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House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the summit of the Americas will be held in the national capital of Quebec in a few weeks. It seems natural to us for the premier of Quebec to be able to address the state leaders of the Americas. Yet the Prime Minister of Canada refuses to state his position here. He is gaining time by telling us all is well.

Can the Prime Minister tell us, yes or no, whether the premier of Quebec will be able to address the foreign leaders at the summit of the Americas?

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at the present time, discussions are under way between the federal government and the provincial government. There are also precedents, however. The discussions are addressing access by the premier of Quebec to the heads of government when they are in Quebec City. This is being discussed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the organizers of the meeting in Quebec City and the government of Quebec.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we want to know the Prime Minister's position on this. He must realize that, the way things are at the moment, it is as if a big family reunion were being organized in Quebec, our home, and we were being asked to stay out on the porch, not to speak to the guests, and wait quietly until they have all left before being allowed back in.

Are we not to conclude from the words of the Prime Minister that if we want to see Quebec able to directly address heads of foreign states the only way to achieve this is for Quebec to become a sovereign state?

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, they always resort to humiliation to get what they want.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

Victims once again.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

A few years ago, the G-7 summit was held in Montebello, which, if I recall correctly, was in Quebec.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

An hon. member

And still is.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

In this instance, the meeting will be held in the national capital.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

At that time, the premier of Quebec did not make a welcoming speech to the heads of the G-7 governments.

When the G-7 met in Toronto, Mr. Mulroney, the Prime Minister of the day, did not invite the premier of Ontario to speak to the G-7 representatives. When there was a G-7 meeting in Halifax, the premier of Nova Scotia did not speak to the government leaders.

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the public works minister was first considered for cabinet the RCMP warned against it. Its concern was that the minister had been the accountant for over 20 years to Agostino Cuntrera, one of Canada's most notorious mobsters.

Now we learn the same minister helped expedite into Canada the wife of a mob hitman affiliated with the same Cuntrera crime family. This new information raises once again why the Prime Minister appointed the public works minister to cabinet over the concerns of the RCMP.

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appointed the gentleman as a cabinet minister because he is an honest man and a great Canadian citizen.

When I see these people trying to drag this person through the mud because he is an immigrant who came to Canada and became—

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Langley—Abbotsford.

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding all that, the public works minister himself said it was an error in judgment to be associated with organized crime.

Let us look at what else the public works minister said about his relationship with organized crime. He said “If I had it to do all over again, I would probably do things differently”.

Would he today in this House tell Canadians that he made another error in judgment in helping the wife of one of Interpol's most dangerous world fugitives to enter our country? Would he again do—

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Minister Of Public Works And Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I find all that absolutely unacceptable because the undertone of all of that is the fact that this gentleman is an immigrant who came from Italy. It is a smear on people coming from that country. That is the reason. If somebody is lacking judgment, it is the gentleman who just got up.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current negotiations on the free trade area of the Americas is raising the problem of Quebec's position at international negotiating tables. The Government of Canada is not permitting Quebec to attend.

How can the Canadian government refuse and justify its rigid stance when a federal country such as Germany is obliged, when its negotiations within the EU concern the exclusive jurisdiction of its states, or Länder, to hand over control of the negotiations to them?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where the hon. member has been, but Quebec has been widely consulted on these negotiations, as has every region of Canada.

There have been several meetings of the federal minister and the provincial trade ministers. There have been meetings with NGOs in Quebec and with the sectoral groups. There is a website with five of our nine positions available to Canadians. There has been extensive consultation with all parts of Canada, including Quebec.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary got the wrong page in his briefing book. We are talking directly about Quebec's place at the negotiating tables.

In another federation, Belgium, the ministers of the federated states can sit in Belgium's seat at the European Union council.

Why does the federal government consider it unthinkable to allow Quebec to negotiate itself, when its own jurisdictions are involved?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, I was not reading from any note in my briefing book because, quite simply, it is the same logic that pertains to the question asked of the Prime Minister about the premier of Quebec in addressing this forum in Quebec City.

Why would the province of Quebec, or any other province in Canada, be sitting there when there is a federal minister and a federal government elected to represent very adequately the interests of all Canadians?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote from an internal departmental memo written in June 1997, regarding the Auberge Gouverneur and the Auberge Grand-Mère. It states “We should increase the cost per job in order to keep the same amounts promised at the press conference or as suggested by the Prime Minister during discussions with the promoters”.

The question is: Who forced these bureaucrats to buckle to the Prime Minister's suggestions?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we had an RCMP investigation opened and closed on this matter. We have the words and the investigation of the ethics counsellor.

We have an investment in a hotel, which is running four years later, and provides jobs for 19 employees, and we have members who are asking questions about a matter that is now being adjudicated before the courts for an individual who has increased his pension unilaterally from $160,000 or $170,000 to $460,000. That matter is being adjudicated where it ought to be adjudicated, not here on the floor of the House of Commons.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was a nice try and very eloquently said about the BDC, but this is an HRDC grant that I am speaking about.

Let me further quote, “It is a difficult decision as we depart from regional guidelines, but we have to maintain the proposed level of financing. I would like to give another answer but I have no choice”.

Who bullied these bureaucrats into making sure the Prime Minister's investments were secure?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, these questions have been asked in this place for the last year and a half. Members of this place have asked the RCMP to investigate. It has and it has closed the file. Members have written the ethics counsellor asking for an investigation. He has and has closed the file.

There is not a member in the House who does not believe that the Prime Minister of Canada, after 38 years in this place, is not an honourable gentleman. We are proud to stand with him on this side of the House.

Citizenship And ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard reports of an 11 year old girl who was abducted in the U.S. and brought into this country to work as a prostitute.

Can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration tell the House what she is doing to help put an end to these types of occurrences?

Citizenship And ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, no one should doubt the government's concern for the protection of children. We have a special program in place called “Our Missing Children”. It has been in place since 1986. It is an interdepartmental program that not only works across the federal government but with international partners.

Since 1986 they have reunited 937 children with their rightful parents and legal guardians. In 1999 alone 110 children were rescued. I only wished when I saw this story that the number had been 111.