June 12, 1984

LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member simply cannot be serious. He has asked me to comment upon the question of instructions. He alleged that instructions were given by my Deputy Minister to

the Canada Council. I have discussed it with my Deputy Minister and he has confirmed that he did not in any case give any instructions of the kind to which the Hon. Member just referred, to the Canada Council. As a matter of fact I am on the record, and another Minister is on the record, Senator Austin, to the effect that we thought the Canada Council ought to appear before the parliamentary committee.

It seems to me that we have said, time and time again on this side of the House, that we are indeed interested in seeing that the traditional arms length relationship between the Government and cultural agencies be maintained, that if for some reason or other the legislative drafting of Bill C-24 did not meet this, we very much hoped that the Canada Council and other agencies of a cultural nature would appear before a committee of the House to make their case known to Members. I very much believe that legislation, by going through this process, can indeed be improved.

On the questions of instructions, once again no instructions of the kind referred to by the Hon. Member were given by my Deputy Minister.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADA COUNCIL
Sub-subtopic:   POSITION ON BILL C-24-ROLE OF DEPUTY MINISTER
Permalink

MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITY

PC

David Edward Crombie

Progressive Conservative

Hon. David Crombie (Rosedale):

Mr. Speaker, surely the Minister knows that the damage was already done. Indeed, Mr. Brian Anthony of the Canadian Conference of the Arts representing arts and cultural communities, said in his testimony last week:

We have certainly been led to believe that it would be inappropriate for any agency to risk its good standing and well-being at this moment by speaking out against Bill C-24.

Why is the Minister hiding behind his Deputy Minister and hanging him out to dry? Why will he not take the responsibility and dispel the atmosphere of intimidation for which he, not his Deputy Minister, is clearly responsible?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, I am on the record, not only in this House in previous replies to questions from my hon. friend, but also in the newspapers of the land. I refer to The Globe and Mail where I indicated quite clearly that the Canada Council was welcome to appear before the House of Commons Committee examining Bill C-24. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. They have done so. It was indicated in the same article in The Globe and Mail on the part of the official critic of the Opposition on matters of culture and communications that the only thing he could reproach this Government for, in the field of culture and communications over the past four years, was for having done too much for the cultural community.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Permalink

TESTIMONY GIVEN BY COUNCIL DIRECTOR

PC

David Edward Crombie

Progressive Conservative

Hon. David Crombie (Rosedale):

Mr. Speaker, clearly what those of us who have been involved in the committee know, because of the testimony, is that the Minister is saying that the

June 12, 1984

Director of the Canada Council, when he answered yes to the question of intimidation, was wrong and that that telephone call did not take place. From all the testimony, surely what has happened is that the arts and cultural communities believe that the Deputy Minister acted in that fashion. Will the Minister at least take responsibility to take steps to dispel that atmosphere of intimidation so that they can come forward to the committee?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TESTIMONY GIVEN BY COUNCIL DIRECTOR
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that it is indeed an erroneous interpretation to say that instructions were given. No instructions were given. I indicated that two Ministers of the Crown, myself and another Minister, in public statements, one of which is included in a release by the Canada Council-let's get back to the Hon. Member's question. He has asked whether there is a climate of intimidation. There is no climate of intimidation. The Canada Council appeared before the committee, of which the Hon. Member is a member, last week and gave testimony. Once again, it was invited by two Ministers of the Crown to appear before the committee to give its testimony and its point of view. We on this side of the House believe that the House of Commons is part of the legislative process. We on this side believe that legislation can be improved by going through that process. If it comes out of that process improved, so much the better.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TESTIMONY GIVEN BY COUNCIL DIRECTOR
Permalink

MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES

PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Geoff Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Communications. I hope I get more straightforward answers than those he just gave to my colleague from Rosedale. I want to follow up on a question that I asked the Minister on April 11 when he described the $24 million federal fund raising campaign for adornments to the Museum of Man and the National Gallery as a once-in-a-lifetime project. That spells the end of a lifetime for many private museums and little historical societies in Canada. Quite apart from the principle of the federal Government going after private funds, why are these things costing $24 million more than the Government stated in February, 1982?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA MUSEUMS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION-FUND RAISING CAMPAIGN
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat my answer once again. I hope this time the Hon. Member will listen. What I indicated last time was that in making an appropriation of approximately $190 million to build two fine museums in the national capital region of Canada, the new National Gallery and the new Museum of Man, the federal Government had indeed made available to the Canada Museums Construction Corporation sufficient funds to build these museums. However, over a period of time, it was thought that these museums should have an outward appearance befitting their position in the national capital of the country. To improve part of the facade and the appearance

Oral Questions

of that museum, it was estimated that an additional $24 million would be required. The Hon. Member is most welcome to ask those questions of the Chairman of the Canada Museums Construction Corporation during the course of the Estimates or at other appropriate times.

As to the Hon. Member's comments on the effect on fund raising in Canada, obviously this type of fund raising will not affect the small regional museums because we are not approaching the same type of clientele that is being approached by the small regional museums to which he refers.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA MUSEUMS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION-FUND RAISING CAMPAIGN
Permalink

MINISTER'S CORRESPONDENCE

PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Geoff Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

Mr. Speaker, I do not have to go to the President of the Canada Museums Corporation to ask the Minister to explain comments in two letters, one in 1981 and one in 1984.1 quote:

-the federal Government recognizes that providing improved facilities for the National Gallery of Canada is its financial responsibility and there are no plans to solicit funds from the private sector for this project.

In a letter written in 1984, signed by the Minister's own hand, he stated:

The federal Government has made a substantial contribution toward the cost of building new facilities for the National Gallery and the National Museum of Man. Adequate structures could be built with these funds.

Why does the Minister not live up to his responsibilities, reorganize those budgets, make use of the funds that the taxpayers are already spending for this upgrading and these adornments of the National Gallery and the Museum of Man, and stop robbing the private sector of vitally needed funds?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTER'S CORRESPONDENCE
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member is just repeating what I said. I stated quite clearly that adequate structures could indeed be put up with the funds that had been made available to the Canada Museums Construction Corporation by the Government. However, we thought that these buildings should have an appearance befitting their presence in the national capital of our country, that they be buildings of which all Canadians can be proud. To do so, we thought it would be a good idea to have a partnership with the private sector, that Canadians from various parts of the country, by making a financial contribution to the building of that museum, would identify more closely with it and not see it as a government museum but as a museum that belonged to the people of Canada.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTER'S CORRESPONDENCE
Permalink

CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY

NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Orlikow (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Transport. I am sure the Minister will remember the many speeches he made during the long and acrimonious debate on the Crow freight rates. On many occasions the Minister said the passage of the Bill would lead to increased employment. On March 25 the Minister said:

June 12, 1984

Oral Questions

"The change in the Crow rate .. . will create employment", giving the impression that it would create thousands of jobs.

The railway union which acts for workers of the CPR have been told, and I understand they have been in communication with the Minister, that in the next few years the CPR proposes to reduce its work force by something in the neighbourhood of

4,000 workers. This will have a very serious effect on workers in Moncton, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Calgary. Has the Minister discussed this fact with officials of CPR? If so, can he explain how his promise that there would be increased employment will likely lead to a very sharp reduction in the number of people working for the CPR?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY
Sub-subtopic:   PROJECTED REDUCTION OF WORKFORCE
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, the predictions that we made concerning the economic impact of the Western Grain Transportation Bill are bearing out. This year alone over $1 billion worth of new capital will be invested in this country, with a substantially large and major impact and the development of jobs in a wide variety of occupations. I draw to the Hon. Member's attention the tendering a few weeks back of major contracts for the Rogers Pass tunnel, which will be a S600 million project and have very major economic impact on the construction trades and others. When we talked about employment we were covering a broad base of employment in a wide variety of occupations.

On the particular matter of the proposed changes in the structuring of some of the workforces in the railroad, it is my understanding that those are caused primarily by new changes in technology in the attempts to gain productivity improvements. Certain practices become obsolescent and, therefore, savings can be occasioned. That is not something that has in any way been decided. It is my understanding that this is a matter that the railroads want to introduce as part of their labour negotiations, to work out agreements over a period of time with the unions. That is what collective bargaining is about, to sit down and look at a problem that jointly affects the operation of a corporation, in this case, and to have management and labour work out what would be a mutually satisfactory way of doing that. That is the kind of practice this Government deals in, to allow those problems to be properly addressed through the collective bargaining process.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY
Sub-subtopic:   PROJECTED REDUCTION OF WORKFORCE
Permalink
NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. Orlikow:

When the Minister was making those rousing speeches about what the Crow rate changes would do, he certainly did not imply to the railway workers that part of the package would be a very substantial reduction in the number of people employed. I would point out that building the Rogers Pass tunnel will only create very temporary jobs.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY
Sub-subtopic:   PROJECTED REDUCTION OF WORKFORCE
Permalink

REQUEST THAT MINISTER CONVENE MEETING OF INTERESTED PARTIES

NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Orlikow (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, the President of the CPR Machinists' Union sent a telegram to the Minister asking him to convene a meeting between the officials of CPR, the railway unions, the Minister, and his Department, to discuss this threatened major lay-off. Has the Minister responded yet? Is he making arrangements for that kind of a

meeting, or is it something which he will leave to the tender mercies of his friends in the CPR?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT MINISTER CONVENE MEETING OF INTERESTED PARTIES
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that the Hon. Member is trying to shade the point. I have met on a couple of occasions with members of the railway unions to discuss the matter. I had intended to meet with them yesterday in Winnipeg but my presence was required back here for a vote that members of the NDP intended to have held but never got around to holding. As a result, I was not able to fulfil that responsibility and meet with the unions.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT MINISTER CONVENE MEETING OF INTERESTED PARTIES
Permalink

June 12, 1984