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House of Commons Hansard #238 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was preclearance.

Topics

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the fact that an agreement may be reached between the NATO countries and the Government of Serbia.

We are currently confirming the details of this agreement, and there will be meetings tomorrow between NATO spokespersons and Serbian spokespersons to work out the details of the agreement.

It will be easier to see how this situation will unfold once we receive confirmation from the NATO people on the position of the Serbian government on this agreement.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the response to my question is rather embarrassing.

On April 12 the Bloc Quebecois made two specific proposals for the reconstruction of Kosovo and stability in the Balkans: a conference on the national minorities in Europe under the aegis of the OSCE, and a new Marshall plan.

Will the government wait until Slobodan Milosevic is no longer in power before initiating the process to rebuild Kosovo, or does the condition proposed by France apply only to the rest of Yugoslavia?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday the ministers of foreign affairs of the G-8 countries will meet.

Our minister will be there. In these discussions they will try to set out a resolution for the United Nations. This will be clear once we have the text of the resolution to be prepared on Sunday by the foreign affairs ministers of the G-8 countries, including our own Minister of Foreign Affairs.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Yugoslavian parliament's acceptance of all G-8 conditions is perhaps the most important development pointing toward a return to peace in Kosovo since the conflict first began.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not think that a temporary halt to the bombing would send the Yugoslavian population a clear signal that NATO wanted peace in addition to facilitating the speedy and verifiable withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at this time we do not have details on Serbia's position with respect to withdrawing its forces in a verifiable manner.

A meeting tomorrow in Belgrade between representatives of NATO and Serbia will provide a better indication of the degree to which Serbia will go along with the plan. Once we have these details, and after there has been a genuine and verifiable withdrawal of Serbian forces, we will be in a position to consider with our allies a halt to the bombing in Yugoslavia.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, by continuing to bomb military targets in Kosovo, despite the Yugoslavian parliament's acceptance of the G-8 conditions, NATO is asking Serbia's military leaders to come out of hiding and offer themselves up as targets.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not see this as a contradiction in the government's position, and would it not be better for NATO to temporarily suspend the bombing?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Halton Ontario

Liberal

Julian Reed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government of Mr. Milosevic knows very well that NATO's position was that it would not stop military engagement while ethnic cleansing was ongoing and until the troops began to withdraw from Kosovo.

That has to be verifiable. Mr. Milosevic has gone back on his word a number of times before. We are definitely prepared to make the move when those things are verified.

FisheriesOral Question Period

June 4th, 1999 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were appalled yesterday to see that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans signed a deal which guarantees Americans the ability to catch Canadian coho when Canadians themselves will not be able to catch them.

I want to ask a question of the Deputy Prime Minister. Why is it that the government continues to put the wishes and the interests of the people of British Columbia and Canada secondary to the wishes of the Americans and to the pressure put on the government by the Americans? Why does it not just take down the Maple Leaf, run up the white flag and keep it there?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact the agreement moves fish to Canada. On the coho that he just mentioned, restrictions will be introduced on Alaska trollers so they cannot catch what they could have caught in other years.

In 1997 the season would have been closed three weeks earlier if this agreement would have been in place, and in 1998 and 1992 it would have closed 10 days earlier.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think the member who just rose and others should get together with the Minister of Canadian Heritage. They could practice how to defend the indefensible sellout of our culture, now our fisheries, and before that Nanoose Bay. The list goes on and on of the way in which the government has capitulated to American interests.

When does it end? When does the surrender end? When do we begin to fight back instead of signing these sell-out deals on various fronts?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is not a sell-out deal. This moves fish to Canada. We can look at Fraser River sockeye for instance. The United States share under this agreement will be 16.5%. This compares with last year where their share was 24.9% and where the historical average was 20.5% between 1985 and 1986. That is moving fish to Canada.

This agreement is for Canadians and for the future of the fisheries. The member should be congratulating the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Government of Canada for negotiating this agreement, with no thanks to the B.C. government.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Ontario voters re-elected a Conservative government that cut taxes by 30%. They gave Mike Harris a strong mandate to continue cutting taxes for Ontario families, communities and businesses. This morning Premier Harris said that federal taxes are too high and are a barrier to job creation, investment and growth.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. When will the Liberals follow the lead of Mike Harris and cut taxes?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our first task was to eliminate the $42 billion deficit burden created by the Conservative government of Mr. Mulroney of which the member is a current spokesman. We eliminated that deficit and we moved to a balanced budget. At the same time, we have begun massive tax reductions of $16.5 billion over the next three years.

We do not need to follow Mike Harris' lead on this. We are doing this through a mandate from the Canadian people, including those in Ontario. Unlike Mike Harris, we are not doing this with one cent of borrowed money.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal Liberals broke promise after promise, from free trade to the GST, from health care to an independent ethics counsellor. The Harris Conservatives took a different approach. They said what they would do before an election and actually delivered. While the Liberals are the party of trickery, cynicism and low integrity, the Conservatives are the party of honesty, hope and opportunity.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister tell Ontario voters why they should trust the Liberals when Conservative policies have caused Ontario to grow and the federal government to balance its books?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario voters have already said what they think of the federal Conservative Party. I am sure they are going to give a similar verdict in the next federal election and return an overwhelming number of federal Liberals.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

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

Due to the new ruling by U.S. customs on softwood lumber, thousands of Canadian forestry jobs and even the fate of some Canadian companies are threatened. Why has the government allowed Canada's softwood lumber trade with the Americans to suffer this new blow? Were the trade officials too busy defending the magazine industry to recognize this new serious threat of the softwood lumber agreement?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I think the member rather than joke about incredible non-starting comparisons should treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.

We have an agreement that his province and that industry urged the federal government to get into two and a half years ago. It is obviously disappointing that the Americans are trying to expand the focus of this agreement. We have taken action. We have taken action against them at the world customs. The world customs has agreed with us again. If they continue to persist on the softwood rougher headed issue, we will continue to take action against them.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know of the action the government has taken at the world customs, but there has been no action taken on this most recent decision on the rougher headed lumber. Whatever happened to the five years of lumber peace the Liberals promised by signing the softwood lumber agreement?

It does not matter if it is softwood or split-runs, we are getting the same scripted answers. Canadians want to know what specifically will the government do before parliament rises to guarantee that these forest workers do not lose their jobs?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have an agreement with the United States. It is an agreement that was agreed to by all the four provinces within the agreement and by the entire industry from one coast to the other. The member knows this.

Now the commodity sector has come under great pressure both in Canada and the United States. That clearly does not justify the single-handed action the United States has taken. We will use every possible aspect of this agreement as well as the world customs and NAFTA to redress in the proper way the proper functioning of the agreement between our two countries.

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs made a very troubling statement. He said the agreements signed by officials of the federal government and those of a provincial government would not be binding on governments and that, accordingly, cabinet was not obliged to honour them.

Does the Minister of Human Resources Development think that his negotiator will have the trust of the Government of Quebec on the millennium scholarships after what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said and after what occurred in the matter of Nanoose Bay?

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I understand is that the other agreement the member for Lac-Saint-Jean is referring to—

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Liberal Papineau—Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Lac-Saint-Jean has just said, I can say one thing, and that is that the agreement had been signed by officials. That is what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was referring to.

In the matter of the millennium scholarships, I can reassure the member for Lac-Saint-Jean that the representative of the Government of Canada enjoys my full confidence and that of our government.

There will soon be another meeting between the representatives of the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada. I am confident that we will resolve this dispute very soon so that Quebec students may enjoy the millennium scholarships.

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all very well to play a semantics game and call someone a facilitator when in fact they are a negotiator. Basically, is the mandate of the federal facilitator not simply to facilitate the life of the Minister of Human Resources Development by providing him with a pretext to avoid getting on with it and assuming his ministerial responsibilities?