March 12, 1993

PC

Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport):

Madam Speaker, as I said earlier in the House this week, as the result of the tabling of the report of the National Transportation Act review commission we have sent this report to the Standing Committee on Transport. It will examine the conclusions, tell us what timetable it would prefer for all the different recommendations and whether some of them can be implemented on a practical basis.

At the same time we have set up an internal work force comprising officers of the Department of Transport and people from the different modes of transportation to make their own appraisal of this very excellent report so that at the end of the day we will be able to come to this House with the proper amendments to the legislation.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION
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NDP

Victor Fredrich (Vic) Althouse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie):

Madam Speaker, the government seems to have already adopted the phaseout portion of the report with the 10 per cent reduction it announced in the economic statement in December.

Is it also the government's intention to pay the Crow benefit to the producer, as was recommended in the report? Has a decision been made to make that payment to the producer on the declining subsidy that is left?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION
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PC

Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport):

The answer to this question is no.

.(1155)

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION
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THE ENVIRONMENT

LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Nunatsiaq):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and it concerns Panarctic's proposed dumping of 400 tonnes, or 800,000 pounds, of scrap metal into the Arctic Ocean.

March 12, 1993

Oral Questions

The government has a policy, the Arctic environmental strategy, for which this minister is responsible. It is supposed to protect the Arctic environment and fully accommodate the views of the aboriginal people. Given the absolute and total opposition of the Inuit to this proposed dumping, how can the minister allow it to proceed?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

Madam Speaker, I heard the Minister of State for the Environment respond to this question yesterday. She indicated that an appropriate environmental screening of this project was conducted under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the environmental assessment process.

I was disturbed to learn that we might permit the dumping of such a large amount of steel into Arctic waters. I know the Department of the Environment is similarly concerned. I am told there were public meetings in Resolute before the permit was authorized. In view of the concern that has been expressed by northern leaders, I am told there will be meetings with community representatives to further review those concerns and to see if further appropriate steps are necessary.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Nunatsiaq):

Madam Speaker, having an environmental assessment review would be welcome news but the first preference of northerners is to see that these metals are removed to the south from where they came.

Has the government rejected the option of totally removing this garbage from the north?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
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PC

Mary Collins (Minister of Western Economic Diversification; Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of State (Environment))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Mary Collins (Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Environment) and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women):

Madam Speaker, perhaps I could respond to that.

I understand a number of options have been looked at as to what can be done. One of the requirements of Panarctic is that it clean up its site. That is under the legislation.

Certainly other options were looked at. Land disposal was looked at but given the conditions of permafrost this really was not a feasible option.

The option of transporting these materials south was examined. However, it would cost I understand something in the order of well over $1 million to do that and it was obviously considered excessive considering the situation involved.

As my colleague the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has indicated, there will be further meetings about this. The bottom line is we want to ensure that any disposal is environmentally safe. Certainly the information we have would indicate that it would be safe but obviously further consultations will be under way.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ENVIRONMENT
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PUBLIC WORKS

LIB

Don Boudria (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Liberal Party Deputy House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and it concerns the Saint-Jean-sur-Riche-lieu airport land deal.

Yesterday the minister apologized for what he called a departure from good public policy in the sale of the land without tender. I want to thank the minister for his candour yesterday. Perhaps other ministers should do the same every now and then.

Canadians still deserve to know why the policies were not followed. Will he order an inquiry into this land deal and will he table the result of that departmental inquiry in the House of Commons?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay (Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Minister of Public Works)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Elmer M. MacKay (Minister of Public Works):

Madam Speaker, sometimes these things escalate. I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to call it a land deal in the general sense.

I am not happy about the way it was handled. I can tell my colleague that when these long negotiations began the property was of a different configuration than it was when they ended, but nonetheless it should have been tendered.

I have asked my department to look into it fully, to get all the documentation it can and I will table it as soon as it is ready. If there is any need for a more formal inquiry I will consider it at that time, but I believe there should be enough documentation around that he can be fully satisfied as to all of the background.

March 12, 1993

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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LIB

Don Boudria (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Liberal Party Deputy House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott -Russell):

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the minister's reply.

However, could the minister tell the House whether a complete assessment of the property was made before the sale, as required by Treasury Board guidelines? Will he undertake to table this assessment in the House, with the documents he intends to table here later on?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay (Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Minister of Public Works)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Elmer M. MacKay (Minister of Public Works):

Madam Speaker, I see no reason why that is not a reasonable request. I will undertake to do it unless there is some procedural requirement that prevents me.

I want to point out one more time that there are lands on both ends of the runway as my colleague probably knows. A portion of the land at one end of the runway has not yet been sold. It certainly will be put up for tender.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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NDP

Daniel James Macdonnell Heap

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dan Heap (Trinity-Spadina):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Employment and Immigration.

As the minister knows, both Amnesty International and the United Nations have renewed their condemnation of Iran for gross and systematic violations of human rights.

For example, Zarah, an Iranian woman who was beaten, raped, threatened with death by her husband and refused a divorce by male-biased Iranian law escaped to claim refugee status in Canada but was rejected by the IRB and ordered to return to face beatings, prison or even death under Iranian law.

Will the minister, in light of the new IRB regulations offering protection to unprotected battered wives, use his humanitarian and compassionate powers to land Zarah in Canada? Will he deal similarly with the 14 hunger strikers in their eighteenth day of a hunger strike in Vancouver and at least agree to let them stay in Canada until the United Nations has said Iran is a safe country to return to?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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PC

Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration):

Madam Speaker, refugee claimants re-

Oral Questions

fused convention refugee status by the IRB have their cases reviewed to ensure that they will not face unduly harsh or inhumane treatment upon returning to their country.

That is done in each and every case. The people he referred to will be offered the same treatment. Of course we will review each case individually. In 1992 we had 1,194 claims from Iranian nationals that were accepted and only 12 people were returned to Iran because the circumstances warranted their return. This will also be the case for the ones the hon. member just mentioned.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
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INDIAN AFFAIRS

PC

John Williston (Bud) Bird

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. W. Bud Bird (Fredericton-York-Sunbury):

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

I would like to inquire about the policy of his department with respect to liability arising from large construction and engineering projects on Indian lands where debts remain unpaid.

Many suppliers and contractors presume that the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is essentially a guarantor of Indian financial commitments when the funds are advanced by his department. I would like to understand what his policy is, both in the ethical and in the legal sense.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

Madam Speaker, this is a very important question raised by the hon. member for Fredericton-York-Sunbury and one which other members have also asked me about.

I should begin by indicating that the majority of the bands which are administered across Canada by chiefs and councils handle their own financial arrangements, both their O and M funding and the capital funding they administer, often under multi-year operating budgets. We call them alternative funding arrangements.

The majority of these communities and their leadership pay their bills and meet their financial obligations. There are exceptions. Our position is both legally and morally that in the spirit of the self-government ethic that First Nations are seeking, the minister of Indian affairs and the government should not guarantee bills which are not paid.

March 12, 1993

Routine Proceedings

There are remedies through the courts and the legal system. It is important for contractors and those who do business with aboriginal communities to realize that they are dealing as they would with any other commercial entity. They are dealing in a situation where contract law must be respected and where it is not, the remedies are to be found through normal legal recourse, notwithstanding my concern that native leaderships live up to their obligations.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
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PC

Harvie Andre (Minister of State (Without Portfolio); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Andre:

Madam Speaker, I would like to designate Monday as an allotted day or supply day.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

March 12, 1993