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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member's question, I would like to remind the House that on Saturday we celebrated National Child Day. It was an important opportunity for us to meet with families, with children and with youth to talk about the issues facing our children and the strategies that we must implement to ensure they have a great future.

I would also like to remind the House that it was a member of our caucus, the member for Ottawa Centre, who introduced a private member's bill for National Child Day. I would like to thank him for this opportunity.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister is still avoiding the topic of child poverty altogether, just as the government has been avoiding the plight of poor children.

That is why we have 1.4 million children living in poverty today. That is the legacy of a Prime Minister who balanced the books but forgot poor kids. Is the government satisfied with that legacy?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, not at all. In fact, Canadians are telling us that they want a vision on how we can increase our support for Canada's children.

In the Speech from the Throne we said we would do it in a number of ways: through tax strategies, through balancing our relationship with the provinces, by increasing the income and the services we provide to our children, by increasing parental benefits, by looking at our laws and by making sure when we are dealing with separation and divorce that children's issues come first.

As an employer the federal government understands the relationship between the workplace and family and we are making sure we have family friendly workplaces.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Progressive Conservative Chicoutimi, QC

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

The war against poverty, begun barely ten years ago, has been such a total failure that the mayors of major Canadian cities describe it as a national disaster.

Anti-poverty programs are so confusing that no one can make any sense of them any more. Is the minister giving thought to a single program in collaboration with her provincial counterparts, a single program to assist the disadvantaged, which might be called a guaranteed minimum income?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of working with the provinces in support of our children, it is absolutely clear that it will take a whole country to ensure that we have a bright future for Canada's children.

We have begun that discussion in that debate. We have the national child agenda. We are building the national children's benefit. We are on track to do in the next millennium what we have been able to do for Canadian seniors.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Progressive Conservative Chicoutimi, QC

There has been talk for six years now of new programs to inject funds, yet the number of poor children has risen from one million to one and one-half million. Food banks are feeding 750,000 persons.

Is this not enough to get the Minister of Finance or the other ministers to act within the framework of the social union? Nobody understands the social union. The only way it could be made understandable would be to make it into a weapon in the fight against poverty.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is suggesting is that indeed it will take all of us to focus on the issues facing Canada's children and to build a platform of structures that will help them into the 21st century. He is absolutely right.

In terms of particulars and in terms of taking action, let me tell the hon. member that as a result of the national child benefit, for example, by July 2000 families earning $20,000 with two children will get more than $3,700 per year in assistance. They can use that money for issues and needs of their children.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, a couple of minutes ago the Indian affairs minister referred to an election in Terrace. I would like to give him some late breaking news.

On November 20, 1999 a private citizens' referendum on the Nisga'a treaty was held in Smithers, B.C. Residents from Hazelton, Moricetown, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake and Smithers all voted in that referendum.

The early indications would suggest that more people voted in the referendum than voted in the municipal elections. And, guess what? Ninety-three per cent of the people who voted said no to the Nisga'a treaty.

Why is the minister consistently ignoring the expressed wishes of British Columbians?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I can understand why the Leader of the Opposition and this member want to talk process. Up to now, we still do not know what the Reform Party's position is on aboriginal rights, aboriginal treaties and things of that nature. I have asked for this for a number of weeks now as we have had this debate.

There are some people in the country who believe that if the Reform Party were ever fortunate enough to lead the country that it would take section 35 out of the constitution.

I want this leader and this member to tell the House and Canadians what their party will do if they change the constitution as it relates to aboriginal affairs.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, what part of equality does this minister not understand?

In the face of the referendums that have taken place, private citizens' referendums in British Columbia, not only in Smithers, but in Ladner, Vancouver, and Prince George, all of the surveys that have been done, why is he prepared to ignore the expressed wishes of British Columbians and ram this Nisga'a treaty through the House of Commons without giving the people of British Columbia a chance to vote on it in a referendum?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as it is difficult to explain to members across the way, let me try one more time.

This particular piece of legislation was debated in 34 communities in British Columbia. The legislature in Victoria had the longest debate in its history on the Nisga'a treaty.

We are now in the process of debating it in the House, but what do these members want to do? They want to have a vote in B.C. in order to get out of telling us what their policy would be on aboriginal government, on treaties and on the relationship with other Canadians.

Audiovisual ProductionsOral Question Period

November 22nd, 1999 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, Friday, just as her parliamentary secretary was telling the House that, in the case of the audiovisual production affair, the RCMP must be allowed to do its job without any interference, the Minister of Canadian Heritage was saying outside the House that a major administrative investigation had been launched into Telefilm Canada and production tax credits, as the Bloc Quebecois has been demanding since the beginning of this affair.

What finally convinced the minister that we were right and persuaded her to launch this administrative investigation into the government departments and agencies concerned?

Audiovisual ProductionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this investigation was launched the same day I read about the allegations in the newspapers.

Audiovisual ProductionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, in front of the cameras on Friday, the minister admitted candidly, and she has just admitted here today, that this administrative investigation has been under way for some time now.

This shows that the minister was concealing the truth when she answered our questions in the House.

In the interests of clarification, will the minister tell us in plain English when she called for this investigation, and how long it has been under way?

Audiovisual ProductionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I have just answered the question. What I said about allegations is that the member made many allegations of criminal fraud in the House.

He has repeated these allegations on at least 10 or 15 occasions. What I told him with respect to his allegations was that, if he had any information, he should pass it on to the RCMP. This is still the case.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a ministerial briefing note to the B.C. minister of agriculture on the impact of the Nisga'a treaty points out that “there is likely to be significant disruptions to individual ranchers within close proximity to first nation communities”.

In the South Okanagan there are over 1,000 farms with crown tenures within 10 kilometres of existing native reserves.

The Nisga'a treaty affects all British Columbians. When will the government give all British Columbians a vote by holding a province-wide referendum on the Nisga'a treaty?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, is that not interesting? This particular issue that the member talked about is only 1,000 kilometres away from where the Nass Valley is. Is it not amazing that these people are going to start fearmongering?

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what we will do. The first thing the Reform Party needs to do is to go back to the riding, take the Nisga'a treaty itself to an open house and say “Here is the Nisga'a treaty. Let us read paragraph by paragraph and then we'll start having discussions on what the treaty really says” versus this myth treaty that it has been promoting in British Columbia.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have been doing. That is also what we did during the Charlottetown accord which turned it from 70% acceptance to 70% rejection. Maybe that is why they are afraid of this referendum.

Both the minister and the deputy prime minister have stated that British Columbians have a vote through their members of parliament. I would like to point out to them that a total of 10 B.C. MPs support the Nisga'a treaty and 24 B.C. Reform MPs, backed by constituent input from townhall meetings, polls and scientifically conducted polls, oppose it.

Given that the majority of B.C. MPs are voting against the treaty, will the government accept that as a rejection of the treaty as it is currently written, or will it hold a referendum to confirm—

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. minister of Indian affairs.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I just got back from visiting British Columbia on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the things I noticed was that the Reformers tried their hardest. I have never seen them work so hard. In a huge metropolitan city like Vancouver, they managed to get a whole 200 people out to say that they were opposed to the Nisga'a deal. When I was in the labour movement, I could do that with one phone call and I would get 500 people out. These people cannot get more than 200 people out in a big city like that. I think that means that the people in British Columbia and Vancouver support the Nisga'a deal.

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Michel Vastel, from Quebec City's daily Le Soleil, reported some disturbing facts regarding the National Parole Board. Justice Jean-Guy Boilard confirmed that he had satisfactory evidence of totally unacceptable interference.

Does the solicitor general not think that there is something wrong with how the parole board operates, with its whole collection of political appointments and the government's involvement, and that a serious inquiry is in order to shed light on this issue?

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, these allegations appeared in a newspaper this morning. I have asked the chair of the National Parole Board to look into the matter and provide me with more information.

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Deputy Prime Minister not think it is contrary to the ethics code for the Minister for International Trade to be in regular contact, through his Ottawa and riding offices, with a parole board commissioner, a Ms. Thériault, as seems to be confirmed by cellular phone statements obtained by Montreal police officers?

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated previously, these allegations appeared in the newspaper and I have asked the chair of the National Parole Board to look into this situation and to provide me with more information on the allegations.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Reform Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Charlottetown accord stated that the constitution should be amended to recognize that the aboriginal peoples of Canada have the inherent right of self-government within Canada.

For the information of the government, the accord was defeated in a Canada-wide referendum, including the majority of aboriginal people who voted. The Nisga'a treaty attempts to do by stealth what a majority of Canadians have already rejected.

Why is the government doing this? Why will it not give British Columbians a vote?