March 14, 1988

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

COMMONWEALTH DAY

PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Seniors)):

Mr. Speaker, today we join a quarter of the world's people in observing Commonwealth Day. As you know, Mr. Speaker, Canada has been very active in the Commonwealth over the past year. Last October we hosted the heads of Government meeting in Vancouver. Last month the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark) chaired the first meeting of the Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa, created at Vancouver.

Canada continues to be one of the strongest supporters of the Commonwealth. It has given us easy, privileged access to a large group of Third World countries, all of whom were, like Canada, once members of the British Empire. Our Commonwealth experience has provided inspiration for Canada to seek parallel institutions to cement our ties with the Frenchspeaking world. That experience was part of the reason we hosted the Francophone Summit last year in Quebec City.

The Vancouver meeting of the heads of Government of the Commonwealth reviewed the multi-faceted activities of the organization. It addressed major international political and economic issues ranging from Third World debt, to the status of women in society, to the threat to low-lying states from rising water levels.

Canadian Development Assistance, a major dimension of our foreign policy and international identity, has its roots in the Colombo plan of the early 1950s. Today, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, CFTC, provides technical assistance to all parts of the developing Commonwealth.

The fund is virtually unique in that almost all members contribute, and it makes maximum use of experts from developing countries. Canada is the single largest donor to the CFTC, providing approximately $17.5 million in 1987-88, well over one-third of its total resources.

As the meeting in Vancouver demonstrated, the Commonwealth not only consults on major world issues but takes concerted action. The meeting launched three important initiatives.

First, it adopted a new plan of action for southern Africa including assistance to the Front Line States and Mozambique. A committee of eight foreign ministers was established, chaired by the Secretary of State for External Affairs. It was created to provided impetus and guidance in the Commonwealth's struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It has already proved to be a valuable forum in responding to South Africa's recent restrictive actions against opposition groups.

Second, it issued a declaration on world trade to encourage a more liberalized global trading system and reinforce the current round of multilateral trade negotiations. Canada also wrote off the official debt of the poorest Commonwealth African countries.

Third, it endorsed an imaginative scheme for Commonwealth collaboration in distance education based on a Canadian initiative to promote the exchange of information, training, technical assistance and research in the application of distance education techniques at post secondary and vocational levels in the developing Commonwealth countries.

These three initiatives illustrate the breadth of the Commonwealth contribution. The organization we honour today, in which we find common ground and purpose with a billion people in countries large and small around the world, is worthy of our enthusiastic and abiding support.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMONWEALTH DAY
Sub-subtopic:   OBSERVANCE OF ANNIVERSARY
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry):

Mr. Speaker, the Official Opposition takes pleasure in joining with the Hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State for Senior Citizens in his statement celebrating the Commonwealth and its accomplishments in the past and certainly its aspirations for the future. But we would want to take careful note that the Commonwealth at this point in its history faces perhaps its most serious challenge and a serious difficulty. We should not simply celebrate by fond rhetoric or past memories. We should in our rededication apply the principles upon which the Commonwealth has been built and use it as a way of encouraging this Government through its position of leadership in the Commonwealth to continue to press for the kinds of efforts and initiatives to deal with the ever-growing seriousness of the problem in South Africa.

March 14, 1988

Statements by Ministers

Each night we see a further escalation of the conflict of oppression and a denial of all the values to which we adhere. It is for that reason as you know, Mr. Speaker, that our own Party has called clearly for the Prime Minister (Mr. Mul-roney) to live up to the commitments he made almost two years ago at the United Nations to take a more forceful and dramatic step in dealing with both economic and diplomatic sanctions.

I noted with some interest that on Saturday night in an address the Prime Minister indicated that the Government is now reviewing its position, something we have called for it to do over the last several weeks. We hope the Government will.

We believe the position that Canada occupies in the Commonwealth is an important one. The steps we take in relation to South Africa will obviously have a major influence and impact upon decisions of other countries in the Commonwealth. We recognize, I think, to be candid, that the leadership of Great Britain at the present time takes a different point of view, but this may be the time for us to demonstrate that the new generation of Commonwealth leadership has a different perspective than that espoused by Mrs. Thatcher. We use this occasion of the statement of the Minister to add our voice of urgency and the sense of need for the Government of Canada through the Commonwealth to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the actions of the South African Government are not to be tolerated and that apartheid must come to an end.

The Minister made reference to both aid and trade as a characteristic of the Commonwealth which should be noted and celebrated. I agree with him again in principle but raise questions about the Government's willingness to follow through on it. I take note that trade with many of the countries in the Commonwealth has fallen drastically over the past three years. Trade with African countries has dropped almost 25 per cent. We have not undertaken the kind of multilateral international trade initiatives that would be required to come to grips with our debt problems in a significant way. More important, we should be creative and imaginative in opening up new trade opportunities with Third World countries, many of which are Commonwealth partners.

I think it is important for this House to note just how drastic has been the shrinkage in trade around the world, other than with the United States. I can only conclude it is because of the particular pre-occupation which the Government has with that trading relationship that the others are being ignored.

I would say as well on the issue of aid that again we applaud the objectives but have questions about the practice. The statement made last week by the Minister for External Relations (Mrs. Landry) setting out new guidelines for the CIDA programs by the Government of Canada has once again set back even further our intention to raise our foreign aid commitment to 0.7 per cent of GNP. The promise made in the 1984 election has now gone through a successive series of further delays and restraints.

In conclusion, the Commonwealth deserves celebration, but it also deserves clear and forthright action in the area of politics, trade and aid. We would encourage the Government to make better use of the Commonwealth than we believe has been made up to this point in time.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMONWEALTH DAY
Sub-subtopic:   OBSERVANCE OF ANNIVERSARY
Permalink
NDP

Iain Francis Angus (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Iain Angus (Thunder Bay-Atikokan):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, I too would like to join with the Minister of Veterans Affairs, (Mr. Hees), the Hon. Member for Winnipeg-Fort Garry (Mr. Axworthy) and all Members of the House in observing Commonwealth Day.

New Democrats have a long history of support for global multilateral institutions, including the United Nations and the Commonwealth, because we believe these organizations to be the most effective means at our disposal to address global concerns, whether they be economic, social, military or environmental. However, the Commonwealth is unique.

Born out of conquest and colonialism, the Commonwealth has become a model of international co-operation based on shared values that transcend race, religion and culture. In this respect, the Commonwealth is, perhaps more than any other international institution, an example of how one billion diverse people can put aside their differences and, indeed, the sometimes bitter history they share to work together in the pursuit of common goals.

The Minister has outlined some of the many co-operative endeavours of the Commonwealth, such as the Commonwealth fund for technical co-operation, efforts to liberalize trade, debt restructuring, and the list goes on and on. In many of these areas, Canada has become a Commonwealth leader, some even say that Canada has become the Commonwealth leader. This is a testament to our own commitment as a nation to multicul-turalism, tolerance and social justice.

In some areas, however, the Commonwealth has not been as successful as many would like. A case in point is that of South Africa. While the Commonwealth has been one of the sharpest critics of apartheid in South Africa, concrete efforts on the part of the Commonwealth to bring about change in South Africa have been modest. This, of course, is partly due to the very diversity within the Commonwealth that we generally applaud. However, the system of apartheid in South Africa is so abhorrent to the world community, including the Commonwealth, and the prospect of violence is so great, that I call on the Commonwealth to redouble its efforts to bring about meaningful change in South Africa. In this respect, we believe the Canadian Government must provide even greater leadership, both independently and with other Commonwealth countries.

We believe the Commonwealth has demonstrated that the people of the world can put aside differences and work together for a better global future. We also believe the Commonwealth and the world community as a whole can, and should do more in this regard.

March 14, 1988

We are happy to join with all Canadians in observing Commonwealth Day and we look forward to greater cooperation and concerted global action on the part of the Commonwealth in the future.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMONWEALTH DAY
Sub-subtopic:   OBSERVANCE OF ANNIVERSARY
Permalink

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION

PC

Robert Nelson David Hicks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bob Hicks (Scarborough East):

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 101, I have the honour to present to the House the twenty-ninth and the thirtieth reports, in both official languages, of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.

[Editor's Note: See today's Votes and Proceedings]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
Sub-subtopic:   PRESENTATION OF TWENTY-NINTH AND THIRTIETH REPORTS OF THE CANADIAN NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION
Permalink

PETITIONS

NDP

John R. Rodriguez (Deputy Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. John R. Rodriguez (Nickel Belt):

Madam Speaker, I have the honour and privilege of presenting a petition signed by residents of Chatham and St. Thomas, Ontario.

The petitioners point out that the Conservative Government had no mandate from the Canadian people to conduct a free trade agreement with the United States and, furthermore, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) promised, in the course of the bilateral trade negotiations, that Canadian sovereignty would not be compromised.

In view of the fact that the proposed trade agreement would deny Canada the policy freedom to determine its own economic future and would undermine our ability to build a society distinct from that of the United States, the petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to dissolve and allow the people of Canada the opportunity to accept or reject this proposed trade agreement during a national general election.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED FREE TRADE
Permalink
NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):

Madam Speaker, I have two duly certified petitions. The first concerns the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines for Canada. The petitioners point out the great danger of accidents while nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships are in Canadian ports and point out that this is a threat both to the environment and to Canadian citizens. They call upon the Government not to purchase these nuclear-powered submarines.

Petitions

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   OPPOSITION TO THE ACQUISITION OF NUCLEAR-POWERED SUBMARINES
Permalink
NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):

Madam Speaker, the second petition points out that the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, in October of 1985, submitted a report to the House recommending that the Canadian Human Rights Act be amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all areas under federal jurisdiction. In March of 1986, the Government accepted this report and its recommendations, saying that it would take whatever measures necessary to ensure that sexual orientation is a prohibitive ground of discrimination. The Government has yet to introduce significant legislation acting upon these recommendations.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to ensure that Government and Parliament act to implement the recommendations contained in the report.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LEGISLATIVE PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Permalink
NDP

Ian Gardiner Waddell

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ian Waddell (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Madam

Speaker, I also have a petition from a number of people dealing with the so-called free trade agreement.

These people say that the trade agreement negotiated by the Government with the Americans will remove the power of the Canadian Government to effectively control foreign ownership, to develop Canadian energy resources in the best interests of Canadians, not other people, and to equalize opportunities between the regions.

They suggest-demand, indeed, and I would agree-that we should have an election soon before we implement this so-called free trade agreement.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED FREE TRADE
Permalink
NDP

John Edmund Parry

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Parry (Kenora-Rainy River):

Madam Speaker, I have the honour and the privilege of tabling two petitions before this honourable House. The first petition was signed mainly by residents of the province of Quebec. The undersigned state that the Government never received a mandate from the Canadian people to enter into a free trade agreement with the United States, and they want the Government to give Canadians a chance to approve or reject this proposal by calling a general election.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED FREE TRADE
Permalink
NDP

John Edmund Parry

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Parry (Kenora-Rainy River):

Madam Speaker, the second petition is signed by some 200 residents of the community of Fort Frances in my riding, adding to the more than 1,000 who have now signed petitions on this subject. This petition was signed beginning February 23. It arrived in my office on March 10 and was certified on March 11. It is now being presented on March 14.

Since the Government has committed itself to expediting all such fresh petitions, I would like to present it today with the

March 14, 1988

Order Paper Questions

observation that this petition, petitions against the discriminatory and unfair aspects of the application of the northern residents' tax allowance which, by the operation of the present regulations, simply divides northern Ontario, neighbour between neighbour, on the basis of those who will qualify for this exemption and those who will not qualify. .

Of course, the petitioners pray that all communities in Tier 3 ridings be eligible for the northern residents' tax allowance deduction.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   DESIGNATION REGARDING NORTHERN TAX ALLOWANCES
Permalink
NDP

Iain Francis Angus (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Iain Angus (Thunder Bay-Atikokan):

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. Both have been certified correct according to Standing Order 106. The first is from residents of northwestern Ontario and expresses concern about the application of the northern residents' tax deduction whereby a number of communities with costs higher than those in the major cities have been excluded from this benefit which is substantial for northern residents, and they call for changes in the rules to allow the non-designated communities to be part of the tax deduction.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   DESIGNATION REGARDING NORTHERN TAX ALLOWANCES
Permalink
NDP

Iain Francis Angus (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Iain Angus (Thunder Bay-Atikokan):

Madam

Speaker, the second petition is signed by residents of Saskatchewan. These petitioners are concerned about the Mulroney-Reagan trade deal. They offer a number of arguments as to why they do not support the deal and they call upon Parliament to dissolve so that the people of Canada can have an opportunity to accept or reject the proposed agreement in a national General Election.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED FREE TRADE
Permalink

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jim Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Madam Speaker, Question no. 266 will be answered today.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Permalink
LIB

Mr. Turner (Ottawa-Carleton) (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Since October, 1984, has the National Capital Commission expended any funds on choosing a new site for the United States embassy and, if so, what are the (a) total amounts spent (b) total administrative costs (c) moneys spent on (i) consultant fees (ii) staff overtime (iii) public hearings?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Sub-subtopic:   EMBASSY SITE SELECTION PROCESS
Permalink

March 14, 1988