June 2, 1993

PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Madam Speaker, those are under active consideration and active discussion.

There is a whole myriad of ways in which we can achieve compliance and have dispute resolving mechanisms and so on. Our position is simply that whatever we do on the parallel accord side should not have the effect

Oral Questions

of undermining the benefits of the free trade agreement and that remains our position.

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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chretien (Leader of the Opposition):

Madam Speaker, the hon. member talks about myriad solutions, but why can the government not pick one of them and tell us what it is? It does not have a myriad; it does not have one.

We would like to know because it is very important. The President of the United States said that the Americans will not proceed with the NAFTA deal if they do not have an agreement on the environment and labour conditions.

I would like to know from the minister the position of this government in the light of the sanctions proposed by the American government.

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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

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Madam Speaker, I am sure the hon. member would think we were not very responsible if we were negotiating in public in terms of Canada's position.

I would remind the hon. member that we have a whole range of international agreements, including agreements with the United States, bilateral agreements on acid rain, on Great Lakes clean-up and so on, all of which have in them performance criteria and all of which have what was viewed at the time as sufficient teeth to ensure compliance by both sides.

That is the kind of thing we are looking at rather than something that interferes with benefits of the trading arrangements.

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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Madam Speaker, in the absence of the minister of external affairs and the minister of defence, I will put my question to the Acting Prime Minister.

Members of my caucus have asked me to express on their behalf and on behalf of their constituents the sense of outrage that we feel about the continuing slaughter that is going on in Bosnia and the indifference of the United Nations and the member states to the horrible conditions there.

June 2, 1993

Oral Questions

The Prime Minister after his meeting with the President of the United States this morning said that new action in Bosnia must be authorized by a new Security Council resolution.

There is a Security Council resolution being considered by the Security Council this afternoon. It reads: "UN troops will be authorized to take necessary measures, including the use of force, to stop attacks against civilians".

I ask the government: Does Canada support this resolution?

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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

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Madam Speaker, first of all I want to say that everybody on this side of the House and indeed all reasonable Canadians are outraged at what is going on in the former Yugoslavia and the atrocities being committed where innocent civilians and women and children are the victims.

The hon. member is correct. The discussions are under way at the Security Council. The Prime Minister discussed the subject extensively with President Clinton this morning. He made it very clear that he felt the United States should be actively engaged along with the European allies in seeking to find a solution.

We have always taken the position that UN action is required. We are concerned about unilateral action. We are concerned about adopting a resolution that is imple-mentable because the safety and security of our troops are first and foremost.

Since the Security Council has not yet reached a conclusion on these particular discussions, it would be a bit premature for us to be making a judgment on them.

We can be sure that Canada is inputting. The Prime Minister through the President and the Secretary of State for External Affairs spent 45 minutes talking to the foreign affairs minister for Russia. We are doing everything we can on the diplomatic front.

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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Madam Speaker, I am sure that all these discussions are taking place, but what has not taken place is a clear articulation of the Canadian position on this important resolution. That is missing.

Members of Parliament and their constituents would like to know. When we have UN relief workers being shot at, when we have troops standing by while genocide takes place, while we have the whole situation deteriorate into a mess, we believe that Canada because of our background and our reputation has the responsibility to take a stand on these issues.

I ask the minister again: Are we going to support the resolution being debated this afternoon at the Security Council authorizing UN troops in Bosnia to take action to stop attacks against civilians and to stop the slaughter?

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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

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Madam Speaker, I am a little confused by the hon. member's argument because he says that Canada should take a position quite independent of any position anybody else takes.

Of course, he realizes that if every country did this, no resolution would be possible. We can only find resolution by working together in discussion. As he points out, the UN now has it actively under discussion. I would be very surprised if Canada did not agree with the final resolution.

The final resolution has not been adopted. We stated our position quite emphatically. We believe it must be united action. We believe that unilateral action of the kind that was earlier proposed by the Clinton administration would not work. We believe that it is unrealistic to propose military action to which our troops could not possibly respond because of the numbers and equipment and the terrain in Yugoslavia and so on. All of those are being factored in. The discussions are under way. Canada as usual is being sought out for advice. We are looking for a consensus. We are not standing in isolation adopting our own position for the rest of the world to accept or reject.

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister for Science.

The other day the president of the National Research Council appeared before the parliamentary committee on industry, science and technology. He warned that if the present pattern of budget cutbacks continues at NRC

that NRC would experience once more the crisis it experienced in 1990-91 with cutbacks in personnel, cutbacks in research programs and a complete demoralization of the scientific staff there.

My question to the minister is as follows. What kind of research and development policy is it that would decimate one of our most prestigious research institutions and will he indicate to this House that the government will embark on a plan to ensure that the crisis the president of NRC predicts will not happen?

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Subtopic:   RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
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PC

Thomas Hockin (Minister for Science; Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Tom Hockin (Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend is taking licence with what the head of the NRC said the other day. He did not use the word decimate. He did not use any of the verbs the hon. member has just used. This government has cut back grants and contributions and cross-government programs 10 per cent here, 15 per cent there, sometimes even more in some operating programs.

When it comes to science those levels of cutbacks have not happened. In fact the cutbacks have not occurred. We are going to have more than zero per cent growth in contributions. They are going to be 1.5 per cent in the coming year.

This shows there is a preference in this government for helping research and development, for helping science and technology, plus the IRAP announcement which is an important part of the National Research Council.

Eighty-three million new dollars will go to the NRC to administer the IRAP for the next five years. This is an immense increase. Instead of having 225 officers in the field bringing discoveries in the laboratory to industry and to commercial prospect we will now have 300.

These are things the government has done in a time of restraint. They underline far better than any rhetoric the commitment of the government to science and technology-

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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):

Madam Speaker, every time I ask this minister a question about any particular issue on science, he just shops through the market to find anything he can find without answering the question.

The fact of the matter is the president of the National Research Council said that the situation in 1990-91

Oral Questions

would be repeated if there is not change and that was a crisis.

The next question I want to ask is a supplementary for the same minister. In view of the fact that the parliamentary committee also praised the National Centres of Excellence Program, proposed that it be continued and that its funding be increased, we now hear from a variety of sources that there are plans to cut the funding from $250 million to $125 million.

I would like the minister to explain how the government can justify cutting by half the funding for a program that represents the most significant and successful new initiative by this government.

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PC

Thomas Hockin (Minister for Science; Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Tom Hockin (Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

I thank my hon. friend for the compliment because when we brought in the National Centres of Excellence, his party and he in particular fought the program. They said it would be better to give the money to the granting councils and let them decide where this money should go-

Instead we said something very creative. We said that we want to identify the 15 most excellent research opportunities in Canada, link them up with industry, build these centres and make them strong. We put that program in place beginning in 1989 and it is now under review. The parliamentary committee has complimented it and feels the program is working well. It thinks some changes should be made.

We are doing a peer review as well. These are the people who are the real scientists in the field. People in industry are doing their review of this program. The Prime Minister is committed to this program which will remain permanent. Whether we can maintain the same level of funding or not is a difficult question. Government is having to cut back. We are inviting the provinces to participate more than they are. We are inviting industry to participate more than it is. We will soon see what the level of funding will be.

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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):

Madam Speaker, the hon. minister comes rather late to his expertise in science. I hope he will not again repeat the unmitigated falsehood that this member opposed the National Centres of Excellence Program. I did not.

June 2, 1993

Oral Questions

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PC

Frank Oberle (Minister of Forestry)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Yes, you did.

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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. McCurdy:

Give me the proof. My next question is for the same minister.

In view of the yet undenied cutbacks in the national Centres of Excellence funding and in view of the projected cutbacks in NRC and the crisis that precipitates, are we to understand it is now government policy as suggested in its prosperity initiative report to de-em-phasize research and development-and I am not so sure the minister knows what that is-in favour of the begging, borrowing and stealing of technology from elsewhere?

Most people, most scientists he may eventually meet, would see it as a prescription for the destruction of our capability to advance in technology or anywhere else involving science.

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PC

Thomas Hockin (Minister for Science; Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Tom Hockin (Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend knows, but he does not want the House to be reminded of it, that this government in its stewardship of the public purse has had to cut back a number of programs.

Certain programs have not been cut back at the same level as others. One is grants to provinces, to persons and to individuals. The other field is aboriginals. Another field of federal government spending that has not been cut back nearly as much is science and technology. Science and technology, if anything, has been indulged in the over-all priorities of this government and we are going to continue to do that.

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EMPLOYMENT

LIB

Albina Guarnieri

Liberal

Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Acting Prime Minister.

Today Carleton University has once again reminded Canadians of the truth, that their government has mastered the politics of illusion. The authors of How Ottawa Spends reveal that this government's tangled web of technical trickery has silently robbed Canadian children and their families of more than $4 billion since 1986.

Will the minister explain how he expects to hide the darkest years for Canadian children with even more rhetoric of Brighter Futures?

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Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT
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PC

John Horton McDermid (Minister of State (Finance and Privatization))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. John McDermid (Minister of State (Finance and Privatization)):

Madam Speaker, I understand that publication was released. It is an interesting publication because it covers one-half of government operations.

It talks about spending. It does not talk about taxes and tax levels. It does not talk about income. It does not talk about the problems Canada has both provincially and federally with its deficits. It does not talk about the problems we have in the country.

I want to point out in no uncertain terms the changes that have happened in the social field over the last nine years. For example, old age security, GIS and SPA have gone from $11.4 billion to $20.2 billion. These are for senior citizens. There has been an average annual increase of 6.6 per cent over that period of time. Canada Pension Plan has gone from $4.2 billion to $14.6 billion, an increase annually of 14.8 per cent. Child benefits have gone from $3.9 billion to $5.1 billion, an average increase of 3 per cent each and every year over the last nine years.

I could go on and on. Maybe in answer to a supplementary question I could continue my list.

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LIB

Albina Guarnieri

Liberal

Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East):

Madam Speaker, it must be Groundhog Day again because the government cannot see its shameless shadow.

The government already wears the dunce cap in the G-7 when it comes to unemployment, but today we learned that our savagely high jobless rate masks the fact that 16 per cent of Canadian workers are looking for full-time jobs but cannot find them, leaving a record number to rely on part-time work.

Will the Minister of Employment and Immigration tell the over two million Canadians who cannot find fulltime work why, when it comes to job creation, this government calls in sick?

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June 2, 1993