April 15, 1996

LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the commission allows its members to examine all issues relating to these incidents and they definitely intend to do so.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Department Of National Defence
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the commission should also look at what happened in Petawawa, at the hazing rituals, at what happened in Gagetown, at what happened with the pseudo-terrorist attack at the Quebec City Citadel, following which the commander of the Citadel was appointed chief of the armed forces in Haiti. This is quite something. Talk about being irresponsible.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his government is tarnishing the reputation of the Canadian Armed Forces and that this will continue as long as the current defence minister is in charge?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Department Of National Defence
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LIB

David Collenette

Liberal

Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am quite affronted that the hon. member would accuse the government of tarnishing the image of the armed forces. If anything is tarnishing the image of the armed forces, other than the problems we have to deal with on an ongoing basis, it is the attitude of the members opposite who are making political points on the backs of the men and women who serve with distinction in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Department Of National Defence
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REF

Bob Ringma

Reform

Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, in welcoming the intergovernmental affairs minister to his seat, I note that some time ago he indicated that a distinct society clause in the Constitution would not confer special status on Quebec and I quote: "It is an insult to suggest Quebecers would use the clause to trample minority rights".

Canadians familiar with Quebec's oppressive language laws fear a distinct society clause would be used to further the exclusionary policies of separatists.

For the benefit of Canadians, will the minister clarify his intentions about including a distinct society clause in the Constitution?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Constitution
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LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we must state the facts.

Since the beginning, since 1988, the intent to put in the Constitution the recognition of Quebec has never been a device to change the distribution of powers in the Constitution of Canada.

Never. Some politicians who do not want to reconcile Quebecers and Canadians may say that but it is not the truth. I will give you what was written in 1987, the first draft the first ministers accepted in order to keep Quebec as a distinct society, or any other term you want to use within Canada.

"Nothing in this section derogates from the powers, rights or privileges of Parliament or the Government of Canada or the legislatures of the governments of the provinces, including any powers, rights or privileges relating to language". This is why it would be a lie to say that it may change the distribution of powers. It is an interpretative clause. It is necessary but it does not change the basic Constitution.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Constitution
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REF

Bob Ringma

Reform

Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how much Canadians will be cheered by that 1987 response.

The intergovernmental affairs minister has also said that Quebec's racist bill 101, the language law in Quebec, and I quote him: "A great Canadian law and is liberal in many ways."

In many ways inclusion of distinct society has the legal potential to allow for policies which will take away from the rights of Canadians. I ask the minister if the inclusion of a distinct society clause is necessary, what measures will the government take to ensure that the clause will not undermine the equality of all Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Constitution
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LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, bilingual or trilingual democracies have measures to ensure that their language communities will live together in harmony. It is what we have in Canada. We are very proud of it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Constitution
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Canadian government has just banned cheese made from raw milk. In Quebec, producers, importers, retailers, restaurant owners, consumers, veterinarians and the provincial government disagree with this decision. The Quebec Liberal Party and even the Liberal Party of Canada also disagree.

Since cheese made from raw milk is already strictly regulated in Canada and nobody is complaining, why do the minister and his officials want to annoy us by prohibiting the sale of this cheese here?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Raw Milk Cheese
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LIB

David Dingwall

Liberal

Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has asked a very important question relating to raw milk cheese. Evidence has come from my department which suggests that there may be an increased risk of illness or disease.

As a result a regulation has been gazetted and for 75 days there will be a period of consultation. After that consultation period we will be in a position to evaluate the evidence which has been put forward to see whether the evidence of the department is accurate.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Raw Milk Cheese
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Health have nothing better to do than to regulate in an area where his officials are most unwelcome? Who is in charge, the minister or his officials?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Raw Milk Cheese
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LIB

David Dingwall

Liberal

Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to say that the question is full of holes. However, I want to remind the hon. member who has demonstrated time and time again on the floor of the House of the Commons that she is a reasonable individual that my responsibilities as the Minister of Health are to protect the health of Canadians. When evidence comes forward which suggests an increase in risk of the health of Canadians, I must take the appropriate action.

Therefore, we have put in motion a process which is very normal, a 75-day consultation period. Thereafter, the appropriate decisions will be taken.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Raw Milk Cheese
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LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act deals with the protection of freshwater fish habitat and is a fundamental pillar of environmental and fisheries protection.

Can the minister of fisheries assure the House that the powers of section 35(2) will not be delegated to the provincial governments?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Fred Mifflin

Liberal

Hon. Fred Mifflin (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for a very important question. I also want to compliment him on the good work he continues to do in environmental areas and for the tremendous reputation he has for concerns in this area.

I would like to assure the hon. member that, as he quite rightly points out, section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act is a very important trigger for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

I am pleased to report that while we may be looking at some changes downstream which are necessary and important for fresh-

water fish habitat, we will continue to ensure that the Fisheries Act will be an important trigger for fish management.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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REF

John Williams

Reform

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, while the Canada pension plan consultations begin today, I have been talking with seniors in my riding for the past two weeks and they are worried.

The Minister of Finance said in his budget speech that the CPP must be put on a sound financial footing that will make it sustainable, affordable and fair.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Can the government assure us that sustainable, affordable and fair will not mean less money in the pockets of seniors?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Pensions
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LIB

Barry Campbell

Liberal

Mr. Barry Campbell (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

We have just begun a process of consultations with respect to the Canada pension plan. We await with great interest the observations, ideas and suggestions of Canadians on how to ensure the sustainability of the plan.

The goal of the exercise is a sustainable program that will be there for Canadians, not taking something out of the pockets of Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Pensions
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REF

John Williams

Reform

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that the government is going to wait for the outcome of these consultations. That is not leadership.

Today the Montreal Gazette quotes the member for Winnipeg North Centre, who is the government's point man for the CPP road show. In the article the member says that the government is committed to protecting the fundamental part of Canada's overall pension system. What does protection mean? Pay more and get less or some other painful remedy?

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. What guarantee does the government give seniors that it will maintain the standard of living for seniors?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Pensions
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LIB

Barry Campbell

Liberal

Mr. Barry Campbell (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on one hand the member decries the consultations, suggesting that it is not leadership. That is precisely the kind of leadership Canadians want. They want to be heard. They want a government that listens to their suggestions. That is what we will do in the context of the CPP consultations.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Pensions
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BQ

Paul Mercier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Over a week ago, the management of the Kenworth plant in Sainte-Thérèse announced its plans to shut down operations at the truck manufacturing facility. Since then, all stakeholders have been actively seeking to prevent this plant from closing and to save the 850 jobs at stake.

Could the Prime Minister tell this House what steps he intends to take to save these 850 jobs?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kenworth Plant In Sainte-Thérèse
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LIB

Martin Cauchon

Liberal

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Secretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, you will understand that the government is extremely concerned about the announcement made by PACCAR. A substantial number of jobs are at stake, and my hon. friend across the way should know that the Canadian government has been involved in this matter from the very beginning, after PACCAR made its decision known. The Government of Quebec got involved and we immediately got on board; we were represented by my colleague, the Minister of Labour, who met with the president of the FTQ and also with his provincial counterpart.

We have been in contact; members of my staff got in touch with the minister responsible for the province of Quebec.

Last Saturday, my colleague, the Minister of Labour, and myself sat down with representatives of the union at the Sainte-Thérèse plant. I must say that, as matters stand, we will consult with each other. We will examine the matter on its merit and come back to the House with the Canadian government's position on this matter.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kenworth Plant In Sainte-Thérèse
Permalink
BQ

Paul Mercier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes, BQ)

Here is my supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Last Friday, the Government of Quebec made a proposal to PACCAR, Kenworth's parent company, in an attempt to prevent the closure of the Kenworth plant.

Since the Minister of Labour has announced that the federal government will get involved in this matter, could the Prime Minister undertake to support the proposal the Quebec government made to PACCAR to save the Kenworth plant in Sainte-Thérèse?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kenworth Plant In Sainte-Thérèse
Permalink

April 15, 1996