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House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transportation.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Premier Harris says that the taxes are going up January 1, and that is true. The chief actuary said that it was not the feeble little $2.40 that these guys are talking about, but down as low as $2.

Will the government listen to Premier Harris and the chief watchdog, the actuary of Canada, or will it give a millennium present to Canadians: another tax hike on January 1?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we are the ones who cut the EI by over $5 billion a year. We cut it, but not as Reform wanted, which was for the employers only.

Talk about the presents, here are the presents: GDP up 4.7%, consumer spending up 4.8%, business investment up 11.3%, exports up 15%, trade surplus at $7.8 billion, the current account is in surplus. I could go on, but it is not even Christmas.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec government has always recognized the rights of the Quebec anglophone minority and of aboriginal peoples.

It has also always said that it would negotiate in good faith with Canada once sovereignty got the necessary support. That being said, the only possible interpretation of the democratic principle is that of 50% plus one.

Will the federal government not have the constitutional obligation to negotiate with Quebec once this support is obtained, if more than 50% of Quebecers support sovereignty?

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, I thank the Bloc Quebecois leader for his question in this last question period of the millennium, because it gives me an opportunity to quote Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a great philosopher, a great thinker of democracy who has had a tremendous influence on the last third of our millennium. He said “The more important and serious the issue, the closer to unanimity the prevailing opinion must be”.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, one would have to look at all the applications of Rousseau's philosophy. He also advocated a private tutor for each student, instead of schools. There is a bit of utopia in all this. Is the government telling us that we would need unanimity?

I would like to hear the minister tell us why the democratic rule of 50% plus one, which applied to Newfoundland in 1948, would now be rejected in the case of Quebec?

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, the Bloc Quebecois leader misunderstood me. “The more important and serious the issue, the closer to unanimity the prevailing opinion must be”.

This is not the unanimity rule, it is simply the fundamental rule, the fundamental democratic principle that guided the supreme court when it said that a clear majority would be required to create an obligation to negotiate something as serious and important as secession.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, if unanimity is important, certainly there is no unanimity in this House in favour of the minister's bill, far from it.

Furthermore, questioning the rule of 50% plus one is a position that the minister will not be able to maintain for long, because it is contrary to the democratic tradition in Quebec and in Canada.

Could the minister tell us how his government could give greater weight to the losing votes in a referendum, by claiming that there were not enough winning votes?

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, if 50% plus one were the only way of defining democracy, does the member realize that the Reform Party would then be right, that 50% plus one should apply in all circumstances, including the case where more than 50% plus one, and very probably much more than 50% plus one, of Northern aboriginal populations were to vote to stay in Canada? They would then have the right to stay.

That is what he is saying, because the 50% plus one rule is supposed to be sacred and entrenched. But it should apply for everyone, not just him, but everyone.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us go back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also a musician and I hope that the minister will be listening to some music over the holidays because music has a calming influence.

Would the minister now agree that he should be aware that, come what may, the future of Canada depends above all on respect for the rules of democracy and that he should therefore, in 2000, go back to strict respect for the 50% plus one rule, in the absence of any other rule in the Constitution of Canada?

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, when France's Prime Minister Jospin was asked, in the presence of the Premier of Quebec, whether a Canadian province could separate with a vote of 50% plus one, he first replied that it was not up to him, as the Prime Minister of France, to answer such a question.

Second, he said “You know, 50% plus one is not a principle. Democracy is a principle”.

Candu ReactorOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians were concerned some weeks ago when the Prime Minister uncritically dismissed the concern that many Canadians have about the selling of a Candu reactor to Turkey.

Given the fact that we have a virtual moratorium on building nuclear reactors here in Canada, why do we insist and why does the Prime Minister insist on exporting a technology that we have already rejected any further here at home, and, in particular, selling it to a country which is earthquake prone and therefore much more at risk from having nuclear reactors?

Candu ReactorOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Algoma—Manitoulin Ontario

Liberal

Brent St. Denis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is a well known fact that Canadian nuclear technology is the best in the world. If approval is given for the sale of a Canadian reactor to Turkey, it will be located in a safe location, a long way from any of the difficult locations where there have been earthquakes. I am very confident that the very best results will take place.

Candu ReactorOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that earthquakes in any part of Turkey would threaten nuclear reactors in other parts of Turkey. If this technology is so good, why are we not using it ourselves anymore? Why is it that we have a virtual moratorium on building nuclear reactors in this country?

It is a bit like the way in which we now sell insecticides and pesticides to other countries which we have banned in this country. Why do we continue this unethical behaviour of trying to con other countries into buying technologies that we will not even use ourselves?

Candu ReactorOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to go back to the drawing board with his question because he has his facts wrong. We have not banned the use of our Candu technology in Canada. As the hon. parliamentary secretary has said, it is the most advanced in the world. I do not know why my hon. friend is not willing to recognize this achievement in Canadian science and research and development.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Premier Harris is right. The federal government is planning on taking $560 million from the workers and employers of Ontario.

Why is this government, during a season of giving, preparing to take more from Ontario workers and employers, some $560 million? Why is the government playing Scrooge in this the Christmas season?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would simply remind the hon. member that the increase in the CPP was agreed to by Ernie Eves and Stockwell Day.

Having said that, I am very pleased to be able to take this question on behalf of our finance minister, the minister who has already cut personal income taxes by 10%, the minister who put forth Canada's six point program for reform of the international financial architecture, the minister who was appointed head of the G-20.

All Canadians can indeed be proud of the global role of international financial leadership played by our government.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort to the 22,500 people who will lose their jobs in Ontario, according to the C. D. Howe Institute, because of this payroll tax hike. Will the government listen to the premier of Ontario, stop this tax hike and save 22,500 Ontario jobs?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, if the member wants to talk about jobs, there have been 760,000 new jobs created in Canada over the past two years and over 1.7 million since this government took office.

With the Reform Party in free fall and with the Tories unclear about even a clear question, it is absolutely no surprise that on Canada's political highway the united alternative is nothing but road kill.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario court of appeal in the Bavinski decision stated that there must be a new trial when the key crown witness recants or, in other words, gives false evidence. In a similar case, the Hache case, the Nova Scotia court of appeal came to the same decision. In both Bavinski and Hache new trials were ordered.

Patrick Kelly has been in prison for 16 years based on the testimony of a witness who now says that her evidence was untrue. Why will the Minister of Justice not use her power to order a new trial for Mr. Kelly, or at the very least refer his case to the Supreme Court of Canada?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Erie—Lincoln Ontario

Liberal

John Maloney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kelly's section 690 application was referred to the Ontario court of appeal. In May of this year the court, in a two to one decision, responded to two questions on the reference by advising the minister that none of the new information presented to the minister would be admissible on appeal. I appreciate that the court of appeal examined the facts very carefully and presented reasoned judgment.

Further submissions have been received by Mr. Kelly's counsel and they are presently being considered by the justice minister and the department, and a decision will be made fairly and objectively in the near future.

Youth Criminal JusticeOral Question Period

December 17th, 1999 / 11:30 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice is telling Canadians that her proposed changes to the young offenders law will make young lawbreakers more accountable for their crimes. The youth sentence for crimes such as manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault is now a maximum of three years. The minister wants to reduce that to a maximum of two years, plus one year in the community under supervision. That is probation. Most Canadians would see that as less accountability.

Is this really getting tough on violent crime? Where is the increased accountability in releasing violent offenders from custody earlier than they are now?

Youth Criminal JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Erie—Lincoln Ontario

Liberal

John Maloney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the primary purpose of the new youth criminal justice bill is the protection of the public. We are doing this by accountability, fairness and rehabilitative measures.

Many factors go into a decision. In the new bill the government is proposing that adult sentences may be applied to children younger than 16 and 17. In this case an adult sentence may be applicable in the situation.

Bill C-20Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the speech by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs on the conditions for recognition of the next Quebec referendum has added far more to people's confusion, rather than dispelling it.

How can the minister seriously claim that the Quebec National Assembly retains its freedom to draft the question of its choice, when, in the same breath, he is saying that, if the question is not to his liking, he will not follow up on it?

Bill C-20Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a whereas clause in the bill indicating that the legislative assembly of a province may ask the question it wants of voters in a referendum, absolutely whatever it wants. But it will take more than just any question to bring the Government of Canada to a negotiating table in order to address breaking apart a country and stripping from one-quarter of the Canadian population, the Quebecers, their entire connection with Canada.

Only a clear question which would lead the people to clearly state their desire to cease to be part of Canada could justify such serious negotiations.

Bill C-20Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister not admit that, under the pretext of clarity, he is expressing with this bill his intolerance of Quebec's undertaking and is sowing the seeds of confusion, by setting the conditions for the next referendum in advance, when he has absolutely no business setting such conditions?