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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition may begin his question.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did not think loyalty was such a touchy subject over there.

Two years ago, the Liberal members gave their support to reducing the taxes on fuel.

This Thursday, is the Prime Minister going to allow his MPs a free vote on the Canadian Alliance's motion on lowering the taxes on fuel?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that when a budget motion is moved, if the hon. member wants to have an election right away, all he has to do is ask members of parliament to vote with him. However, there are members, as some journalists have told me, who are afraid to have an election.

This is the point I would like to make at this time. First, there is a very good relationship between the Minister of Finance and myself. He has been an excellent Minister of Finance. Because he is a responsible person, he did not use a piecemeal approach. By working with the caucus, cabinet and myself, he was able to bring the Canadian economy forward, achieve a zero deficit, generate a budgetary surplus—

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Official Opposition.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I realize my French is not perfect, but I did not think the Prime Minister would misunderstand it so badly and totally miss the question.

I would like to inform the Prime Minister that just this morning I spoke with the president of the Canadian Trucking Association who informed me that if this motion to reduce the taxes on fuel were to pass on Thursday that there would be no truckers' strike.

Why will the Prime Minister not commit to allowing this vote to go ahead and preserve the nation from being crippled by this strike?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when you are in government you have to be absolutely responsible. You do not make fiscal decisions because there is pressure from one corner or the other.

We have a plan. We know that the priority of Canadians at this time is to have good management of the economy and the priority of this party is, first and foremost, to keep giving Canadians reductions in income tax.

I see that already he is going from a flat tax to an oil tax. Very soon he will be flat you know where.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

I look forward in the days ahead, Mr. Speaker, to explaining that we do not propose a flat tax, only a single rate, actually two rates; 17% and zero.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister talk about responsibility because I would like to ask the following question. In the event that this nation could be crippled by a truckers' strike, will the minister responsible for such eventualities tell us what the contingency plan is that is in place right now?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the people of Canada are very responsible. They know we have a problem with the international increase in the price of oil. The Minister of Finance will be at the IMF and the World Bank in the next few days where all the ministers of finance in the world will be there to discuss the consequences of the increase in the price of oil by the oil producing nations. This where the problems lie at this time.

We hope that this situation will be re-established and the people will understand that when one sector of the economy like that takes too much it could create downward pressure on the economy and create a recession. I hope that everyone will realize how important it is to have international collaboration on that.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see now why they call this question period and not answer period.

I would like to suggest that maybe the problem is not that he does not care but that he does not know what his constituents are going through paying the price at the pumps.

Can the Prime Minister tell us what the price of gasoline is currently in his riding of Saint-Maurice?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the price of oil has increased considerably over the summer. Everyone realizes that this is a problem.

At this point, the Minister of Finance and the government want to meet with provincial governments and discuss a collective solution with them, while at the same time making sure that the system works well and that the government can continue with its agenda to promote economic growth and reduce taxes.

Reducing taxes will help consumers afford goods whose costs have unfortunately gone up in recent months.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

September 19th, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice hesitated yesterday to use every means possible to criminalize membership in a criminal organization.

I ask her today if she would agree to define a criminal organization using section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

If she believes that this method would not pass the charter test, could she proceed by reference to the supreme court?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me make it absolutely plain that section 1 of the charter, which speaks to reasonable limits on otherwise guaranteed rights, is very much in use.

Let me report to my colleagues that this morning my officials, the solicitor generals and officials from Quebec had a very co-operative and constructive meeting. We are looking at all aspects of organized crime. We are looking at a reform of the existing provisions in the criminal code in relation to organized crime. We are looking at provisions around intimidation of those involved in the justice system. We are looking at the issue of recruitment of people into criminal organizations. We will be working with the police both in Quebec and elsewhere to talk about law enforcement.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, would the minister agree and acknowledge that denying the right of association to groups of recognized criminals in no way prejudices the right of association of democratic organizations in our society and that, therefore, no means must be excluded should the means chosen fail to pass the test of the charter and an opinion were given by the supreme court?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I made plain yesterday, we are looking at all possible measures in terms of dealing with the challenges of organized crime. I made it plain yesterday that we believe there is much we can do both on the enforcement side and on the legislation side that does not involve us using the notwithstanding clause.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, article 20 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Would the Prime Minister take a page from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and make it illegal to belong to a biker gang?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as far as we are concerned, we have a charter of rights that protects the rights of everyone.

But, as the Minister of Justice has just said, a legislative solution to this problem is possible. It is not just a question of legislation, but also of police activity.

Section 1 of the charter provides for certain freedoms, but immediately invoking the notwithstanding clause would, in my view, be completely out of the question. To date, the Canadian government has never used the notwithstanding clause and I do not think it is a good idea to start doing so now.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite what the Prime Minister has said, yesterday in the House the Minister of Justice said that the legislation would be amended if necessary.

Will the Minister of Justice assure us that she has succeeded in convincing the Prime Minister and that the government will take action accordingly?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said yesterday, and I repeat today, that if legislative amendments are possible, we will be very pleased to make them.

That is why the Deputy Minister of Justice and the Deputy Solicitor General are now in Quebec City to discuss the possibility of amending the legislation. I have nothing against that.

But I would like to repeat that all other legislative and administrative solutions will have to be exhausted before the notwithstanding clause is resorted to.

Fuel PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Over the last few days we have heard a lot about the GST from the friends of big oil over there. It is clear that consumers are hurting. It is also clear that oil companies are racking up unprecedented profits.

In the spring session the NDP tabled legislation to get some accountability over oil companies, to gain some control over energy price gouging.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the government follow the NDP lead and establish an energy prices review commission?

Fuel PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government has already moved to try to achieve greater transparency with respect to the functioning of the marketplace and the pricing trends within Canada.

We have commissioned an extraordinary study to be conducted by the Conference Board of Canada as a totally independent body that can shed some light on the situation so that all Canadians can know exactly what is happening in that marketplace and why.

Fuel PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians already know what is happening in the marketplace and what is happening with energy price gouging. The problem is if one feigns impotence once too often, one is bound to end up permanently impotent.

We have a national problem which requires national leadership. While consumers are being gouged, oil companies are getting the lion's share of the energy price hike. Why is the government refusing to stand up for consumers?