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House of Commons Hansard #233 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, are the statistics not warming the heart of the statistician over there?

The fact is when average families pick up their paycheques and look at the bottom line, they say that although statistics mean a lot they get less money this year than they had last year under this tax and spend Liberal government. That is what it amounts to. That is the bottom line. Families spend more on taxes than they do on food, clothing and shelter combined under this government's system.

Why does the government not understand that it needs to give tax relief to these families, that it needs to give it now, and that those statistics do not mean a pinch of snuff compared to what families see as their bottom line on every paycheque?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad the hon. member said a pinch of snuff after what we have heard this week.

Unfortunately the member is quoting from outdated statistics, those that began during the period of recession in the nineties—

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

They released them today.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

No, no. Today's statistics in terms of today's numbers are very different. As an example, consider individual income. Personal disposable income growth strengthened to 3.5% from only 1.1% in the first quarter.

The fact is there was a decline in the early part of the nineties when the Tories, the Reform Party's friends, were in power. However, in the last year and a half it has stabilized. Personal incomes are now up. The personal disposable income left in people's pockets is now up. The fact is that we have turned it around.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians regret this week's military skirmish in Kashmir, just one year after the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. When I accompanied the secretary of state to the region last week, Pakistan asked Canada to mediate. Indian authorities asked for our participation in trade talks between these two countries to start relieving the tension.

Why will the government not exercise leadership and respond to what these officials have asked Canada to do? Why is it sitting on its hands?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is a clear contradiction in what the hon. member just asked. He admitted that he had accompanied the secretary of state for Asian affairs who is directly engaging the India and Pakistan governments.

He says that we are not doing anything. The hon. member was part of an engagement program that the Canadian government initiated last week.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, Pakistani officials told me they would welcome Canada's participation in mediating. Indian officials complained because the government has been turning its back on them for one year. They have not had any contacts with the government or this country.

The government imposed sanctions. It froze ministerial contact and it has turned its back on them since the nuclear tests. What is the government doing to relieve tension? What is it doing instead of doing nothing? What did it do in one year?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I suppose the definition of doing nothing is sending the hon. member over to India and Pakistan. I happen to place more value, however, on the initiatives of the hon. gentleman and on the other initiatives we have taken on.

I remind the hon. member of something very important. Just about one year ago, India and Pakistan both engaged in nuclear tests which broke the fundamental principles of nuclear non-proliferation.

As part of the G-8 membership, which includes all major countries and where Canada has taken a lead against non-proliferation, it was up to us to try to tell India and Pakistan that they should not be testing nuclear weapons and helping the spread of those horrible weapons.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that the Americans are reacting rather curiously to the allegedly extraordinary agreement the Minister of Canadian Heritage negotiated with them on magazines.

In fact, they claim, according to a senior official in the American government, that publishers will have to have access to the Canadian government's subsidy program.

How does the Minister of Canadian Heritage explain, barely two days after announcing the Americans had agreed to honour the agreement without problem and without further action, the abrupt change in the American point of view? Is it not that she and her colleague in international trade had assumed that what they wanted was reality?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am confident that the American government will not react, because it has in fact put this promise in writing to Canada with respect to this agreement.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only has the minister given up a large part of the Canadian advertising base to American publishers, but, what is more, they are now threatening to take us to the WTO if they do not get access to the Canadian subsidy program.

Has the Minister of Canadian Heritage not started singing her own praises too early in light of the weak results of her brilliant negotiation?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Americans did sign the agreement.

This agreement is called the WTO agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures. The Americans signed that agreement and I expect that they intend to respect it.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, we find it very hard to understand why the Minister of Canadian Heritage is so excited about the agreement reached regarding the magazine issue, considering that Canadian publishers are disappointed while their American counterparts are elated.

How can the Minister of Canadian Heritage claim that the Americans backed down from anything on this issue, since the Washington Post sees the agreement as a precedent that could be useful in the campaign led by the United States to eliminate every barrier to trade in the cultural industry?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the hon. member read the article in the Washington Post , but it says that, for the first time in the history of the United States, the Americans have acknowledged that culture can be treated differently.

What the article says is totally contrary to what the hon. member is claiming in this House.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage does not seem to realize that she and her Liberal colleagues are the only ones who are elated in Canada.

When she looks at the reality, does the minister not get the impression that the saying “she has been hoisted with her own petard” perfectly describes the situation in which she finds herself, with all the resulting negative impact for the Canadian publishing industry?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, again, I would ask the hon. member to think about what he supposedly read in yesterday's edition of the Washington Post .

That newspaper clearly says that, for the first time in the history of the United States, the Americans agreed that culture should be treated differently than other trade issues.

We have always said that one of the great gains made in this agreement is that, for the first time in history, culture is recognized as being different from any other type of trade.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

May 28th, 1999 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Kosovar refugees continue to flood across the border into Macedonia. The camps are bursting at the seams. Conditions are terrible and the humanitarian crisis is threatening to turn into a humanitarian tragedy.

To relieve the pressure on the camps and the entire region, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is asking donor countries to escalate the evacuation program, the airlift out of the area. Canada has provided sanctuary for 5,000.

Will the government commit to providing sanctuary for a greater number of Kosovar refugees, doubling or even tripling the current level?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had occasion last week to meet directly with Mrs. Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At that time I specifically asked if she would like Canada to accept more refugees. She said no, that she would like to see Canada help in terms of the ongoing resettlement program in the region and in terms of reinforcing the ongoing work in the camps.

I can report to the hon. member that in direct discussions with the high commissioner she did not request that. In fact she said at this point in time she would rather have us look at alternate ways of helping in the camps in Macedonia and Albania.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as recently as Wednesday a parliamentary delegation from the House met with the program director of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Macedonia. The message then was an urgent need to escalate the evacuation program.

Another situation arises. Those refugees who are settled here or have sanctuary in this country are faced the prospect that if they choose to become landed immigrants they will be charged a head tax, a $975 landing fee.

The government has indicated it may waive that landing fee for Kosovar refugees. Will it commit to abolishing the racist head tax completely for all new Canadians who seek refuge in this country?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. There is no head tax in Canada. The hon. member opposite trivializes a dark period of this country's history when a head tax was used to keep people out based on race, ethnicity and religion.

Having learned from history, we now have one of the best and most generous refugee immigration policies in the world. The hon. member opposite should applaud that and recognize that.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the atrocious Airbus investigation makes the Canadian justice system the laughing stock of the international community.

The government continues to waste millions of taxpayers dollars on an investigation where the supposed prime suspect has not even been interviewed. The Liberals continue to find money for this investigation by cutting the RCMP, limiting the fight against organized crime and importation of drugs.

How can the Liberal government call itself accountable as it sits back and allows a foreign country to embark on an unlawful exercise of search and seizure when it knows full well that the exercise is not permitted under Canadian law?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the only cases that I am aware of where the legislative branch tells the judicial branch what to do are in banana republics. I do not think Canada qualifies as a banana republic.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this debacle continues and the Department of Justice continues its attempts to cover its tracks in what could go down in history as the biggest political witch hunt of all time. It is an international embarrassment.

While the astronomical costs of this ridiculous, ill-founded investigation and litigation continue to mount, the Minister of Justice sits idly by, as did her predecessor.

When will the government cease and desist in its malicious and vindictive obsession to besmirch a former prime minister, from whom it plagiarized most of his policy initiatives?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party may have interfered with police investigations. That may have been its approach. I do not know if it was, but in any event it is not our approach. We do not intend to have political interference with arm's length police investigations.