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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a policy on modernization that is one step at a time. That is why we voted in the House of Commons in December 1995 to recognize Quebec as a distinct society. That is why we have given a veto on constitutional amendments to the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. That is why the federal government gave manpower training to the provincial governments some time ago. That is why we are no longer in tourism and forestry, as we were before. We are modernizing.

The best way to convince the people of Quebec that Canada is a good country is to have good government, and that is exactly what we have done in the last six years.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

December 10th, 1999 / 11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, since 1994, we have been asking this government to be clear on the question of secession and the question of majority. The government must also be clear about the problems of secession.

Why can the Prime Minister not answer these three questions clearly?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously nobody is against clarity, and we Quebecers will never lose Canada in confusion, nor we will lose it in clarity, because we want to keep it. That is what the bill is all about.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the rules of secession are very important. They must be clear. It is also important that the Canadian federation be renewed so that no province wishes to leave.

Can the Prime Minister guarantee us that his referendum plan will include a plan for renewing the federation?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are constantly renewing the federation.

There must, however, be agreement on one thing: there can be different ideas of how Canada can be improved, whether they are proposed by reformers, social democrats, progressive conservatives or liberals.

But we must all admit that nothing, and I mean nothing, in this Canada justifies separation.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the purpose of the bill the government is preparing to introduce is to thwart the people of Quebec and their legitimate aspirations.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that it is his intention, and the intention of his government, to impose trusteeship on the Quebec national assembly?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bill states clearly that the national assembly may hold a referendum under the conditions it wishes to have. The bill dictates only what the Parliament of Canada will do if there is a referendum. It can hold a referendum on whatever it wants.

What I want and what I wish for is the Government of Quebec to respect the wishes of the people of Quebec who do not want a referendum. If Mr. Bouchard had accepted the offer I made him two weeks ago, we would not be obliged to introduce a bill to clarify the conditions if there is a referendum, so that parliament may act.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister not understand that, unlike his 1982 bill which had the support of 73 submissive federal MPs from Quebec, this time he is going to run into 44 Bloc Quebecois MPs determined to prevent a power grab from happening in Quebec for the second time in 20 years?

Does the Prime Minister realize that if his government gets his bill passed, it will be going against the National Assembly of Quebec and by far the majority of the members representing Quebec in this House? It will get no legitimacy from Quebec.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all we are trying to do is to gain respect for the wishes of the citizens of Quebec who do not want separation, who do not want a referendum, who want parliamentarians both in Quebec and here to focus on other problems.

We are going to pass this legislation as quickly as possible, but, regrettably, it is the Parti Quebecois that wants a referendum. We do not want a referendum, we want to work to improve the situation of all the citizens of Quebec, as we want to improve the situation of all the people of Canada.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, how could the federal government be considering Quebec's partition, as it would be a crime against history? Quebec will leave Canada in the same way that Newfoundland joined it, as a whole.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister realize that his place in history will be tarnished by what he is about to do?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the village where I was born, people used to say—

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

An hon. member

Poor village.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Yes, in Shawinigan Bay. They used to say that insults are the weapon of the weak.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is another old saying, that the truth sometimes hurts, such as the truth about Canada's history, which is full of attacks on Quebec.

In 1867, they refused to hold a referendum. In 1942, they imposed a plebiscite. In 1982, they unilaterally patriated the Constitution. In 1990, they gave the kiss of death to Meech in Calgary. Now, in 1999 they are drafting referendum legislation.

Will the Prime Minister admit that Canada's survival and existence rests on nothing but a series of underhanded measures against Quebec?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the truth hurts, indeed. But the truth is that, today, the hon. member is saying things that are unworthy of him and must really make him feel very uncomfortable.

When he was a university professor, the hon. member testified before the Bélanger Commission and said:

As for the right to secede, Quebec cannot claim that aboriginal people did not also have the right to secede. The same rules apply to aboriginal people and to the people of Quebec.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance told Canadians that he would consider an ethical screen for CPP investments. Without an ethical screen our pension funds will wind up in the hands big tobacco.

At the same time as the government claims to be fighting teen tobacco addiction it compels us by law to support big tobacco. Why is the financial minister allowing the use of our CPP funds to promote smoking by our kids?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that question is simply nonsense. The fact is that when the CPP was set up all provincial finance ministers agreed with the federal government that it should invest in the indexes.

Having had the experience and seeing the quality of the administration, all provincial finance ministers along with the federal government have decided that 50% of its funds could well be invested in equities providing a greater return and in fact supporting Canadian endeavours.

That is what is happening. There is no support of big tobacco. The government has made very clear that smoking is wrong, that smoking creates tremendous health problems and that the government is prepared to—