February 28, 1978

LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Gillespie:

What is your second point?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BANK ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND OPERATION TO APRIL 1, 1979
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

I think the hon. minister should listen.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BANK ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND OPERATION TO APRIL 1, 1979
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

The hon. member for York-Simcoe has the floor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BANK ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND OPERATION TO APRIL 1, 1979
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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

I have patience for the minister. Obviously the stress and strain of his office on his weak mind is showing tonight.

International banks are interested in doing business in Canada. If we get on with revising the Bank Act properly, they can be regulated. I could be an asset to Canada. We must not forget that Canadian banks have been active in foreign countries of the world, and that is what this banking reciprocity is all about. One of the objectives in the revision of the Bank Act will be to ensure that the competitive position which has been built up by our banks around the world is maintained. Since Canadian banks are allowed to do business in some foreign countries, those countries should have some right to do business in Canada, thus maintaining our competitive position.

May I call it ten o'clock?

February 28, 1978

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BANK ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO EXTEND OPERATION TO APRIL 1, 1979
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


[Translation} A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES-PROTECTION OF LINGUISTIC RIGHTS OF MINORITIES-GOVERNMENT POSITION

LIB

Jean-Robert Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier):

Mr. Speaker, following the ruling by the Quebec Superior Court as to the constitutionality of some sections of Bill 101 concerning the language used in legislation and the administration of justice, I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) if he intended to make further representations to all provincial premiers urging them to formally support the linguistic rights of minorities. Obviously, Mr. Speaker, I refer to the linguistic rights of the French minorities outside the province of Quebec and the English minority in Quebec.

In fact, all governments should make every effort to guarantee to all Canadians, wherever they live in Canada, the right to be served in the official language of their choice in the fields of justice, legislation, administration and education.

In his reply, the Prime Minister told me that in September, he had asked all premiers not only to protect the rights of minorities in the education system, but also to include this protection in the Constitution by means of a constitutional amendment. Since my question did not refer only to linguistic rights in education, I take this opportunity to clearly state my views on this issue of great current interest, namely the basic human rights in a new Canada based on respect and tolerance and built on equality, justice and understanding. The only way for the federal government and the provinces to ensure that basic justice will be to agree on an amendment formula safeguarding linguistic rights.

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed with the compromise that came out of the premiers' conference held in Montreal last week. After having asserted the right of every child of the English or French minority to be educated in his language, they managed to restrict this right under a second principle which leaves it to the discretion of the provinces to grant that right or not.

I would like to quote these two principles from Le Devoir of February 24, 1978. The first one says:

All children belonging to the French-speaking or English-speaking minority in every province have the right to be educated in their language in elementary and secondary schools where the number of students warrants the establishment of such schools.

The second principle is as follows:

It is agreed, in view of the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial governments over education and of the important cultural and demographic differences, that

Adjournment Debate

each province is free to decide how the provisions preceding paragraph shall be applied.

The provinces, Mr. Speaker, have surrendered before the challenge of language equality in the educational field across Canada. I think they have rejected the only valuable guarantee, the constitutional amendment formula ensuring for ever these rights in the field of education.

After the St. Andrews conference which was held last year and where the bargaining between the provinces embarrassed them, the Montreal conference has now put them to sleep for ever. The agreements of reciprocity proposed by Mr. Levesque were in fact quite embarrassing after 110 years of inequality in the field of educational rights in all the other provinces of Canada.

Last week we heard the provincial premiers say that for some time yet things will remain more or less like they are now. I said for some time, Mr. Speaker, for I feel that very shortly those premiers will have to make up their mind about the Canadian reality. They will have to understand that the English-speaking minority in Quebec and the French-speaking minority outside Quebec must not be treated like pawns in interprovincial bargainings, but that most Canadians are ever more anxious to see that every Canadian citizen be given the consitutional right to receive his education in the official language of his choice.

The federal government has given its support and will certainly continue to support all great efforts in the field of education in all provinces. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State (Mr. Roberts) is here tonight. I know he has undertaken negotiations to reach agreements with regard to the continuation of programs carried on by his ministry to support the education of official language minority groups and the teaching of the second language. I also know the great needs of groups and the need for additional funds for education. On the other hand, I am convinced that the provinces should be publicly answerable for the way they spend those funds.

In view of the two statements that 1 have read, Mr. Speaker, from the Montreal conference, I think it is urgent for the government to review entirely its financial contribution to the program relating to the minority language in every provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has no other choice. It must fill the abyss of iniquity the premiers have left open. I also feel it is imperative to change the rules of the game so that from now on the federal government can obtain tangible results for every single dollar invested for the teaching of minority school rights.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   OFFICIAL LANGUAGES-PROTECTION OF LINGUISTIC RIGHTS OF MINORITIES-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. John Roberts (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has indeed raised an important issue and I think he is right in emphasizing the importance of the issue of

February 28, 1978

Adjournment Debate

educational rights. Just like him, I was rather disappointed by the statements made by the premiers last week, because, Mr. Speaker, as he himself indicated, the premiers declaration can be interpreted as an acceptance of the principle of education in the two official languages without any commitment to its implementation. This second principle can be interpreted-and I believe that is the Quebec premier's interpretation-as a supporting bill 101 in the province of Quebec, which, I am sure, is not all in keeping with the views of the premiers of the other provinces.

So just like the hon. member, I am somewhat puzzled by the interpretation which should be given to that statement, and I think like him, that it demonstrates the importance of writing the linguistic rights to education in the official languages into the Constitution, which happen to be the aim of this government. Last September, the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) raised that issue with the premiers and I myself did likewise last November, in discussions I had with the ministers of education. I again raised it also in connection with the charter of linguistic rights of minorities. Just before Christmas, we stressed the importance given at the federal level to the idea that the provinces will agree to exceptions to these very important rights.

As the hon. member already pointed out, there are federal agreements with the provinces for the financial support of second language education and also, what is very important, the education of the minority groups. Since I became Secretary of State, I have been concerned with the implementation of these agreements, because the objectives as well as the criteria are not clearly specified, which makes for an inadequate assessment and accountability of these programs.

I believe that the hon. member has often emphasized, and other members as well, the importance of earmarking during the negotiations the funds to be transferred to the provinces under a formula designed to meet the objectives established in the programs. That is why in the course of my negotiations with the provinces, I hope that we will succeed in specifying certain points especially with regard to the minority language. The hon. member has described a formula, a program, a means to ensure that the moneys used to attain these objectives will actually be used for that purpose. It is not only a mere transfer in principle, a theory calling for the funds to be used for the implementation of just about any objective. The fundamental objectives of these programs means that some kind of support of the minority language education must really be achieved.

These are the negotiations under way. I hope to meet again with the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada in the near future. We will have to negotiate in the hope of reaching before March 1979 a new agreement to last for a period of five years.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   OFFICIAL LANGUAGES-PROTECTION OF LINGUISTIC RIGHTS OF MINORITIES-GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. I regret to inform the hon. minister that his allotted time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   OFFICIAL LANGUAGES-PROTECTION OF LINGUISTIC RIGHTS OF MINORITIES-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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POWER-NEWFOUNDLAND-FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN POWER PROJECTS

PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John C. Crosbie (St. John's West):

Mr. Speaker, on February 21 I asked the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Gillespie) a question about the Gull Island project. On February 13 to 15 the first ministers of Canada had their great conference. The conference of the "Great Poohbahs" was held in Ottawa. The first ministers' caper was performed before the Canadian public on television. At that conference two specific things in the energy field were promised to the people of Canada. One was that the Gull Island project in Labrador would go ahead; the other was a project in Saskatchewan. The communique from the conference was a laugh: it listed another 12 projects that were to be considered for action soon.

That announcement aroused expectations that at last the federal government was moving on a project that had been put before them first in March, 1974. When we got a chance to look at the release issued by the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and the premier of Newfoundland, we found that the Gull Island project was not going into full gear immediately but that a corporation was to be set up by the province and the federal government. Further studies were to be done to see whether that or any other project of Labrador, hydro might be economically and technically justifiable.

What nonsense, Mr. Speaker! These studies were done three years ago and the proposal has been before the federal government for two years and five months. The great action to come out of this conference was "further studies". One of the main features of the conference was the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources performing the greatest bubble act since the south sea bubble of the eighteenth century. Rumours swept the country that he was going to create one million jobs in energy projects. He went on television with his list of some 40 projects to create a million jobs which would put the one million unemployed to work immediately.

One of those projects was the Kitimat oil port and pipeline which was kiboshed several days ago. That shows the transparent dishonesty of that exercise. Another was the Gull Island hydro development and transmission line. The gullible are no longer going to gulp Gillespie. They did not believe this, and it was a lucky thing they did not because there was not an ounce of truth in the whole performance. The Gull Island project is not going ahead, nor are the other 40 projects that were listed. Indeed, some were already started. It was a shocking, transparent attempt to convince people that the government were doing something in the areas of employment and energy, when actually they were not.

The Gull Island project was first proposed to the government in March, 1974. It was a $2.3 billion project to develop 1800 megawatts of hydro power resources on the Lower Churchill River, with a transmission line to the Strait of Belle Isle and a tunnel under the straits to Newfoundland. Newfoundland has no further sources of major hydro power on the

island and is now at the mercy of oil-fired, steam-generated electricity which is very expensive. This project would save importing oil to Newfoundland to be converted to power. It is in the national interest as well as in the provincial interest.

There would be a surplus of power from that development which Newfoundland could not use for ten or fifteen years, which potentially could be sold to Quebec or some other purchaser if Quebec would allow it to be transmitted across the province to customers in the maritimes. The federal government's offer of assistance was much too small. They offered to lend one half of the cost of the transmission line to the project and would allow interest to be capitalized during construction and some other things that would total $343 million out of this $2.3 billion project.

In addition to the paucity of assistance offered by the federal government, the government of Quebec would not agree to buy the surplus power from Newfoundland at a reasonable price, nor allow Newfoundland to transmit it across their territory to other customers. They said, "Sell to us at the price we say, or do not sell at all." And this great Canadian government did nothing about it. They did not offer to use their powers under the BNA Act, section 92(10), to declare a transmission line across Quebec to be a work for the general advantage of Canada. If they had, Quebec could no longer blackmail Newfoundland and prevent the Gull Island project. But the government said that they would not interfere.

But now, with an election coming, on February 15, during a television program, they pretended the Gull Island program is now going ahead. When we look beneath the surface we Find nothing but weasel words about further studies, that the federal government is taking equity in a company, and so on. This was the most dishonest television program ever seen in the history of television. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources should have been given an enema award instead of an Emmy award.

On February 20 the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Jamieson), in an interview he gave to the Evening Telegram, stated it was a question of how much money can be generated out of the power in Labrador in order to develop power on the island in a less expensive way if possible. In other words, what the minister is suggesting is perhaps they will not divert to Newfoundland any hydro energy generated in Labrador. We will not do that if Labrador power can be sold outside Labrador, and then use the profits to subsidize power on the island of Newfoundland. That is the suggestion made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs.

He went on to say that there is now a re-examination under way of whether or not there has to be a tunnel at all to carry the power from Labrador under the Strait of Belle Isle to Newfoundland. He went on to say he does not think financing will be a problem. Once it is determined where the markets are, where the power is going, "then the Financing will flow", he said. What is going to flow from now until the election is

Adjournment Debate

over is the Secretary of State for External Affairs: he will flow. The financing.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   POWER-NEWFOUNDLAND-FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN POWER PROJECTS
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order. I regret to inform the hon. member that his allotted time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   POWER-NEWFOUNDLAND-FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN POWER PROJECTS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Alastair Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):

Mr. Speaker, it is always a treat for us on this side to listen to the empty polemics of the hon. member for St. John's West (Mr. Crosbie). He has developed a well earned reputation as perhaps one of the noisiest, one of the most boisterous and at times one of the more innovative speakers in this House. He is not a man who has developed a reputation for accuracy, but that is not something that disturbs him. He is interested in projecting a sense of aggressiveness. Indeed, whenever it comes to the question of advancing energy projects, we on this side of the House think that he is far more interested in projecting his own advance, not advancing energy projects in his own province. That has been clear from the beginning.

I remember when he was a minister in the government of Newfoundland, a government which he is now criticizing and which he left because he felt he could advance himself more propitiously in the federal House. I remember that he and his government at that time could not make up their minds whether they wanted to go ahead with the Gull Island project. They had not been successful in getting the province of Quebec to agree to terms they had put forward. When we talked to them about the Gull Island project, an important national asset which we wanted to see advanced, they said "We are not quite ready because we cannot make up our minds whether to go ahead with this now or wait until there has been a settlement in the courts with Quebec".

It is interesting that the premier of Newfoundland has now reached agreement with us on the establishment of a corporation. Now that the premier has lost the counsel, advice and temerity, but not the noise, of the hon. member, he has said yes, he would like to form a corporation with us; he would like the federal government as equity partners. The federal government has said it would like to go ahead on that basis and that a corporation would be the logical first step in moving this massive project forward. The federal government has said that the corporation should be the agent for marketing that power, for assessing the financing of that project and working out plans for constructing and managing it. The hon. member is mostly noise, but those of us on this side of the House have become used to it.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   POWER-NEWFOUNDLAND-FEDERAL ASSISTANCE IN POWER PROJECTS
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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-CANADIAN RAILROAD WORKERS EMPLOYED BY UNITED STATES RAILROADS- ENTITLEMENT TO BENEFITS

PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bob Brisco (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, on February 13 I asked a question of the minister responsible for unemployment insurance regarding the circumstances of Canadian railroad workers employed by United States railroads who work in Canada. The minister at that time was

February 28, 1978

Adjournment Debate

unable to respond to my question. I certainly accept the fact that every minister cannot have every answer at the tip of his tongue. However, he then provided me with a follow-up letter which gives me cause for further concern.

It should be noted at the outset that this matter was brought to my attention by a railroad worker in my constituency and only affects seven railroad workers within Kootenay West. They work for the Burlington Northern Railway. These are Canadians working in Canada but subject to U.S. benefits only. If you examine the system across Canada as I have, Mr. Speaker you find there are some 12 U.S. railroads operating in Canada employing some 1,000 Canadian workers.

In responding to the concern that I have regarding the fact that these employees receive U.S. unemployment insurance benefits and not Canadian benefits, and that there are some serious questions that have to be asked about their pension benefits, the minister stated, to quote from his letter:

The United States Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act predates Canadian unemployment insurance legislation. It was designed specifically to take into account the peculiarities of employment by U.S. railroads. For example, benefits may be paid to workers while legally on strike. Also, the R.R. U.I. Act paid benefits in the event of sickness before sickness benefit was allowed under Canadian U.I.

I accept that Mr. Speaker, but that is in the past. In fact, it is some time in the past and fails to deal with the present. It is the present that I and the railroad workers are concerned about. It is all very well to refer back to 1971 and some Canada-U.S. agreement, but this is 1978, some seven years later, with some very substantial changes in our social system, unemployment insurance benefits and pension plan.

The minister went on to say that the benefit rate under railroad unemployment insurance is 60 per cent of wages up to a maximum of $125 per week, and that this is less than the present maximum of $160 per week under Canadian unemployment insurance benefits. I heartily agree.

He then draws in a red herring dealing with the period of time American workers are covered for sickness benefits compared to Canadian workers. Our period of 16 weeks is realistic. The United States seems to believe that 26 weeks is realistic. That is beside the point. The fact remains that the benefits are totally different in the United States. They receive 60 per cent of wages up to a maximum of $125 per week, whereas we receive $160 per week under Canadian unemployment insurance benefits. The minister went on to say:

To bring the railway workers now covered by U.S. R.R. U.I. into the Canadian U.I. program could adversely affect those workers. Where, for example, they work partly in the U.S.A. and partly in Canada, only their earnings from employment in Canada could be taken into account in determining the benefit rate. This could have a a depressing effect on the benefit rate.

That is another red herring. I am sure the minister has absolutely no knowledge of how many railroad workers work for American companies in Canada. I am sure he has absolutely no knowledge of how many work on both sides of the U.S. border. I can say there are very few. Therefore, that particular argument carries no weight whatsoever. Finally, the minister says:

Finally, it might be pointed out that for the above mentioned reasons the United States R.R. U.I. Act was specifically excepted from the U.S.-Canada reciprocal agreement on unemployment insurance.

That was in 1971 and bears no relationship to the situation today.

I should like to make a quick comparison of the pay benefits. Under the CN system the termination benefits are as follows. Up to one year, the contribution is refunded. From zero to 15 years the contribution is refunded with interest. The CP system provides that from zero to five years the contribution is refunded, and from five to 15 years, it is refunded with interest.

In the United States, if an employee has put in ten years he can obtain those benefits; but in the case of a Canadian worker employed for less than ten years those benefits go back to the estate of the railroad worker. Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of railway workers in Canada today who have no idea the pension benefits will accrue to their estates. In effect, they are being denied those benefits.

I object to the present system and I intend to do everything I can to bring about a change through a private member's bill so that Canadian workers receive the Canadian benefits due to them, rather than the lesser U.S. benefits.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-CANADIAN RAILROAD WORKERS EMPLOYED BY UNITED STATES RAILROADS- ENTITLEMENT TO BENEFITS
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LIB

Roger Carl Young (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Roger Young (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of making a reply this evening on behalf of the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mr. Cullen). It appears to me the minister has already conveyed to the hon, member a great deal of the information which is on hand.

First, it is important that I put the issue into its proper perspective. The United States railroad unemployment insurance act covers only those employees who work for U.S. railroads. It was created as a U.S. federal act, as opposed to individual state unemployment insurance legislation, in order to ensure that employees working for railroads in the U.S. had adequate coverage even though they work in several states or Canada throughout the course of a year.

Canada has a reciprocal agreement with 50 of the states and several U.S. territories in order to ensure satisfactory administration of payment of unemployment insurance benefits from respective programs and to guard against duplication of coverage. This reciprocal agreement explicitly excludes those covered under the U.S. railroad unemployment insurance act for that reason. Also, Mr. Speaker, the R.R. U.I. act paid benefits in the event of sickness before sickness benefit was allowed under the Canadian Unemployment Insurance Act. The benefit rate under R.R. U.I. is 60 per cent of wages up to a maximum of $125 per week, but these payments are not taxable under U.S. law. This may be slightly less than the present maximum of the taxable $160 per week under Canadian Unemployment Insurance, depending on the income tax position of the recipient. However, benefit duration both for sickness and shortage of work is 26 weeks, with the possibility of a further 26 weeks of extended benefit under U.S. law. It is

February 28, 1978

noteworthy that Canadian unemployment insurance benefit for sickness is limited to 15 weeks. I think that is an important point.

To bring railway workers now covered by U.S. R.R. U.I. into the Canadian program could adversely affect those workers. Where, for example, they work partly in the U.S.A. and partly in Canada, only their earnings from employment in Canada could be taken into account in determining the benefit rate and duration. This could have a depressing effect on the benefit rate and might in some cases result in individuals failing to qualify for benefits under either U.S. railroad or Canadian law.

For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe we should undertake to change the existing reciprocal arrangements. The potential good that might result for a few individu-

Adjournment Debate

als would be far outweighed by the harm that would be caused to the majority who work for U.S. railroads in Canada.

Finally, I can assure the hon. member that I will be glad to see that his additional points are drawn to the attention of the minister. Coming from a border constituency, as I do, I have a large number of railway workers in my riding who work on Canadian engines and trains travelling in the United States as well as a great many who work for United States railroads coming into Canada. 1 am quite prepared, as I say, to draw his additional comments to the minister's attention.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-CANADIAN RAILROAD WORKERS EMPLOYED BY UNITED STATES RAILROADS- ENTITLEMENT TO BENEFITS
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 10.31 p.m.

Wednesday, March 1, 1978

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-CANADIAN RAILROAD WORKERS EMPLOYED BY UNITED STATES RAILROADS- ENTITLEMENT TO BENEFITS
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February 28, 1978