August 29, 1988

LIB

John V. Nunziata

Liberal

Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister and concerns the Prime Minister's new position, his about-face on the abortion issue.

Last month the Government appeared before the Supreme Court and argued that the Supreme Court should postpone the Borowski case until this Parliament had an opportunity to pass legislation. Yesterday the Prime Minister said that this Parliament is postponing legislation until the Supreme Court deals with the Borowski case.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister explain this contradiction? Can he explain why the Prime Minister lacks the conviction and courage to introduce legislation in this House?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   POSITION OF PRIME MINISTER-INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION
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PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada):

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure whether the Hon. Member has a valid question and whether he speaks on behalf of his Party. I find it passing strange that the Hon. Member would be critical of anyone with respect to positions on abortion when his own Leader said that his own position is irrelevant. He refused, on a number of occasions, to indicate what his point of view was on that issue.

This is not a partisan issue. The fact is that the Borowski case is being heard on October 3. The Prime Minister has stated the obvious. There is the Morgantaler case and the imperatives with respect to it.

As far as the Charter of Rights considerations are concerned, the Prime Minister is simply saying that if there is an election this fall he does not think there would be an opportunity to have Parliament deal with it before the election. That is all he said.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   POSITION OF PRIME MINISTER-INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION
Permalink
LIB

John V. Nunziata

Liberal

Mr. Nunziata:

Mr. Speaker, that's not what he said. He said he was going to wait until the Borowski case before the Government introduces legislation.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   POSITION OF PRIME MINISTER-INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION
Permalink

GOVERNMENT POSITION

LIB

John V. Nunziata

Liberal

Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is abdicating his responsibility to provide leadership on the issue. For the last seven months the Government has promised legislation on the abortion issue. The Minister said last March that the Cabinet was considering legislation as an urgent priority.

In documentation filed with the Supreme Court of Canada two weeks ago the Government argued that:

-answering the constitutional questions in the abstract, without passing

upon the validity of any subsisting legislation, would involve a serious risk of

encroaching directly upon the legislation function.

That is what the Government is arguing before the Supreme Court. Why is the Government saying one thing before the

August 29, 1988

Oral Questions

Supreme Court of Canada and telling the people of Canada another thing here in the Parliament of Canada?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink
PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada):

Mr. Speaker, we are not. I am sorry that the Hon. Member attempts to pretend that the matter has not been dealt with by Parliament. We made a commitment as a Government and a Party that Parliament would have an opportunity to vote on this in a free vote. We brought forward a motion which was debated and amended and upon which every Member had an opportunity to vote. I do not know whether the Hon. Member was here for that vote.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

No, he wasn't.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink
PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

If he was not he should read Hansard to see precisely what transpired. There was no conclusive result from that debate. The Government is considering the matter now in terms of the next steps that could be taken and is reviewing its options.

I do not think that that is abdicating our responsibility. We allowed Parliament to have a free vote on this issue and no consensus was reached as a result. We, as a Government, will resolve this matter at the earliest possible date.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink

FORESTRY

NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. In the last round of Forest Renewal Agreements, or FRDAs as they are known, the federal Government put up $609.9 million. The B.C. industry, which produces about one-half of Canada's forest products, received less than one-quarter of the FRDA funds. That agreement runs out in about one year.

Since the Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba agreements run out in six months would the Minister advise the House why Cabinet continues to withhold approval for negotiations in the West and has not even identified a pool of funds for such agreements?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FORESTRY
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL AGREEMENTS-GOVERNMENT POLICY
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs; Vice-President; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, I believe that I responded to that question last week or the week before. I said that this matter was under consideration and that there were discussions going on. I am sure that when a decision is made it will be announced.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FORESTRY
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL AGREEMENTS-GOVERNMENT POLICY
Permalink
NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Speaker, there are no negotiations and no funds have been identified. I confirmed that with the office of the Minister of State for Forestry this morning.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FORESTRY
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL AGREEMENTS-GOVERNMENT POLICY
Permalink

FEDERAL FUNDING

NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, there is a growing body of opinion that the combination of the inclusion of the 15 per cent export tax as Article 2009 in the trade deal and the recent B.C. government decision to terminate replanting subsidies for the forest industry in B.C., which was preapproved by Washington, means that there will not be a new sustainable agreement on reforestation for B.C. Would the Minister tell us when there will be negotiations and where the money will come from for those agreements in western Canada?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FEDERAL FUNDING
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs; Vice-President; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is

back at it again. When we announced the earlier Special Grains Program they wanted to know whether it was going to be new money, old money, borrowed money, or just what the case was. The money was found and distributed. The same thing happened with the science and technology program, and with child care.

The fact is that the Government has made a very strong and firm commitment toward regional development with ACOA, western diversification, and various ERDA agreements. We have demonstrated that we are committed to regional development, and we put our money where our mouth is every time.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FEDERAL FUNDING
Permalink

DISASTERS

LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Windsor West):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour who is representing the Minister of the Environment on the matter of the catastrophe at Saint-Basile-le-Grand. Earlier in the Question Period I understood the Minister to say that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act had been in force since June 30 and that that was evidence of his Government's commitment to action on environmental matters like Saint-Basile-le-Grand.

If it is the case that the Environmental Protection Act was in place since June 30 and the federal Government was vigilantly using that Act to carry out its responsibilities, how is it that the Saint-Basile-le-Grand disaster took place?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DISASTERS
Sub-subtopic:   PCB FIRES AT SAINT-BAS1LE-LE-GRAND-CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT
Permalink
PC

Pierre H. Cadieux (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Pierre H. Cadieux (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my hon. colleague, I think his question is a little bit strange. Nevertheless, since I am to answer the question, I will repeat what I have already said. It is no relief, but nevertheless remains the fact, that the prime responsibility for the storage of PCB's at that site at Saint-Basile-le-Grand was under provincial jurisdiction. It is obvious that with our movement with respect to the Act about which we are talking we will probably be in a better position to inform our provincial colleagues of what steps ought to be

August 29, 1988

taken to ensure that in the future no similar circumstances occur anywhere in Canada, irrespective of jurisdiction.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DISASTERS
Sub-subtopic:   PCB FIRES AT SAINT-BAS1LE-LE-GRAND-CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT
Permalink

GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Windsor West):

Mr. Speaker, in answer to an earlier question the Hon. Minister boasted about the Environmental Protection Act passed by the Government being in force on June 30. Yet he has been unable to explain why it had no impact in preventing the disaster at Saint-Basile-le-Grand. The Minister also said that the storage of PCBs at Saint-Basile-le-Grand was primarily a provincial responsibility.

Why was it that on August 26, in the Ottawa Citizen, the following quote was attributed to the Minister of the Environment:

There's a collective responsibility between the federal government and the provinces to ensure that people's health is secure in the face of this kind of possibility," McMillan said.

He was speaking about the catastrophe at Saint-Basile-le-Grande. Why is the Minister contradicting his colleague, the Minister of the Environment, in not accepting the reality that there is a federal responsibility in these matters as in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and across the country? Why is the Government not accepting that responsibility and taking action, not only to prevent cases like that in Saint-Basile-le-Grand but to prevent future cases across the country since it has supposedly an inventory of PCB storage sites all across this land?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Permalink

August 29, 1988