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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

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he is the only one using the Liberals' own numbers who is saying that they have created the advantage. Most other economists are saying it is absolutely not true. Since I cannot address and engage the minister in this discussion, I will ask a question of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In 1991, only three months after a budget was overtaken by a worsening economy, the now Deputy Prime Minister was in the opposition at the time. He asked the finance minister at the time to produce immediately a new economic recovery budget. Then he asked, if not, would he and other ministers produce their resignations. We are not asking for resignations. We are just—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member simply ought to get his act together. He really should try from one week to the next to have a consistent story.

The Leader of the Opposition is now standing and attempting to fearmonger, attempting basically to say that things are very gloomy. The fact is that we are not immune to what is happening in the United States.

Would the hon. Leader of the Opposition tell us why it was only two weeks ago that he stated publicly that we had a very “vibrant economy in Canada”.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that the government of Quebec was going to give the members of the national assembly's parliamentary commission on institutions access to the texts of the negotiations on the free trade area of the Americas.

The government of Quebec is taking this initiative out of a concern for transparency and to fight parliamentarians' loss of power of through the phenomenon of globalization.

Since he is refusing to make the texts of negotiations public, will the Prime Minister at least promise to give access to them to the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the minister explained, since we are the hosts and are chairing the meeting, we have the obligation to our partners to follow the rules, which provide that we can make our documents public.

However, in the case of the other governments not wanting to make their position public, it is up to them. The suggestion of having a conversation in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is something I would certainly like to discuss with the minister responsible.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Prime Minister understands my point. I am not talking about making the texts of the other countries public. I am talking about making public the texts serving as the basis of negotiations at each of the tables.

The American representatives have access to these texts. Quebec MNAs will too. The Minister for International Trade says he wants to make all of these texts public and to persuade the other countries to do so as well.

However, I am not asking for the texts to be made public. I am simply asking that the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade here in Ottawa enjoy the same rights and information as elected representatives in the United States and in Quebec.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that, on the one hand, all governments must abide by the commitments that were made. On the other hand, however, I have not rejected the suggestion by the hon. member.

We have already talked of holding a briefing for everyone. However, should we do it in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade? This is an idea I said I was prepared to discuss with the minister. We will respond once I have had a chance to talk with my minister.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to transparency and consultation of parliamentarians regarding international treaties, Canada comes pretty close to dead last. Briefings will not correct the situation.

In the United Kingdom and Australia, governments are required to table treaties before their parliaments, where they are debated before being ratified.

How can the Prime Minister justify that, contrary to their counterparts from other countries, parliamentarians in this House are not entitled to this minimum of respect? How can the government claim to be transparent when its actions have nothing to do with transparency?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this was the subject of a full day's debate recently on a Bloc motion. The fact of the matter is that the point made during that debate remains the same.

The process proposed here is the same process that has been followed since Confederation. There is no change proposed. There will be an agreement signed if and only when Canada feels it is in the interest of all Canadians. That will be then brought to the House of Commons for review, possible amendment, full debate and then passage into legislation.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the world is evolving but the Canadian federation has a very hard time doing the same, as the parliamentary secretary reminded us.

In addition to debating and reviewing treaties signed by their governments, British and Australian parliaments have the power to approve or reject these treaties, which is far from being the case in Canada. The government underlined that by rejecting the motion by the Bloc Quebecois.

Why is what is good for other parliamentary democracies not good for Canada? Is the Prime Minister afraid of transparency and democracy to the point of behaving in such a way?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible to hear the member talk about the government being afraid of transparency. The government has been the leader in seeking transparency on trade treaties both at home and internationally.

There have been a number of meetings between the federal minister and international ministers. There have been consistent meetings with NGOs, with stakeholder groups. This went to the standing committee before the last election. There is a commitment to have it at the standing committee, as the member knows, in the near future.

The minister will attend. It is obvious transparency is a high priority for the government.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Prime Minister spoke in Quebec City about the upcoming summit of the Americas. He described it as an “extraordinary exercise in democracy”.

If the Prime Minister is serious about democracy, how could he call this an exercise in democracy when Quebec City is being turned into an armed militarized fortress during the summit and when his government refuses to make public to elected representatives and the people of the country the text that is being negotiated? Is that not really contempt for democracy?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the duty of any government to make sure, if there are people who want to demonstrate, that things are done in an acceptable fashion for the protection of citizens in that city.

It is irresponsible for a member of parliament to encourage civil disobedience when he has a chance to talk about it in the House of Commons.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian citizens are entitled to be civilly disobedient if they are being ignored and if democracy is being trampled on.

The Prime Minister has also spoken about the summit being about human rights. Colombia has an appalling record of human rights violations, one of the worst in the world with murders, massacres and impunity.

If the Prime Minister is serious about human rights, why are countries like Colombia and Peru invited to this summit when the country of Cuba, with which we have an excellent trading relationship, is not being invited? Why is there a double standard?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these governments have been elected. I want to be in a position to talk directly with them about respect for human rights. I want to tell them that respect for human rights is not about members of parliament encouraging people to use civil disobedience.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. He will know that in his interview with Keith Boag of the CBC, the ethics counsellor said that when the counsellor was judging the appropriateness of the behaviour of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister had not told him about the phone calls the Prime Minister made to the Business Development Bank on the Auberge Grand-Mère file.

That is a material omission. Why did the Prime Minister of Canada not tell the ethics counsellor about these representations to a crown corporation?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this has been debated for the past two years. I said, and I repeat, that as a member of parliament it is my duty to work to create jobs in my district.

On this file, the caisse populaire and the Fonds de solidarité were involved in the loan. I publicly talked about that all the time. I did not hide anything from anybody.

It is the duty of a member of parliament to work to make sure that jobs are created in his riding. It is exactly what the member of parliament for Saint-Maurice has done and is his duty to do all the time.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try another one for the Prime Minister. Subsection 9(1) of the conflict of interest code says “A public officeholder shall make a confidential report to the ethics counsellor of all assets and all direct and contingent liabilities”.

The Prime Minister knows that money owing is an account receivable. It is an asset. When the Prime Minister filed his statement of compliance he did not tell the ethics counsellor about the phone calls, but did he tell the ethics counsellor that he was owed money from the sale of the shares of the Grand-Mère Golf Club?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the long answer is yes.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, Antonio Nicaso is an expert on criminal gangs and organized crime. He says Canada has always been a welcome wagon for organized crime, a revolving door that lets anyone in regardless of his or her criminal past.

Gaetano Amodeo is one of the world's most wanted criminals. Why did the immigration department not stop him from entering Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as soon as my department is given information that someone is wanted, a flag goes up and our frontline people then make inquiries.

The member opposite knows full well that people from countries of western Europe, including Italy, and people from the United States do not require a special visitor's visa in order to enter Canada.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the minister's answer is rather bogus in that her department had issued visas to this gentleman. Not only did the government let Gaetano Amodeo gain safe haven in Canada, but the public works minister's office asked immigration officials if the application would be approved soon.

Why was a cabinet minister helping a mob family establish itself in Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is completely wrong. The premise of his question is wrong. I want him to know that 40,000 requests to immigration departments around the world come from members of the House, 6,000 to CIC headquarters in Ottawa alone. All members, including members of the Alliance, send in those requests.

I can tell him, for example, that the member for Calgary—Nose Hill has sent in 137 requests for information. I am happy to tell him that it is completely appropriate for members to make—

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Mercier.