June 16, 1993

LIB

Brian Vincent Tobin

Liberal

Mr. Brian Tobin (Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The government House leader fails to take seriously the nature of the question being raised today.

Only three weeks ago in Ottawa, the nation's capital, we saw a near riot between members of the Heritage Front and those who oppose that philosophy. We saw people being injured and we saw arrests being made. We saw a subsequent demonstration a short time later in Toronto.

Organized racism is real and visible in Canada. Notwithstanding the excellent reputation of the armed forces, regrettably it is apparent that it is real and visible within our military organization as well.

On April 26 the Minister of National Defence announced a military commission of inquiry behind closed doors "to provide insight into the problems experienced by the Canadian forces in Somalia". That was a beginning.

We now understand as a result of allegations brought not by a supremacist but by two people in small business who run a print shop in Victoria that as many as a dozen members of a supremacist organization have visited them seeking paraphernalia.

We are asking the minister and the Prime Minister the following: Will the military commission of inquiry announced by the Minister of National Defence be expanded to a full and open public commission of inquiry into the use of the military by white supremacist organizations in the country? Will the government move to put an end to this cancer in Canadian society?

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Subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
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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, the hon. member wants to have it both ways. He wants to suggest he has confidence in the military and he wants to have a public inquiry, a kind of witch-hunt, based on allegations for which there is no evidence.

We are talking about 70,000 uniformed personnel. Given the numbers involved, from time to time people do apply who really should not apply and should not be permitted in the armed forces. When they are discovered they are dealt with.

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The policy is there. It is very clear. The Minister of National Defence has stated that racism and racist attitudes are completely unacceptable in the Canadian forces. The Canadian forces do everything possible to ensure that policy direction is followed.

If the hon. member has evidence where in fact this is not happening he should produce that evidence. I assure him that it will be dealt with.

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LIB

Brian Vincent Tobin

Liberal

Mr. Brian Tobin (Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte):

Madam Speaker, the Minister of National Defence announced the military probe in April. She cited four reasons for the probe. She did not mention at the time that last summer in Victoria there had been a full SIU investigation into racist activity, white supremacist activity, in the military in that region.

In a Times column, military spokesman Major Don Roy confirmed a full investigation and made clear that no result of that investigation would be made known unless somebody successfully petitioned for it under the Access to Information Act.

I believe Canadians believe as I do, that we ought to have an open public commission of inquiry to end now the spread of this cancerous racism in Canadian society and in particular any use of our military for these despicable beliefs and activities.

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PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend and I share many things, including the view that racism is of course a profound evil and the bane of the existence of any so-called civilized society. Unfortunately we are a country of 28 million people and we are going to have our share of kooks, nuts and racists. This in no way reflects the great and quite noble traditions of Canadians.

I remember when I came in as Prime Minister one of the things that struck me was the fact that for decades requests had been made for a royal commission of inquiry into the Nazi war crimes and the fact that Nazi war criminals might be living in Canada. I shared the view that this was a horrible thought to consider, and we immediately appointed a royal commission. I think prosecutions ensued.

Another matter came up. I remember my hon. friend's active and constructive participation in the question of racism directed against Japanese Canadians. For 40 years Japanese Canadians had suffered extreme damage. It was a profound racist act by the Government of Canada. This government came in and corrected it with the help

June 16, 1993

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of all members of the opposition. I thank my hon. friend for it.

That is the kind of leadership all political parties tend to follow in Canada. Those two instances were powerful signals to those kooks and nuts in Canada that they were a tiny minority and would be dealt with vigorously and effectively by a vigilant citizenry.

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NDP

David Barrett

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Barrett (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca):

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It concerns jobs and provincial jurisdiction under the Constitution.

Before I ask this question I wish to thank the Prime Minister for reminding all Canadians that citizenship is treasured and no one should ever lose it because of race.

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?

Some hon. members:

Hear, hear.

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NDP

David Barrett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barrett:

On this last day of the Prime Minister's leadership in the House I want to remind him of a letter sent to him on May 27, 1993 by the premier of British Columbia relative to a recent panel on logs from the province of British Columbia.

The Prime Minister received this letter from the premier of British Columbia, Mr. Harcourt. It expresses concern over the fact that under a section of NAFTA which has been passed by the House there is risk that the provinces will lose jurisdiction of control of resources, specifically control of whole logs and the export control of whole logs without the application of secondary or tertiary manufacture which leads to jobs.

Before the Prime Minister leaves office can he assure all British Columbians that the signed North American free trade agreement will not in any way take away provincial jurisdiction of the control of the export of whole logs from my province of British Columbia?

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PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Madam Speaker, if my hon. friend is asking whether under

NAFTA the provinces lose jurisdiction over the control of natural resources, in this case logs, the answer is no.

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NDP

David Barrett

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Barrett (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca):

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to hear the Prime Minister take that position.

Now I want it clearly understood that because of that position the Prime Minister is prepared to send a letter to the President of the United States and the President of Mexico interpreting that the statements now coming out of Washington, D.C., vis-a-vis B.C. logs are totally incorrect and the panel's decision is incorrect in suggesting that the province does not have jurisdiction over those logs. It will say clearly to all Canadians, particularly British Columbians, that no province will lose jurisdiction under this act and, if that is so, the act will not be implemented as it is presently written.

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PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend knows that in the past with regard to free trade and again with regard to NAFTA, questions of culture were raised and the answer was no. There were questions on whether we were going to export all our water and the answer was no. There were questions on natural resources. Questions on Canadian blood were raised and the answer was no.

My hon. friend knows the answer to his question. I gave him the answer. He asked whether I am prepared to write to the President of the United States and the President of Mexico. I am so confident of the position I have just given my hon. friend that I am prepared to resign on this question.

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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Timing has always been his problem, Madam Speaker. I have a question for the Secretary of State for External Affairs.

Yesterday in Question Period in response to a question I put, the minister said in Hansard that a decision had been made concerning the feasibility of sending more soldiers or other Canadian military forces to Bosnia.

Considering that this is the last day on which the House will be meeting for some time it is very important

June 16, 1993

that we understand what that decision is so Canadians will know exactly the seriousness and the implications of that decision.

I want to ask the minister: Are we sending more troops to Bosnia? Will the mandate of our troops which are presently in that territory be changed in order to become more of a combat role? Where will the resources and equipment come from, considering that the defence minister has always said there is no more capacity for peacekeeping?

Concerning the serious implications for our troops and their families I hope the minister will be able to respond directly to these questions.

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PC

Barbara Jean McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Barbara McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Madam Speaker, before I answer the question, which I will as usual in a veiy precise manner, let me just say there has been a lot of talk today in the Chamber about women, the leading role they have played and their role in the House with the leaders of two national parties being women.

I recognize that you are not the first woman to occupy that chair, but I do think on this day I would like to acknowledge what a great job you have done as well.

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?

Some hon. members:

Hear, hear.

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PC

Barbara Jean McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. McDougall:

In response to the hon. member's question, let me just say that I apologize for not checking the "blues" because that is the opposite of what I said. What I said was that the decision had not been made.

I had always said that we are close to the end of our capacity to send people, that we would look at what we had. We have not reached a decision because we have had no request from the United Nations to be a part of that additional troop. However it is well aware of the limits of our capacity to provide additional troops and resources, and that if we were to do so it would be small rather than large. My answer was intended to be that we had not yet reached that determination.

I apologize to the hon. member and the House for not checking that Hansard was correct.

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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question.

If the minister is saying that Canada has decided not to send troops, may I ask specifically what our intention is

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for the troops that are already in Bosnia? Will we be agreeing to a change in their mandate as outlined under the resolution passed by the security council and contained in the report by the secretaiy-general, which in effect says that the troops will now be asked to provide military protection to civilians in these safe havens and clearly substantially alters the mandate and rules of engagement by troops?

If we are going to make that commitment what will we be doing to make sure that our troops are properly equipped and given the proper resources? It is quite clear from all reports that the present troops there are not adequately equipped to meet the kind of task that the UN has now set out for the UN protective force in Bosnia.

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PC

Barbara Jean McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Barbara McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Madam Speaker, before we get the precise description from the United Nations as to what might be required of Canadians who are doing such an excellent job in Bosnia and in Croatia it is very difficult for us to say what we might do by way of additional resources or equipment for them.

Let me assure the hon. member and Canadians that we have never yet sent troops to accomplish a mission for which we have not equipped them adequately, and we will do that again. We will not allow our troops there to be inadequately equipped. We have never done that and we will not do it now.

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TOBACCO SMUGGLING

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 Solicitor General.

Almost every night machine gun fire is heard and speedboats are running the rivers at full speed in the dark with their lights turned off pursuing criminal activity. I am not describing life in Sarajevo or Mogadishu. I am describing the practice of tobacco smuggling on the St. Lawrence River near Glengarry in my riding.

I want to ask a question of the Solicitor General on the last day of this Parliament. What precisely does the government intend to do to stop this illegal activity which endangers the lives and safety of my constituents? What is he going to do to ensure that we stop losing billions of

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taxpayers' dollars in this terrible process that is going on right now 50 miles from Parliament Hill?

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PC

Douglas Grinslade Lewis (Solicitor General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Doug Lewis (Solicitor General of Canada):

Madam Speaker, I agree with my hon. friend that the situation is serious. The government has been moving on several fronts to deal with it. I am not in a position to reveal all of those on the floor of the House of Commons. Suffice it to say, we have increased funding to provide for increased surveillance on the policing side of things as well as on the customs side of things.

I might also say that with the opposition's help we have recently amended the proceeds of crime legislation to enable us to move on another front.

I make no bones about it: It is a serious situation and it is one that we are moving on. We are making an effort to try to improve the situation.

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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 remind the minister that at the present time there are only 24 RCMP officers to patrol the whole area, including ports of entry, and to take care of the criminal activity that is going on.

Will the minister commit his government and particularly the Minister of National Revenue to stop cutting back on customs positions at the very least? We should add to the complement of people who are there now so we can bring back some safety and some sanity before people get killed as they did three years ago when we had the insurrection at Akwasasne.

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June 16, 1993