June 9, 1993

AIRPORTS

LIB

Joseph R. (Joe) Comuzzi

Liberal

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The government adopted a policy to place airports in Canada under the control of local airport authorities, with the exception of Pearson airport. In the last three years local authorities have taken over in large centres such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and I think one airport in Montreal.

Since this policy was announced a responsive group of Thunder Bay citizens formed their own committee at their own expense and worked hard to have the Thunder Bay Airport turned over to local men and women who know something about the local economy of northwestern Ontario.

For the benefit of this local group and other local groups with the intention of having their airports turned over, would the minister please advise what the timeframe will be for smaller communities in Canada to have their local airports turned over to their control?

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Subtopic:   AIRPORTS
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PC

Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport):

Madam Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Thunder Bay-Nipigon for supporting the devolution of local airports to local airport authorities. As he mentioned, it is almost a year since we have devolved the four airports

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to local airport authorities. The arrangement is working very well.

Since that time the airport transfer task force has been negotiating with about 10 or 12 other communities in Canada. As far as Thunder Bay is concerned, I am informed the base case documents are being prepared and should be completed in August. This will mean that some time in the middle of 1994, if everything goes well, the Thunder Bay Airport should be transferred to the local airport authority.

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LIB

Joseph R. (Joe) Comuzzi

Liberal

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the same minister. The fact of the matter is that the Thunder Bay Airport was advised last week that it would take at least three more years to have the airport transferred. By the time an audit is prepared some time in August or September, plus 18 months for signing the letter of intent, 9 months for the notice procedures and then the preparation of the legal documents, it will be 6 years from its inception.

The minister will understand that this is unacceptable. Will he have the officials in his department accept and adopt the same timeframe as he just outlined in his response to me?

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PC

Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport):

Yes, Madam Speaker, I have absolutely no reservation in confirming to the hon. member that the timeframe I just enunciated will be respected.

The letter he referred to is alluding to the fact that it took three years to complete all these documents for the first four transfers because it was the invention of a new situation. Now that we have had four transfers the mechanism will work much more rapidly.

Again I repeat. In the middle of 1994 the Thunder Bay Airport should be transferred to the local airport authority.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg TYanscona):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It concerns the fact that over the past year, 9,000 complaints have been registered with the new human rights commission in Mexico, a government commission I might add, set up by President Salinas.

Given the fact there have been these 9,000 complaints, would the Prime Minister not reconsider-and I know it is late in the game-his headlong rush into a North American free trade agreement, an agreement with Mexico, a country in which ordinary people obviously do not have the ability to defend themselves or to advocate on their own behalf without the risk of false arrest, persecution, murder or torture? Just name it; it is all here in the human rights commission report.

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Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
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PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Madam Speaker, I have not read the report to which my hon. friend refers. There is a general agreement in countries around the world that President Salinas is an enlightened leader whose tenure marks a very significant departure from the events of the past.

He is widely recognized as a reformer who is trying to improve the lot of low income Mexicans, not by receiving handouts from Canada or the United States but by trading their way to prosperity.

For many years that party has asked that we provide more and more foreign aid, more and more handouts. President Salinas is saying: "No, I do not want any charity. I do not want any handouts. I do not want any foreign aid. What I want is an equality of opportunity to trade into an industrialized market, thereby raising the prosperity of all of my citizens, thereby elevating the degree of social justice in Mexico, and thereby becoming a better partner of Canada and the United States".

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Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
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NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg TVanscona):

Madam Speaker, if the North American free trade agreement is supposed to be such a boon to the Mexican people, maybe the Prime Minister could explain while he is on his feet why the standard of living in the Maquiladora corridor is so abominable.

I asked him a question about human rights abuses reported by President Salinas' own commission. Does the Prime Minister not understand that we cannot have a level playing field, to the extent that such a thing is possible in any event economically speaking, if politically the people are unable to advocate on their own behalf, if trade unionists and others seeking social justice have to fear persecution?

How does the Prime Minister answer that question? What does he intend to do about it? When will he reverse this facile notion that somehow free trade with Mexico will be of benefit to the working people of

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Mexico? It is not going to be of benefit to them or to the working people of America or Canada.

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PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Madam Speaker, I ask my socialist friend how we bring about reform in countries around the world. Is it by greater isolationism or by greater economic, social and commercial intercourse with those countries so as to improve relationships, so as to provide them with opportunities and instruments to raise the standard of living, so as to provide them with greater opportunities for social justice?

I understand my hon. friend and the union supporters in Canada have the same union supporters in Mexico. They are protectionists. They want to keep the world the way it is. They refuse to recognize the great currents of globalization that are affecting North America and the world.

We are saying that North American free trade is not necessarily a panacea for all, but it is a step forward in helping all peoples confront the new demands of globalization, thereby raising the prosperity level for all citizens of this continent including Mexico.

My hon. friend should stop penalizing the people of Mexico by trying to sabotage a deal which would give the poorer people of Mexico a greater opportunity to increase their wealth, their families' well-being and their human dignity. Surely the NDP should stand for greater human dignity for people in developing countries.

[Translation)

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Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
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HIGHWAY RECONSTRUCTION

PC

Guy St-Julien

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Guy Saint-Julien (Abitibi):

Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport. For several months the federal government and the provinces have been discussing a reconstruction program for our national highway system. Annually, Ottawa collects $11 million in gas and road taxes.

Could the minister tell the House today whether the federal government will invest in rebuilding Trans-Canada Highway 117 in Abitibi-Temiscamingue and other sections of that highway in Quebec?

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Subtopic:   HIGHWAY RECONSTRUCTION
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PC

Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jean Corbeil (Minister of Transport):

Madam Speaker, the hon. member is of course aware that in last December's economic statement, the Minister of Finance announced that the federal government would make $500 million available to the provinces for repairs to highway systems that are part of our national highway network. Highway 117 is indeed part of that network and is one of the items we discussed in our negotiations with the Quebec government, to decide how funding allocated to Quebec in last December's economic statement by the Minister of Finance would be shared by Quebec and Ottawa.

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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PC

David Samuel Horne MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Hon. David MacDonald (Rosedale):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for external relations and international development.

A year ago at this time the Government of Canada led by the Prime Minister participated in the earth summit and in particular signed two very important treaties pointed in the direction of achieving international co-operation.

In the words of the Prime Minister: "This is not the time in the history of the environment to entrench, to regroup and to return to former positions. This is the time to test the outer limits of what we can achieve together".

One important commitment was to achieve the target of .7 per cent of ODA by the year 2000. This has since been ratified by two parliamentary committees this year. However the estimates of the department have suggested that we will only eventually achieve the target of .7 per cent.

Could the minister indicate what steps are being taken to achieve the commitment made in Rio a year ago?

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Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
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PC

Monique Vézina (Minister for External Relations; Minister responsible for La Francophonie; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Monique Vezina (Minister of External Relations and Minister of State (Seniors)):

Madam Speaker, I was not at the Rio Summit, but I do know that neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of the Environment made a commitment to abide by the .7 per cent target in their official speeches. For reasons that will be obvious to all members in this House, we have had to restrict

growth at CIDA, and the .7 per cent objective is a long-term goal.

However, I can confirm that the government, through CIDA, intends to abide by the commitments that were made at the Summit. Having said that, I would remind the House that as a donor country, Canada still ranks second among the G-7. Therefore, CIDA actively supports the follow-up on the Rio Summit, co-ordinates our contribution of $25 million and implements the proposal to convert the debt of ODA countries to use in environmental protection projects, which represents a total of $145 million.

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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Madam Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. He will know that this week we learned the Brazilian court refused the appeal of Christine Lamont and David Spencer.

Unfortunately the Secretary of State for External Affairs has refused to exercise the right of the Canadian government to request expulsion. Instead she has said that the families could rely upon a further appeal process or an offender's treaty, knowing full well that those measures would take another five or six years for completion.

In one of his final acts as a member of the government, will the Prime Minister instruct the Secretary of State for External Affairs to request an expulsion order from the Brazilian government as fully required under the Brazilian law so we could end the suffering and imprisonment of these two young Canadians who have already spent far too much time in a Brazilian jail?

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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, as the Secretary of State for External Affairs has explained many times, this question of expulsion is not quite as automatic and problem-free as would be indicated.

Also, there are in fact two more levels of appeal. The Canadians along with the other group involved in the kidnapping had a joint appeal for reduction of the sentence which was denied by the judge.

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However there is an opportunity for two more levels of appeal. There is a good sense in the Brazilian legislature that the sentences were unduly harsh. If the Canadians were to appeal on their own in terms of what they claim to be a peripheral participation, perhaps they would have an opportunity to have it reduced. In any event they are provided with legal counsel. Our consular people in Brazil are being as helpful as they can be. It is simply desirable they proceed through that legal process.

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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Madam Speaker, with all due apologies to the House leader,

I am making an appeal to the Prime Minister.

It is based very much on the fact that the Department of External Affairs commissioned an independent expert, Dr. Dias, who put forward a report which said explicitly that any further appeal procedure would take another five or six years.

I want to quote from the report: "In this case, specifically, if the Canadian government requests the expulsion of Christine Gwen Lamont, the Brazilian government may grant her an expulsion because all legal requirements have been fulfilled".

It seems to me there is clear reason for the Canadian government to exercise this right. I appeal to the Prime Minister to undertake that initiative today.

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June 9, 1993