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House of Commons Hansard #235 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-32.

Topics

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, in the same advertorial of the Atlantic Progress that I referred to yesterday, the Minister of Natural Resources stressed that the east coast oil and natural gas resources are developing and expanding.

In particular, the minister said he was excited by the significant new economic opportunities that this development would bring to the Atlantic provinces.

My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. May northeastern New Brunswick also rejoice and benefit from the economic opportunities to which the minister is referring?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, judging by the hon. gentleman's news releases, which contain the most intemperate and insulting language, I doubt that he really expects a serious answer to what should be a serious question for the people of Atlantic Canada.

In fact, the development of offshore resources holds huge potential for the people of Atlantic Canada. This government has helped to foster those resources.

In terms of the development of laterals within the boundaries of a province, that obviously falls within provincial jurisdiction. It may also be of interest to regional development agencies. As far as the Department of Natural Resources is concerned, the economics—

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can do three simple things to clear the air over this growing scandal.

He can release the 363 pages withheld from the member for Markham's access to information requests. He can disclose all of the documents regarding the CIDA contract to Claude Gauthier. He could direct the auditor general to investigate this entire matter by invoking section 11 of the Auditor General Act.

I ask the Prime Minister, why will he not do these three simple things?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the contract was awarded according to the rules in place at the time. It was a competitive process. It was awarded by an independent committee to the person with the lowest bid. It was $2.5 million lower than the other bid.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister spoke of being a good member of parliament. Good members of parliament certainly should not approve grants and loans to questionable individuals in their ridings, particularly before receiving departmental approval. Certainly, a good member of parliament should not be funnelling $6.3 million to Liberal supporters who bailed out his own troubled numbered company.

Can the Prime Minister explain how such a blatant abuse of taxpayers' money is his definition of being a good member of parliament?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, Transelec has done work with CIDA before. It actually worked on a contract awarded in 1985 to do similar work in Togo. To my recollection it was the Mulroney government that was in power at the time.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been reported recently that the government may be considering the introduction of a new infrastructure program to help with rebuilding roads and bridges.

I know my colleagues in the Tory party are not interested, but I would ask the President of the Treasury Board if that is the case and if such plans are in the works.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, given the success of the infrastructure program there is no doubt that quite a number of municipalities would like to see it renewed.

In terms of need, there is no doubt that there is a need and we are ready to listen to the various requests to see if they fit within our budgetary framework.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

June 1st, 1999 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us hope that no new infrastructure program requires the approval of the local MP. We can see that might just be a bit of a problem.

After 36 years of political IOUs, it is now payback time, big time. Mr. Gauthier contributes tens of thousands of dollars to the Prime Minister's campaign and to the Liberal—

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I want the hon. member to go to his question.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is very simple. Is the Prime Minister so ethically and morally blind that he cannot see a problem with this?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that any sensible person would understand that when there is a bid and one bidder is $2.5 million lower than the second bidder, the government got a good deal when it gave that contract.

The opposition would not be very happy if the bidder had not received the contract and the government had spent $2.5 million giving it to a contractor who nobody knew. We saved $2.5 million in giving this contract to the lowest bidder. For me it is very clear and I am very happy with the system because it is doing what has to be done for the good of the taxpayers of Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, for years the Minister of Human Resources Development has been hemming and hawing, hiding behind unfinished studies, rather than announcing the changes that would restore some sense to the employment insurance program.

Does the minister realize that, at a party meeting in Quebec this weekend, his colleague the Minister of Finance also said that he was waiting for the essential corrective measures to employment insurance? What, then, is the Minister of Human Resources Development waiting for before moving on this, since he is the only one responsible for the delay?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance acknowledged what we all acknowledge, that our government has a duty to control, and to very closely monitor, the impacts and consequences of our employment insurance reform.

I have stated in this House that we were aware that there were certain difficulties, particularly those relating to women's access to employment insurance. At this time we are involved in an examination of a number of proposals on what we could do to facilitate the situation. This is quite simply our duty to the people of Canada.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, in case the Minister of Finance is enjoying this question period, I have a question for him.

There are hundreds of capable public servants in his department who are able to write budget speeches. Yet the minister paid $104,000 of taxpayers money to three outside consultants to polish a 29 page speech. That is at a cost of $3,500 a page. Let us hope the minister does not catch a case of verbal diarrhea; he would bankrupt the country.

I know the minister is obsessed with his image, but can he tell us why he paid so much money to three Liberal hacks?

The BudgetOral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

Let me simply say that it was not for speech writing. Certainly it was part of the reason, but in addition there was an entire communications plan, an entire strategic plan laid out.

As well, in the busiest four months before the budget there was the whole question of setting up the website. We were one of the one of the hottest websites in North America following the budget. I would recommend to all members after the next budget that they look at our website. It is really worth while.

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have asked the Minister of Natural Resources on many occasions if he is considering a carbon tax. The answer has repeatedly been no. Yet a 25 member transportation panel looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gases states that transportation bureaucrats, lobbyists and business representatives are closely examining a fuel tax.

My question is fundamental. If the government is not interested in a carbon tax, why is a 25 member panel examining a fuel tax?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the follow-up process after Kyoto the provinces and the federal government agreed that there should be an open, inclusive, transparent process involving all Canadians in which all options would be reviewed and the costs and the benefits analysed so that all governments, not just the Government of Canada but the provinces, the municipalities, the private sector and all Canadians, could have a full and rational assessment of all the costs and all the benefits.

VacancyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation, namely, Mr. Chris Axworthy, member for the electoral district of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, by resignation effective May 31, 1999.

Pursuant to subsection 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed today my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

The Late Douglas HarknessOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness but also honour that I rise today to pay tribute to the late Hon. Douglas Harkness who died in Calgary at the age of 96.

His gallantry during World War II was recognized by the awarding to him of the George Medal, truly an exemplary accomplishment.

Mr. Harkness was elected to the House of Commons in 1945 and retired in 1972 as the member for Calgary Centre. Those 27 years of public service were ones of great change and great challenge in Canada. He helped mould those changes on both sides of the House and in the cabinet room.

Those members who came to parliament after the second world war must have been a very distinct breed. They came from the battlefields directly into the House, determined to build a great nation. They recognized the debt owed to their comrades in arms. They had a vision of a better country and they set about to bring that vision to fruition.

This was reflected in Mr. Harkness' first speech in this place. He had served in the Royal Canadian Artillery and yet his first act when he appeared in the House of Commons was to make a plea for better treatment for the foot soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces, the lowest paid men whom he regarded as being part of the most significant effort in the war in Europe. He championed better pay and conditions for the services which are more in keeping with the risks they run and the conditions they endure.

The Canada that we see today is different from what we saw in 1945. Douglas Harkness and his family, his wife and son who predeceased him, helped build this into a better nation.

I am very honoured to stand in this place and express the thanks of Canadians for his decades of public service and express our regrets and sympathies to his family on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

The Late Douglas HarknessOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to offer a tribute on behalf of the government to the Hon. Douglas Scott Harkness who served his country with integrity and conviction both in the military arena of World War II and in the political arena of the House of Commons between 1945 and 1972.

As a member from Alberta, I am particularly honoured to recognize the political and military contributions of Mr. Harkness.

Douglas Harkness distinguished himself at war through his courage. Indeed he was awarded the George Medal for bravery for his actions in helping to evacuate troops when a flagship he was aboard was torpedoed. He earned the respect of his superiors and was promoted to lieutenant colonel and served as a commander during the invasion of Normandy.

Upon his return from the war Douglas Harkness demonstrated his leadership qualities by helping to shape the political landscape of his country. First elected as MP for the riding of Calgary East in 1945, he was returned after the redistribution of seats as the MP for Calgary North.

Under Prime Minister Diefenbaker, Douglas Harkness served in a variety of portfolios, including Minister of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of National Defence. For a time he was Alberta's only representative in cabinet.

One of his legacies as Minister of Agriculture was to bring a degree of stability to agriculture by establishing the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. He maintained his attachment to the land and was very proud of it. In fact, even as he represented his constituents in Ottawa, he continued to file his income tax as a proud farmer.

Of course that for which he will be most remembered politically is his stand as Minister of National Defence on the issue of nuclear arms. At odds with then Prime Minister Diefenbaker as to whether Canada should arm its Bomarc missiles with nuclear warheads, Douglas Harkness tendered his resignation. In his statement to the House on February 4, 1963, he stated:

I resigned as a matter of principle. The point was finally reached when I considered that my honour and integrity required that I take that step.

It was a division, a stand which would lead to the defeat of the Diefenbaker government. For only the second time in Canadian history a government was overthrown by a vote of non-confidence in the House of Commons.

Teacher, farmer, soldier, legislator, Douglas Harkness exemplified the ability to both serve and lead. Having left an indelible mark on the military and political landscape of the country, he was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978.

On behalf of the government I would like to ask all colleagues to take the time to reflect on the contributions of a former politician, a man of principle, a fellow Albertan, who made a real difference in the country's history.

The Late Douglas HarknessOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute a great Canadian and Calgarian, the Hon. Douglas Scott Harkness.

Douglas Harkness has been described as a man of gracious character, of steely resolve and a true gentleman, a good combination. He was a teacher and a farmer, an outstanding soldier, politician and statesman, so he fully deserves the appellation “great”.

Mr. Harkness developed an interest in politics while teaching school. Small wonder perhaps, for the school's principal was William Aberhart, the first leader of the Social Credit movement in Canada.

While overseas in 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Harkness was proposed as the federal candidate for Calgary East. He was notified by cable and accepted the nomination after consulting with his fellow officers. He was elected in Calgary East in 1945 and returned to parliament in 1949.

Following the 1952 redistribution he was elected in the constituency of Calgary North, the riding I now represent as Calgary—Nose Hill. Mr. Harkness was elected in that riding in 1953, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1968. Nine election victories are a testimony to the high regard in which Calgarians held Mr. Harkness.

Appointed to the cabinet in 1957 he subsequently served as Minister of Agriculture. He took great pride in securing programs to assist the farming community. Mr. Harkness was appointed Minister of National Defence in 1960 at a time when Canadians were vigorously debating foreign and defence policy, particularly surrounding the cancellation of the Avro Arrow and the introduction of the Bomarc missile with its nuclear warhead.

During the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, Minister Harkness took a politically courageous and very responsible decision to place the Canadian military in a state of high alert despite the indecisiveness of the prime minister of the day. Mr. Harkness continued to disagree with the prime minister on issues of national defence and resigned from the cabinet. The government fell in a non-confidence motion the next day. Mr. Harkness was re-elected, as pointed out earlier, and served in the opposition until his retirement in 1972.

The military career of Mr. Harkness, while briefer, was as brilliant as his political record. A militia officer, he went overseas in 1939 as a captain in the artillery. He served in Britain, Sicily, Italy, France and Northwest Europe, the last year as a lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the fifth anti-tank regiment in the fourth armoured division. He was awarded the George Medal in 1943 for his action in organizing the evacuation of a troop ship that was torpedoed on route from England to Italy.

Much more could be said about this wonderful man, his early years, his distinguished family, his combat record and his achievements in the community. I have only touched the surface. I am honoured to have been able to stand here and pay a brief tribute to Mr. Harkness, a most outstanding and remarkable man.

I join with others in the House and in Canada in extending condolences to the family and friends of this great Canadian.

The Late Douglas HarknessOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Douglas Scott Harkness, former member and minister, who died on May 2 at the age of 96.

Mr. Harkness was born in Toronto in 1903. He studied at the University of Alberta, after his family moved to that province in 1910. He was a teacher and a farmer. During the second world war, he served in the armed forces in Europe from 1940 to 1945.

It was, in fact, while he was in Europe that he received a telegram asking him to run as a Conservative in the general election of June 1945. He was first elected to the House of Commons to represent the voters of Calgary East.

During his career in politics, he served as northern affairs and natural resources critic. In 1957, he was appointed Minister of Natural Resources and acting Minister of Agriculture. He served as Minister of Agriculture until 1960, when he was appointed Minister of National Defence.

As such, he took part in the important debate that caused such a furor at the time on the appropriateness of the Canadian Armed Forces having nuclear weapons. The position he defended on this did not prevail and he accordingly resigned his post in 1963. He continued to represent the voters of Calgary Centre until 1972.

After retiring from political life, Mr. Harkness returned to agriculture. In 1978, he received the Order of Canada.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois and on my behalf, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.