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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreed.

Topics

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

December 13th, 1999 / 3:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-401, an act to amend the Criminal Code (no parole when imprisoned for life).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce this private member's bill so that a life sentence will actually mean life. It amends certain provisions of the criminal code relating to life imprisonment. The bill is supported by many on this side of the House in my party. It would eliminate any provision for early parole, early release or parole eligibility for a criminal who is sentenced to life.

The bill is about justice: justice for families of victims, for those who have suffered an irreplaceable loss at the hands of killers. For them, knowing that the offender will never walk the streets again as a free person will bring a sense of relief and an element of closure to a sad chapter in their lives.

The bill sends a clear message to murderers and other violent habitual criminals that if they take they life of another they will be locked away for the remainder of their lives.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Competition ActRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-402, an act to amend the Competition Act (abuse of dominant position).

Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend section 78 of the Competition Act with respect to the anti-competitive act of abuse of dominant position. Under this section the competition tribunal may make an order prohibiting certain persons from engaging in anti-competitive acts. The bill expands the definition of anti-competitive act currently listed in section 78.

The bill will permit the competition tribunal to prohibit a person holding a dominant position in the wholesale or retail market from engaging in certain practices that will now be viewed as being anti-competitive, as well as any other abusive anti-competitive practice directed toward a competitor or a supplier.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

moved that the first report of the Standing Committee on Transport, presented to the House on Tuesday, December 7, 1999, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, this speech will obviously deal first with air transport but, as you will understand, considering the bill just introduced by the government, it will be very difficult for me not to refer to this sad day for democracy in Quebec and in Canada.

Not to be accused of being out of order, I will have to deal with the first report of the transport committee. At the outset, I would like to tell the men and women who work for the Canadian transportation industry that my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois and myself, as the transport critic for the Bloc, are very concerned with the uncertainty they now experience, a few days only before Christmas.

This has been particularly true for a number of months, more precisely since August 13 when the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Industry, by suspending the provisions of the Competition Act, created total chaos in the Canadian transportation industry. This situation recently led to the shutdown of operations at InterCanadian, and 900 workers and their families, could perhaps be forced in the very near future to go on welfare.

I think that 14 days before Christmas we, as parliamentarians, cannot remain insensitive to the gloomy situation faced by the workers of InterCanadian, a company based in Montreal.

I could talk for a long time about the content of this report, but I will of course be able to revisit it in the future. Since I am running short on time, am allowed only 20 minutes to make a speech and have already been talking for two minutes, I would like to turn immediately to the second part of my speech since I am afraid to run out of time.

For the benefit of the members in the House and of our viewers, and I know that there are quite a few of them, I would like to go back to a statement made by a person who said “No matter what, Quebec is and will always be a distinct and free society capable of assuming its own destiny and development”.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

These words were said at the Quebec National Assembly—

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, on a point of order.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With all due respect to my friend from the Bloc Party, as a former airline employee for over 18 years I wish he would get back to the subject of the airline industry so that it can know where the Bloc stands on this very important subject.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I trust the member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans will revert to the topic of the report very shortly.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Indeed, but I am surprised that my colleague, who used to work for Canadian in Nova Scotia, more precisely in Halifax, who is a member of the NDP, would use dilatory tactics of this kind to cause a member who is doing his best as a parliamentarian and is working on a speech with researchers and a whole team, to lose his concentration.

This is very sad coming from a former unionized employee of Canadian; this is very sad coming from a member of the New Democratic Party that is supposed to be a progressive party. I am very surprised that the NDP would do such a thing. But when the time comes to save Canada, I would like our fellow citizens who are listening to us in Quebec to remember that the NDP is a federalist party just as the Liberals, the Reform and the Conservatives are. They all sing from the same song sheet when it comes to standing up for this great and beautiful Canada they refer to all the time.

On June 22, 1990, someone said in the Quebec National Assembly: “No matter what one says or does, Quebec is today and forever a distinct society, free and able to take its own destiny and development into its own hands.”

This person was the former Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa, a federalist, the day after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.

Also, a group of individuals said: “The people of Quebec may not be deprived of the responsibility to decide their own future.” This is what the Assemblée des évêques du Québec said on February 22, 1995.

Somebody else said: “It is imperative that Quebec be allowed to retain full authority over decisions regarding its future within the framework of Quebec democratic institutions.” This statement was made by the Conservative senator Jean-Claude Rivest, a former political advisor to Premier Bourassa.

I would like to read one more quote. Somebody mentioned: “One thing is certain, from now on the future of Quebec will no longer be decided in—”

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been listening attentively to the speech by the Bloc member who seems to have lost his train of thought and is now on to bishops and democracy and so on. We are talking about the transport committee's report. I would hope that he would not hijack that report, the ability to talk about the report and the livelihoods of many people when he gets off on tangents.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking that you question the member on the relevance of his speech regarding the transport committee.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for St. Albert is perfectly right. The hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans moved a motion for concurrence in the report of the Standing Committee on Transport. I know that this is what he wishes to talk about and that his comments will deal with the report.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, as to the point of order raised by the Reform member for St. Albert, with whom I sat on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts when I was chair and he was vice-chair of the committee, I want to say that he acted as the watchdog of democracy.

I must say I find it very sad that he is trying to distract me while I am speaking, as I am doing the best I can. I am only a backbencher with qualities and shortcomings, and more shortcomings than qualities, in fact—

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

It is not true. You belittle yourself.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Again, I have been listening attentively to the speech of the member from the Bloc. He talked about my defending democracy. In my role as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts I have done that and I continue to do so in this House. I wonder why he is challenging my performance here in the House regarding defending democracy because we all have rights and freedoms to speak in this House. But I thought we were talking about transport. I want to hear about transport. I want to hear about how we are going to save jobs for Canadians.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I think we have had the point here but the matter is not one that the Chair can easily resolve. I am urging the member who has the floor to deal with the issue of the transport committee's report and to perhaps stick to that subject since he has proposed the motion for concurrence in that report. I know hon. members will want to hear his views on the report and his reasons for proposing this motion.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was just about to talk about the 10% ownership rule in Air Canada. I hope that I will not be interrupted. That rule is essential to maintain a broad shareholder base.

I want to explain that the Bloc does not support the majority report of the Liberals, who want to raise that percentage to 20%. That would have the effect of giving effective control to a single shareholder or a group of shareholders. If we want to maintain a broad shareholder base, we absolutely must keep the 10% limit.

We read in The Gazette “The Liberal hon. member for Vaudreuil said the following. Personally, I think that the limit should not be set at 20%, because that would give the separatist Caisse de dépôt control over Air Canada”.

Across the way, there are people, like the member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges, who will charter buses, just as at the time of the last referendum in 1995, three days before the next referendum, for crowds to come and tell us they love us. Do you think Quebecers are gullible enough to believe such a thing once again?

That reminds me of those members from the Reform Party who were lucky enough to get Canadian Airlines tickets. At the time of the last referendum, Canadian Airlines chartered 747 planes and people came from Vancouver to Montreal, three days before the referendum, just to participate in the love parade.

You want me to speak about air transportation? Let us do so. VIA Rail changed its name; it is now VIA Rail Canada and its engines bear a logo with a big maple leaf. They speak about transportation, but they will not let me finish my speech. I am an impulsive person. I wonder if you have realized that, Mr. Speaker.

The Standing Committee on Transport voted upon a second rule.

Before the President of the Treasury Board leaves, I want to say I am convinced she will agree with me that the 10% ownership rule at Air Canada should not be modified. I am sure she is a true Quebecer, and I am sure she will be against changing that rule.

Unfortunately, since she left the House, I cannot say she is not here, but I want to say there is another important element in this report from the Standing Committee on Transport. It is the 25% foreign ownership rule, which the Liberal majority wants to increase to 49%. This means that Americans could control up to 49% of the airline industry.

This creates a totally ironic situation whereby members from the Bloc Quebecois agree that the foreign ownership rule should remain as it is, and the limit be maintained at 25%. Believe it or not, we will respect the partnership between an independent and sovereign Quebec and the rest of Canada. We are so respectful that we are opposing the 49% rule in order to promote Canada's sovereignty against the Americans.

If we accept the increase to 49%, there will more situations such as those we already witnessed, for example American Airlines which held large blocks of shares and which transferred the positions of machinists, repairmen, and maintenance employees from Vancouver and Calgary to the United States.

The Liberal majority pointed out that it agreed to increase the percentage because we apparently need foreign capital. There is not enough solid capital to justify ownership in Canada, wealth in Canada. And yet one of the proudest achievements of Quebecers, the Caisse de dépôt, is ready to invest in Air Canada, not to take control of it. The Caisse de dépôt's role is to ensure that the savings of Quebecers earn a return so as to provide a future for our children and our grandchildren.

That is the role of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. This is not like the derogatory comments of the hon. member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges who says that he does not want the limit raised to 20% because he does not want to see the separatist Caisse de dépôt take control of Air Canada. These are unacceptable remarks coming from a Quebecer like the hon. member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges, who is as much a Quebecer as I am. That does not prevent him from saying this kind of things. That is where the inconsistency is: it is acceptable for Americans to control Air Canada but not the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

This is terrible.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

The Standing Committee on Transport does not say a word either on air safety. I will finish on a darker note, a little bit more serious—although I should not say serious, because I have been serious since the beginning—but I have making my points in a more casual way. What I want to say is that this report does not say a word about the lack of safety in numerous regional airports. Unfortunately, in the last year and a half, many people have lost their lives in Baie-Comeau, Gaspe and Sept-Îles because Nav Canada closed down control towers.

The transport minister, answering a letter sent to him by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, said “The ministry is prepared to accept and tolerate an acceptable risk”. But what is an acceptable risk? Is it playing Russian roulette? Is every Quebecer travelling in regions of Quebec, such as the Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspe, North Shore, Abitibi or Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, entitled to safe regional air transportation? Do we say “I hope I will not be subjected to unacceptable risk because if that is the case, my plane could crash on the account of there being no air traffic controller”. This should have be mentioned in the report.

The last issue I would like to talk about is this: the Bloc Quebecois asked that regional airlines be subject to the Official Languages Act, as is the main airline, Air Canada. As members know, in the regions of Quebec, 98% of the customers are francophones. Flight attendants act as a link between the pilot and the passengers and are in charge of safety on board. The primary function of a flight attendant is not, as many people think, to serve meals and drinks, but to ensure safety.

It is not enough for flight attendants to know the usual speech and say “Exits are above the wings and lavatories are at the back”. A first grader, the young daughter of my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, for example, if taught properly, could say that in front of 700 or 800 people.

It is one thing to teach that to a first grader, but it is quite another to act in an emergency situation like the one we had recently where a Focker 28 from Canadian Regional on a flight from Quebec to Montreal had trouble with its front landing gear and the flight attendant had to go through the emergency landing procedures. And she only spoke English. She knew the usual speech. But when the time came to tell passengers to take off their eyeglasses, their dentures and their shoes and to assume a foetal position, she could not do it. It takes a flight attendant who is capable of communicating in both official languages.

I will finish with a quote that goes back to the second point I raised in my speech. Unfortunately, you interrupted me, but we will have the opportunity to talk about it again later this week. I barely touched on the subject in my speech today.

Someone said that it is up to Quebecers to decide, that the federal government is wrong to try at all costs to impose a way through the courts. This is what Gordon Wilson, constitutional adviser to the Premier of British Columbia, said on February 5, 1998.

I will conclude with a quote from another journalist from Beauport from the 19th century, when Quebecers were called French Canadians. This journalist from Beauport by the name of Étienne Parent said “It is the fate of the French Canadian people not only to try to keep their fundamental freedoms, but also to fight for their very existence as a people. If we do not govern ourselves, we will be governed”.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on the motion which states, and I quote:

That the First Report of the Standing Committee on Transport, presented on Tuesday, December 7, 1999, be concurred in.

I have a relevant document. I am referring to page 31 of the report, under recommendation 29. Incidentally, I am an associate member of the committee, and I have tabled a number of motions in the House of Commons. My motions, including motions M-333, M-334, M-335, M-336, and M-337, are listed in today's notice paper. Motion M-337 is important for the large federal riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik. The motion reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should examine the financial assistance available to airports under the Airport Capital Assistance Program, and on what terms, and consider the possibility of extending the Program to operating costs in order to sustain the provision of air transportation services at airports in the riding of Abitibi—James Bay—Nunavik, including the regional airport—

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

What is the question?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

It is in that motion. It concerns the regional airports in Val d'Or, Amos, Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Matagami, La Grande, Akulivik, Aupaluk, Inukjuaq, Ivujivik, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Kangirsuk, Kangiqsujuaq, Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq, Puvirnituq, Chisasibi, EastMain, Quaqtaq, Salluit, Tasiujaq, Waskaganish and Wemindji.

Could the hon. member tell me whether these airports should have the means to finance emergency response services and receive government assistance for this?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. You have to agree with me that the question should not be longer than the speech. Since we are talking about air transportation and the hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans is in full flight, will the Chair be kind enough to ask for the unanimous consent of the House to let the hon. member complete his excellent speech?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.