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House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

KosovoOral Question Period

April 19th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of National Defence confirm that Canadian forces personnel are now engaged in ground operations in Kosovo and or Yugoslavia?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the hon. member is referring to as ground operations.

We have personnel in Macedonia and Albania who are largely assisting with refugees and things of that order. We do not have troops. We indicated previously that under a peacekeeping force, which would come with a post-peace agreement, we would send 600 to 800 troops. Obviously those troops are not there at this point in time. What people we do have in the area are helping to assist in the overall effort with respect to the refugees.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was not talking about the surrounding areas.

I ask the minister, are members of joint task force two now involved in ground operations in Kosovo and Yugoslavia?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the operations that we have in Albania, in Macedonia or anywhere in the area have been previously well discussed and announced in the House. We made it quite clear that we would not be sending peacekeeping troops under a condition of conflict, or anything other than what we have agreed to already, without further discussion.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister talks about being on track. The track that Canada's brightest and best are on is straight to the U.S., which has a tax system that welcomes them with open arms, while Canada's tax system drives them out of this country. Now Nortel has joined other captains of industry in telling the government to clean up its tax act or they are out of here.

I ask the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, before the entire high tech industry logs off, shuts downs and exits this government's odious tax program, will they bring in some tax relief?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the hon. member that he take a few minutes after question period today and drive west with his two-bit tavern taunter over there to Nepean to look at the skyline around the Nortel campus, count the cranes, and he will get an idea just how quickly Nortel is leaving Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the Y2K bug has come early to the Minister of Industry.

The Liberal government's high tax regime is a threat to our current high tech industry, while the tax system in the U.S. is welcoming our brightest and best with open arms.

I ask the Prime Minister once again, before the whole industry logs off, shuts down and exits this tax program, will he bring in tax relief to keep our high tech industry in Canada, providing jobs for our brightest?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, year after year we see the Reform Party refuse to support the kinds of measures we are taking. I think we have seen the Y2K bug in action over there.

Again and again we invest in innovation. We invest in research and development. We support university granting councils. We support R and D tax credits. We hear nothing from the Reform Party except more and more criticism.

As we grow our high tech sector we see the success not just of companies like Nortel, but of the myriad of others which have started in this region and others.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Kosovo Albanians are being kept within the country because the Serbs have mined the roads leading to Albania, 43 mass graves have apparently been discovered, additional proof that the ethnic cleansing is turning into genocide.

Since the Serbs have mined the exit routes from Kosovo to Albania, in order to force the Albanians to remain in Kosovo, does Canada not fear that the objective of this operation is to purely and simply eliminate this trapped population?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that the fact that the Serbian regime is now engaged in massive land mine plantation in and around those borders only compounds the series of criminal acts that have gone on over the last couple of years.

I believe that one of the most important tasks we will face when we come to an agreement is to ensure that we provide real leadership in de-mining to save the lives of the innocent victims and civilians in that area. I am sure that the House, which so broadly supported the land mines treaty, will also support the Canadian government in that kind of initiative.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, is it not the duty of NATO countries to prevent genocide rather than to discover after the fact that there has been genocide. In this connection, what do they intend to do to follow up on the serious indications that there has been genocide in Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the last week the Government of Canada, as a member of NATO, has been party to an agreement with the international tribunal in The Hague which is looking into war crime issues.

It has already sent letters to the leaders of the Yugoslav regime and now we are actively engaged in the investigation and transfer of information so that the war crimes tribunal can build a case against those who are committing war crimes in that area.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's problem is taxes. Let us take a look at the government's priorities: billions lost on business subsidies, distorting markets; millions wasted on millennium schemes and parties; and hundreds of thousands thrown away on a rundown hotel in Shawinigan.

Are Canadians not getting real tax relief because the government just cannot spend enough? Is that its one-note song?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. This government started cutting taxes a couple of budgets ago and it will continue to cut taxes. There have been cuts of some $16.5 billion over three years and there has been a reduction in employment insurance premiums as well.

If the hon. member wants to talk about what the government is doing, then let us talk about economic policy. Let us talk about balanced budgets, which we have not seen in the country in 50 years. Let us talk about reduction in spending to 12% of GDP, the lowest in 50 years.

This government is on the track of ensuring that the country continues to prosper and we will stay on that track.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, hurting companies know that is a lot of rhetoric. The government just does not get it. The minister thinks that companies can sit around and wait for the government to cut taxes.

The need is pretty clear. Why will he not act? Can the minister not see that tax relief delayed is tax relief denied?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about delay. Let us talk about what we have done.

We have raised the basic exemption by $675 for all taxpayers, removing 600,000 Canadians from the tax rolls. We have eliminated the 3% general surtax introduced by the previous government for all taxpayers. The last two budgets have provided $16.5 billion in tax reduction. That is not all we have done. We have invested $11.5 billion in health care.

The hon. member talks about investment. Let us talk about the increase in health research budgets.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned on the weekend that Canada would increase its military effort by sending another six F-18s to Kosovo.

Without again raising the issue of the need for our participation, could the Minister of National Defence tell us what our involvement in this conflict has cost to date and what sort of budget the government has set itself for its current operations in Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are in the throes of putting together some figures that we hope to have later this week so that all hon. members will have an indication of the numbers involved.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will have 18 planes taking part in the air strikes in Yugoslavia.

Can the minister tell us whether this is the maximum number of planes Canada can make available to NATO and, if not, how many more operational planes does Canada have to respond to future such requests?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I could not tell the hon. member at this point. We have not been asked for any additional aircraft over and above the six, which, with the additional aircraft from our allies, will now provide for around-the-clock air campaign action.

Whether any further aircraft will be required beyond that, it is much too early to say. I talked with General Clark about it and he does not know at this point in time. If such a need arises, then we will consider the request.

Nuclear WasteOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, in spite of what the Minister of Foreign Affairs had to say earlier, it has been reported that the cabinet has approved the test burning of plutonium from U.S. warheads in Canada's reactors.

If this is true, the decision directly contravenes an all-party committee that specifically ruled out such a test burn.

What part of no does the minister not understand?

Nuclear WasteOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the committee made recommendations, not decisions. It is up to the government to make a response to those recommendations and it will be tabling a response.

I go back to what I said in the House many times before. First, the test uses a minute portion of the fuel to determine its validity, its safety and its application of environmental standards. It comes down to a very central question because the committee also strongly recommended that Canada make a contribution to get rid of nuclear weapons, to de-nuclearize the world. We think it is up to Canada to make a contribution.

Nuclear WasteOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that they will be burning this stuff in Canada. The committee has listened to expert witnesses and concerned Canadians. It unanimously rejected the test burn idea, but the government is going ahead with it.

This is the start of a small test of a large problem. Will Canada become the nuclear waste dump of the world?

Nuclear WasteOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman may be confusing two things. With respect to the testing of a minute amount of MOX fuel, that is already covered under the existing licence of the Chalk River facilities. If there should be any consideration in the future to a full MOX program in Canada it would require not only those successful tests, but also the complete environmental review of the proposal in compliance with all federal and provincial laws to ensure that all environmental health and safety factors in the country are taken into account.

Millenium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of Bell Canada, Mr. Monty, already has his hands full with the operators he wants to lay off. His shareholders will certainly not appreciate his spending all his time negotiating for the federal government on the millennium scholarships.

Given that the matter is totally stalled and that students could be penalized in this new federal flag war, could the Minister of Human Resources Development shake off the cobwebs and meet in Quebec City with Minister Legault, who has been waiting for him for weeks to come and resolve this?