisheries committee tabled a plan for the west coast over two months ago but we still have no direction from the minister. Now we are only two weeks away from the start of the salmon season. Why is the minister so reluctant to address the particular problems of the industry?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the minister is not at all reluctant to address the problems in the salmon industry. He has met with fishermen consistently. He has gone through the fisheries committee report and he certainly thanks the committee for the report.

The other day the minister announced a conservation framework to protect and rebuild B.C. coho stocks starting with more action as needed to protect and restore the salmon habitat itself. More action is needed to address the structural problems in the commercial fishery, including overcapacity and economic viability.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former and present ministers of fisheries have watched the demise of the east coast fishery in Canada to the shame of all Canadians.

Can the minister or the government advise this House of what they are doing differently in British Columbia to make sure we do not have the problem in British Columbia five years from now that we presently have in eastern Canada?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the member opposite has not been following what the government has been doing on a number of fronts as opposed to what has happened in the past when he was a member of the former B.C. government before he became a Reformer. We are taking strong conservation measures. We have learned some lessons from the demise of the Atlantic cod. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs answered earlier in relation to the ongoing TAGS problem, we are looking to address that, to address the structural problem, economic difficulties and community problems.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

June 12th, 1998 / 11:45 a.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I must say that, during my first year here, I learned one thing: we need a surgeon in the House to perform heart transplants, because the Liberals have no hearts.

We hear ministers who keep saying that Canadians are proud of the employment insurance reform. I am here to tell you that this is not the case.

There are people in my region who are hungry, there are children who live in poverty, there are workers who lose their jobs, and then there are Liberals who try to defend their reform. With a $17 billion surplus, when will the Liberals show some leadership and start thinking—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works.