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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised before he left for the Middle East that he would be careful not to cause any controversy. Imagine the damage that he would do if he was actually trying.

He is seriously jeopardizing delicate diplomatic relations. Why will the government not bring the Prime Minister home before he does permanent damage?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not been criticized by the leaders with whom he has met. They have been pleased with the way the talks have been going. The Prime Minister has helped advance the cause of peace in the area and the interests of Canada through the important agreements he has signed in Israel and Egypt.

My hon. friend is totally wrong in the way she is bad-mouthing improperly and not factually the efforts of the Prime Minister, which are going very well.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is blunder after blunder by the Prime Minister. Every day brings a new surprise.

Before the Prime Minister goes any further in destroying diplomatic relations, perhaps his deputy would tell the House, just how many years will the Prime Minister set back diplomatic relations in the Middle East? How many years will he set them back?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong. She should look at the former leader of the opposition when he set back Canada's image in the world by bad-mouthing Canada's financial reputation with disastrous results.

Why does the hon. member not recognize that before she tries to give lessons to the Prime Minister, who has an unparalleled record of achievement in the international fora of the world?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the Prime Minister's statements were of no consequence, since no newspapers reported them. Today, the Deputy Prime Minister's argument no longer holds, because L'Orient-Le Jour , a daily published in Beirut, Lebanon, reports that the Syrian president may decide not to meet with the Prime Minister of Canada.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister admit that the Prime Minister's statements are hurting Canada's reputation on the international scene?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I must thank the hon. member for saying words in support of Canada's position as a united nation all over the world. I appreciate the hon. member's support for Canada as a united country on foreign policy issues.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the Deputy Prime Minister's reply any more than I understand the statements made by the Prime Minister during his trip.

Before he left, the Prime Minister said that one of the objectives of his trip to the Middle East was to see how Canada could further promote peace in that region. Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain to this House—if at all possible and I wonder about that—how the behaviour and statements of the Prime Minister are in line with the objectives being pursued?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is taking part in very positive talks with the leaders of that region. Canada continues to be an active member of committees promoting peace and the peace process in that region.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, even if the Prime Minister has denied reaching an agreement to take in 15,000 Palestinian refugees, he has admitted discussing the possibility of admitting some of them to Canada with the Prime Minister of Israel.

In so doing, is the Prime Minister not interfering in an extremely delicate issue, by voicing an opinion that differs from that of the Palestinian Authority on this matter?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Israeli Prime Minister Barak made no such request and Prime Minister Chrétien has not committed to any such thing regarding refugees.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a press release dated March 30, the Prime Minister describes his intention to travel to the Middle East in order, in his words, to “explore ways that Canadian expertise—can be further utilized to attain a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region”.

Is Canadian expertise not being very poorly represented by the Prime Minister in a region of the world where diplomacy, tact, finesse and an understanding of the issues are required?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally wrong in her criticism of the Prime Minister. I personally appreciate his support on behalf of Canada, a country of great importance in the world because it is a unified country, despite the efforts of her party.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, for our part, we are not sure that we want the Prime Minister to come home. When he travels within Canada he does things like go to Alberta and tell Premier Klein that everything is okay.

In that respect, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Health. Yesterday, in response to a question from my leader, he referenced his own letter to the Minister of Health of Alberta in relation to the whole NAFTA question, but he simply asked the minister of Alberta whether he had any strategies to deal with this potential problem.

It is the minister's government which signed NAFTA. It is the minister's government that is responsible for these kinds of agreements. What kind of strategy does the Minister of Health have for dealing with this possible problem?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first, when the Prime Minister was in Calgary three weeks ago he made it very clear that the Alberta government, like all provincial governments, must respect the principles of the Canada Health Act or the Government of Canada will act accordingly. He made that very clear.

Second, in relation to NAFTA, I did raise the concern in my correspondence with Minister Jonson. Frankly, I did not get from Minister Jonson a satisfactory response. We have been examining the implications of this bill under NAFTA. Yesterday we received the opinion from Mr. Appleton, which is under study. Together with the experts at justice and foreign affairs we are looking at those implications now.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am having about as much luck getting a response out of this Minister of Health as he is getting from the Minister of Health of Alberta.

He has the opinion from Mr. Appleton. He now has a letter from a former premier of Saskatchewan, Allan Blakeney, on this matter. It is not something that can be left for a long time. If the wrong thing happens, NAFTA kicks in. If the bill passes and it is vulnerable to NAFTA, it will not be able to be undone.

We want to know what the minister is going to do in the very short term about this problem.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are fully aware of the need to examine the implications under NAFTA of Bill 11. We raised these concerns with the Government of Alberta. We are doing our own legal analysis through justice and foreign affairs. We are also examining the various opinions that have been made public, including the opinion yesterday from Mr. Appleton.

I assure the member and the House that we will respond at the appropriate time.

Via RailOral Question Period

April 13th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport made an announcement that he has decided to set aside $401.9 million in new subsidies for VIA Rail. The press release goes on to say that now that he has identified the $401.9 million, he is going to ask VIA Rail for a five year business plan and the details on how it plans to spend this money.

My question to the minister is, how could you arrive at a figure of $401.9 million with no business plan and no details of how the money is to be spent?

Via RailOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members to please address their comments through the Chair, as opposed to one another.

Via RailOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the announcement made yesterday by the Minister of Transport on behalf of this government was a giant step forward in providing a viable and affordable railway passenger system for the people of this country.

The corporate plan presented by VIA will be carefully examined by the governor in council, in other words, by the cabinet, for its approval.

Via RailOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. parliamentary secretary that if he went into a bank and said “Would you lend me $400 million? I will tell you what I am going to use it for later”, he would be thrown out of the bank. There are special rules on that side. They identify money and explain it after. The standing committee said in recommendation 3 that the government should allow for and encourage innovative public and private sector partnerships, yet when I proposed one of those three weeks ago, the minister declined to even hear it.

Will the parliamentary secretary ensure that future private sector proposals will be considered for passenger rail service in Canada?

Via RailOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the proposal was made yesterday. It is very clear regarding commercialization aspects of the entire program. We will have to be patient and wait to see what commercialized ventures come forth for consideration by all parties concerned.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1967 Charles de Gaulle shouted “Vive le Quebec libre” and Canadians were outraged at this foreign interference in a delicate domestic issue.

How does the Deputy Prime Minister explain the Prime Minister's outrageous intervention in the domestic affairs of Israel and the Palestinian authority?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally off base. There was no improper intervention in the domestic affairs of any country or area in the region. The Prime Minister has been having useful talks with leaders of the region and they have not complained at all about the positions he has taken. Therefore I repeat, the hon. member as usual is totally off base.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister did not know and did not care what part of Jerusalem he was in. Then he told the Palestinians to unilaterally declare independence. Then he said that Israel should keep disputed territories that are in fact subject to very delicate negotiations.

Why is the Prime Minister bent on damaging the delicate Middle East peace process?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to visiting a certain area of Jerusalem, I am informed that when Prime Minister Blair and United States President Clinton were in Israel and in that region they did not visit that area either. Therefore, I do not see why one should criticize our Prime Minister for making a similar decision with respect to his trip.

In any event, the Prime Minister is advancing the peace process through his useful talks with leaders of the region. He is advancing our economic relations through the agreements he is signing. The hon. member should recognize this instead of raising these baseless questions. He should get up and—