February 14, 1997

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The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member is well aware that we cannot comment on the absence of members or ministers.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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BQ

Jean H. Leroux

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Leroux (Shefford)

Mr. Speaker, we can say that there are ministers here. The Hyundai plant in Bromont has been shut down for a few years. Business leaders and stakeholders, including the Société de développement régional, the SODER, still do not know about the company's plans regarding this important plant which employed over 800 people. In January, the Prime Minister visited South Korea, where Hyundai's head office is located.

Could someone tell me if, during Team Canada's trip, the Prime Minister asked Hyundai's top executives about their intentions regarding the disused plant in Bromont?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it seems that all the Bloc members who are here will ask questions. As regards the Hyundai plant, the hon. member knows full well that we co-operated with other levels of government to find a way to revive this plant.

Hyundai decided to close that plant. The company repaid the money that had been invested by the governments, pursuant to the agreement signed by the government and Hyundai. As for us, and I believe it is also the case for the Quebec government, these amounts were paid back under the bilateral agreement between the federal and Quebec governments.

We will try, together, to find a way to bring jobs back to Bromont.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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BQ

Jean H. Leroux

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, unless I am mistaken, the Prime Minister did not meet anyone regarding this issue, during his trip.

Since the member for Brome-Missisquoi, who is responsible for Bromont, does not look after the concerns of his constituents, will the Prime Minister, or the minister who answered my first question, since he has some authority, pledge to ask Hyundai's executives about the future of the Bromont plant, through Canada's trade commission in South Korea?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I hear a lot more about Bromont from the member for Brome-Missisquoi than I do from Bloc members.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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?

An hon. member

He is a very good member.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Mr. Manley

He is indeed a very good member. He understands something Bloc members do not understand. It is not Hyundai that will save the plant it used to operate. Hyundai has made its decision.

There may be other possibilities for that plant, but the solution will not come from Hyundai.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Hyundai Plant In Bromont
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LIB

Warren Allmand

Liberal

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. According to a recent report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the private sector does a better job of hiring and promoting minorities than the federal government.

Considering that the employment equity program has been in place for 10 years, what is the reason for this shortfall and what is the government doing to correct it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Equity
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LIB

Marcel Massé

Liberal

Hon. Marcel Massé (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Public Service of Canada agrees that it must reflect the composition of the public it serves. I regret that it may not be the same in all the governments in Canada but the Public Service of Canada does want to reflect the composition of the population.

In doing this, in the last few years we have increased by 50 per cent the relative representation of visible minority groups. Treasury Board has even put together a program called the special measures initiatives program. This program has been supporting a series of innovative activities to assist visible minorities, including recruitment programs, initiatives to upgrade skills and promote marketability, and career development training to prepare individuals for senior positions. In this area the Public Service of Canada has clearly been doing its job.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Equity
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REF

Jack Ramsay

Reform

Mr. Jack Ramsay (Crowfoot, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the defence minister said clearly in this House that there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia.

I would like to give the defence minister the opportunity of either withdrawing that statement or telling the House and the Canadian people how he knows there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Somalia Inquiry
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LIB

Douglas Young

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I assume that we are speaking about the incidents in Somalia that occurred in early 1993 for which individuals have been charged and for which individuals have been found responsible. The names of the Somalia citizens who were killed are known to Canadians and to the hon. gentleman if he is interested in finding out. The incidents have been described, reviewed, investigated and the subject of judicial proceedings.

What I said yesterday, and what I believe the Canadian people understand very well, is that what happened in Somalia was absolutely unacceptable. Two years later Canadians know that what happened subsequent to those incidents in Somalia, how the military justice system responded, how the military investigative capability was not up to snuff, was also intolerable.

We believe that Canadians expect us to do something about it and that is what we are going to do.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Somalia Inquiry
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REF

Jack Ramsay

Reform

Mr. Jack Ramsay (Crowfoot, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister has not answered the question. He made a clear statement of fact yesterday that there was no cover-up of the murder of the teenager in Somalia and yet that is the very reason that the inquiry was called in the first place.

I ask the minister one more time: Is he prepared to tell the House the facts on which he based the statement that there was no cover-up of the murder in Somalia or is he going to leave us with the conclusion that he is making an erroneous statement in the House?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Somalia Inquiry
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LIB

Douglas Young

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not want the hon. member to spend a sleepless weekend worrying about whether or not I understand, and that Canadians understand, what happened with respect to the murders in Somalia.

What I said yesterday is that every Canadian who really wants to get a clear understanding of what took place in Somalia knows who pulled the trigger. Everybody in Canada knows exactly what happened on the ground in Somalia to the extent that it can be determined after two years of work by the commission, military investigations, the courts martial and everything else that took place.

The hon. member cannot distinguish between the problems that occurred, the incidents that resulted in death and the difficulties that the system had and the inappropriate responses that took place subsequent to those events. I think he should give Canadians more credit for understanding this than he has so far. Canadians know-

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Somalia Inquiry
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BQ

Maud Debien

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval East, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

If the CRTC gives in to Bell Canada's demands, business customers in small communities will pay between $44 and $54 a month for telephone service, while in larger centres the bill will be about $10 less.

What action does the Minister of Industry intend to take to ensure that telecommunications and telephone services essential to the competitiveness of businesses are just as affordable for SMBs in rural areas as for those in urban settings.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member knows that the CRTC is in the process of examining issues related to the affordability of telephone services.

I think this is a very important question. One of the objectives of our information highway policy was that all Canadians should have affordable access to telephone services. But I think the member also knows that some very important changes are taking place in the telecommunications sector. There are new services, using advanced technology, and all Canadians would like to receive them.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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BQ

Maud Debien

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval East, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware that the CRTC is presently studying the whole question of telecommunications and telephone rates, but I have put my question to the minister, not to the CRTC.

In its red book, the Liberal Party said that it would do what was necessary to promote job creation. With the proposal now on the table, SMBs could see their telecommunications and telephone bill shoot up by 41 to 77 per cent.

How can the minister reconcile these huge increases with promises of increased productivity and job creation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member is confusing the government's responsibility with that of the CRTC.

I would point out that the basic issue here is that we have put in place a system of competition that has already resulted in a substantial reduction in long distance rates, thus benefiting all SMBs. This system has made it possible to set up competitive services not just for Canadian businesses, but also with respect to American businesses. Here in Canada, we will receive modern and different services, and prices will be-

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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REF

Ian McClelland

Reform

Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

Anyone who has signed a paycheque understands that payroll taxes are a disincentive to hiring. Employment insurance, workers' compensation and the proposed new Canada pension plan premium of nearly 10 per cent means payroll taxes will be almost 20 per cent of earnings. Then the victim pays income tax and then the GST. No wonder Canadians are tax poor.

How can the government create an economic climate conducive to job growth, particularly for first time job applicants, when payroll taxes make it more cost effective to pay overtime or to utilize part time contract employees?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that as a result of the actions of the government, employment insurance premiums will be down by $1.7 billion. That is money which will be put back into the hands of Canadians.

I want to thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to elaborate on this. He said there should be incentives for first time hiring. The hon. member may have forgotten that in the last budget we brought in a measure that forgave employment insurance premiums for all small and medium sized businesses. Some 900,000 businesses across the country will be able to employ young Canadians without having to pay the premiums.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment
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February 14, 1997