June 7, 1993

?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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?

Some hon. members:

On division.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.


PC

Kenneth Albert James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James:

Mr. Speaker, it would probably be agreeable to all parties if we moved to proceedings on the adjournment motion once the appropriate members are here.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBIois):

Is there unanimous consent of the House?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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SITTING SUSPENDED

PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBIois):

Under the circumstances, I believe it would be advisable to suspend the proceedings to the call of the Chair, but not later than 6 p.m., when we will have the proceedings on the adjournment motion.

At 5.26 p.m., the sitting of the House was suspended.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING SUSPENDED
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SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


LIB

Ralph Ferguson

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Ferguson (Lambton-Middlesex):

Mr. Speaker, in the House on May 13, 1993 I asked the Minister of National Defence if he could tell us why the maintenance work on the Challenger military and executive aircraft was being done in Hartford, Connecticut, and why the government was ignoring our own Canadian skilled workers and letting these jobs go to the United States.

I should point out that the first aircraft arrived in Hartford for maintenance about mid-April 1993, well ahead of when I asked my question.

The minister admitted that the maintenance would be done in Hartford until a new contract was in place, which would be a matter of weeks. Now, almost four weeks later, we are aware this servicing in Hartford may go on until 1994, in fact well into 1994. Consequently the information given in the minister's answer is not correct.

I have in my possession copies of Business Opportunities of November 1992, May 7, 1993 and May 17, 1993. The request for proposals indicated that work would begin April 1, 1993 and end March 31, 1996, with an option for a further two-year period ending on March 31, 1998.

The closing date was amended as of the May 7, 1993 publication and again on May 17, 1993. Business Opportunities revealed that the closing date was amended yet again. In the meantime this work involving several thousand man-hours will take place in Hartford, Connecticut.

Let me refer to the issues. Why are Canadian military aircraft being serviced in the United States when our own skilled persons are facing lay-offs and our facilities are being underutilized? Second, why are we creating American jobs? The U.S. does not permit its aircraft to be serviced in other countries. Third, what are we paying in terms of an hourly rate to have this work done in the

Adjournment Debate

United States? Has the government looked at what it could be done for in Canada?

In light of the fact the Challenger jet was developed and built in Canada, I simply cannot believe we cannot get the maintenance work done in Canada at a cheaper rate than is currently being paid in the United States which would result in savings to our taxpayers. In fact I know this is the case.

Is this a repeat of the Conservative government decision of the late 1950s that resulted in the scrapping of the Avro Arrow and the world's first commercial jet passenger plane? This decision destroyed Canada's role as a leader in aircraft technology. Even today the Avro Arrow would still be a world leader in technology and design.

I would appreciate answers to these questions.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Kenneth Albert James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken James (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to respond to the hon. member for Lambton-Middlesex on this subject and to be able to clarify the situation if I can for him. Maybe the hon. member is not aware of some of the facts in this regard.

The Minister of Supply and Services, as the hon. member knows, responded to him on May 13, 1993. He put forward some of the facts. Canadair-Bombardier Inc., as is known, has been performing the repair and overhaul on the DND Challenger aircraft for the past five years at the Montreal service centre.

Bombardier advised the Government of Canada that for business reasons it was no longer interested in performing these services at the service centre in Montreal. Bombardier further advised that the service centre would be shut down but that the maintenance work would be performed at its service centre in Hartford, Connecticut.

As a result the Government of Canada has gone out to the Canadian aerospace industry to complete the work and for a Canadian location for the next five years, someone to do it for the next five years. The bid closing date is August 25, 1993.

To allow time for the competitive process it was necessary to extend the contract with Bombardier for a six-month period ending September 30, 1993. During

Adjournment Debate

this interim period, because the Montreal service centre has been closed, Bombardier will maintain the service at the Hartford service centre.

The hon. member indicates that the cost of maintaining the Challenger aircraft at Hartford is higher than the cost of maintaining them in Montreal. This is not the fact. Bombardier has not increased the maintenance fees. They remain the same as they were when the work was being carried out in Montreal.

I am also pleased to report to the hon. member that there has been no loss of employment in Canada as a result of the Montreal service centre closure. All workers have been moved to other jobs within Bombardier.

The government believes in the competitive process. It is working to that end in having a new contract by the end of August.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

David Charles Dingwall

Liberal

Mr. David Dingwall (Cape Breton -East Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, on May 111 put a question to the Minister of National Defence pertaining to the policy of the Department of National Defence as it relates to peacekeeping duties.

This policy, namely section 3, has been used in the past to deny Canadian Jews, Muslims and women the chance to represent their country in peacekeeping activities in the Middle East. The question that I posed to the minister at that time was: Why did the minister prevent Jews, Muslims and women from serving Canada in the Middle East but permit a known white supremacist to serve in Somalia?

The response received from the Minister of National of Defence was totally inadequate, totally barren of any sensitivity to the issue whatsoever.

In point of fact my colleague from Windsor West prevailed in the House two days later and asked questions of the Government of Canada again. I just want to quote my colleague who said:

The high reputation of our Canadian Armed Forces is based in large part on its proud record of battle in the Second World War when it fought against those who bore the swastika flag and the acts of inhumanity and injustice associated with it.

Yesterday the minister was quoted as suggesting that a currently serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces who erected a

swastika flag in a Canadian military barracks and then stood under it

giving the Hitler salute and wearing a Nazi T-shirt was just engaging

in a "boyish prank".

Any reasonable Canadian would conclude that kind of conduct is unbecoming of individuals associated with the Canadian Armed Forces, in particular with the peacekeeping movement of which Canada and Canadians have been proud for many years. In fact, Mr. Speaker, your predecessor who held office in this great Chamber was one of the ones who was very much instrumental in the whole concept of peacekeepers.

To add insult to injury, the government had the audacity to say that it did not approve of white supremacists in the Canadian Armed Forces. The individual in question to whom reference has been made was subsequently promoted and thereafter sent to a country which was primarily a country of black individuals.

I can understand mistakes being made, but this is incompetence at the highest level by the Minister of National Defence. I am not going to accept from the parliamentary secretary, who will be answering on the minister's behalf, that somehow we have misconstrued the facts or misinterpreted the facts.

The facts are very clear. This Minister of National Defence wishes to put the blame on other members of her department, namely senior individuals within the Department of National Defence, in trying to by-pass her responsibility as minister in charge.

It is very reminiscent of an earlier occasion when the minister of constitutional affairs, who was then the minister of external affairs, tried to abdicate his responsibility with regard to ministerial responsibility.

I want the parliamentary secretary to indicate to the House today the reasons this individual was allowed to remain in the Canadian Armed Forces, promoted, and thereafter sent to Somalia in order to serve. This has caused embarrassment for Canadians. It has brought attention to the Canadian peacekeepers that is not in keeping with their good reputation and well deserved honours. I want the parliamentary secretary on behalf of the Minister of National Defence to apologize to Parliament and Canadians for this gross act of negligence on the part of the Government of Canada.

June 7, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Kenneth Albert James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken James (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond. I would like to remind the hon. member that racist behaviour is not and will not be tolerated in the Canadian forces. The Canadian forces has a zero tolerance policy against all forms of personal harassment.

The Minister of National Defence has clearly stated that racism and racist attitudes are completely and absolutely unacceptable in the Canadian forces. If a person applying to the Canadian forces demonstrates such an attitude of extreme intolerance to others then the applicant will be rejected as he or she would be unable to fit into the team concept essential to an effective military force.

The Minister of National Defence is reviewing the Canadian forces recruitment policies to ensure that the explicit and stated policy of the Canadian forces that racist attitudes are absolutely unacceptable is in fact carried out in all activities of the Canadian forces.

The minister is further reviewing Canadian forces recruitment policies to ensure that applicants are deliberately asked about membership in racist organizations. Certain instances, as the hon. member has noted, have raised broad concerns over the suitability of the Canadian forces stationed in Somalia.

Mindful of her responsibility, the Minister of National Defence sought advice on how best to address the variety of concerns raised and directed the chief of defence staff to convene a board of inquiry.

The Minister of National Defence provided leadership, amending military regulations in order to ensure that civilians will sit on the board and undertaking an effective and timely investigation. The Minister of National Defence instituted this board to investigate the leadership, discipline, operations, actions and procedures of the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group.

The terms of reference of the board of inquiry include the examination of the selection and screening process of the personnel on such missions. In addition the board will investigate the extent, if any, to which cultural differences, including racism, affected the conduct of the operations.

I would like to remind the hon. member that the Minister of National Defence has deep concerns over the subject he has raised. I thank him for raising it.

Adjournment Debate STUDENT AID

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Ron J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (St. Boniface):

Mr. Speaker, it was on March 15 that I raised a question with respect to student aid programs.

Basically what I was saying is that this government has promised year after year that it would bring forth a student aid program that would genuinely, legitimately and with common sense respond to the needs of Canadians who want to upgrade, who want to go to college or university and get an education so that they can contribute to increase productivity in this nation and ensure that their potential is realized.

Year after year, and by three or four ministers, the promise continues to be made. On that particular day I pointed out to the government that all it has done is tinker with the program. However, in tinkering with the program it has hurt students.

What has it done? It has added a 3 per cent tax on student loans, on students who need to borrow and are therefore the poorest of the poor. While at one time students had a reprieve of six months now they have to pay six months more interest.

What else has it done? Now it would appear that it has decided to go to banks so that banks will loan students money. That in itself may be reasonable but we do not have the details. What will be the criteria governing the banks' decisions to grant or not grant a loan? Will the students be involved in drafting those criteria, in determining what they might be? There was no response, nothing, absolutely nothing.

This government has promised to bring forward a student aid program year after year. It is now three or four ministers later, we are near the end of a session and going into an election and yet there is nothing but penalties to the students. There is 3 per cent tax on student loans, six months more interest and some arrangement with the banks that we will know nothing about.

In my riding one of the issues that consistently comes up is the difficulties the students are having. Students are often harassed because they have not been able to pay their loans and yet there are no jobs or very poorly remunerated short-term jobs.

I remember one incident in which a young woman could not complete her education for a very good reason and had to get social assistance, and the government cut her off from getting further loans. I was able to intervene and with some good common sense the minister came

Adjournment Debate

forward with the loan. That young woman has now graduated with a degree and she can now start repaying that loan and contribute significantly to society and to her family.

It is really unfortunate because the government has been doing things with the student aid program that go contrary to its basic concepts of increasing productivity and efficiency.

I think it is most unfortunate. I hope the government will finally come up with a plan that will meet the needs of students across Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Kenneth Albert James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken James (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the questions raised by the hon. member for St. Boniface which he first raised in this House on March 15.

The government is committed to reforming the Canada Student Loans Program with the aim of improving assistance for needy students while at the same time ensuring value for money for our taxpayers. The key to this reform will be the new financing arrangements for the program based on lender risk sharing. The central objective of the program, to provide financial assistance to needy students for the pursuit of post-secondary studies, will not only continue in the new arrangements but will be strengthened.

The hon. member has suggested that the new financing structure is a first step to privatization. This ignores the fact that the government has always used private sector capital to finance student loans. The new financing structure will provide for reasonable costs for borrowers in repayment and reduce the cost to taxpayers of the existing program.

I should remind the hon. member that under the current program the federal government guarantees 100 per cent of each loan. In the event of a default lenders have little incentive to apply the same level of diligence in servicing and collecting the student loans as they do with their own loans. This is inconsistent with other federal loan guarantee programs.

During a meeting of the National Advisory Group on Student Financial Assistance on June 2, 1993 the Secretary of State confirmed that under the new arrangements lenders will continue to make loans to all eligible students, except in the case of credit abuse. Lenders will be required by the terms of the contract to make loans available to needy students, the majority of whom have no credit history, security or co-signatory.

The introduction of lender risk-sharing in the new arrangements is expected to lower the over-all costs of the program and provide scope for the government to increase the assistance to individual students who may not be able to be served now. I thank the hon. member for raising this question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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NDP

Chris Axworthy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Chris Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing):

Mr. Speaker, on March 18 I raised a question with the Prime Minister about the implications of federal offloading on to the province of Saskatchewan, that is the reduction in transfers to the province of Saskatchewan and the impact on that province's debt picture.

Off-loading is the deliberate effort by this federal government to reduce its own costs by passing on the costs of programming to provincial governments. It occurs in a number of different forms, reducing or eliminating federal transfers, such as the ceiling on equalization payments, limiting the growth rate of federal contributions to levels below the growth in the cost of providing those services. For example, there is the freeze on established programs funding transfers for health and post-secondary education, the young offenders agreement, manpower and labour force training. It is also imposing new conditions on federal programs which impact on provincial program costs, for example unemployment insurance changes, or the withdrawal from the provision of services for which a need exists and the public expectation of continuance is being created, for example programs for aboriginal people and agricultural support payments.

The implications ever since the mid-1970s, first under the Liberals and then under the Conservatives, have been dramatic for the province of Saskatchewan. The total off-loading in 1992-1993 of $538 million is a little more than the deficit of the province of Saskatchewan. The recent economic statements of the Minister of

*

June 7, 1993

Finance and particularly the one in December 1992 will add millions of dollars more to this cost.

The province has a number of very difficult choices to make in consequence. It could reduce the programs and services for which Ottawa has reduced its contributions, or raise provincial taxes to make up for those reductions, or allow the provincial deficit to rise, or some combination of these options. However this puts pressure on local governments and others that depend on provincial financial support.

To illustrate the impact of this off-loading, its cost to the province is more than the entire receipts from provincial sales tax or about half of the estimated receipts from personal income tax.

Social service expenditures for those in need could more than double had it not been for federal off-loading. The impact of the off-loading has grown over the past decade and will continue to grow in the years ahead, in particular as provinces face extras burdens because of the increased health and education costs.

This has generated in Saskatchewan and other provincial governments an unfair burden, an unfair sharing of federal restraint. In particular it is unfair because 40 per cent of expected total federal savings from its expenditure control plan in 1991-and the numbers are not very much different for other years-40 per cent is comprised of reductions in federal transfers to the provinces. Transfers themselves only account for 20 per cent of the total federal program spending. This is a very hard blow to provincial budgets because of the concentration on the transfers to the provinces.

It is essential if we are going to maintain adequate social programs with national standards such as health care that there be adequate financial support from the federal government. The total cutbacks in Saskatchewan are in the order of $538 million, $247.9 million in losses to health care and post-secondary education, and $215 million in losses to agriculture programs.

The burden of agriculture support used to rest 100 per cent on the federal government. That has been shifted so that $215 million more a year has to be paid by the province of Saskatchewan. Seventy-five million dollars has been added to the burden on a whole range of other

Adjournment Debate

issues, bringing the total to $538 million in 1992-1993 alone. In total from 1977-1978 when the Liberals began this trend to 1992-1993 the total is $1.2 billion taken out of the revenues available to Saskatchewan.

What we need is some co-operation, some work together in the solution of these problems, not off-loading, not sending the burden off to the provinces.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
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PC

Kenneth Albert James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken James (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing, the federal government provides over $40 billion in financial support to provincial governments. Most of that support is delivered through the three major transfer programs.

Established Programs Financing, or EPF, provides provinces with financial support in respect of health and post-secondary education. EPF is provided to all provinces on an equal per capita basis, and currently increases with population. EPF transfers are expected to total over $21 billion in 1993-1994.

Equalization which will exceed $8 billion in 1993-1994 increases the fiscal capacity of the poorer provinces. It makes it possible for all provinces to provide reasonably comparable public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.

Under the Canada Assistance Plan, or CAP, the federal government helps all provinces finance social assistance benefits on a 50-50 basis. These transfers then are based on eligible provincial spending and are now approaching $8 billion.

Since 1984 the federal program spending has been restrained in order to reduce, as the member says, the federal deficit. Transfers to provinces have shared in that restraint but not to the same extent as the federal program spending.

As the member would know, between 1984-85 and 1993-94 major federal transfers are expected to grow about 56 per cent. This represents an average annual increase of 5.1 per cent. By comparison, total federal government spending will grow far less rapidly in the same period at an annual rate of only 3.6 per cent. Therefore these are certainly things that the member should take into consideration.

Adjournment Debate

Certainly fiscal responsibility is needed to ensure that in the long term the government can continue to afford supporting national programs and services vital to Canadians. If the deficit were allowed to grow then education, welfare and health expenditures would be crowded out by an ever increasing debt.

These are the reasons why we must look at transfer

payments and continue to be diligent in working with the provinces.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
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LIB

Maurice Brydon Foster

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Foster):

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at ten o'clock a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 5.31 p.m.
Sub-subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
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The House adjourned at 5.56 p.m.


June 7, 1993