This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government has demonstrated its commitment very clearly in the last year by putting nearly $1.1 billion into a program. We have changed all of the programs, such as the crop insurance program and the NISA program. We have made them more accessible, we have made them more available and we have made more dollars available to Canadian farmers. We continue to look at those programs and at programs that will succeed them.

As I have indicated, and as we have demonstrated as a government, we are not done yet.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, a Canada Labour Congress report indicates that only one third of unemployed women between the ages of 25 and 34 qualify for employment insurance benefits. These are the same people who are likely to benefit from parental leave.

If the minister really wants to help women and their children, does she not think that before extending maternity leave to one year, she should allow a much larger number of women to receive maternity benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated before, we are looking at the data that suggest there are fewer women receiving employment insurance benefits. I look forward to receiving the next monitoring and assessment report to see if that trend is confirmed and then if necessary to take action.

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week Iraq cut off shipments of oil and apparently rejected an extension of the oil for food program.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what Canada is doing to break the deadlock at the United Nations Security Council on the Iraq sanctions issue?

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been very actively involved over several months to get a resolution that would recognize the humanitarian need as well as the need for arms inspection. I am pleased to report that I think we are very close, in the next two or three days, to actually having a compromise resolution at the security council. What is important is to have the Iraqis accept it.

We sent a special team of officials to Iraq this week to specifically work with the Iraqi government to urge it to go along with the UN request so we can begin to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance for that country.

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday a constitutional lawyer told the government House leader exactly how easy it will be for the courts to strike down the gag law and the illogical 50 candidate rule in the new elections act. He urged members not to dump problems on the shoulders of our already overworked solicitor general by passing those parts of the bill.

I ask the solicitor general, is he aware of the fatal flaws in the new elections act and has he recommended to cabinet the removal of the offending parts?

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the provisions in question are not offending. The rules regarding third parties are based on the Libman decision of the supreme court. Everyone else in the House knows that. The hon. member knows it too. I have explained it to him at committee and informally in a one to one meeting as well. He knows that in fact is not the case.

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr Speaker, I can tell from the expression on the face of the solicitor general that he does not have a clue about the new elections act. It was very nice of the government House leader to try to help him out.

The fact is the minister's 24 hour publication of polls amendment was just tinkering around the edges of the act. Why did he not do something meaningful like get rid of the gag law, or get rid of the 50 candidate rule, or get rid of the patronage that is riddled throughout the act?

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to have the debate again that we had in committee yesterday on the 50 candidate rule. The issue is presently before the court in an appeal. On the issue of the blackout, it is based on the Thompson decision. It respects the supreme court decision. The other one is based on the Libman decision.

I explained all three of these things to the hon. member yesterday.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, last month I warned the industry minister that rising gas prices would hike inflation, increase interest rates and throw the economy into a tailspin. He laughed it off then but now no one is laughing.

Not only do we hear reports of $30 per barrel crude oil and 80 cent per litre gasoline by Christmas, but today we have an admission that the Competition Act is defective.

I ask the minister again, is he prepared to act on the competition problems in the gasoline retailing industry, or is he proud, as the Minister of Finance says, to see gas prices at record levels?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if members of the NDP are so interested in gas pricing, they should have been at committee today to bring up the issue. It was the Liberal Party and this member from Ajax that brought the question to committee.

The Competition Act is indeed acting. The Competition Act most recently addressed these issues. For example, in September 1999 Hoffmann-La Roche of Switzerland was sentenced to a fine of $48 million. Also recently, in January 1999, eight snow removal companies in Quebec were fined close to $3 million after pleading guilty to conspiring to share the market.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is the government that is supposed to be responsible for protecting consumers but it has not done one thing to stop price gouging at the pumps. It is sitting back and letting big oil companies bully the country into accepting these outrageous prices and the inflation and interest hikes that will come with them.

Why will the government not support my suggestion of an energy price review commission? Why will it not stand up for consumers instead of big oil companies?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are standing up for consumers. It was the 41 member Liberal task force that commenced this activity.

If the member is talking about pricing, he should talk to his provincial counterparts. Pricing is a provincial jurisdiction. Even Premier Klein stated here that this is a dual responsibility.

National UnityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

In light of the Prime Minister's reckless and provocative attempts to recreate his own legacy, will the Minister of Finance inform the House if his department has or will undertake any studies on the costs to the Canadian economy and the effect on our dollar as a result of the unnecessary and ill-timed renewal of the debate over national unity?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:50 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 the most incredible question we may hear.

The premier of Quebec has been saying week after week that in his mind the referendum is a possibility as soon as possible. Does the Conservative Party want us to do nothing?

This country will never break up in confusion. Quebecers want to stay Canadians. They will never leave their country in confusion. This is the commitment of the Prime Minister.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said there would be less poverty if there were no debate on separation. Is poverty a component of the downside of the referendum?

Things had been quiet for a while, but it all came to an end with the Prime Minister's statements on a clear question in the future, a clear majority in the future and a possible referendum in the future.

Does the minister not realize that he and the Prime Minister are the ones responsible for bringing the whole referendum issue back to the forefront?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:50 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, is it not the Parti Quebecois that is in office in Quebec City? Is independence not the number one issue on its agenda? Two statements were made this week, including one by the Prime Minister, who said Canada was divisible, but only in a legal fashion and with a clear majority.

The Premier of Quebec said he was prepared to make a unilateral declaration of independence. Everyone knows that such a unilateral declaration of independence would have no legal basis. The Conservative Party is blaming the Prime Minister but remains silent about the Premier of Quebec. When will the Conservatives wake up?

Child LabourOral Question Period

November 25th, 1999 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

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

In June of this year, the general conference of the International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. This was to protect vulnerable children. Given Canada's human security agenda, I ask the minister today if Canada is planning to ratify this agreement. What are we going to do?

Child LabourOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada underlined Canada's commitment to champion efforts to eliminate exploitation of children and to reach international agreements to protect the rights of children. We have already started working with the provinces and territories as well as our social partners toward Canadian ratification of the new ILO convention.

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know the government is already facing legal challenges on the new elections act.

This new act is also contaminated with the same old Liberal patronage system of appointing hacks as Elections Canada returning officers.

Why does the government insist on appointing Liberal hacks and buddies instead of letting the Chief Electoral Officer hire based on merit? Why is that?

Canada Elections ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject that accusation against the people who serve the democratic process in Canada as electoral officers. They are appointed. They are qualified people. The same process that is used at the federal level is also used in six provinces.

The Lortie commission, the royal commission on elections, recommended not to change the system from what it is now. Finally, the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario said we would have to double the size of the bureaucracy in order to do what the hon. member is suggesting.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am looking in the Vocabulary of Parliament at a number of definitions that help us to a clearer understanding of the terms used in the House of Commons.

Under the heading of absolute majority, clear majority or clear-cut majority, is the following definition “more than half the votes or seats”.

I ask the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, is that clear enough?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

2:55 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, a clear majority is a majority greater than 50% plus one. If 50% plus one is not a clear majority, then what would an unclear majority be?

A good bit more than 50% plus one is needed to break up a country. A good bit more than 50% plus one is needed to move ahead toward the irreversible act of breaking apart a country, a decision from which there would be no turning back.

Yet the Bloc Quebecois claims that it wants to plunge Quebec into such a situation. That is totally irresponsible. At some point, there is a need to be a bit reasonable.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, because of the EI reforms brought in by this Liberal government and the Progressive Conservative government before it, only 30% of unemployed women are receiving EI benefits, compared to 70% in 1989.

A Statistics Canada study shows that EI cuts are the leading reason for the increase in poverty among families with children.

Is the Minister of Human Resources Development prepared to admit that, by reducing the eligibility of unemployed parents for EI benefits, she is increasing child poverty?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have already responded to the way in which we are looking at this data.

I remind the House that although the hon. member opposite would have us believe that women are not making gains in the labour force, in fact, the opposite is true. The unemployment rate of 5.8% for adult women is the lowest in almost 25 years. Since we were elected in 1993, over 800,000 jobs have been created for women. Women's employment has grown faster than men's in each of the last four decades.

Without question the hon. member has said that the most important social program for a family is a job. We are working to ensure that women have them.