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House of Commons Hansard #197 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

International ForumsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, French Canadians are very well represented here in the House and throughout Canada, in embassies, and their interests are well protected.

I would point out, because these days there is a lot of talk about Catalonia, that the Spanish constitution does not give to the people of Catalonia the same powers as Quebec enjoys here. The Spanish constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards.

When we travel in Spain, we can see that the people of Catalonia would like to have the powers that the Canadian Constitution gives the Government of Quebec.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago in this House we strongly endorsed a bill. This bill is now before the justice committee and would give children's organizations a right to know if a convicted child molester applies for a position of trust over children. Yesterday, coincidentally, the solicitor general introduced a bill that proposes the same thing.

I would be willing to take my name off the bill and the solicitor general could put his name on it and we would be a lot further ahead on this whole issue. Will the solicitor general take my bill now so that children can be better protected rather than waiting for another year or more?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what my hon. colleague should do is read Bill C-69. It is more inclusive. It has a flagging system to indicate if anybody was convicted of a sex offence. It is retroactive. This bill is important for public safety. I certainly await my hon. colleague's support for this piece of very important legislation.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned sometimes when I see power and politics going ahead of the protection of our Canadian children. My bill is exactly the same as the one the minister has put forward. This week there are witnesses here who are presenting evidence in support of our bill.

Why will the solicitor general not do the right thing and protect Canadian children instead of playing power and politics?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I am doing. It is the right thing. What I am doing is putting a piece of legislation in place that protects the public now. It is also retroactive. It is a piece of legislation that I can only hope my hon. colleague and his party will support.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

March 16th, 1999 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the government says that any surplus in the EI account is part of Canada's consolidated revenue fund and does not belong to contributors.

Can the Minister of Finance explain why his government is appropriating EI fund surpluses when it is not paying one red cent into the plan, when all the money in it comes from workers and employers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well that the government rolled the EI fund into the government's consolidated revenue fund in 1986 at the request of the auditor general. It was done at his request and we are following his rules.

At the same time, the member is also well aware that the Canadian government guarantees the money in this fund.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, either the EI fund's surpluses belong to contributors, which explains why the government is paying interest on them, or they belong to the government, as the government claims.

If so, why is the minister paying interest on a surplus that he claims belongs to him?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, because this was how it was set up at the very beginning.

But I again repeat that the member is well aware that the Canadian government guarantees these payments and, when the fund is in the red, as it has been for 11 of the last 17 years, it is the Canadian government that assumes the load.

CubaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we saw the effectiveness of this government's soft power foreign policy. Four Cuban dissidents were sentenced to prison after a kangaroo court in Havana found them guilty of subversion.

Given his warm relations with Mr. Castro, why was the foreign affairs minister not able to ensure their right to a fair trial?

CubaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in this case the Prime Minister has raised the issue directly with President Castro. I raised the issue myself. We expressed our extreme disappointment that the Cuban government did not react. That in no way questions the importance in the long haul of continuing to try to help change Cuban society to move toward a more democratic open society. That is the Canadian policy.

CubaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is too little too late.

How can the government deny that its 20 years of soft power policy toward Cuba has been anything but a total failure?

CubaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I guess if the member knew the facts then he would draw a different conclusion.

The fact of the matter is that we have made major changes in helping broaden the area of religious freedom in Cuba. Last year a number of political prisoners were released. We have had agreements signed on anti-terrorism and anti-drug matters. We have been able to improve the political space for civil groups. We have been able to help build the capacity in that country to deal with problems of legislation and human rights.

We are making some progress. There is a setback. It is a long road. There are some bumps on the road, but this government continues to be committed to try to bring about democratic change in that country.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government claims that women are not being discriminated against by the new eligibility rules for maternity benefits because, by their very nature, only women can get pregnant.

My question is for the Secretary of State for the Status of Women. Since the Minister of Human Resources Development is insensitive to our objections, what is the reaction of the Secretary of State for the Status of Women to her government's argument that there is be no discrimination, because pregnancy is a natural event?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond by saying yes, pregnancy is a natural course in the lifestyle of a woman. There is no doubt about that.

I do not agree with the hon. member that there is discrimination based on some of the initiatives by Human Resources Development of Canada. We are looking at some of the issues. There is more that can be done to level that playing field. We are working on that. But we cannot make changes immediately, in one day. They are stacked one on top of the other. We have seen this government make changes that are appropriate to the lives of women.

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

Canada's aerospace industry is vital to our economy and our international competitiveness. The minister has had four days to examine the WTO decision on Brazil's decision to challenge our industry.

Can the minister comment on the fact that the Reform Party was not exactly helpful to Canada's case?

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, last July when the leader of the Reform Party travelled to Asia, he publicly and deliberately undermined our interests on trade and investment.

Second, yesterday and today Reform members continue to try to undermine the independent KPMG report that shows that Canada is number one. Now, in the WTO report that was just released on the aircraft dispute between Brazil and Canada, it cites seven different references where the Reform Party has given information to the Brazilian government to help it with its case. This is absolutely shocking and borders on sabotage of our national interests. Which side of the case is the Reform Party on?

GrainOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, because of the strike by 70 PSAC grain weighers the railways are not moving grain. The ports are completely shut down today.

Another 24 hours have passed. What has the treasury board minister personally done in the past day to ensure that this strike will end?

GrainOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we have negotiated with the blue collar union. We have made it offers that we judge to be extremely generous. We have in fact offered it more than we have offered to 80% of public servants.

I am sorry the union considers at present that it has to carry out these acts. I hope it will come back to the negotiation table, see the light, become reasonable and agree to a settlement.

GrainOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, exports of $5 million per day are not leaving port. Sixteen vessels are waiting for grain to be loaded, with seven more due this week. Canada's reputation as a reliable supplier is being destroyed.

How long will the treasury board minister let this go on, or does he even care about the situation?

GrainOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Once again, Mr. Speaker, we have tried to the last moment to make concessions that would make the strikers go back to work. Unfortunately they are asking for unreasonable demands at present. We are considering all possible options.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, CBC Radio Canada as we know it may go off the air on the Friday.

I was on the picket line this morning with Dean Haywood. His father was a technical director and his brother directed Hockey Night in Canada for 15 years. Dean has worked at the parliamentary bureau for 25 years.

Generations of committed public broadcasters have been keeping a dream alive, but it may all fade to black on Friday because government funding cuts have pushed the corporation into crisis.

Will the minister of heritage give assurances to the Haywoods and the millions of Canadians who support public broadcasting that she will find money to prevent the CBC from fading to black on Friday?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I have good news on the CBC front. The technicians have been meeting with a mediator since last Monday and are still talking. The media guild has now asked for a mediator and one has been provided.

I would ask the hon. member to accept the procedure that is in place. Both parties are speaking and we hope they will go back to work soon. It is not only a funding issue. There are other issues on the table that are more than just funding.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have known the government has been involved with various kinds of interference with the CBC for a long time. There was a $400 million cut to funding. It has told CBC what logo to have. It censored Terry Milewski for his reporting. It has made CBC interference an art form.

I find it ironic that at this point in time the minister would be saying that they are trying to stay out of this and let business take its course. I think the CBC has to be dealt with quickly and the government has to have some hand in it.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said. I said that there were issues on the table other than funding.

The mediators are speaking to both groups. Let us allow the process to work in the hope that a new collective agreement will be negotiated sooner rather than later.