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Thursday, October 27, 1994





    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 7274



    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 7276



    Motion for concurrence in 44th report 7277







    Mr. White (North Vancouver) 7278




    Bill C-53. Consideration resumed of motion for second reading 7278


    Motion of Mr. Boudria 7280


    Bill C-53. Consideration resumed of second reading 7280
    Mr. White (North Vancouver) 7298
    Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 7299
    Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 7300
    Amendment to amendment 7305









    Mr. Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead) 7307







    Mr. White (North Vancouver) 7309







    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7310
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7310
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7311
    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 7311
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7311
    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 7311
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7311
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7311
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7312
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7312
    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 7312
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7312
    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 7312
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7312


    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 7312
    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 7313
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7313
    Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 7313
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7313
    Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 7313
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7313



    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7314
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7314



    Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 7314
    Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 7315


    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7315
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7315


    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7315
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7316


    Ms. Brown (Oakville-Milton) 7316


    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7316
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7316


    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7317
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7317




    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 7317





    Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 7318



    Bill C-57. Motion for second reading 7318
    Mr. White (North Vancouver) 7340



    Bill C-238. Motion for second reading. 7342
    Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 7342
    Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 7347



Thursday, October 27, 1994

The House met at 10 a.m.







Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last March I was approached at my constituency office by a constituent whom I had not met before and whom I have not met since, to write a letter drawing the attention of the CRTC to his application for a radio licence. I explained to this constituent that as minister responsible I could not interfere with the workings of the CRTC, but I agreed as his member of Parliament to do my best to ensure that he was treated fairly.

On March 15, I wrote to the chairman of the CRTC in my capacity as an MP for this constituent asking the commission to give the application a fair hearing. This was the letter of an MP seeking to ensure that a constituent received due process.

I wish to table the letter. The letter was not meant in any way to be an endorsement of the licence application, nor was it intended to exert pressure on the CRTC. I also understand that on March 30 the CRTC acknowledged my letter, categorizing it as a letter in support of the licence applicant. That acknowledgement letter was never brought to my attention. If it had been, I would have immediately rectified the matter.

As soon as I did learn that one of the interested parties wrote to me in September regarding my ``alleged support'' for the licence application, I took immediate corrective action. I wrote to the interested party, clarifying my earlier letter and clearing up any misunderstanding.

In this letter dated September 30, I wrote:

My letter of March 15, 1994 to the CRTC simply asked that due consideration be given to the application. It is not intended to convey support for or opposition to the application. The CRTC is the body mandated by law to make independent decisions on all such applications. It is therefore for the CRTC to weigh the merits of the arguments raised by the applicants and the interveners.
I wish to table the letter. Members will note that I took these actions before the matter became public. I did my best to clear up and correct the situation not because of public or media pressure which did not exist at the time but because it was the right thing to do.

Being an MP and a minister is not always easy. Among other things it is a learning experience. In hindsight it was imprudent to send that original letter to the CRTC. I regret any misunderstanding it may have caused.

I assure the House that I have never for a moment had any hesitation or misunderstanding about my role or responsibilities as a minister. As I said in the House on October 3 in answer to a question from the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, the minister of heritage cannot dictate to an independent body like the CRTC, which is also a regulating agency. It would be quite inappropriate for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to tell it what to do.


I have held to that position every moment on this job and the House has my commitment that I will continue to do so.

The Speaker: Of course the statement made to the House is a clarification. The hon. minister has not asked me to rule on a specific question of privilege at this time, and so the Chair would accept the statement as given. At least at this point there does not seem to be any reason for me to rule on a question of privilege.

* * *



Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House there has been a standing agreement between the government and the opposition parties that ministers' statements would be given to opposition parties for their critics' perusal sufficiently ahead of time so they could prepare to respond to ministers' statements.

The agreement was that if a minister's statement were made in the morning, that statement would be given to opposition parties


the night before. This has not happened in this instance. We have had less than one hour's notice. We protest greatly. We are concerned about the minister's mismanagement of this situation and we would ask him to defer the reading of the statement until we have had proper time to review the statement so we can effectively perform our role in opposition.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I will see if I can help the matter. I will come back to the hon. secretary of state if he should so choose. From consultation I understand this is an informal agreement between the parties. Certainly the Chair is prepared to recognize the minister, as is appropriate, to make a statement.

Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Secretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for the record, we have an agreement between parties that we will give enough advance notice with documents for ministerial statements. This has been respected in the past. I want to assure my colleague that it will continue to be respected.

Sometimes situations arise which we have to deal with immediately. This is the case, as was already explained to the hon. member previous to the opening of the House. We understand his concerns and we give the assurance that we will continue to respect the agreement we have.

This is an exceptional circumstance as the minister will explain to the House. There are some parts already public. We believe it is important to do this as soon as possible since it seems there was no agreement before the House opened that we could have done it during question period. We are proceeding. We will have the statement now.



Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe, B.Q.): Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the 35th Parliament, it was understood by the party in power and the Official Opposition that the latter would receive prior notice of a minister's statement. We all know that our role in this House is to do our job as well as we can, in the best interest of the citizens of this country. Today, however, this understanding has been compromised by the fact that a ministerial statement will be made without prior notice to the opposition. We feel that this makes it difficult for us to play our role.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I have heard comments from both parties, but I will now proceed with Statements by Ministers.

I therefore recognize the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.





Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, at the outset let me say to my colleagues opposite that I apologize for any inconvenience which may have been caused to them as a result of the statement not getting there earlier as opposed to the late time they received it.

Mr. Silye: You knew about it for months and you cannot co-operate.

Mr. Dingwall: If the hon. member finds the subject matter so difficult to comprehend I will read very slowly so that he can understand each and every word. I am prepared to be fully co-operative with the opposition in every way. I was extending an apology for the inconvenience which we caused to the opposition.

However I believe the minister of state and the whip for our party informed the opposition of the miscue which took place. I felt compelled that we would come here this morning to share this information and have members of the opposition add their comments to the decisions which have been arrived at.

I want to take this opportunity to advise members of the House and Canadians whom we represent of the latest initiative related to the long range plan for the preservation and rehabilitation of our most important national symbol, the Parliament Buildings.

Over the last number of years funding for renovations to Parliament Hill has been severely restricted. The Auditor General in his 1992 report noted that the government has neglected to undertake most of the necessary repairs and renovations to the parliamentary precinct identified in the 1970s and the 1980s.

Parliament Hill requires urgent attention. The simple fact is that we can no longer afford to neglect it. Over the next 12 to 15 years, and I wish to underline this point, the buildings and grounds will require considerable attention. During that period we will in turn address the requirements of all buildings on the Hill to guarantee that in the future they remain safe for Canadians and healthy for the occupants.


We want to ensure that the buildings and grounds on Parliament Hill are energy-efficient, are relatively cheap to operate, meet environmental standards and are accessible for all Canadians. We must protect and preserve our national heritage.



The long range plan developed by the Department of Public Works and Government Services addresses in a logical sequence the need for that preservation. As recent visitors to Parliament Hill will have noticed, we are currently undertaking critical repairs to restore the Peace Tower and to stabilize the outside-

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to call for quorum.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I will ask the clerk to count the members present.

And the count having been taken:

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I see a quorum. I will ask the hon. minister to continue.

(1015 )

Mr. Dingwall: Mr. Speaker, the long range plan developed by the Department of Public Works and Government Services addresses in a logical sequence the need for preservation.

As recent visitors to Parliament Hill will have noticed, we are currently undertaking repairs to restore the Peace Tower and to stabilize the outside masonry of the Centre Block.


We are also installing new water mains that will make it easier to fight fires on the Hill, and of course the government is taking the requisite steps to make the Parliament Buildings conform to the National Building Code.


The first scheduled major rehabilitation project on an occupied building is the West Block.

Following the next dissolution of Parliament we will close down the West Block for a few years and use the Justice Building as alternative office space. Complete repairs to the West Block require the removal of asbestos and we cannot put the health of MPs and staff at risk by keeping the building open during the repairs.

New mechanical and electrical systems must be installed. New fire detection, alarm and sprinkler systems must be in place. New waterproofing, windows, new energy saving devices are required. Sewage facilities must be upgraded. Walls, ceilings and roofs require attention. Elevators, doors and washrooms must be modernized to accommodate the disabled.

When the West Block is reopened, renovation of the Centre Block will begin early in the next century, with MPs and staff from the Centre Block moving to the West Block.

A long range plan is absolutely vital if we are to safeguard the Parliament Buildings. The cost over a 12 to 15 year period is approximately $265 million. Of course we cannot afford to spend all that money at once nor can we afford to shut down the essential operations of Parliament. That is why the plan is over a 12 to 15 year period.

Given the current climate, we are not talking about a Cadillac renovation here. I want to be very clear on this. Consistent with our Chevrolet approach we have prioritized and addressed only the most critical of the health and safety issues that affect the parliamentary precinct. If not, that figure would have been in excess of $450 million.

During the course of renovations we will be working with the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and the Senate to ensure continued access to visitors to Parliament Hill.

All contracts will be awarded through the open bidding system. Since Parliament Hill is the focal point of Canadian democracy, only Canadian businesses and Canadian workers will be eligible to do the rehabilitation work.

This is not about fancy new furnishings or lavish new offices. It is strictly about protecting our history and guaranteeing the safety, health, environment and accessibility of the Parliament Buildings. Canadians expect the Parliament Buildings to be preserved. They are willing to pay for the renovations if they are done in a prudent, fiscally responsible and open manner, and that is what is being accomplished.

As the minister responsible for public works and government services, I would be happy to report to the standing committee on government operations on the progress that has been made, answer questions members or other individuals might have concerning those expenditures to assure all members that the expenditures are prudent, fiscally responsible and have been carried out in a very open fashion.

On a continuous basis all attempts to minimize to the fullest extent possible potential disruptions resulting from noise, dust or interruption of services are being made.


I sincerely want to thank all members on both sides of the House for their understanding and patience during these major renovations.

(1020 )


May I add my thanks to the Speaker and to all parties in the House of Commons for their advice. As members opposite will know and appreciate, the Board of Internal Economy, which is represented by three political parties, proved to be most helpful on this relocation project.

I am very pleased we have the consent of all the major parties to proceed with this vital initiative which protects the health and


safety of visitors and occupants of the parliamentary buildings, Canada's most important national heritage site.

Let me repeat what I said at the beginning. I apologize to my colleagues if these deliberations and the statement has caused them inconvenience, however they are fully aware that information was provided to government employees and not to members, so I thought it only appropriate that I come to the House at the soonest possible time to share this information with all members of Parliament.

As members opposite know, the subject matter has been discussed at the Board of Internal Economy where all parties have been represented and have had an opportunity to participate. I believe that goes back, if memory serves me correctly, to some time in May of last year.

In conclusion, I regret the inconvenience we may have caused colleagues opposite but I want to indicate to them that I believe this is in the best interest of Canada's national heritage site, the parliamentary precinct.


Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe, BQ): Mr. Speaker, as my party's critic for parliamentary affairs, instead of responding to the substance of this ministerial statement, I must inform the minister that although there were discussions between the parties on the Board of Internal Economy, that is no excuse for not advising us of the content so that we can do our job.

I repeat that the basic objective of the Official Opposition in this system is to do a good job by monitoring the government and government operations and by defending the interests of our fellow citizens.

Since the beginning of this 35th Parliament, as far as parliamentary affairs are concerned, it was tacitly understood that the opposition would get the information a few hours before ministers made their statements. The purpose of this understanding was to help us do our job as well and as democratically as possible. In this particular case, we seem to be right in the parliamentary stone age.

The opposition's role is to monitor the government's administration. What disturbs us in this particular case, which concerns the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, is that we lack the detailed information we need to be able to respond, and I must say it is particularly difficult for members to obtain information from this department. This is a closed department, a department that distributes contracts and also a department where members find it extremely difficult to get information. For instance, when low-cost housing projects are officially opened in Quebec, the department, according to its own particular protocol, invites all the provincial members, mayors, and so forth, except the members of the Official Opposition. This is the kind of department and the kind of minister we find disturbing.

This morning, we cannot do our job because of the kind of behaviour that is typical of a department that is so secretive that it tables documents at the last minute.

That is why we cannot respond on the substance of this statement and, in the name of democracy, we regret that we cannot. And again, we may remind everyone, and especially the minister's colleagues, that this is the most difficult department from which to get information.

(1025 )


Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I begin my speech as my hon. colleague from the Bloc has by once again chastising the minister and the department for the problem of timing.

We understood that the government had an agenda of more openness in government, more accountability. I remember hearing during the campaign: ``We want to make Parliament work better'' and yet at every turn we have what could almost be called obstructionism from the government. We are receiving inadequate notice of these statements and therefore cannot respond in substance. We cannot possibly hold a reasoned debate on the issue.

I believe that the work in committees is important. I was in a committee meeting where we were talking about the Lobbyists Registration Act and how to improve accessibility and accountability in government.

Ten minutes to the hour I received notice that the minister was going to make a statement. As the critic in that area I had to leave what at that time was very important work. I had no time to arrange for a substitute so no representative of our party is in the committee meeting which is going on as we speak.

Here I am talking about a statement which, admittedly, has very little substance so I do not need five days to look at it, but I really would have appreciated enough notice so that I could have organized my time today. I could have had substitutes in my committee so the real work of Parliament could proceed in a rational, orderly fashion.

I cannot help but applaud the initial statement because we want to keep these buildings up, we want to keep them in a safe condition, we want to be environmentally responsible. Those are all very good goals. However we need time to go through the cost estimates to see whether the taxpayers' money is being spent wisely. I do not know at this stage whether it is but we need some time to do that.

The minister has given some specifics. He indicated for example that we should repair some washrooms and remove the


asbestos in the ceilings. That is pretty good and I do not think we need to spend a lot of time debating that in the House of Commons.

I find it interesting that he made no mention of repairing the tunnel to the East Block. Perhaps he too is writing off the usefulness of the other place. I do not know.

When we talk of repairing and keeping the buildings up, an even more important point is that we ought to be looking at what is inside. The buildings are not nearly as important as the people and the individuals who work here, including the members of Parliament.

What we ought to be doing, because this type of thing should be passed very quickly, is getting on with the job. We need to look at the effectiveness of members of Parliament and whether we will ever in this place have free votes so that members can represent their constituents. That is one of the flaws that needs to be fixed in this place, that needs no public works but is very important and needs to be done.

I really believe that the minister needs to sharpen up a bit. How can I say that politely? This is the second time we have had 10 minutes or half an hour to react. Let us assure the people of Canada that we can run this place correctly and properly.

I would like to say one more thing about the process. This is the only thing to which I have had a chance to respond. I read this thing while walking over from my office, walking and reading, and the only thing I can say at this stage because of lack of time to analyse it in greater depth is with respect to the time.

(1030 )

I can hardly believe we need to shut down a building for three years while it is being repaired. That certainly is not the way things are done in private industry. If this were an office building and no rent was being collected we can be assured that whoever owned that building would arrange for contractors to do it. I do not think they would do it on the weekends but I assure the House they would do it much more rapidly.

The West Block has four floors. Surely crews could be assembled so that four crews per floor could work over the summer and the repairs would be finished when we came back in the fall. There is no reason that could not be done.

I cannot believe this is going to take three years. Maybe it is going to be a case of one dumb digger dug into the ditch, the other dumb digger dug out. Maybe that is what is going to happen. I really do not know.

There is an obvious lack of planning when it has been determined it will take that long. There is a considerable disruption to the operation of Parliament by having the displacement away from that building. We should be able to do much better than that.

I suppose that is all we can expect from the present government. We very much look forward to putting the Liberals into their correct place at the next election. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to do better.

* * *




Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 44th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.


If the House gives its consent I propose that we dispense with reading the 44th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs which deals with changes in the membership on committees. If that is the case, I move that the 44th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

* * *



Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first petition is from residents of Oliver and Osoyoos, British Columbia. They pray and request that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the human rights code to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation.


Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting today has 204 signatures. These signatures are mainly from residents of Summerland, British Columbia.

The petitioners note that the Prime Minister has stated that a meaningful debate on the question of doctor assisted suicide will take place in the House. The petitioners oppose any legislation that would permit doctor assisted suicide because it demeans the value of human life.

Therefore the petitioners call on Parliament not to enact any legislation that would allow assisted suicide. I concur with my petitioners on both of these petitions.


Mr. Paul E. Forseth (New Westminster-Burnaby, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present two petitions today both dealing with the same subject.

Constituents from the city of Burnaby, British Columbia, pray that Parliament ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide, or active or passive euthanasia.

(1035 )


Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to present three petitions this morning.

In the first petition the petitioners pray and request that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the human rights code to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase of sexual orientation.


Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): In the second petition the petitioners pray that Parliament will act immediately to extend protection to the unborn child by amending the Criminal Code to extend the same protection enjoyed by born human beings to unborn human beings.


Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, in the third petition the petitioners pray that Parliament will do two things: first, ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously; and, second, make no changes in law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia.

Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present a petition today on behalf of Jo Congdon and 52 others praying that Parliament not repeal or amend section 241 of the Criminal Code in any way and to uphold the Supreme Court of Canada decision of September 30, 1993 to disallow assisted suicide euthanasia.

* * *


Mr. Jesse Flis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Shall all questions be allowed to stand?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I wish to inform the House that pursuant to Standing Order 33(2)(b) because of the ministerial statement Government Orders will be extended by 20 minutes.






The House resumed from October 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-53, an act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage and to amend and repeal certain other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the amendment.

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill C-53 creating the Department of Canadian Heritage.

First of all, I think it is essential for all members of this House to be aware that this bill is a technicality.

Since our government has been in office, the Department of Canadian Heritage has vigorously pursued its mandate and played a key role in Canadian society. Its activities reflect a wide range of responsibilities in areas of cultural development, arts, broadcasting, national parks, historic sites, amateur sport and multiculturalism.

The department also administers official languages, state ceremonial and Native programs, which are all fundamental elements of the Canadian identity. In a world where international barriers are disappearing, where technology is altering borders, Canadian identity lies at the heart of our country's growth.

It goes without saying that the federal government needs an instrument such as the Department of Canadian Heritage to carry on its work to develop Canadian culture and promote Canadian identity.

I cannot describe in detail all the responsibilities entrusted to the Department of Canadian Heritage, but I will outline some of its activities that are essential to our society's development.


National parks and historic sites are concrete symbols of this country's wealth and an important part of the duties performed by the Department of Canadian Heritage which are designed to promote Canadian identity. Our natural heritage, our vast terri-


tory, our history and our place in the world play a crucial role in promoting our identity and the values we cherish as Canadians.

Furthermore, the official languages policy introduced by the federal government in the 1970s reflects a generous and creative vision. The Department of Canadian Heritage was assigned the responsibility of ensuring that French-and English-speaking Canadians feel at home wherever they choose to reside.

The principle of respect for both official languages of Canada, combined with respect for the traditions and contributions of aboriginal peoples, respect for our cultural diversity as well as fundamental respect for human rights make Canada a land of open-mindedness and opportunity that millions of people dream of around the world.

New Canadians and their language skills constitute a valuable asset for the Canadian society. Just think of the key role they play in our cultural exchanges and trade transactions with foreign countries. The heart of Canada is beating to the rhythm of our many cultures, and the impact of these new human resources will help us progress.

In the international arena, nations strive to find the way to bind together, with a deep feeling of national identity, populations made up of various ethnic, cultural, linguistic and racial groups. Several countries are currently looking seriously into the purely Canadian model we have come up with. The multicultural dimension of Canada is a rich social reality in our country, a reality that we must preserve.

Giving each Canadian the place he or she deserves in our society and the opportunity to contribute fully to building a stronger country can only benefit us all. In the enactment establishing the Department of Canadian Heritage, I note that the government undertakes to achieve equality for all Canadians in matters relating to the social, economic and cultural life of their country.

The Department of Canadian Heritage recognizes the need to remove barriers which divide Canada and build ties based on trust and respect. Bear in mind that the purpose of multiculturalism is to ensure social unity and strengthen national identity. Greater participation by all Canadians in community life can only serve to increase awareness of our cultural and natural wealth.

As for the policies and programs of the Canadian heritage department, their purpose is to promote a greater understanding of our diversity. Let us not forget that, for many communities, the economic and tourist activity generated by departmental operations is often vital. These are broad responsibilities that the Department of Canadian Heritage is fully capable of carrying out.

In closing, I wish to emphasize the need for Bill C-53 to be passed, to recognize formally the jurisdiction of the Department of Canadian Heritage and to allow the department to continue pursuing the mission it has been pursuing for a year and a half.

Mr. Michel Guimond (Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak this morning about the motion of my colleague, the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, on an amendment to Bill C-53 that she tabled on October 4.

This amendment asks that Bill C-53 not be now read a second time, but that the order be discharged, the bill withdrawn and the subject matter referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Mr. Speaker, you will understand that today I would not want to give all the reasons for which I am for or against Bill C-53. I will do that later if necessary.

Nevertheless, I would like to make this House aware of the means it has adopted and which should not be overlooked by a minister who may wish to have his bill approved as quickly as possible.


The House of Commons must insist that bills presented to us on second reading have been considered, first of all, by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The House of Commons created this committee to fulfil its role; otherwise, what would be the use of it?

Among other things, it is supposed to get to the bottom of the issues by the most appropriate means-hearings, forming sub-committees, nationwide tours, consultations with the provinces-and especially by trying to obtain a national consensus, even within the committee.

After that, we will be able to talk about whether it is appropriate to pass a bill establishing the Department of Canadian Heritage. I believe that the standing committee will have a lot of work to do before it comes back to us with a bill that we are sure will be quite different.

Some people, especially some Quebec government departments, I would say, have some very specific things to tell the committee, so it is totally justified to submit Bill C-53 to it for consideration.

First, the committee can find out what this department's mandate is, and it can see that it makes no reference to Quebec as a distinct society, much less any reference to its cultural specificity.

Once again, the committee will realize that the former Liberal government denied the reality of Quebec culture by diluting it in a Canadian cultural entity based on bilingualism and multiculturalism. This department is being created in the wake of the defunct Charlottetown Accord, which proposed a fictitious and deceptive recognition of the provinces' exclusive jurisdiction over culture.

The committee will also be able to note that the straightforward demands of Quebec's former Minister of Culture, Ms. Frulla-Hébert, are not reflected in the future orientation of the new Department of Canadian Heritage. So you will understand


that we must think twice before presenting such legislation to the new sovereignist government of Quebec.

Without making a list of the areas, and I will come back to this a little later if need be, the committee will see that duplication and overlap in the field of culture will increase rather than decrease with this bill.

Taking Quebec as an example, we are faced with two systems of cultural institutions, each Quebec institution having its federal counterpart, except for the National Film Board.

In summary, Quebec has a budget of $425 million and Ottawa $2.8 billion.

Culture is under provincial jurisdiction and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will realize that it must recommend that the House of Commons stop unnecessary spending at a time when social programs are under attack to reduce the deficit and stop allowing interference in provincial jurisdiction over culture.

The Bloc Quebecois will demonstrate to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, through the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, that both the Conservatives and the Liberals developed their respective cultural policies by increasing federal interference in the cultural sector and by denying the distinct identity of Quebecers.

Through its representatives on that committee, the Bloc will present its views on cultural institutions. We do not intend to deny to Canadians the right to their own federal cultural institutions. However, the Bloc will make sure that Quebec's cultural community gets its fair share of subsidies from federal granting agencies and that the waste resulting from duplication is stopped.

The committee would be well-advised to read the report of the consulting group on Quebec's cultural policy, which was tabled in Quebec's National Assembly on June 14, 1991. That document was reviewed by a parliamentary committee over a period lasting almost eight weeks, in the fall of 1992, during which 181 Quebec organizations were heard and 264 written submissions were received. Following the work of that committee, Quebec developed a cultural policy and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will have to examine that policy prior to a thorough review of the cultural issue. If the committee cannot find that policy, I will be pleased to send it a copy upon request.


By adopting its own cultural policy, the Quebec government demonstrated its keen desire to provide Quebecers with a cultural development framework which allows them to thrive. Again, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will have to take that policy into account before making any recommendation to this House.

As I said at the beginning, and I will conclude on that note, I did not want to elaborate too much on Bill C-53 itself. I simply wanted to make this House aware of the need to pass the motion tabled by the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, and to refer the whole issue to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage which, I am convinced, will provide us with an amended bill taking into consideration all groups within the populatiobn as well as their legitimate aspirations.

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Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Lib.): I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think you would find unanimous consent in the House for the following motion:

That notwithstanding any other order of this House that any vote on government bills or private members' bills to be taken on October 27 or October 28, 1994, be deferred until Tuesday, November 1, at the conclusion of Government Orders.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): The House has heard the terms of the motion of the chief government whip. Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

* * *





The House resumed from October 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-53 an act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage to amend and repeal certain other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the amendment.

Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak this morning to Bill C-53, which I see as important and essential to Canadian society because of what it represents. All members who spoke to the bill in this House expressed the view that it was basically a housekeeping bill. In fact, the purpose of this legislation is simply to reassign departmental responsibilities.

We have heard criticism from the two opposition parties. Certain details, certain aspects of the bill were criticized, of course, but in addition, and this is what irks me, they took this opportunity to criticize the federal government's role in the cultural sphere. I think that if we are to have a constructive debate, my comments should deal mainly with the federal government's role in this area. According to the opposition parties, the federal government should withdraw from anything that resembles cultural affairs, should stop working with major agencies like Telefilm Canada and, listen to this, should get rid


of an agency as important as the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The opposition parties even claim, and this I found hard to take seriously, that the federal government will use these institutions against the province of Quebec and even against the French fact in Canada as a whole. It takes all kinds, but this takes the cake!


Such comments seem unwise, to say the least, considering the current political context in this country.

I want to make it clear that the federal government's role in cultural matters is a fundamental and entirely legitimate one, and I hope that this short speech will reassure opposition members.

Why is this role so important? The federal government's role is important because of the way Canada was built. We all know that Canada is a wonderful mosaic of various cultures, with two official languages. We also know that Canada as a country has opted for social values based on tolerance, mutual respect, multiculturalism and promotion of the Canadian identity. In this respect, the federal government's role as Canadian umbrella, a Canadian vehicle for promoting our identity as Canadians, is fundamental.

As parliamentarians we must take the broader view and keep this debate removed from what I call constitutional squabbles. Quebec and the rest of the country have already suffered enough as a result of this quarrelling which in most cases has been of no benefit to the people of this country and often puts an extra burden on Canadian taxpayers. We should recall the purpose of this bill and especially the Canadian government's role, and stop this constitutional nitpicking.

It is obvious that you have gathered from my remarks that I am wary of what the Official Opposition is affirming, but also of the Reform Party, which wants to go ahead with unweighed and often unjustified cuts that would go against some basic principles stated by the Prime Minister of Canada, principles he has stated and, indeed, states regularly, in this House. The federal government must respond to the budget situation, while remaining at the service of the population and, in this role, promote Canadian identity.

Of course, we must rise above constitutional disputes, but without losing sight of the objectives set by the government in terms of government administration. The government wants to make sure that we can stay away from any form of duplication. It also wants to make sure that we can streamline government operations and I might add that it is desirable that government administrations at all levels be streamlined.

Bill C-53, to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage, is part of this streamlining process respectful of authority, or

should I say the powers inherent to the three levels of government, specifically the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

The department the Bloc Quebecois would like to see abolished is also the backbone of institutions such as national museums, the Canada Council-allow me to list a few more key organizations-Telefilm and the National Film Board and various programs encouraging interprovincial distribution, exportation of our cultural products and promotion of Canadian talent internationally.

In fact, I would add that the federal government is making use of the legislative or statutory instruments within its jurisdiction, such as copyright or income tax, to encourage or oversee artistic creation and cultural diffusion.


Of course, the provinces and municipalities, as I said, also have a role and since each government has an important role in these fields of jurisdiction, I should say that they have a key role, a complementary role, in fact, with respect to culture.

Far be it from me to challenge the authority of these levels of government. I would even go further by stating the obvious fact that Quebec's powers are special, since it is the centre of French culture in North America. But, of course, this does not prevent the Canadian government from assuming its own responsibilities of encouraging interprovincial trade, sharing a common heritage, structuring the markets for cultural products by using the tools that it alone has at its disposal.

I understand that the way the Bloc sees things, Quebec's goal is to keep anything federal off its territory; however, to say that the break-up of the country is necessary because the federal government's intervention harms Quebec culture is the kind of intellectually twisted argument that they usually give us, unfortunately, and give all Quebecers especially. I think that this attitude is meant to justify at any cost a case that they consider has been proven beyond question. They deliberately want to tarnish a record in which all Quebecers can take pride.

To conclude, I recently heard some Bloc critics and I was deeply offended as a Quebecer. Some Bloc critics say that they want to confine the whole province within a single definition, that of a nation. I must say that Quebec is not a definition. Quebec is made up of people who have pride, their customs and culture, a culture that they want to extend throughout Canada and internationally. There is also a French community that is alive and well outside of Quebec.

The federal government's role and the purpose of this bill are to make it possible-and I conclude-for this French community to flourish more and for the two official languages to live together better, all for the sake of promoting what we call a Canadian identity, of which I am proud.



Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this morning to speak on Bill C-53 respecting multiculturalism.

I do challenge whether government should be involved in this program. It is very important for the government and ministers of the crown to realize the influence they hold over the people who provide government services on a daily basis.

It is also important for those in a position of power to understand that what they say and do will influence and give direction to the bureaucracy. It is important that all ministers of the crown appreciate what intervention is.

The policy of multiculturalism in Canada is a program that the Government of Canada has imposed and forced on Canadians. I believe that the philosophy of the multiculturalism program is very divisive. I am proud of the heritage of many of the people in this great country of ours. I do not think that any Canadians from the beginning have needed government to provide a program in order for them to share their cultural backgrounds with other Canadians. I feel it is a place where the federal government should not be involved. I take great exception to the federal government's using ethnic and cultural backgrounds as a basis for employing people within government services.

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I am offended that our federal government departments are required to list employees by their gender, by whether they belong to aboriginal people, whether they are a visible minority or persons with disabilities.

I am offended when government officials are proudly announcing that they have either met or exceeded their quotas. I do not believe that government departments have any business in developing quotas.

How do they get the stats they are so proud of which they use so loosely? They are self-identification stats by individuals who are required to fill out a form identifying to what sub-groups they belong.

I feel that these kinds of policies are very divisive not only within Canadian society but certainly within our Canadian government services. The government is not satisfied with just creating hyphenated Canadians. It now wants Canadians to list their lineage.

I believe there is a real question of what is a visible minority. Is this a person of a mixed race? Do they have to look like a mixed race person to belong to a visible minority? Do they just need to have it in their lineage?

If we are basing employment on the appearance of people, I have great difficulty with those people who are judging whether those people belong to visible minorities.

What if there are two people with the same background but one appears to be of a visible minority group and the other one not so much? Does the one qualify for the job in government and the sibling not qualify?

For the government to start looking at a quota system in its employees is going down the wrong way. All we have to do is look at when quotas and the appearance of people were used in history, for it is not in circumstances that we can be proud of.

To establish lineage, ethnic background or what qualifies as a visible minority do we need to be one-half of a particular ethnic group? What about one-quarter, one-eighth or one-sixteenth? Where does it begin and where does it end?

This whole idea is ridiculous. I believe that classifying people by lineage is obscene. History would show us that it is obscene. I would like to question why any government would want to encourage and continue this practice.

A second point that I am concerned about is how the policy of multiculturalism is affecting our courts. There was a case in Vancouver in which the parent of a child was being questioned when the parent was trying to put the child up for adoption. The biological father happened to be of aboriginal origin, not full blooded and not half blooded, but a quarter.

Here was a judge in the courts having to determine what percentage of aboriginal background this child had and whether that child should be given to the father to be raised in the aboriginal community.

It turns out that the child was close to one-sixteenth aboriginal and the judge in making his decision felt that the child did not have enough native background in order to be placed in an aboriginal foster home or family.

Why should any judge be faced with this kind of decision? Why should it ever be important where that child originated? What should be important are the best interests of the growth of that child, the provisions that could be made to that child in its infancy and furthermore in its growing years, not whether it is a member of a visible minority.

The other issue that I find very offensive is this reverse discrimination that we see. I am going to use the RCMP as an example. The RCMP is being asked to impose this affirmative action, judging people's employment ability on their gender, on whether they are a visible minority or whether they belong to a group that is physically handicapped.

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I would suggest that when we have a government department that in Alberta a few years ago decided it would not accept applications, we are not talking about giving them jobs. We are talking about accepting applications from white unilingual males. I take exception to that. It shows me that all Canadians are not being given equal opportunity. I do not think it solves the problem that the RCMP had with not hiring women and not hiring minority members 20 years ago. It does not solve that


problem by discriminating against young white males today. I do not think those individuals feel they are being treated as Canadians, and I would suggest that they are not.

It is very important for the government to seriously consider whether it has a legitimate right to be involved in this kind of multiculturalism program that does invade and does reach out into all aspects of Canadian society.

I would challenge the government that this program is very divisive and is creating a situation in the country that is very dangerous. I see growth in ethnic groups and youth groups vying for a position of power within our communities, pitting one racial group against the other.

I hear from new immigrants who say they came to Canada looking for and anticipating a new Canadian culture and when they get here they are being encouraged to keep the culture of the place from which they came. They are here with a sense of frustration, of not knowing where to turn. We as the Canadian government have a responsibility to new Canadians to bring together all those things that we share, all those programs and ideals that we are looking to have in this country that will make it a stronger unified country.

I do not think the federal government should be encouraging programs such as multiculturalism and bilingualism that divide Canadians, that bring them up against each other in vying for superiority and power. It is time that the government realized all Canadians deserve equal treatment from the federal government, should be considered equal members of Canadian society and stop this fallacy, this obscenity of creating divisions based on language and ethnic background.

I would encourage the House to reconsider supporting Bill C-53.

Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to participate in this debate on Bill C-53, an act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage. My remarks today will be mainly involving Parks Canada's involvement and the role it will play in this act.

It has been said many times that we have inherited a rich legacy and every generation of Canadians has had an opportunity to make a contribution to it. That legacy is our heritage which we share with everyone in Canada wherever they live and whatever their background.

Our natural and wilderness heritage and our sense of history and place are vital elements of this heritage we all share. They are central to who we are and what we value as Canadians.

The new Department of Canadian Heritage reflects the many dimensions of the Canadian experience, an experience that is always evolving. Protecting areas of natural and historic significance to the nation for the benefit and enjoyment of all Canadians is the responsibility of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

In the past a big part of that job has been done and will continue to be done by Parks Canada, a key component of the new department. The creation of the Department of Canadian Heritage will not in any way undermine the importance we place on issues associated with the protection and preservation of our natural heritage, both natural and cultural.

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The Department of Canadian Heritage supports Parks Canada's mandate in this area. All parts of the department are working hard to make sure that Canada's heritage and environment are valued today and passed on to tomorrow.

Parks Canada's traditions, now departmental traditions, go back more than a century to the establishment at Banff in 1885 of Canada's first national park. Of course our system of national historic sites started with Fort Anne in Nova Scotia more than 75 years ago.

From Ellesmere Island national park within the Arctic circle in the north to Point Pelee national park at the southern tip of Canada and from the lighthouse at Cape Spear national historic site at the country's eastern edge on the Atlantic to the Pacific rim national park on the west coast, our national parks and national historic sites dot the length and the breadth of Canada. They are Canada's pride, the crown jewels of our heritage.

Canadians have a strong attachment to and affection for the land and the landscape of the country whether found in small towns, in rural areas, in the wilderness or in the historic districts of the large cities.

Landscape is a vital component of our heritage and it forms part of the rhythm of our lives. Our historic landmarks are a vital part of the landscape, a significant and irreplaceable part of Canada's physical environment. Canada's national historic sites, heritage railway stations and federal heritage buildings are located in every province and territory.

Mr. Speaker, as I speak to you today there is construction under way in my riding of Hillsborough, Prince Edward Island, on the building of a memorial park to commemorate the place where the Fathers of Confederation first stepped ashore and began their journey up Great George Street to the steps of Province House in Charlottetown. What occurred over the next few days in Province House was indeed the beginning of the formation of our country as we know it today. From that point on Charlottetown was to become known as the birthplace of Confederation.


These historical sites are a tangible symbol of our national unity and heritage and are of great importance to the constituents in my riding as well as to the many people who come to visit them.

One or more national historic sites are located in over 400 communities across the land, meaning that these communities are direct stakeholders in the national heritage, sharing that heritage with their fellow Canadians and with visitors to our country.

Our country's national parks, national marine conservation areas and heritage rivers add to this shared legacy of outstanding special places held in trust for all Canadians.

As symbols of our national heritage all of these special places speak directly to Canadian identity. They are living laboratories, places where the public can truly experience Canada's past or its wilderness.

Historic sites cover a vast span of human history measured in thousands of years and document the populating of the land, economic and social development, nation building, Canadian achievements in arts, culture, human rights, wilderness preservation and the sciences, as well as a vast number of other human endeavours and activities. As both the product and the witness of the works of our predecessors, they are fundamental to a broadly defined and diverse yet encompassing sense of Canadian identity.

These heritage places provide an excellent opportunity to make all Canadians more aware of their history and to make landed immigrants and new Canadians aware of their Canadian heritage, aware of the places, events, activities and people that have made us what we are. In this respect these places can play a vital role promoting citizenship value.

Because these historic sites are nationally significant they serve as links between the community and the nation and between the subject of commemoration and our national history.

Each national historic site can be said to illustrate an important chapter in a national saga that is constantly unfolding not only into the future but perhaps surprisingly into the past. A number of national historic sites document the fact that our human history is many thousands of years older than we once thought.

National historic sites represent one of the most important and valuable examples of a vital Canadian tradition, the partnership between individuals, corporations and governments in the history of our country.

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Fewer than one-fifth of Canada's national historic sites are owned by the federal government. The investment, the involvement and the co-operation of others in the preservation of places that have been designated nationally significant by the federal government is a remarkable and regrettably often little recognized national partnership of achievement.

Federal heritage buildings and heritage railway stations recall an era when federal buildings and railway stations were often the most important and imposing landmarks in communities large and small across the country, serving as symbols of national integration and confidence in the future.

No less significant than national historic sites, federal heritage buildings and heritage railway stations is the program that formally recognizes persons and events that have played an important part in our history. The program fosters knowledge and appreciation of the achievements of Canadians, such as the boxer Sam Langford, the poet Pauline Johnson, the scientist and educator Frère Marie-Victorin, piano manufacturer Theodore Heintzman, and reformer Nellie McClung.

Events or themes that have been officially recognized have included the inauguration of the transcontinental railway service and the assertion of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.

I know that my time is running out. I could continue on for many more minutes here but I know, Mr. Speaker, that you are looking at your watch.

The Department of Canadian Heritage will be much more than the sum of its parts. Canada is a country of great geographical and cultural diversity, yet as Canadians we share so much.

Our objective is to foster pride in our achievements as people and as a country. Canada's heritage is evolving. Each generation is making its own contribution to the development of our shared heritage.

Working together in the new department in partnership with Canadians we will achieve more than we ever could do on our own. I invite all members of the House to support the bill to create the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Mr. Michel Daviault (Ahuntsic, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the proposed amendment to Bill C-53, an Act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage. This amendment calls for the bill to be withdrawn and the subject-matter thereof referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

I would like to say at the outset that the fears the hon. member for Outremont wants to dispel have been reaffirmed by this bill. There is no place for Quebec or for the distinct society. It is always surprising, not to say sad, to see the illusions of timid nationalists reaffirmed after fighting in vain for 30 years.

When we look closely at the sectors, the functions and the people targeted by this new department, we quickly realize that this is a ``grab bag'' department, a hodge-podge of programs which clearly show either the Canadian government's inconsis-


tency or its less than transparent strategy in dividing up responsibilities, in bringing together parts of the following federal departments: Environment Canada; Multiculturalism and Citizenship; the part of Health and Welfare responsible for amateur sport; part of the Canadian Secretary of State, namely official languages, Canadian studies, Native programs and state protocol; the part of Environment Canada responsible for Parks Canada and historic sites; the part of the Department of Communications responsible for the arts, heritage, culture and broadcasting.

Later, they will add the Registrar General of Canada from the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. The new Department of Canadian Heritage, whose creation was undertaken by the Conservative government, brings together for the first time all of Ottawa's cultural policy instruments, namely the Canada Council, the CBC, the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada, national parks and museums, National Archives, etc.

This department will have a budget in the order of $2.8 billion, compared with a $425 million budget for Quebec's Ministry of Culture. In addition, several responsibilities assigned to the Department of Canadian Heritage must be fulfilled in co-operation with other departments, thus reducing the heritage minister's actual power and political say in administering his own department. After this morning's statement by the minister, we can conclude that even his moral power is affected.

Moreover, responsibility for telecommunications policy and programs was transferred from the Department of Communications to the new Department of Industry. All this with little or no staff or spending reduction in sight. So what is the real purpose of this reorganization? The real powers granted to the Minister of Heritage are like jam: the less you have, the more you spread it around. In this case, the new department's responsibilities are well spread out.


The culture portfolio has undergone two major reorganizations since June 1993; things are getting more and more complicated, the number of players keeps increasing, and jurisdictional overlap is getting worse. The government must have followed an increasingly popular rule: Why simplify when you can make things more complicated and a little more expensive? A highly centralizing Canadian Heritage.

To say the least, the Canadian government has obviously decided to make this Department of Canadian Heritage the main instrument to promote Canadian values and it will also encourage the whole country to fully participate in that exercise.

But what about the distinct character of Quebec's culture and what about the sectors which are under exclusive provincial jurisdiction according to the Constitution of 1867? The bill is totally silent on that. The government is deliberately trying to hide that reality. The old centralizing reflex of the federal government is still just as strong. The government persists in

trying to fool Canadians and Quebecers. Obviously, this new department tries to bury the specific character of Quebec's culture by progressively diluting it in a hypothetical Canadian culture which is, would you believe, unique and multicultural.

Make no mistake about it: The mandate of the Department of Canadian Heritage is twofold. Indeed, it must create from scratch an artificial Canadian identity based on Canada's multi-ethnic mosaic and, consequently, that identity must be multicultural. However, that identity and that feeling of belonging based on bilingualism and multiculturalism sounds hollow to Quebecers.

That double mandate goes totally against Quebec's fundamental interests, since it rejects the distinct and specific character of Quebec's culture. The hon. member for Outremont talked about complementarity, but he should have used the word overlapping.

Such is the new federal cultural policy: A policy aimed at levelling out everything with a steamroller!

On June 21, the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata said in this House, and I quote: ``The concept of Canadian identity does not include the Quebec identity. In fact, its purpose is to assimilate or even deny it''.

The new Canadian multicultural identity which the government is trying to impose is in fact a ploy to acculturate Quebecers. Even worse is the fact that it will not slow down the growing assimilation of French speaking people who live outside Quebec.

In the promotion of this glorious Canadian multicultural mosaic, the government is rather quick to forget the concept of two founding nations. The Liberals, both as party and government, recognize the first nations but do not recognize the Quebec nation. As I said: If there is an Acadian community, there is also a Quebec nation. In June, the current Prime Minister stated, regarding the operations of CBC, that there is an act regulating these operations and that he would ask the corporation to comply with it.

Among the requirements contained in this legislation, there is an obligation to inform people of the benefits related to our country. However, Canada is not the only one financing CBC. Quebec also pays its fair share, but has hardly any say in the administrative decisions of that federal institution.

Let us not forget that, in recent years, numerous regional TV stations in Quebec, including Rimouski, Matane and Sept-Îles, had to shut down their operations. In addition to being underprivileged in terms of resource allocation, Quebec is about to absorb more than its fair share of budget restrictions. For example, Prime Time News, the 9 p.m. TV newscast on the CBC, has an annual budget of $15 million, or $60,000 per show. By comparison, the SRC budget for Le Téléjournal and Le Point in Quebec barely exceeds $8 million.


In a brief submitted yesterday to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Mrs. France Dauphin, from the Coalition for the Defense of the French CBC network, the raised a number of issues. For example, investment in programs per hour of broadcast time has increased by approximately $7,000 as far as the English network is concerned, but only marginally in the case of the French network. In just five years, from 1987 to 1992, investment rose from $30,500 to $37,500 at the CBC while rising from $17,500 to $18,300 at SRC. In other words, a mere five per cent increase for the French network, as compared to a 20 per cent increase for the English network. What does this mean? It will become obvious later.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has made strategic choices that favoured the English network programming over that of the French network. These choices were made in spite of the objective the CRTC had set for the CBC in February 1987, i.e. to strike a fair and equitable balance between production, distribution and the scheduling of regional and network programs, on both networks.

In addition, over $380 million were recently invested in building new headquarters in Toronto. Jean-François Lisée wrote in Le Tricheur that we can see how, in spite of Trudeau's efforts to attach a Canadian identity to Quebecers, the inclination to go the opposite way is strong and resists the hazards of election policy. In 1990, 59 per cent of the people of Quebec perceived themselves as Quebecers first, 28 per cent as French Canadians and nine per cent as Canadians.

In fact, it is normal for Canada to describe itself more and more as an English-speaking multicultural entity in an attempt to differentiate itself from its American neighbour.

At the same time, it is not considered either normal or legitimate by this centralizing administration for Quebec-a clearly defined nation, the cultural vitality of which is recognized around the world, a truly distinct nation on the basis of its specific culture and its language among other things-to promote its own culture and specificity. It does not require a constitutional amendment to do so.

Finally, the multicultural Canadian identity. The issue of multiculturalism, which is to say the least debatable, must not be overlooked.

Professor Claude Corbo, dean of the Université du Québec in Montreal, concludes it is a failure. According to Corbo, the solicitude shown by the federal government for ethnic communities is suspicious. He says that such a policy could well exacerbate the minorization or the trivialization of the Quebec identity.

The fact of the matter is that, in Quebec, the principle of ethnic diversity must center around the French dimension of our culture which is present in all of our institutions and serves as a basis for Quebec's specificity. Above all however, structures are required to facilitate the integration of immigrants into their host society.

So, I intend to support the amendment put forth by my hon. colleague from Rimouski-Témiscouata, asking for the bill to be withdrawn and deferred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.


Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to address the House in relation to Bill C-53 and the amendment put forward by my colleague from the Bloc. I am supporting the amendment but for very different reasons from those put forward by the Bloc Quebecois.

Apparently the operative word in the whole bill is reorganization, but in light of recent events perhaps the operative word we should be discussing this morning is resignation.

It appears the minister in charge of the Department of Canadian Heritage tabled a letter this morning which indicates he had approached the CRTC concerning specific licensing of a special language radio program. The fact that the document was stamped with the word ``intervention'' causes great concern. The fact that the letter was written on the minister's letterhead also causes great concern.

I join with the many Canadians who last night and this morning called for the minister's resignation. It is unfortunate to see this type of intervention in a quasi-judicial branch under the minister's control. I hope he will reconsider his decision to stay on as minister and will do the honourable thing and step aside.

As has been stated by my colleague for Calgary-Southeast, the bill should be renamed the special interest funding bill because that will be the effect of the legislation. Bill C-53 will create a ministry comprised of all the odds and ends of the government intervention in Canadian culture under a minister whose sole responsibility is to dole out handfuls of cash to whichever groups the Liberal government has decided to favour.

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The scope of this ministry would be large and sprawling with at least 24 areas of responsibility that include-now hang on to your hats: the Canada Council; the CBC; Telefilm Canada; the Museum of Civilization across the river; the Museum of Nature; and the CRTC which I have spoken about. Also included are: the National Archives; the National Arts Centre; the National Battlefields Commission; the National Film Board; the National Gallery; the National Library; the Museum of Science and Technology; the Public Service Commission; the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, as well as Status of Women Canada; amateur sports and official games; official languages; Parks Canada; Historic Sites and Monuments; Canadian Race


Relations Foundation; Canadian Heritage Languages Institute; multiculturalism; and copyright.

This is an unruly collection of agencies which has been lumped together arbitrarily. It truly is the ministry of lost souls, a ministry put together consisting of many irrelevant and outdated agencies with nowhere else to go. That being said, there are some valid reasons for the government to have a role in a select few of those areas outlined. However in the majority of cases those functions could be performed more effectively in either the private sector or by individual Canadians and private organizations.

All this government intervention costs Canadian taxpayers over $4.4 billion. We have put forward constructive suggestions that would save over $1.6 billion in program spending alone. Once the spinoff reductions in the bureaucracy and overhead are factored in the savings could go much higher.

I want to focus the remainder of my remarks today on the multicultural funding programs within the department. My colleague from Port Moody-Coquitlam asked the government for a list of multicultural grants given in 1993. What she received was astounding. It was a 703-page document listing over 1,300 separate grants totalling over $25 million. Most of these grants are questionable. I will mention one or two which I think my constituents in Kindersley-Lloydminster would be very concerned to discover that their hard earned tax dollars have gone to pay for.

One grant was to the Toronto Arts Council. It received $25,000 for phase two of a national forum on cultural equity in Toronto as well as the training of a pool of cultural equity consultants. What in the world does cultural equity have to do with reality? What does it have to do with the real world? Also, the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines Multicultural Centre received $28,000 for a community needs assessment. The council was to carry out a community needs assessment and prepare a strategic plan.

It really makes one wonder what the priorities of this government are when it would support initiatives like those when the health care system is starved for funds. We are closing hospitals in Saskatchewan in part because the federal share of health care funding is being so drastically reduced.

A few months ago I received notice of an application for one of these grants from within my own province of Saskatchewan. I was sent a letter from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Saskatchewan Provincial Council asking for a grant of $45,000. The money was to help perform a needs assessment study intended to determine the following four things.

First is that access to information about government departments, agencies and services is available to Ukrainian seniors. Second is the development of outreach programs to address specific health care and sociocultural needs, interesting. The

third one is a real winner. Can we believe this? It is for the development of seniors advocacy and lobbying skills; $45,000 to teach seniors how to lobby the government. The seniors I know are very intelligent. I do not think they need that kind of education. Fourth is another lulu. It is to develop a model for ethnocultural wellness. Why in heaven's name do we need a grant for Ukrainian seniors to help them develop a model for ethnocultural wellness?

This is quite amusing. The NDP jumped on the special interest bandwagon immediately. The member for The Battlefords-Meadow Lake wrote to me and implored me to support such a giveaway. So much for the NDP discovering its roots and returning to reality.

I wrote to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the minister who is under so much criticism today, to inform him that I did not support the approval of that application. I did so for three main reasons.

First, I reject the premise that health care needs should be met on the basis of ethnicity. If a senior citizen in Canada or any citizen for that matter is in need of health care services those services should be available on the basis of need, not based on any ethnocultural criteria. If you are sick or you break your leg on the job, it does not matter if you are a Canadian of Ukrainian, Polish, Chinese or Norwegian descent, I would think the doctor is going to treat your case in pretty much the same way.


I can see no reason for special health care for Ukrainians. Most of the Canadians of Ukrainian descent who I know would be deeply offended to learn they were being categorized as a special case. They are proud Canadians, proud of their culture and very capable of looking after their needs and interests without the paternalistic help of the government.

Second, giving people tax dollars to teach them how to lobby for more tax dollars is not effective stewardship of Canadians' tax money. Unfortunately the government does this sort of thing all the time, but I would not and I will not endorse this activity.

Third, I felt that the $45,000 the Ukrainian Canadian Congress was asking for would have been put to much better use if it were spent on health care in general. This way it would benefit all senior citizens, in fact all Canadians in Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada regardless of ethnicity.

The minister's office was kind enough to phone me and let me know that the grant was being approved anyway. This is one more example where the government makes a show of involving individual MPs but goes ahead and does what it wants in any case.


I am curious as to why the minister approved the grant. It may be the minister feels there is some legitimate reason that Canadians of varying ethnic backgrounds need different health care services. Maybe he thinks that. It may be the minister feels that giving people tax money so they can lobby for more tax money is an effective spending restraint.

Perhaps the minister is naive, but I believe the objective here is more politically motivated. It is clear that all these special interest and lobby group grants are being done in a crass old style politics attempt to buy the support of Canadians with their own money. It is the old politics.

In fact the entire Department of Canadian Heritage is nothing more than an entrenchment of special interest funding and Liberal giveaways. That is why I am supporting the amendment to send the subject matter to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. In the committee perhaps the wheat can be separated from the chaff. Perhaps the government can get out of the business and be told to get out of the business of designing culture and buying support with other people's money, often with their own money. We can save the taxpayers of Canada a lot of money in the process.

There has been a lot of talk about Reform versus the status quo. I appeal to members and say that status quo multicultural policy cheapens our rich and diverse culture. The Reform position of placing the onus on lower levels of government, private associations and individuals to preserve and promote their cultural heritage deepens and ensures the future of our rich and diverse culture. Let us deepen rather than cheapen the multicultural nature of Canada.

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, how ironic that today is the day we are looking at the reorganization of this department, particularly in light of the allegations that have been made against the minister of this department. I once had a boss who told me that a fish always rots from the head down. Today we should see a reorganization of the department starting at the top.

Last spring I sat in on the committee on Canadian heritage. I sat 10 feet away from the minister when he told us that agencies like the CRTC are to be at arm's length from the government. He has said it on countless occasions and now we are going to make him live up to his words.

Implicit in that letter he sent no matter what he says because he is a minister of the crown is the fact that he is the one who approves along with cabinet orders in council for the positions on the CRTC. His department sets the guidelines. His department sets the budget for the CRTC.


I remind the minister and the members across the way that it was not long ago when the hon. member for Sherbrooke was facing the same sort of situation. The leader of the Conservative Party was facing the same situation and Liberals across the way screamed for his head. They got it. They should have. Now they should hold themselves to the same standards at least of the Mulroney government, a government that did not have very high standards.

I encourage members across the way to get to their feet and tell the Prime Minister in no uncertain terms that this is absolutely not acceptable. I encourage them to move today while they still have a chance to cut their losses and ensure that no more damage is done to the credibility of the government.

That is at the top of the department. I want to move through the department now and talk about some other issues. When we look at all the issues that are within that department; multiculturalism, CBC, status of women, the Canadian Heritage Languages Institute, the National Film Board, there are so many targets. It is an embarrassment of riches. So many boondoggles, so much waste, so little time.

I want to talk in general about Canadian heritage and how it protects Canadian artists and the whole idea of government intervention in the artistic community. This is a relatively new occurrence in western civilization, to have a government involved in protecting particular artists, choosing some and saying they are worthy of the support of the government while others are not. In ancient times when patrons regularly supported artists, those artists were at least accountable to that patron. If they did not produce art work it was guaranteed they would not be supported again by that particular patron. Such is not the case in Canada.

For instance, the Canada Council uses peer juries to select which artists should be worthy of support by the government. This is a closed system. It is like a bell jar, the jar they use in scientific experiments. There is no accountability to the public, the people who are paying the money. At the risk of repeating what I said the other day in a member's statement, they ``breathe each other's air''. We do not get input from regular people about what constitutes real art.

It is well and fine for artists to produce art for their own pleasure but it should be at their own expense, not the expense of Canadian taxpayers.

Who does not stop and wonder about the huge distortion that government intervention in the arts community has had after they tour the National Gallery. I have talked on this issue before


but I must repeat what I have stated because it is so utterly unbelievable.

I remember distinctly the first time I went to the National Gallery. I was impressed with some of the art work. There were pieces of art work from classical artists which are universally accepted as great art. That rightfully belongs in a national gallery.

I remember like it was yesterday walking into a huge room and seeing in the corner boxes of Brillo pads stacked to the ceiling. This was not a supply room. This was a display of art, believe it or not, in a corner, brightly coloured boxes of Brillo pads.

In another room there was what I thought was some construction in progress. It was carpet underlay lying in the middle of the floor. This was a work of art according to the National Gallery. It was paid for by Canadian taxpayers. This piece of art, if you want to call it that, was called ``256 pieces of felt'' and it was a pile in the middle of the floor.

Another room had bricks lying on the floor in a line coming out from the wall-

Mr. Strahl: At least they were in a line.

Mr. Solberg: ``At least they were in a line'' the hon. member says. This was also art work.

If these people want to do this for their own pleasure, fine. If they want to put some underlay in the middle of their living room floor and marvel at it, that is great. We support that. On the other hand, if they expect Canadian taxpayers to shell out money so this can be displayed in the National Gallery it is crazy. The people are fed up with the waste in government. If it wants some areas where it can cut it can start with Canadian heritage. There is no end of waste in that department.


I remember reading about Charles Dickens. In England in those days there was no support from the government for artists. One fall that great writer was pressed to come up with a new book because he had a large family to support. Christmas was coming and he needed some revenue. Therefore, this prolific writer, who was prolific probably because he knew that if he wanted to survive he had to produce these works of art, was facing this Christmas deadline and knew he had to get something out so he could have an income. Faced with those pressures and faced with the fact that he had to be excellent in what he produced if he wished to sell his book to have some money, he produced one of the great classics of all time ``A Christmas Carol''.

I do not see why the principles of that time cannot apply today. Why do we have to have the Canada Council involved at every step of the way? People who have no business publishing a book because their work is not worthy are getting grants from the Canadian taxpayer to do it. That is crazy. I again urge the government to look at all these areas where it intervenes into the artistic community, to get out of there and allow real artists to blossom and do their thing.

We have great artists in the country from every area of the artistic community. They will prosper irrespective of whether or not they get grants from the Canada Council or protection from the Ministry of Canadian Heritage. We do not need to worry about them. We do not need to feel that we are somehow inferior. We have shown time and again that we have people who can compete in the international community with respect to the whole Department of Canadian Heritage and artistic accomplishments.

We have a deficit of $40 billion a year, a debt of $535 billion a year and the high taxes that go with that. Canadians used to have some disposable income to spend on art. By running up the deficit because of this ridiculous boondoggle of handing out grants, now they have less disposable income to go out and buy the art that we would all like to see produced. The government across the way is therefore cutting off access that Canadian people have to art.

I urge the government not only to reorganize the department but to cut spending dramatically and reorganize it right at the top starting today with the minister.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to also add a few comments, thoughts and ideas on the bill.

I cannot help but wonder why it is that we feel it is a legitimate role of government to pluck the pockets of the taxpayers by the coercive process called taxation without giving them a choice. We are forcing them against their will to support any and every cause which some bureaucrat or some deputy minister or some head of a department decides is worthy.

My hon. colleague from Medicine Hat has just gone through some of these ridiculous decisions which have absolutely no defence in terms of representing the mainstream of Canadian society.

I am one of those proud Canadians who was born here. I am a first generation Canadian. My parents did not speak English. My first language was neither English nor French. I could be called one of those ethnic immigrants although I was born in Saskatchewan, a point of which I am justly proud.

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When we were growing up we had absolutely no access to public funds. As a matter of fact, my grandfather would have dutifully declined if it had been offered because he firmly believed that it was his responsibility to provide for and look after his family.

My grandfather and his sons, my dad and his brothers worked out at a very low wage in order to keep their identity and their


pride. I am very happy that is my heritage. I learned too that hard work and self-effort was required in order to get ahead.

When different people are able, by the spending power of the federal government, to merely access money at will and use it however they wish without accountability, whether or not it has any measure of support out there in the public, promotes and extends a standard of dependence. There is no excuse for that in the long run.

We are sometimes criticized in the Reform Party for harping on the debt. I cannot think of anything that is more important. Whether it is an individual, a family, a business, a province, a municipality or a country, we need to be sound financially if we want to be sound in other ways.

This morning I could not help but think of this when one of my colleagues from the Bloc was speaking. Perhaps part of the reason for the desire of divorce is the fact that we have such tremendous fiscal mismanagement. I read in a book not long ago that fiscal mismanagement and debt is one of the leading causes of divorce in families. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Bloc members are representing a lack of trust and a lack of consideration for remaining in our Confederation.

We need to start looking at the use of our federal moneys much more carefully than we do. This whole department is a sinkhole of money that does not go anywhere. I cannot overemphasize this any more than I just have.

We have the problem of grants to different societal groups. I think about the past generations. In my area there are a number of Ukrainians and German speaking people as well as English speaking people in great numbers. Most of them, when they came out west, were independent, rugged pioneers. They would not accept handouts.

We keep talking about how we want to be tolerant and loving, we want to be multicultural. I agree with that profoundly. We need to reach out and touch each other, as the good phrase goes. We are building resentment by these programs. One group asks for a grant and they get so much. Another group asks for a grant, but because they do not have as powerful a connection to the decision makers, the grant is less or perhaps is even denied.

This can only produce one result. One group now resents the other group. The only real way of having a level playing field among all these different ethnic groups and promoting true ethnicity in our country is to treat them the same. Allow them to fund themselves at whatever rate they want to. Frankly most of the practice of ethnic culture does not require any money.

I was proud the other day to attend the meeting in this city with the Greeks, the AHEPA, their educational society.

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They had put on a dinner and they wanted to inform us about their society. A wonderful thing happened. This was a formal occasion and those who could afford it-of course I was not among them-had tuxedos with black ties. It was a very elegant situation.

Suddenly some of those people gathered around the piano. There was one person there playing piano and two or three people came and started singing. It did not take long until there were about 20 people crowded around the piano. In this formal setting this little informal occasion had arisen.

We did not need a federal grant for that. That happened. It was spontaneous. It was genuine. It was real. I liked it. That is the kind of thing we need to promote. The federal government should be in the role of guaranteeing the freedom to speak in the country any language we want, guaranteeing the freedom to practise our culture any way we can legally. We ought not to be in the business of taking money and transferring it from the taxpayers, often against their will. We know there is an increasing resentment and a decreasing support for this involuntary taxation.

We can help renew that trust of the Canadian people by reducing the amount of money that we take from them in order to promote and give grants to people without just cause.

I want to say something about the CBC. My hon. colleague from the Bloc made mention of funding and that it was not equitable between French and English. I wrote it down while he was speaking that in the area whereof I speak, and this is just a statistical fact, the English speaking people in Alberta outnumber all of the others.

We also have a great number of people who speak Ukrainian. There are German people and I believe the French place fourth, although they may now be even lower in numbers because of quite a bit of immigration from the Orient in recent years.

We have a French television channel there, CBC. Most of the time it broadcasts the test pattern and plays nice music. I admit I sometimes watch it because I like the background music that is on while it displays the test pattern. That is other than the times it just has the 1,000 kilohertz signal.

We fund that. I do not know how new my statistics are, probably two or three years ago, but only about one per cent of Albertans speak French, and of those if I remember correctly only one-quarter spoke French but not English.

If our objective is to communicate with one another it is only important that we speak the same language. How I wish I could speak French so that I could debate and enter into discourse with


my colleagues to my right here. I wish I knew that language. Unfortunately when I was a youngster I did not learn it and I am discouraged at trying now. It is difficult. It is so important for us to be able to communicate with one another. Spending federal money on promoting French broadcasting of the test pattern in Alberta makes no sense, absolutely none.

I would like to see those funds, if continued to be expended, to be used in an area where at least the people hearing the programming can understand it and benefit from it.

It is atrocious that when we have television and radio stations that make a profit-I am told by some of my contacts that radio these days is very competitive-we need to subsidize the CBC at the rate of over $1 billion per year. Surely we can get management in there that will produce a profit for the Canadian taxpayers and not be a continual drain.

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the time to debate this reorganizational bill today.

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I must start by mentioning what some of my colleagues have already brought to the attention of the House. I should bring to the attention of those listening to this debate and watching on television to the crisis within the department, starting right at the top.

In Quorum I read a couple of days ago, although I do not remember the exact quote, where the minister said that we would now see a whole new way of protecting Canadian culture. A couple of days later we find out that the whole new way of protecting that culture involves personal letters from the minister on behalf of friends to the CRTC, an independent quasi-judicial body.

That whole new way of protecting Canadian culture will not wash in the House or with the Canadian people. It did not wash with past ministers who tried that. We are probably seeing the first serious case that at the minimum the ethics commissioner should investigate. Preferably the honourable thing will happen here in the next few hours and we will see a minister step forward with his resignation. It is unfortunate but I think to clear the air this will be necessary.

What is the cultural background of the country? We on the foreign affairs committee, of which I was member for a few months, found this to be a very controversial issue. Some would bring up the idea that culture is a personal thing, that it follows our actions, that it is a legacy and the heritage we pass down to the next generation. Other people would argue that culture only thrives when the government is behind it and spends money on it and forces it, when the government regulates it and decides which culture is good and which is bad.

The Bloc Quebecois brings the issue up very forcefully that the Canadian federal government has very little reason to be involved in promoting and selecting the culture Canadians would enjoy.

This is not a job for the federal government. The federal government's job is to protect against discrimination, to ensure that people are not discriminated against because of their ethnic background, not persecuted or prosecuted unduly because of their choices.

If individuals, lower levels of government, the provinces and other people and private organizations want to enhance culture, then by all means that is where it should be done. For the federal government to spend billions of dollars on what its idea of culture should be does not wash with the Bloc Quebecois and it does not wash with me and the Reform Party. Culture is not something a bureaucrat can choose from.

The Canadian film board has put forward several pieces of questionable, dubious trash and these are now available to the school boards. I told witnesses who came before the committee: ``If you ever got out of the cloistered halls where you are making these decisions and to Fraser Valley East where I live and told the citizens there who do not understand this difficult issue that what they need is a government grant to the Canadian film board to show how lesbian relationships are the way of the future and that this is an excellent thing to promote, the citizens would want to do the old tar and feather routine''. They would say that if somebody wanted to put out that film, by all means. There are probably thousands of those films put out every year. Is it the job of the federal government to support that? The answer of course is absolutely not.

We are going in the hole financially-in many ways in the country but financially especially-$110 million per day. How can a government that says it is trying to wrestle the deficit and debt to the ground continue to spend money on discretionary spendings when some priority items in the country are not being funded properly?

It asks students to take on more student loans because it has run out of money for them. There is still money for the Canadian heritage society and every other boondoggle in the country, but no more money for students.

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We tell the provinces that they are going to have to cough up a bigger percentage of the health care costs, but we still have money to expand the museum in one of the minister's departments next year. We do not have any money to increase the basic pension requirements but we have money for the CBC to the tune of $1 billion a year.

People are rejecting that wholesale, as they well should. The other day I told members a story and I know how much they enjoyed it; we had laughs over that story. I would like to tell


another story. This one is not quite so funny but it is a true story. Again it is a very personal story involving my father.

My father was born into a community that looked after its own cultural background. It was a Swedish community back in the prairies in Minnedosa, Manitoba. Many a happy hour I spent back there visiting my aunts, uncles and other relatives. It was basically a Swedish community. It did the Swedish thing. It still has pickled herring and a few things from the Swedish past. I enjoy some of the heritage on that side of the family.

My dad's dad, my grandfather, died when dad was only six years old. Really the cultural things became very important. The community things, the family things became very important because that is where my father was raised. He had no father. In those days he had to pick up the support where he could. He got the support from the community.

When my dad was 17 years old and the second world war was on, he left that community and went to Winnipeg to enlist. He was only 17 years old. He was not old enough legally to sign up but being a big, strapping boy from the prairies and probably well fed-maybe underfed, I do not know-he looked the part but the enlistment guy told him he could not sign up and that he needed his mother's signature.

Dad took the forms and went out around the block to the back of the building, forged his mother's signature, went around to another door and came back in and enlisted as a 17-year-old.

There is a whole other story that goes with that but the point about the cultural thing in this is that dad never talked much about the army days. He spent a couple of years in. He did not have to go overseas and he made it through those war years okay, but the thing that stuck out in his mind and the only thing that dad talked about was that he did not think he did a very brave thing. It was what millions of Canadians were prepared to do.

The form on which he had to forge his mother's signature asked what ethnic background he was. This was back in 1943. Dad said that he just put a big line through there and said: ``I am Canadian. That is what I am. I am not a hyphenated Canadian. I am not less a Canadian. I am not a half Canadian or anything else. I am a Canadian''.

When people have a strong sense of their Canadianism, what they are, they do not need government subsidies. My father certainly did not. People in my community certainly do not.

An hon. member over here mentioned a case a while ago about someone playing a piano who looked up and said: ``Does anybody happen to know this song?''. Out of the crowd came about 40 or 50 people singing it in German. I do not even know what the song is because I do not speak German but they sang a song in German. Then the crowd went back out, proud of its heritage.

In Vancouver there will be the Chinatown festivities and so on. There will be the dragon dances and all that kind of thing. That has been going on for decades and decades without government help. When culture is part of a person they say: ``I am a proud Canadian. I happen to have some of my background, my traditions, my heritage''.

Members will find Canadians say: ``I do not need government support for that. I am a proud Canadian. I have my own culture. It is my business. The government should not intrude into my life or dictate what I can watch on television or listen to on the radio. It is my business. Stay out of it''.

When there are billions and billions of dollars involved, it is time that the Canadian government decided what its priorities are. The priorities are not in this heritage department. The priorities are health, pensions and the best education for our next generation. It is not the boondoggles that we see time after time in the Canadian heritage department.


I am disappointed to find that in this reorganization plan there is not a bottom line that reads: ``This department will be severely curtailed''. Unless that is in there I cannot believe that any reorganizational plan will be an improvement. The first reorganization of course as I mentioned earlier should be a change in ministers. Then we would see how Canadian heritage should be maintained in the hearts and lives of individual Canadians.

Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise today to speak on Bill C-53, a reorganization bill.

I would like to follow up on what my colleagues on this side of the House have been saying and relate it back to the election of one year ago when I ran successfully against a Liberal. I heard the words of the Liberals during that election campaign, things like: ``This government, a Liberal government, will be different than a Conservative government. It will be more accountable''. They said they would be more accountable.

Today the headline reads ``Minister aids radio licence bid at CRTC''. That is what we see today in our headlines. An apology from the minister is not good enough. The minister says that all he did was act as a member of Parliament. A minister of the crown is not an ordinary member of Parliament.

In March he wrote a letter to Keith Spicer asking him to give due consideration to an application for a 24-hour Greek language radio station. Also, which he did not mention this morning in his statement, he asked Mr. Spicer to keep him abreast of developments, adding: ``Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information''.


If this is not interference, I do not know what is. This is blatant interference. I would also like to mention that the letter sent back to the minister from the commission's secretary general said: ``Thank you for your letter of support''.

One thing everyone in this business should learn is perception. Perception is everything. If the perception at the CRTC was that this minister was supporting and if the general public and the people of Canada also feel strongly that the minister was supporting then the minister has an obligation to do the honourable thing.

Tomorrow in the House we will be debating Bill C-210, a recall bill. If this minister and government do not bring accountability to the House, members on this side will certainly try to bring accountability here by introducing such legislation as recall. We know that we will receive some support from that side of the House. I have talked to members on that side who are very supportive of this. I hope the minister will do the honourable thing.

With regard to the bill, I have a few comments I would like to make, in particular about bilingualism and official languages. I get a little frustrated when I find out that the reason governments, including the government, sometimes spend money is to promote particular groups or particular people in this country. I know the member is very interested in this subject.

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I am going to talk about the Department of National Defence in the province of Quebec for a couple of moments. The Department of National Defence feels it is very important to encourage francophones to join the Canadian Armed Forces, in the navy. In order to do that the government felt it was important to build a fleet school in Quebec City. It spent millions and millions of dollars on a fleet school. The reason for this, and officials from the Department of National Defence have been quite open, is that it wants more francophones in the Canadian Armed Forces. Why spend millions and millions of dollars on that item? Not only is it building a fleet school there, but four of the twelve new coastal patrol vessels will be in Quebec City.

We have the largest coastline in the world to protect and we are going to have four of our coastal patrol vessels, on which we are again spending millions of dollars, in Quebec City with a fleet school.

Why do we not promote people from the province of Alberta? How about farmers in Alberta? Maybe we should promote them being in the navy. Why not build a fleet school on the Bow River? Maybe that is a good idea. Maybe we should do that in order to encourage Alberta farmers to join the navy.

I get laughs from all sides of the House. They are right. It is absolutely ridiculous that we are doing that. People in Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and across the country have the opportunity to join the Canadian Armed Forces, and in particular the navy if they want to, but we spend millions and millions of dollars to build a fleet school in Quebec City.

I might point out that the citizens of Quebec City do not even support it. The mayor of Quebec City at one time said that it did not even fit in with the landscape of the city. That is absolutely absurd. The people of Canada will not put up with this nonsense any more.

Official languages in the country, yes. There should be freedom of speech. There is no question about it. It should be respected in the House of Commons and the other place as well. However, we are spending millions and billions. We cannot even get the actual figures for bilingualism. It is said to be $310 million a year. That is absolutely absurd. It is probably closer to a billion or more dollars per year that is spent on bilingualism in the country. It has been proven it does not work. It creates walls and it divides people. It has not worked and it will not work. We have to move toward something new, a new approach, a new way of doing things to respect freedom of speech.

Multiculturalism is something that I feel was created with all the best intentions in the world. They wanted to bring people from other countries into Canada in the hope that it would bring people closer together.

It has put people in separate little rooms of the country. It has separated us all. It has divided us and split us.

Mr. Milliken: Nonsense.

Mr. Hart: The hon. member says no, no.

Mr. Milliken: I said ``nonsense''. Quote me correctly.

Mr. Hart: It gives specific ethnic groups pockets of money that other Canadians cannot have. It is not right.

The country should be looking at ensuring equality. That is what the government should be doing. It should not have a department of multiculturalism. It should be working against discrimination, ensuring that all Canadians, regardless of race, religion and gender, are equal. It does not matter. This is a tremendous waste of money.

In closing I will say that hon. members on the other side of the House are not stupid; they are just wrong. They are simply wrong.

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Mr. Mike Scott (Skeena, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to add to what some of my colleagues have had to say here today on culture and heritage.

I have a deep appreciation for Canada's culture and our heritage. I have many generations of ancestors in Canada. They started out in the maritimes and came to British Columbia over a period of 150 years. Contrary to what some might say or think, I believe that Reformers and Canadians in general have a deep


appreciation of our heritage. I believe that Canadians for the most part like art, films, and books. They like many of the things our minister of cultural heritage is promoting.

Most of us express our desire and enjoyment of our culture and art through our personal decisions. We make decisions as to what we are going to buy, which art for our homes and which books to read. We visit art galleries when we choose. In general through the marketplace we express our appreciation with our money in the forums where we feel that it is appropriate to do so.

The operative word here is marketplace. The marketplace is the proper place to determine whether art is saleable, whether it is desirable and whether the people who are creating it should be supported.

What we have in Canada is government directed heritage and cultural policy that ignores the market altogether. The government funded cultural community needs taxpayers' money to survive because it cannot convince people to buy its products on their own. It is not successful in the marketplace.

If writers want my money and the Canadian taxpayers' money they can write books that Canadian taxpayers will buy. If artists want my money they can create art that I and Canadian taxpayers will buy. If film makers want my money they can create films that I will pay money to see and they will therefore be successful.

These people do not need to convince me to buy their art or their books or pay to see their films. They can go to Ottawa and convince the government to fund their projects and their initiatives and I as a taxpayer along with millions of others from coast to coast who do not agree with the kind of products these people are producing are forced through a coercive taxation system to support it in any event.

This is why we have a National Art Gallery that is full of goofy paraphernalia that common sense Canadians would never ever buy. We have so-called treasures in our National Art Gallery. I come from the construction industry. People in the construction industry tell me that the notorious painting ``Voice of Fire'' could be created in about one-half day by a couple of good painters.

An hon. member: Three minutes.

Mr. Scott (Skeena): Three minutes with a spray gun. Yet the government has been spending millions and millions of dollars to acquire these goods and put them in our National Art Gallery. We have at times hung paintings and writings on the walls of that gallery that some Canadians would indeed believe to be bordering on pornographic. They would not let their children have these at home, yet they are confronted with them when they visit our National Art Gallery.

Why? Because the elite have determined that this is good for us without our consent. They take our tax dollars to support these artists when clearly Canadians never would.

The Reform Party and I say it is time to get the government out of the business of heritage, out of the business of culture and let the marketplace establish what people want and what they do not want.

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It is very simple. If somebody produces something that has value and is desirable, Canadians will buy it. But when we have people who can go to the government, get grants and be funded through a coercive taxation system with no regard for whether Canadians actually want this paraphernalia, we are going to have what we have right now, a tremendous waste of Canadian taxpayers' money and a collection of what I consider to be, and I think many people consider to be, nonsense in our National Gallery.

Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am generally not considered an expert on culture and the heritage department. I am a farmer from Saskatchewan. However I do read. I do write. I do look at art. I do watch plays. I do watch television and all the things that all Canadians do.

In this discussion we should remind ourselves that cultural pursuits are an expression of all of society and they have always had difficulty being recognized for what they are trying to do.

We have heard a number of speeches this morning stating that if the market will not support it then it should not be produced. Yet when I look back at my very modest understanding of the history of artistic endeavour, I see a great many works that are now considered to be the epitome of that genre of art. It would not have been accepted by the market in the day it was produced. It was very controversial and yet because the state or the church was determined to pay the artist to do the work and support the artist in his or her endeavour it was produced.

People asked why waste money painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, paying an artist for the years and years it takes to produce that stuff. When it was finished the population was agog because Michelangelo had painted some of the people without as many clothes on as they thought there should be. While the church and the Pope had financed the project, they did succumb to popular pressure and have him come back and paint over some parts of it.

However without the backing of the state or the church-in that case the church was collecting money from all of the population-without a firm commitment to that artist, we would not know Michelangelo ever existed. He is still considered to be one of the greatest painters and sculptors of all time.


That is just one example. We have many in Canada to which I am sure people in the artistic community could point. Because most of my friends of the Reform Party are from western Canada I would just mention the name William Kurelek .Without some assistance from Canadian governments we probably would not realize that William Kurelek was a great talent in his own right. He was considered kind of a nut case by his colleagues and the people who knew him, but some people in the artistic community convinced others he should receive financial support, so we got the paintings that he produced in his lifetime.

We tend to think that Heritage Canada is only supporting experimental art and playing with new ideas, that they support exotica or things that are quite foolish. We have heard quite a lot of some of those perceived to be foolish things. Not being terribly modern and culturally aware, some of those seem a little foolish to me as well, but we have to be prepared to make those kinds of experiments if we are going to move forward as a society.

As we have only eight to ten minutes each to speak I do not want to spend too much time on this, but we should remind ourselves that some of what Heritage Canada does with its grants and its money is quite mundane. If we pulled back all the support the department gives, even my friends in the Reform Party would up on their feet crying about the interference that had been precipitated by the pulling back of those funds.


As an example, I have in my community a second newspaper that started up in the last few years which portrays a very right wing point of view. My friends in the Reform Party would love the editorials. Basically the reason for the newspaper is to put those editorials and those opinions in front of the general public in that community. Because this lady has these extreme views she has trouble getting advertisers to support the paper.

She wanted to set up a second paper and keep it going. She had started one up in a neighbouring community which was in danger of folding so she took over the management of it again. I got a call from her to say she was having trouble getting the postal subsidy needed to keep both newspapers going. This comes from, guess where? Heritage Canada. As I recall it is about 88 cents per paper per week. The paper cannot operate and cannot circulate this other opinion in those communities without the support of Heritage Canada.

While she is an avowed believer in letting the market be determined, she was very concerned as well about the duality of these arguments we get into and the fact that she might not be able to get a grant from Heritage Canada because she was starting up a second paper and policies were changing. This in effect would be a restriction of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is only one forum of the freedom of expression our societies and the tribes we have come from feel is the root of our existence.

If we are going to have freedom of expression it has to go beyond just producing newspapers with a point of view. It ultimately has to include putting paintings on ceilings, even though it was thought to be a stupid place to put a painting, and living with the kind of criticism that even that glorious work in the Sistine Chapel got when it was performed. Sometimes backing off from criticism has happened, with a little paint here and there to cover up what the general public is opposed to and making adjustments but not by withdrawing all support from society in general.

I hope in opposing the restructuring of Heritage Canada that some of my friends in the House do not mean that all forms of support would stop. Even as a group, we are not wise enough to recognize a potential talent or a product of the artistic mind that will fly and be famous for centuries.

One time as a farm boy I was able to get to Paris for a day or two and go through the Louvre. There are many works I remember of course. Everyone sees the ``Mona Lisa'' and wonders at the Dutch masters and the works of the French, the Spanish and the Italians. However, the one thing I personally admired was some of the sculpture in stone from the early Greek period. Some of this stuff weighs thousands of pounds. The art is so great it appears as if these winged creatures will take off momentarily. They look as light as a feather, they are ethereal. They almost look like lace, but they are stone and weigh thousands of pounds. Nobody knows who did that work. But we still have it and we still admire it.

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Some time thousands of years ago, some king or priest or bishop or whoever helped to finance this work of art. It was probably criticized by a few people in the street or maybe all the people in the street as a waste of public funds for keeping this poor sculptor in food and drink for the time it took him or her to produce it. Nobody knows who produced it and yet millions have appreciated the thought and the expertise and the feeling that went with it.

To be so careful with our dollars and cents that we lose all common sense has to be something we avoid. I hope for just a few political moments, we will let common sense prevail and not just follow public demand. The public demand to stop spending is always there from the taxpayers' side of our psyche. We also must remember we have more than that in our individuality and in our group consciousness and in our group needs. We


must recognize that this also includes recognizing freedom of expression and supporting it.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that this is a bill of such profound importance as I detect from the opposite members.

I wanted to rise on Bill C-53 with a specific interest. The interest is this. Why would the bill come to the House now? I would like to ask that rhetorical question. Why is the bill in front of us now?

I have listened to my Liberal colleagues speak very eloquently about a fairly major review of much of the government's operations. In my view the bill would fit very well into a fairly significant review of those operations.

I looked actually for the department to give some specific recognition that there is some controversy here. The controversy has been heightened by the minister's actions. Those actions might provide a lightning rod for the Canadian public in terms of his department.

Why now? Why would the government bring in a bill on multiculturalism before a major program review? I am not sure I can answer that. I ask for some advice from my colleagues across the way.

I listened just a moment ago to an eloquent discussion of how the elites in our society should be the ones to provide our cultural heritage for us. I reject that allegation. I listened to how a king, a pope, a prince, someone with tremendous recognition of value looked after the artistic community, looked after the needs, wants and wishes of the artistic community.

I reflect on the individuals in our society today who are pushing the cultural agenda. Who are those individuals? They are individuals who have been elected to public office. Were they elected to public office to produce artistic works, to decide what had merit?

My constituents did not elect me to do that. They elected me to provide some very specific leadership on issues that had nothing to do with culture, nothing to do with language. They asked me to come to Parliament to bring common sense to the debate here. I do not see common sense well displayed by individuals who say that the government should be the provider of cultural direction. Elites should not decide what is good for the public. The public should decide.

What will the bill not do? If I am going to criticize a bill, I would like to criticize the things that it will not do and look for some positives. It will not streamline the department. I see no indication that there will be less administration nor do I see any indication that it will downsize the department. I do not see anything in the bill that will save the Canadian taxpayer money and why would I want to see those things happen? Why would I care if the department were streamlined, downsized and fiscally responsible?


I want that because I have come here hoping that our health care system can be saved. I have put a very high priority on our health care system. Looking at the health care system throughout our country I ask: What is happening to it? I see streamlining and downsizing. I see a decrease in administration. I see hospital beds being closed. I see surgical operating room time being diminished.

I look at those things and I ask: Where is the priority in our country? Where is the priority that would allow a government to put this department, no downsizing, no streamlining, no decrease in administration, ahead of the health needs of Canadians?

I look at the proportion of dollars that the party in government puts toward health care. I have watched those funds drop in the last 10 years. Federal government funding has gone from some 30 per cent of health care dollars down to 22 per cent and I am sorry to report it is still falling. That is wrong.

If there were a prioritization of issues for the government, the department would not have high priority. It should not have high priority when we face the financial situation we are in today. I call for and plead the government to change its priorities, to actually reverse the momentum toward things like this that do not have long term significance, that will not help the patient with cancer and will not help the mother with a problem pregnancy. It will do none of those things.

Where do I come from in a personal cultural sense? My own background is one-half English, one-quarter Irish and one-quarter Norwegian. I had a very close relationship with my Norwegian grandma. I actually lived with her when I went to university.

She expressed in a very interesting way how she maintained her Norwegian background by saying: ``I maintained my Norwegian background by my honesty. I did not come to Canada to become a mini-Norwegian here; I came to Canada to become an honest citizen of Canada''. She had a cute little poem which is the only thing she reflected upon about her own particular ancestry. She decried the idea that somebody should help her look after her culture. ``I am a Canadian. I am a Canadian who came via Oyen to Edmonton to be just that, a Canadian''.

I look at what I consider to be the scandal facing the government today with this department and its minister. For those watching on television, comments are coming from across the way that there is no scandal here but I would like to reflect on one precedent of scandal.

One precedent when the Liberals sat in opposition is as follows: The member for Sherbrooke, the Minister of Justice at the time, made a phone call to a judge. Members sitting on the government side today called for that minister to resign. They called for his resignation because of a conflict of interest. A minister calling someone whom he had direct responsibility for was a conflict of interest. The minister resigned. He did not


want to resign. It would have looked better for him if he could have said: ``I did not intend to influence the judge, I was just representing a constituent''. I think that was one of the comments I heard.


Mr. Silye: This morning?

Mr. Hill (Macleod): Yes, it came to me clearly. And where do we sit with this scandal today? A minister writes a letter to somebody under his direct responsibility. He owes his job to the minister. I see a straight line relationship there. Most Canadians can understand that.

The minister has a direct responsibility, a direct understanding of that responsibility. The minister should follow the precedent that was established when the Liberals sat in opposition and called for the resignation of a minister.

Mr. Milliken: Read the letters.

Mr. Hill (Macleod): Now I hear there was a second letter written which obviates all responsibility. I would ask for a report on how soon that letter was written after the first.

Mr. Silye: Six months later.

Mr. Hill (Macleod): Six months later could be called a covering of the backside.

Mr. Silye: As soon as they knew the media was on it. As soon as the media got word of it that letter went out.

Mr. Hill (Macleod): Indeed that was my understanding. Should the minister resign? The Canadian people really should decide that. I wish there were a direct, specific mechanism for ministerial recall as well as member of Parliament recall.

Mr. Jim Silye (Calgary Centre, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address Bill C-53, the reorganization of the Department of Canadian Heritage. I have two suggestions to make on this bill.

First, the minister, or the new minister, should consider eliminating funding for multiculturalism to achieve a savings of $30 million to $40 million. Multiculturalism is creating divisiveness in the country. It is creating confusion and it is creating prejudice in the country. I will come back to this point shortly. The second suggestion is that the Minister of Canadian Heritage resign.

Going back to my first suggestion on multiculturalism, I am a first generation immigrant of Hungarian parents born in Vöcklabruck, Austria. We came here in 1951. I was close to six years old. I am proud of my ethnic background. I am also proud to be Canadian today. The fact that we came to a new country, that we had to learn a new language and that we had to learn to get along with people were all things which helped develop and build my personal character and my outlook on life.

Some of the rules we had back then were a lot better than the rules we have today. Many of the rules back then still allowed for some prejudice, still allowed for some confusion, still allowed for some divisiveness, but overall for all intents and purposes immigrants were welcomed into the country.

Our current program of immigration which I do not want to dwell on leads to multiculturalism and the funding for the immigrants here. The various ethnocultural groups get funding to represent their specific ethnic groups and they are not even reaching out to the people they purport to represent.

There was a food fair in Ottawa about three or four months ago. Various ethnic backgrounds and cultures were represented. I attended because I like to see various heritages and cultures. I like to try foods from different parts of the world as well.

As I was circulating and meeting people visiting the various booths I came upon two different ethnic groups, one from Columbia and one from Asia. As I talked to them I revealed that I was a member of Parliament but I did not tell them that I was also an immigrant. During the course of our conversation I asked if they were associated with any of the ethnic groups and they said no. I asked if the groups were helping them and they said no.

The family who came here from Columbia worked part time. They picked up any job they could. They went back to school and got themselves re-educated as engineers. As a matter of fact both of them work for the government. They have three children 8, 10 and 11 years old, who are presently going to school in Ottawa. They are picked on and called names. The blatant discrimination is obvious. The rest of the kids in school have the impression they are being treated differently, that they are getting something they should not be getting.


This is what I mean by divisiveness and the confusion we are creating. The intent of the program although it may have been honourable and worth while has certainly deteriorated to a point where it is not helping the ethnic groups that come here, it is hurting them.

I really believe that funding to learn English is unnecessary. Funding to have them retain the language of the country they left is a complete waste of money. I still speak Hungarian. There was a 10-year period when I never uttered one word in Hungarian but I have retained and still remember quite a bit of it. I am not as fluent as I should be but I am proud of the fact that I can still speak it, that I am bilingual and do not speak just one language.


Multiculturalism is not so much to save money but it is also to start to respect immigrants who come here, to work with them to fit into our society. Just throwing money at groups and organizations is not necessarily the best way of doing it.

Some of the rules we apply to immigrants should be revisited. Some of the rules we had in the 1950s and 1960s could probably be reintroduced. Perhaps the government would like to strike a committee. It likes to strike committees; it is up to about 25 now. Perhaps it would like to strike number 26 and look into ways and means of improving multiculturalism and immigration and looking for ways and means not to just throw money at people but to help them fit into society through better mechanisms.

The second suggestion I have for the Minister of Canadian Heritage is that he resign. The gentleman has had this position for a year. When he took his cabinet position he was told the same thing all ministers of the crown are told when they swear an oath of allegiance to uphold to the best of their ability their responsibilities. They are briefed on what is proper behaviour and proper conduct. They know full well when they accept that job what lines they are not supposed to cross over, what constitutes conflict of interest and what constitutes impropriety. They are told all this and they accept the job knowing that if they commit a serious mistake, they have no choice but to resign.

Using ministerial stationery the minister wrote to CRTC chairman Keith Spicer last March asking him to ``give due consideration to an application to start a 24 hour Greek language radio station''. The minister also asked Spicer to keep him abreast of developments adding: ``Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional information''. The full letter was tabled earlier today.

I would like some more information. I would like to know how the minister can rationalize what he did in this situation versus what he was told he could or could not do. Was the minister not listening when he was being sworn in? Was the minister not listening when he was told what the proper rules of conduct are for a cabinet minister and what he has to do to pull himself out?

I am sorry but there is no way the actions in this matter are not examples of the worst kind of incompetence and impropriety. It is my humble opinion-and I feel the House should really speak out on this today-that he should do the honourable thing, not only apologize to the Canadian public, not only apologize to his peers as he did today. He has shown he is incapable of listening to instruction. I know financially he is incapable of handling that huge budget with all the areas that fall into his department.

I feel I have no choice. I know I am supported by a lot of members of our party and other members. Perhaps even members of the government would feel they could have a better minister running the Department of Canadian Heritage than the current minister. The man should not only reorganize his department but he should just resign and get out of the way.

Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage is a fine example of how governments just get into people's faces, how they interfere in other people's lives. The ministry of heritage spends its entire time trying to force Canadians to accept a piece of art work, French language training in B.C., particular activities in the sports arena and so on.


My colleague from the NDP a little earlier in his speech mentioned that he does not feel we are in a position in the House to make judgments about the appropriateness of particular art works. Yet the old line parties in the House certainly felt completely competent to try to force the Charlottetown accord on the people of Canada.

There is a new approach needed in the House which pays a lot more attention to individual Canadians and what they want out of their government.

I have an example here of how the government, the ministry of heritage, is trying to force its way on the people of B.C. In B.C. fewer than one-half of 1 per cent of the people speak French at home. Yet the minister of heritage is sponsoring a court case in B.C. to try to force the province of British Columbia to install a francophone school board. It is absolutely an outrage.

A francophone society in B.C. set up a task force to study the situation. The minority language education task force report regarding francophone school boards for school district No. 22 got a total of 696 individuals and 467 of those replies were negative. The report completely ignored the negatives and decided based on what appeared to be about 223 unsigned form letters in French that there was an overwhelming demand for a French school board in B.C.; 223 form letters and it decides there is this overwhelming need for it.

What happens? The Canadian people now are forced to pay for a court case that will probably go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada at immense expense for something that we just do not need. If ever there was an example of a way that the government could save money at a time of fiscal restraint it is right now in this case.

There is another example in today's Toronto Star. The headline: ``Amateur Sport is a Living Corpse''. It gives an example from its investigation that the bureaucracy and politically motivated agendas are swallowing up as much as $70 million of the budget for amateur sport.

The prediction from the report in the Toronto Star is that the entire amateur sport situation is going to collapse into disarray that will be incapable of winning medals by the turn of the century. Instead of the money getting to the people who need it, the sports men and women on the field, it is going to the


bureaucracy. Is that not typical of what happens in Indian affairs?

Enormous amounts of money get lost in the bureaucracy of the Canadian heritage department. The entire department is a disgrace. The minister should resign. Let us get rid of the department and apply the money elsewhere in government.

Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to speak to Bill C-53.

My, my, my, what a surprise. I thought we were through with all of this patronage with the new government and we are right back to where we started from, all the things we believed in year after year in the country and we are back to where we started.

Lots of times we are asked what the difference is between Liberal patronage and Conservative patronage. The answer is there really is not any difference other than the Liberals have more of it.

Here we are already a little over a year into their term as government and let us have a look at what kind of patronage we are talking about. There are three Liberal Party hacks given jobs to age 75 with the Senate. It is who you know and who you support with this same old traditional party. That is what it is all about, is it not?

One of the recent occurrences I had in my riding was chasing a fellow by the name of José Salinas Mendoza who skipped out due to the incompetence of the immigration department. One of the interesting patronage appointments there which is so indicative of the government is a fellow who was working on the Liberal campaign in 1993 who just happened to donate some money to the party, who just happened to be appointed to the refugee board, who just happened to be a lawyer for José Salinas Mendoza.

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How does the government figure all this out? How does it get so convoluted and so entwined in its own party politics, in its own rhetoric, that it keeps appointing people to these kinds of things?

Let us look at our latest boondoggle by the minister of heritage. We have actually caught him in the act of a minister supporting an application for an individual in his riding. How blatant can one get? The reason this is blatant is that these appointments are going on without the community out there, without the people of Canada getting a grasp on exactly what is happening with these political parties; without the people of Canada complaining about these three Liberal Party hacks in the Senate, without the people of Canada complaining about refugee board appointments, about parole board appointments, about immigration adjudicator appointments. We cannot stop this.

Today we are going to ask if we can probably put an end to it by showing the government that the minister should step down. If he could step down maybe the Prime Minister might be looked upon by the bulk of the Canadian people as being forceful, as being a leader of integrity, one who believes in the importance of receiving and approving applications and appointing people to government positions on the basis of merit, on the basis of their qualifications, and not on the basis of whom you know and to whom you donate money.

I have a long list of failed Liberal candidates who donated to this party over here and it looks like a who's who on the list of patronage. I guess that is just how to do it. That is the reward, that is the pie in the sky if you support this party. Maybe you will get the plum, the biggest plum of the Senate, and then you get all these other paid plums down from the Liberal Party. They are all there.

One of the Liberal members wants me to read the list. I have not the time to read the list, it is too long. I only have 10 minutes.

Heritage is something we want to preserve. In the year 2010 and the year 2020 one would presume that we would want to preserve the heritage of 1994. I have to ask: Are we proud enough of what is going on in the country today with the government to preserve it?

I think as we go along with the government we are going to find that when the Reform Party government is in we will not need that department of heritage down the road in the year 2020 because we will not be very proud of what the government is doing today.

The real heritage in the country is where our people come from, what we are preserving of our language and our culture, our parks, all of that kind of heritage. I am not very proud of what is going on with the government today.

I just want to look at a bit of heritage and talk about some of the taxpayer dollars that have been going into the pet projects of governments like this one, from departments of the minister of cultural heritage.

Let us look at some of the simple little dollars that were spent and what they were spent on. A couple of hundred thousand dollars to study religious and historical practice among northern Malagasy speakers is important to the Canadian taxpayer, is it not? That is the kind of money these people spend. Those are taxpayer dollars being spent on their pet peeves. It does not make any sense at all.


Twenty-one thousand dollars was spent on experimental studies of interactive gestures. We can imagine what kind of interactive gestures we have for the government. It should study a few of those.


Let us find the bureaucrats who want to spend $58,000 from the department on an experiment of what it is like to work for the Dominion grocery stores. There is an important issue on which to spend taxpayer dollars. What do you have to do to pay $58,000? In the country today you probably have to earn $120,000 minimum. For anyone out there who made $120,000, or any family out there that made a combination of that, the grant that was spent on what it is like to work for the Dominion grocery stores is one whole year of that family's total income tax.

Whoever authorizes such grants as this should be fired. There is no question in my mind. If that were my organization and I found that kind of waste they would be gone. They would be history.

Mr. Silye: It is other people's money. They spend it like it is water.

Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): Let us have a look. Here is an interesting dollar spent out of a department, $10,800 to finance a poll-this is just to finance the poll; we have to find out what people think of it-to find out what Canadians thought about Christmas lights. Really, that is important.

Mr. Silye: On or off?

Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): ``On or off'' my colleague says. That is another study. It is only $10,800 to find out what they think about Christmas lights so maybe we can spend another $10,000 to find out what they like if they are off, and another $10,000 to find out what they are like if they are on, and if they are different sizes. The government could think of all kinds of ways to spend our money.

Although we sort of jest about it, it is kind of sick to think about what this government is doing and the government before it because there is no difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals.

Mr. Silye: Just the colour.

Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): I do not know if the Montreal Museum of Humour is still in business.

An hon. member: Toast.

Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): I hear it is toast. It probably has not made enough money but I know it had $3.3 million given to it a few years ago and that was not enough of the taxpayers' money to keep it profitable perhaps so maybe we should have given it some more. I do not know how the bureaucrats are thinking these days.

We gave $46,000 of your taxpayer money to assist artists in the presentation of music in non-traditional spaces. We really have to wonder about the logic behind this kind of thinking. Why would they give any money at all in a grant like this one? The topic is so stupid it defies any kind of logical conclusion. Perhaps we should meld that with another interactive gesture and see what we think of it.

We know Hurtig Publishers gets lots of money, or had lots of money. I do not know about recently but I know in the past it has.

Under bilingualism there is grant after grant. I asked a question in the House in the last session about the $5,000 grant to the Canadian Kennel Club. This is very interesting. I received an answer that it is all right, that it is only $5,000. That is taxpayers' money. I got a letter from the Canadian Kennel Club and it was really unhappy with the question I asked because it felt it should have the money to support its bilingualism program of whatever it was.

In the letter it told me it had a budget of around $4 million. I wrote back to it and said: ``Wait a minute here. If you have a budget of $4 million why do you need $5,000 of taxpayers' money? What is the purpose?''

The real idea is that most of these organizations if not all of them do not need the money. It is being made available by governments like this so that they can spend on it for whatever reason and much of it is very much unaccountable. Do we want to preserve the ideas of the government?

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Do we want to support the government? It is like supporting that other government from Jurassic Park. That is what it is. If the government keeps spending money the way it is doing and blowing it out the door it too will join Jurassic Park just like its brothers.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this issue. Many of the questions raised here today are exactly the same as those raised by my constituents and continue to be raised by them.

They are wondering: ``What is going on in Ottawa. What are they doing there? What is this government doing? We are wondering what substantive legislation is being considered''. When I tell them that the government has brought a bill forward that reorganizes the department, they ask me: ``What is that going to do for us? What does that mean?'' They ask questions like: ``Does this mean that the bureaucrats are going to keep shuffling the paper from one side of the desk to the other?'' I say: ``I guess it means that they are shuffling bureaucrats. What they are doing is very often unknown''.

They would like to know how this improves their situation in Canada. They ask: ``Is this going to save money?'' We ask the government the same thing. Is this going to save money? We are met with stone silence. The government is not saving money. In fact it is entrenching government spending in ways that will make it more difficult to change in the future. Then they ask questions like: ``Does this reorganization make the government


more accountable to us? Will we have more control over the way it spends money in the department?''

I ask the government: Does it do that? The government is silent because it does not. It does not give the people of Canada more control over what happens at the CBC or how these grants that my hon. friend has just listed are given out. In fact it makes it more difficult for taxpayers to have control over how this government spends its money.

Mr. Silye: It is the incompetent minister who hands those moneys out.

Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville): My friend has mentioned that it is the incompetent minister who hands these things out, a minister who at the drop of a hat will interfere in affairs or try to manipulate the applications of some special interest group.

People are appalled at this. They ask: ``Has the government not got the message yet that we want the government to be accountable directly to the people?'' The government remains silent and goes on its merry way without answering these questions.

People are not happy with what is happening here. They feel that if bills are introduced into the House they ought to be substantive and they ought to meet the needs of this nation.

Then they ask: ``What's going on at that national art museum?'' I say to them: ``I went there for a visit. I walked through''. As I viewed the various so-called pieces of art I wondered if the people of Canada could see this whether they would actually contribute directly to these paintings, this art that was displayed there. I describe to them some of the things I saw. I told them that I walked into a large room which would cost something to heat and to keep under those nice glass domes. I saw what looked to me like a piece of baling wire running from that corner to that corner. I asked the security person if they forgot to put the art in this room and he said no, that is the piece of art.

An hon. member: How much was it?

Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville): I do not know what it would cost to string a piece of baling wire from one corner to the other but I question that. Then I saw a toilet bowl hanging in a doorway and I thought: ``That is interesting. I wonder how you use that or why is that regarded as a piece of art?'' Things like this are unbelievable.


I had heard of the ``Voice of Fire'' so I looked for this painting that had cost us over $1.5 million. I walked into a quite large room and saw what I thought was a replica of this painting. I asked the security guard: ``Where is the real thing?'' He said: ``That's it. That has actually cost us over $1.5 million''. I told this to the people of Saskatchewan and they said: ``Do you mean they are cutting back on health care so that we can have that sitting there?'' They asked: ``Why are we not being given more of a choice as to whether we want health care preserved in Saskatchewan rather than it being cut back so that it is almost inaccessible to some of the people in remote areas or that art?'' I told them: ``Ask your government''.

We asked the government today and it cannot give us any answers. I think that is very unfortunate.

During the election people made it very clear that multiculturalism is not a priority and that official bilingualism is not a priority. They feel that the government should be looking at these areas.

When I was in the constituency last week I listened to the radio. We hear a lot about how the CBC preserves culture and so on in the province. I listened very carefully to the news reports. I realized as I did that it concentrates on certain kinds of items and in that way it can manipulate what people think about. Then I listened to the so-called balance that it is purported to have.

I heard a very good economist give a three or four minute account of what is happening in the country. I thought good for you, this is excellent. However it was given at 6.30 in the morning when very few people were listening. At 7.45 there was a long interview with someone who had allegedly been abused because of their sexual orientation. In that way they begin to manipulate what people are thinking about.

Eighty per cent of the people in my province want to hear more about certain issues but they cannot get the CBC to address them. Instead, they have to put up with a lot of things that they feel are not priorities in their lives and their society. They feel the government is trying to manipulate what is happening in this country, that it is trying to force a culture upon them that they have no control over. That is why we advocate that people who believe in certain things should pay for them. The government should not be free to use their tax dollars in any way that the elitists can and do.

I was surprised to hear the Liberals and the NDP in the House defending the fact that the elite should be making these decisions because they know better. People are appalled at this kind of attitude. It is high time that it changed. A culture that is paid for by the government tends to be very phoney. It is not a real culture. That is what people are telling me.

Many decisions are made on projects because money is there to spend on those projects. If you can apply for the money you can have the project, but if you had to pay for it yourself it probably would never take place.

My wife is of Norwegian ancestry. Her family has been here for over a hundred years. They have preserved their culture and their language. My wife is fluent in Norwegian. They have preserved these things because it is important to them. There is something real about that culture because it has not been funded by taxpayers' dollars.


My first language is not English or French. Some of you may smile and say: ``We can tell that by the way you speak''. We preserved our language and our heritage because it was important to us. That is the message people want to get.

Ukrainian people in my area have preserved their culture and their language because it is very important to them. I enjoy going to their gatherings and meeting with them because it is real. The government has not interfered with it. I feel that is the kind of culture we need in Canada. We do not need a culture that is imposed on us from the top, that is manipulated by bureaucrats and people who think they know better what is going on.


If there is one message I hope the government will get, it is that people are tired of the elite in society deciding what is good for them. If we believe in culture we should preserve it.

The government does not really understand what culture means and what people want. We should let people define their own Canadian culture here in Canada. The bill entrenches multiculturalism. It enforces official bilingualism. It preserves funding for special interest groups. People do not want that. They do not want the government misspending their money. The government is giving the impression it is doing something. The bill is symbolic of the fact there is nothing substantive happening in the country today.

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is going to be a very short intervention to reply to some of the nonsense I have heard today in the debate.

The debate has focused on what culture means to a society and to a nation. I have come to the conclusion there is very little understanding on the other side of the House when they can ask how many gallons of paint does a painting take to determine the worth of the painting.

I had the privilege and the pleasure this morning of being at breakfast with the director of the National Gallery. We were talking about ``Voice of Fire''. We were talking about other things too. Next year, and I am sure members opposite are not aware of this, is the 75th anniversary of the Group of Seven. I asked the director of the gallery what she thought the media reports would have been about and the outraged comments of the House of Commons would have been at the time our National Gallery was purchasing paintings of the Group of Seven, when the popular taste was pastoral landscapes in the European style. Those purchases were very unpopular and yet what is one of our great Canadian icons? The Group of Seven.

A gallery that was independent of political control 75 years ago had the foresight to recognize something uniquely Canadian in the style of Canada, something not based on imitating what was being done elsewhere.

I am not qualified to judge ``Voice of Fire''. I really do not know if that is the kind of painting that 75 years from now we will be extremely proud to have had the foresight to buy and have in our national collection. I hope so. I do not know.

I do know that I want a gallery that is free to buy what it believes is the best being produced. I thank the gallery for having fulfilled that role and for having preserved for us something as uniquely Canadian and valuable as the paintings of the Group of Seven, among others.

I want to make another comment. We have heard about multiculturalism today as if all it does is support cultures that are unique to specific groups. What in fact it does is build understanding among Canadians.

Members on the opposite side have demonstrated that they really do not know a lot about what they are saying because they consistently talk about certain ethnic groups which do not rely on government funding not being aware obviously that in fact those groups do rely on government funding and are quite competent in getting it.

Let me report another incident recently. I attended an award ceremony at the Boys and Girls Club in my riding not too long ago. It was a wrap up of their summer program. I saw young people whose families have been in Canada for generations and whose skins are white. I also saw young people whose families have been in Canada for less than six months, Somalians, Ethiopians, people from southeast Asia, people from all over the world playing together, working together, and getting to know each other.

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I know that many of those Somalia youths are involved in the community to the extent that they are because of organizations like the Somali integration and settlement agency, which gets funding from the very program that the members opposite are criticizing.

They get funding because they are coming here as refugees. They have left everything behind. The majority are women with young children coming here for safety. These people do not come here with a lot. This agency gives these people coming to our country job training, language training, access to services so they have the ability not to separate themselves, but to integrate more fully and more completely into Canadian society. One of the results of that is young Somalian, Ethiopian and Cambodian children and children from all over the world I see playing together at the Boys and Girls Club in my riding.


I want to say one final word about special interest groups. The people who talk about special interest groups frankly are the biggest special interest group in the country. They are the ones who by tradition and by the practice of all our laws, our courts and all our systems are the privileged class.

If we fund certain groups in our society it is because without government support the poorest, the disabled, women, children would not have a voice in our public debate. I do not want a public debate on public issues on the future of this country that is dominated only by those who already have the wealth to make their voices heard.

I do not want the decisions we make in the House made on the basis only of opinions from those who can afford to travel to Ottawa, to write to Ottawa, to hire lobbyists, to hire lawyers and to hire accountants. I want the voices of all Canadians to be part of what we decide in the House, what we determine in our committees and what the future of Canadian society is. Canadian society is not just for the privileged few; it is for all Canadians.

Mr. Bill Gilmour (Comox-Alberni, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the bill today. To begin, I would like to address the issue of federal multicultural policy. We will hear several Reformers speak against this policy and the former government's policy of multiculturalism but we will not hear the discontented backbenchers of the government side speaking their views.

There are many on the other side now who share the Reform position on multicultural policy. Multiculturalism is currently under debate at all levels of our society. Recently CBC aired two special episodes highlighting this very debate. The thrust of its broadcast was whether multiculturalism policy brings us together as Canadians or does exactly the opposite, pulls us apart.

Even a member of the Liberal Party, the party that first put forward its multicultural agenda and proposes to entrench it into the legislation, came forward to oppose multiculturalism. It is a fact that there is a great deal of support for the Reform position on multiculturalism everywhere within the House.

During this televised debate the Liberal member for York South-Weston referred to multiculturalism policy as a fraud that continues to be perpetuated on Canadians.

The member referred to multicultural policy as a policy that separates Canadians. He pressed that it is time for change. Remember this is a Liberal. The member opposite proposed that Canada dump its multicultural policy and begin to promote what Canadians have in common, not their differences.

I am pleased to see such progressive and logical thinking coming from the opposite side, as the member has come up with some very valid points.

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It is my hope that the government will consult with all elected members in the House before it passes the legislation because Canada's multicultural policy is a fraud. Rather than take a different approach to Canada's multicultural landscape as the member has suggested, I believe the federal government should get out of the social landscaping business altogether. The government should not be funding or promoting one ethnic group over another. This is not the role of government.

A true liberal democracy simply does not try to legislate culture. Twenty-three years ago, the architect of multiculturalism, Pierre Trudeau, implemented the policy in a misguided attempt to assure the cultural freedoms of Canadians.

These freedoms were already there. Canadians were already free to nourish their own culture, speak their own language, sing their own songs, play their own music and wear their traditional clothes.

Canadians do not need government multicultural grants to practice their cultural freedoms. Canadian culture is not created or sustained, nor is it maintained through government grants. Canada is a multicultural nation not because of government policy but as a result of each individual who comprises this great country.

Multiculturalism exists regardless and in spite of government policy. Canadians do not need a song and dance fund to maintain their individual cultures. Canadians do not maintain or develop their culture through conferences or workshops or through dances or craft shows.

Culture is not something that we buy at the corner store. It is something that we learn at home mainly from our parents and our grandparents. It is an acquired attribute. It is not something that we buy.

In addition, the multiculturalism program is nothing more than a funding program for special interest groups. Last year grants to special interest groups for dances, conferences, film making, books and other miscellaneous projects totalled $25.5 million. Grants from the previous three years totalled $27 million annually.

The government may argue that $25 million or $27 million is not much in the larger scheme of things but when we are spending $100 million a day more than we are taking in, it does put it into perspective. It is a program that one, we do not need and two, we cannot afford.

We desperately require fiscal restraint. If we are going to save our social programs this government must be prepared to trim its funding. Canada cannot sustain the spending binges of this and previous Liberal governments.


Canadians are facing severe fiscal restraint with our health system and social systems deeply in trouble. The government cannot argue to maintain transfers for health care at the same levels and yet it seems determined to wander back to the Liberal spending days of the 1970s with wasteful multicultural spending.

The time has come to get with the times and show some responsibility and leadership. Canadians do not want a song and dance fund. They want jobs. They want health care. They want pensions, higher education and a clean environment.

Spending priority is not the only issue here but regardless of fiscal constraints, government should not be in the cultural policy business. It is not the business of government to ensure that Canadians maintain their cultures and traditions. That is the responsibility of the groups themselves and should not be financed with taxpayer's money.

Federal government activities should enhance the citizenship of all Canadians regardless of race, language or culture. It should be up to the provinces to choose whether they wish to promote language and culture within their individual jurisdictions.

I have another major concern. The program does not work. Even the chairman of the human rights commission admits that the program is not working. All the grants for miscellaneous conferences, workshops and dances are not achieving the intended goal. According to the human rights chair, racism is growing.

Multiculturalism policy actively categorizes people on the basis of race and countries of origin. This is wrong because it is active discrimination. Multiculturalism policy separates people on the basis of their origin instead of treating all Canadians equally regardless of race.

The Reform Party is the only party that actively promotes equality of all Canadians. It is the only party that officially recognizes that all Canadians are equal and should be treated equally.


We support programs that involve the elimination of discrimination and the right of individuals to participate in Confederation without discrimination. Such programs would be more logically transferred to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as the CHRC's mandate clearly states that the commission has statutory responsibility to develop and conduct programs to foster public understanding of the principles enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

In conclusion, we oppose the current concept of multiculturalism pursued by the government and would end all funding for multiculturalism programs. Whether an ethnic group preserves its cultural background is the group's choice, not the government's.

In short, Canadians do not need nor do they want a song and dance fund enshrined in legislation.

Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, when I was asked if I would like to say a few words I was of two minds. This being a debate on heritage it does bring in the minister of heritage. That brings in the letter in the press today in which the minister of heritage, I think quite innocently, used his office or wrote a letter in support of a constituent asking for the support of a constituent in an application before the CRTC.

As I say, I was of two minds just how I would approach the matter because a minister of the government is still a member representing constituents. Therefore how do you balance your responsibilities as a member of Parliament representing your constituents and as a minister of the crown? What would be the fiduciary responsibilities implied in both?

My concern was further complicated because I was asked just after the election when we were all rookies, including the minister opposite, to write a letter in support of an application for a television station licence in my constituency. I did. I wrote a letter to the CRTC and asked that it look favourably upon an application. I thought about it for a while and I sent another letter in rescinding the first letter because I recognized that I did not have knowledge on either side of the issue. We hire people at the CRTC to make these decisions. These decisions should be made by the people who are being paid and who have the ability to make the decision based on fact.

Additionally other people have asked for my support in establishing or getting a licence for radio broadcasting. I wrote in support of that because in my capacity as a member of Parliament I should have the obligation to support members of my constituency and Canadians in general who come to me for help. I use my wisdom and I use my office after deciding the merits of that case.

The difference of course is that I am a humble backbencher in the third party. The minister-

Mr. Silye: You are a frontbencher. You are a frontliner.

Mr. McClelland: My hon. colleague tells me I am no longer a humble backbencher. I am a humble frontbencher in a third party very close to the door.

The difference is that a minister of the crown has a very different fiduciary responsibility than a humble backbencher of any party. This is the gist of the problem we have facing us today.

An hon. member: If he does not know the difference he should step down.


Mr. McClelland: The thing that concerns me most is that our country has suffered under nine years of almost visceral dislike and hate for the Tories who were displaced by most here in the Chamber today. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. They were dumped by the electorate and we were elected because the Canadian people lost their trust in the people who were governing them. They felt that the people who were in power were more interested in protecting their friends, hubris, getting rich, looking after their own interests than they were in looking after the interests of the ordinary people, the people who pay the freight $10 at a time.


The consequence is that we were elected to the House. We have a profound responsibility. Our country is going into a time of distemper never before seen in this land. We have in the loyal opposition a party dedicated to breaking up the country. We have a third party, all but one of whom are absolute rookies. We have the Liberal Party in power, the vast majority of whom are absolute rookies. We have to use the opportunity and not squander it. We have to use it to make some very fundamental changes in the way our country is governed and the way we inter-relate one with another and the way we get things done.

Everything ministers do is based on a foundation of trust. If that foundation of trust between the electorate, the Canadian citizenry, and Parliament, those elected to lead, is broken then we lose our reason to be here. We have lost the moral authority to provide leadership to a country desperately in need of leadership.

That is the reason I asked to speak in the debate. It is not that I have an axe to grind with the hon. minister opposite. I do not in any respect. In my view this was an honest mistake made by a rookie, just as I am a rookie. When one makes a mistake it is an opportunity to learn. Rather than stonewalling, rather than saying: ``Hey, I did all right. I did the right thing. You have it all wrong''. He should have the courage to come to the table and say: ``Look, I made a mistake. I have learned from it and it will not happen again''. It should be a caution to all of us.

Mr. Milliken: He did.

Mr. McClelland: Then it becomes experience. We put it behind us and we go on from there. That is the very least we in this Parliament and Canadians in general should expect from a minister of the crown.

I would like to speak to the issue of multiculturalism and the department of heritage. Much has been said in recent times about the value of multiculturalism in Canada. We are a much stronger, much finer, much more varied and rich nation because of our multicultural heritage, because by and large people get along with each other. We respect each other for our differences.

Let me give a personal indication of what is so wonderful about our country. Perhaps it is just serendipitous that this happened to me this morning. I was walking to the House and I stopped at the Apollo Restaurant on Bank Street for breakfast. I sat down. I did not know a soul there. I was reading the paper and having breakfast. The people next to me were speaking to each other in Greek and in English. There would be four or five words in Greek, four or five words in English, a sentence in Greek and then a sentence in English. I was sitting there thinking it was marvellous that they could go back and forth in these two languages. This is part of our common culture.

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I started chatting with them and it came out in conversation that the reason these two people were speaking in English and Greek was because they noticed that when I ordered I spoke in English and they assumed that I could not speak Greek. They did not want me to feel out of place or that they were saying something I should not know or whatever. They were trying to make me feel comfortable in the fact that I could not speak Greek.

Here we were having breakfast and talking about how wonderful it is that we have this multilingual heritage in our country and that we have it because we want it. We have it because it springs indigenously from the hearts of the people to whom it belongs. It is not something that is force fed or cultivated by the government.

As this debate unfolds, we need to draw a distinction between multiculturalism that springs naturally from the fact that our nation is built up of people all over the world and government multiculturalism that is force fed to us in order to curry favour with multi-ethnic groups. It is a very important distinction.

Therefore I would like to move:

That we add after the words Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage:
``and the standing committee report back to the House no later than June 23, 1995''.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): The subamendment moved is in order.

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am provoked to speak in the debate today because of the misrepresentations being placed before the House by the members in the Reform Party who are suggesting that somehow the Minister of Canadian Heritage has done something wrong and therefore ought to resign his post.

I want to argue against that proposition because it is palpable rubbish and nonsense. The minister came into the House this morning and made a very clear and succinct statement, as suggested by the hon. member for Edmonton Southeast in his


most reasoned address. It is the only beam of reason we have heard from the other side of the House on this issue this day.

The hon. member for Edmonton Southeast presented a veritable feast of reason in his address because he made it very clear that the minister should come and do what in fact the minister did earlier this morning.

He came into the House. He apologized. He said he was sorry that he made an error in sending a letter. This was not the case of a minister who had been exposed having done something improper.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Milliken: I say to hon. members, listen to the facts. Some of them were not here this morning when the minister made his remarks. Of course they did not have notice of it so they probably did not understand it when he delivered it. The minister came into the House and said: ``Here are the facts of the case''. He produced his letter of March 13, tabled it in the House, and read the letter into the record.


Let me read what the minister's letter says. He says he is writing about a problem and then he said: ``I would be most grateful if you could give this application due consideration''. Did he say special treatment? No. Did he say fancy treatment, something out of the ordinary? No. He said due consideration. Then he said: ``I trust that you will keep me abreast of any developments in this matter and please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional information'', a standard letter that a member of Parliament representing a constituent would send.

If hon. members opposite will not send that kind of letter I suggest to them they are not doing their job for their constituents. Here was a minister diligently doing his duty as a member of Parliament for his constituent.

As he said, he realized that was not the thing for him to do. It came to his attention soon after when another constituent wrote, had noted the letter, and wanted to know if this was support for the application. He wrote back on September 30 and he tabled that letter in the House this morning. Hon. members opposite in their speeches often conveniently neglect to mention this. I tried to remind them in my remarks from my seat, but of course they do not pay much attention to that.

He said: ``This is further to your letter of September 20'' and so on. He wrote: ``My letter of March 15, 1994 to the CRTC simply asked that due consideration be given to the application. It is not intended to convey support for or opposition to the application''. He sent a copy of this letter to the CRTC to reinforce the message that this was neither in opposition nor in support. It was a very decent letter and he did it in a timely way.

That is what the minister did. It is not as though he sent this after there had been an exposure of the facts in the press or in the House. He did the honourable thing as soon as he realized there was some mistake. He came into the House this morning and gave this explanation so all hon. members could hear.

As I said earlier, he did not send an advance copy to the Reform Party so maybe they did not understand it. He did not send it to them last night. Maybe they had trouble reading it. I do not know what happened with the Reform Party members. However I invite them to get the blues which are available to them and read the minister's statement. Then they will agree with me that this minister has acted with complete propriety. He apologized for sending the-

The Speaker: Order. It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.






Mr. Morris Bodnar (Saskatoon-Dundurn, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on October 18 of this year the member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia in his speech to the House referred to today's generation of Ukrainian people as having their hands out for grants. I find this an absolute insult.

My children have attended and continue to attend Ukrainian cultural events that are totally paid for by the families and the local churches. Such comments of the hon. member do nothing to advance multiculturalism in this country.

Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry are asking for redress for the internment of Ukrainians during World War I. This is not a request for a handout but, instead, is a demand for return of property seized from these new Canadians and never returned to them after the war.

I hope this hon. member joins with us in this request for restitution of property wrongfully seized and retained by the Canadian government.

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Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval East, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Israel and Jordan initialed a historic agreement ending a state of war between the two peoples which lasted more than 46 years. The agreement is even more exemplary because it was achieved despite provocations from extremists.


By common consent, Prime Minister Rabin of Israel and King Hussein of Jordan agreed to work together to make the desert valleys bloom again in peace.

Such an agreement is only possible if the parties persevere in their desire to improve the situation step by step so that it becomes a lasting peace.

We are pleased with this agreement, which seeks to improve the lives of Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians. We hope that the next step will extend to Syria as soon as possible.

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Mr. Hugh Hanrahan (Edmonton-Strathcona, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today in total disbelief that this government has reinstated the court challenges program. This program is nothing more than government funding of special interest groups, which more often than not exhibit bias or promote a view that is not in accordance with the majority of society.

Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that the Liberals managed to find almost $3 million floating in some abyss to fund this wasteful program. Yet this same level of government is contemplating raising personal taxes, implementing a carbon tax, taxing RRSP contributions and doing little to fight the debt or deficit.

Our national debt is rising by $1,743 every second and is now $538,860,511,635.87.

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Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and its amendments seek to improve key elements of the federal process. The Act contains mechanisms whereby different levels of government can harmonize their processes through administrative agreements and reduce duplication and uncertainty.

These mechanisms are intended to facilitate the delegation of environmental assessments to the provinces and thus to make things easier for developers. Almost all the provinces in Canada are now negotiating harmonization agreements with the federal government. I sincerely hope that the Government of Quebec will do the same and negotiate a harmonization agreement as soon as possible, so that Quebec developers can enjoy a level of service comparable to that available in the other provinces of Canada.


Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on August 17, on the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, the federal government obtained from manufacturers of BST-bovine somatotropin-in Canada a promise to voluntarily defer the sale and use of BST until July 1, 1995. I was delighted to learn that the Government of Canada has just appointed a seven-member task force that will also review the safety of recombinant bovine somatotropin for animal and human health.

I wish to bring to the attention of this advisory group and of the Minister of Health that, contrary to what was said and written, some studies show that BST alters the nutritional quality of milk, producing more fat and less protein. I am concerned about the impact this change in the percentage of milk components might have on the future health of our young consumers.

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Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, October has been proclaimed Psoriasis Awareness Month.

One to three per cent of the Canadian population suffer from this chronic and recurrent skin disorder. Although not contagious, the impact can be disruptive physically emotionally, socially and economically. Health care costs are enormous. In addition, sufferers pay out thousands of dollars for over the counter and prescription drugs.

During this month chapters of the Canadian Psoriasis Foundation are hosting public information activities across the country explaining the disease, its treatment and recent advances. We commend the many volunteers of the Canadian foundation for their diligent attention and for their caring help to fellow Canadians.

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Mr. Maurice Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is really against his will that the Prime Minister finally agreed to raise the issue of human rights during his trip to China, but not officially, quietly, in private, above all, not in broad daylight. To do more, he tells us, would be ``unrealistic''.

In fact, if we did more than that, according to him, a small country like Canada would become a laughing stock. How many more prisoners of conscience will have their basic rights violated during the Prime Minister's trip? That, he would rather not know.



Some of Canada's prime ministers managed to convey the people's values; they showed vision and dignity by embracing universal values; they gave a soul to our foreign policy. Then, Mr. Speaker, there are the others.

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Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the Canada Council operates under the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The council granted Hilarey Mackey and Shelly Wine $16,000 to produce the video ``Fury of The Sound'' even though these women were under criminal contempt charges for the very activity that was to be the subject of the video: criminally blocking forestry workers from going to work in Clayoquot Sound. Mackey and Wine were each sentenced to 21 days in jail on October 6 for criminal contempt.

The minister states he does not have any authority over the awarding of these grants and the director of the Canada Council defers to a system of evaluation by peers. Canadian taxpayers are fed up with organizations that use their tax dollars to foster the destruction of their lifestyle. When is the minister going to change legislation in his department?

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Ms. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, October is known as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Child abuse is the most disturbing problem facing Canadian society today. It is not a new problem but as a society we recognize that violence against children whether it is physical, sexual or emotional is a problem which concerns us all.

For too long children have been silenced by fear and isolation and by attitudes which deny the seriousness and extent of the problem. Child abuse can no longer be tolerated in Canada. It is time to act against child abuse in all of its forms. We must challenge the attitudes which devalue our children. We must intervene when we know that a child is being threatened.

As the federal government we are committed to stopping child abuse through the family violence initiative. Working in partnership with community and national organizations, corporate and voluntary sectors and all levels of government we have developed prevention and intervention strategies to protect children and families.

Our children can wait no longer. They are the most vulnerable members of our society and we must act now to protect them.

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Mr. Paul DeVillers (Simcoe North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is high time that Canada had an integrated federal-provincial value-added sales tax. The current system is a huge burden on the government and on business and is very unfair to consumers.


I applaud the finance minister's plan to create an integrated national sales tax that would have a lower operational cost, a lower rate in most provinces and would still exclude items such as basic groceries, prescription drugs and medical services.


Canadians want to end political pettiness between the various levels of government. They want an end to duplication and they especially want an end to the GST.


The federal government's proposal reflects extensive discussions held with the provinces over the summer. Given the state of finances at all levels of government and the ever diminishing consumer purchasing power, I call on the provinces to quickly adopt the federal government's proposal.

Canadians want to see an integrated national sales tax, not just hear about it.

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Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Rose Charlie, the grand chief of B.C. on receiving one of the Governor General's awards last week. The awards are given in commemoration of the Persons case, the decision of the British Privy Council which declared Canadian women to be persons.

Rose was given the award for over 25 years of public service and for her outstanding contributions to improving and advancing the life of natives, aboriginal women in particular.

As a founding member of Indian Rights for Indian Women, Rose helped change discriminatory legislation that deprived aboriginal women of their status when they married non-Indians or American native men. The change has enabled thousands of women and their children to regain their status. She also helped to start the Indian Homemakers Association of B.C. in the late


1960s when there were not any native organizations in the province.

Rose remains active in the community today serving as president of the Mission Friendship Centre and participating in numerous organizations.

Please join me in recognizing the accomplishments of Rose Charlie.

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Mr. Jean Landry (Lotbinière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, Ottawa is playing some weird and wonderful games with federally-funded regional development agencies in Quebec. It has restructured the FORDQ to increase its visibility in the regions on the eve of the referendum, while it reduces funding for regional development. Even worse, these cuts are being imposed arbitrarily. Business development centres, which are on their way out, were able to create a job for $5,000, compared with $100,000 in the case of the federal infrastructures program.


Quebec should be given responsibility for regional development, which would get rid of the current bureaucratic mess and the haphazard cutbacks proposed by the federal government.

Only Quebec can consolidate the resources of all the agencies that are active in the regions. It would be a real one-stop service.

* * *



Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, according to a recent Gallup poll the Prime Minister is more popular than former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was at the time of the October crisis.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

Mr. White (North Vancouver): Listen to that applause, Mr. Speaker. Government members had better make the best of it while they can. Even though the Prime Minister is presently at 61 per cent popularity, guess who holds the record? Brian Mulroney. He peaked at a 62 per cent popularity rating in 1983.

Well the honeymoon for this Liberal government is over. The scandals are starting to surface. Reform MPs are looking forward to helping the Prime Minister reach the present day popularity rating of Mr. Mulroney. I think that might just be right off the bottom of the scale.


Mr. Len Taylor (The Battlefords-Meadow Lake, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in addition to his apparent inability to discharge his general duties and responsibilities, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has failed to bring a sensitivity of Canada's First Nations to his department.

Earlier this year Heritage Canada published an otherwise fine publication for youth entitled ``The Great Canadian Adventure''. It is a trivia game that asks young people questions about Canada and in doing so continues to state as fact that Quebec and Prince Edward Island were discovered by Europeans. This language is no longer appropriate.

At the same time the department has just awarded a half million dollar contract to develop curriculum materials pertaining to aboriginal people in Canada to a Montreal company that has no cultural knowledge or expertise to handle the contract. This is disturbing since the cultural and technical expertise does exist at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre in Saskatoon, a group that was vying for the contract.

First Nation peoples deserve better from the minister responsible-

The Speaker: The hon. member for Brampton.

* * *


Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the home affairs minister for India to discuss many important issues, including the human rights situation in that country.

Many Canadians are concerned with current human rights practices in India. After repeated refusals to co-operate with non-governmental organizations attempting to assess the human rights condition in India, the Government of India allowed Amnesty International to conduct studies in the city of Bombay earlier this year.

As Canadians we must be concerned when a human rights organization is restricted in its efforts to assess the human rights conditions of any country. I was pleased to learn during Question Period the other day that the Canadian government has made representation to the Government of India on behalf of Amnesty International so that more thorough studies may be conducted.

It is time that Canada took a definitive stand in its relations with India and called for an open policy in that country with respect to human rights. As the Indian economy continues to grow at a very rapid pace, Canadian trade relations with India will continue to grow closer. Now is the time to insist-

The Speaker: The hon. member for Waterloo.



Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Waterloo, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House of the visit to Ottawa today of 14 CEOs representing a cross-section of a growing, vibrant information technology sector from the federal riding of Waterloo. They are part of the computer technology network in Canada's technology triangle.

The computer technology network is made up of over 125 companies employing 5,500 people and with annual revenues in excess of $600 million. Sixty per cent of their sales are derived from exports with expenditures on research and development close to $100 million annually. More than half of the 5,500 employees have been hired in the past two years.

As entrepreneurs and leaders in one of Canada's hotbeds of technology with strong connections to the University of Waterloo, these firms represent the very best that Canada has to offer to the new economy. It is companies like these that assure Canada's present and future prosperity.

* * *

(1415 )


Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I have been advised that documents within Parks Canada recommend the permanent closure of the Banff and Jasper Park airstrips. This is another example of the heritage minister's incompetence.

These grass airstrips are vital to the safe air transportation of local pilots through the main mountain pass corridors. Furthermore, these airstrips are maintained primarily by local pilots.

Under the department's existing recommendation, local pilots who encounter bad weather or equipment failure would have to land their aircraft on the main highways. That is stupid.

The private pilots need to be considered. In the name of public safety and common sense, I urge Parks Canada to trash this proposal.






Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is now common knowledge that a member of cabinet, in this case the Minister of Canadian Heritage, intervened directly with the CRTC to support an application for a radio licence, at the request of the party concerned. This was done in the form of a letter sent to the chairman of the CRTC, the regulatory body responsible for issuing licences.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Does he consider such action acceptable and appropriate, considering the obligation incumbent on all ministers to respect the autonomy of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I discussed the incident with the minister who, like all members of this House, is the member of Parliament for his riding. All members must be available to their constituents and try to provide the services expected of a member.

In this particular case, all the minister did was bring this application to the attention of the chairman of the CRTC, with the comment: ``This application should receive due consideration. To me, this means: Could you take care of this dossier, and if there are any problems, if I can be of any assistance as the member for Laval, fine.

Subsequently, when his letter was interpreted as a letter of support, as soon as the minister heard about this, without any pressure from anyone, he immediately wrote to this person, and a copy was sent to the commission to make it clear he had not supported the application in any way. He had simply asked the commission to do its job.

This is always a problem for ministers. The Hon. Leader of the Opposition must have had that experience himself. A minister is also a member of Parliament, and we have a duty to represent our constituents without influencing bodies like the CRTC.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, B.Q.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been unconscionably irresponsible in his attempts to downplay the seriousness of his minister's action. How can he claim it was the member of Parliament who took this action and not the minister? How could the chairman of the CRTC overlook the fact that the letter was sent by a member of Cabinet who also happen to be his own minister?

Does the Prime Minister not agree that the CRTC is a quasi-judicial body that, as such, should not be subject to any interference or pressure from the minister?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more, and if the minister acted as the member for Laval when he asked the commission to do its job, it was not undue pressure. The minister himself said in the House this morning that perhaps he should have acted differently. Everyone makes honest mistakes, and he corrected his mistake as soon as possible.

In the circumstances, after checking with my advisers, I concluded there was nothing here to justify changing the membership of my cabinet.


Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows the precedents. They are immutable and inescapable. A minister who fails to respect the autonomy of a judicial or quasi-judicial body must relinquish his post. The present minister of Foreign Affairs and the present member for Sherbrooke know this rule and had to resign because of it.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Does he realize that he is guilty of dereliction of duty if he does not immediately demand the resignation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage? Does he not realize it is a matter of honour and integrity?


Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have acted responsibly. I have eighteen years experience as a minister, and I have seen other complex situations. As for this one, I think the minister made it clear that he had made an honest mistake and corrected it in short order.

I am surprised to see the Leader of the Opposition in such a furor, when his head office in Quebec summons its bureaucrats and tells them to knuckle under and change their political views if they want to keep their jobs.

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister downplays the action of the heritage minister by claiming that the letter to the Chairman of the CRTC is not a letter of support. Yet, this is precisely what the CRTC understood and, in fact, its secretary-general wrote to the minister to thank him for what he referred to as a letter of support.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that his minister's interference is compounded by the fact that it was directed at an organization whose independent status is under the protection of the minister and that, consequently, the heritage minister was all the more guilty?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the minister's letter is very clear. It says:


``I would be most grateful if you could give this application due consideration''. Yes, due consideration. You are right.


You give this application due consideration and make a decision.

Later, when told that his action had been interpreted as interfering with due process, the minister said:


It is not intended to convince support for or opposition to the application.


So, it is very clear in my mind that the minister acted the way a member of Parliament should, in that he tried to represent the interests of one of his constituents whom he had never met before.

I represent the riding of Saint-Maurice; I was a minister for 18 years and I have now been Prime Minister for one year. Every time my constituents, who have been voting for me for 25 years, have problems, I always give them due consideration.

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said this morning that he would not be as lenient towards other ministers guilty of similar actions.

How can the Prime Minister recognize the seriousness of that interference on the heritage minister's part, and not have the courage to impose the sanction he deserves, that is to expel him from Cabinet?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I reviewed the issue, I consulted experts in my office and in the government, and I have come to the conclusion that, under the circumstances, the hon. member can remain Minister of Canadian Heritage and keep serving Canadians.


Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, when this government was elected the Prime Minister promised a new era of integrity, including a code of conduct for ministers and an ethics counsellor.

I ask the Prime Minister, in ushering in this new era of integrity specifically what guidelines were given to cabinet ministers in regard to communication with quasi-judicial regulatory bodies like the CRTC?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. A minister should not interfere or put pressure on anybody like the CRTC. He can, and it is his duty, as you would do for your constituents-

The Speaker: Order. My colleagues I would ask you to please address the Chair in all of your questions and answers.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, for one thing I am not a minister and not in the same position as the hon. minister.

There is a simple guideline that applies in these cases and it is a most elementary one. It is understood in most jurisdictions. That is that ministers do not communicate with quasi-judicial regulatory bodies except in three ways: through statute, through orders in council, and through public formal submissions to that body. They do not communicate through telephone calls or casual conversations or casual letters on behalf of applicants or interveners.



Can the Prime Minister assure this House that that simple guideline, which is understood in most jurisdictions, was given to the ministers of his government, including the Minister of Canadian Heritage?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I explained that every cabinet minister is a member of Parliament. When you are in your riding on Saturday, Sunday or Monday receiving your constituents you have to receive them. In this case, this person asked his member of Parliament if he would make sure that his application would be considered, and he just asked the CRTC to do exactly what is their duty to do. He did not put apply pressure. He just asked them to consider this application, as it was his duty to ask as a member of Parliament.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Prime Minister read all of the letter that the minister sent to the chairman of the CRTC. In his last paragraph he said this: ``I trust that you will keep me abreast of developments in this matter and please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional information''.

What was the minister thinking of? Was he contemplating entering into an ongoing dialogue with the chairman of a regulatory authority over an application?

Is the Prime Minister really saying that this type of activity is acceptable? Will he not ask the minister to resign?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): According to the House of Commons circumstances the minister has explained what he has done. I said that he made an honest error in sending-

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): No, he did it. When he realized that it was interpreted as trying to apply pressure he clarified it on his own without pressure from anybody from anywhere. He said to the commission: ``Do not interpret that as wanting to support or oppose this application'' and that he was just asking them to look at the application and render the judgment that they have to render under the law.


Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In his letter to the CRTC, the Minister of Canadian Heritage wrote that he wished to be kept abreast of developments in the matter. Does the Prime Minister not realize that in so writing, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is putting pressure on the CRTC to issue a licence?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. member should read the letter that the minister sent. When he heard that his action was being interpreted as bringing pressure to bear, he made it clear to the CRTC that he had not intended to support or oppose the application, but that he had merely referred it, as a member of Parliament, to the Commission.

Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in his letter on ministerial letterhead, the minister goes even further, offering to provide the CRTC personally with additional information on the licence application.

Has the Prime Minister really read this letter, and if so, how can he not conclude that the CRTC would assume that he was writing in his capacity as minister?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should have used the letterhead he keeps for his correspondence as the member for Laval West, just as I could use a letterhead identifying myself as the member for Saint-Maurice. But everyone knows very well that Jean Chrétien is the Prime Minister, and if I used a different letterhead, people would perhaps find it a bit ridiculous.

I did indeed read the original letter and the letter of explanation. It was an honest mistake on the part of the minister and he took corrective action himself without any pressure from anyone. Under the circumstances, I think that it is my responsibility to declare the matter closed at this point.

I consulted the government's ethics counsellor and one I appointed myself, and both confirmed that I had made the right decision in this matter.



Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The CRTC received two applications for a 24-hour Greek language specialty service to be played on radio. The first is by CHOM from Montreal and the second was by a Mr. Daniilidis in Telemedia.

On May 5 of this year the CRTC rejected the CHOM application. On March 15 the Minister of Canadian Heritage intervened by sending a letter of support for the application of Mr. Daniilidis.

The minister's intervention supporting the second application came prior to the rejection of the first application. How can the minister deny that his intervention did not influence the CRTC decision?


Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the letter I sent to the CRTC was the letter of an MP designed to ensure that a constituent received due process.

I attach great importance to my role as a member of Parliament. I am sure that my colleague feels the same way when she has constituents coming to visit her constituency office. She takes account of what they are requesting.

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the issue is clear and the minister did not answer my question.

My supplemental is for the Prime Minister. The Minister of Canadian Heritage has stated in the House that the CRTC is a quasi-judicial agency and that the Canadian government, including the Minister of Canadian Heritage, should not interfere in the process.

His current action is an obvious and flagrant breach of the judicial principle. Will the Prime Minister now demand the resignation of his minister?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I said earlier that I would look into the matter very carefully. I have consulted those who have responsibility in the matter.

The minister made an honest error. He corrected it immediately without any pressure. It is one of those things. Every member of the cabinet is confronted with the same problem. Some constituents write to me about problems in every department and I have a responsibility over every department. I send requests to ministers and ask that they be looked into. It is part of my job as the member of Parliament for Saint-Maurice.

In this case, I concluded after consultation, as explained to the House, that there was no need for a resignation.


Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, who has told us repeatedly over the past year that he attaches the utmost importance to the integrity of his ministers, is now turning a blind eye to a very serious mistake on the part of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

How can the Prime Minister be taken seriously when, at the first opportunity to come his way, in view of such a serious mistake, he chooses to forgive and forget rather than enforce his code of ethics? Clearly, the Prime Minister is not equal to the situation.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I said that I had consulted the government's ethics counsellor who told me that the minister had been careless but had taken corrective action himself as soon as he realized that sending the letter was being construed as interference. It was put in very clear terms. Under the circumstances, I accepted this piece of advice as well as the explanation provided by the minister. I believe that he has done his job as a member of Parliament.

Some people say that MPs who do not do their job as MPs should be relieved of their duties. I find it somewhat surprising that a member who insists that MPs should do their job would expect MPs who are ministers as well not to do their job as MPs.

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister hides behind the advice of his advisors. But they are not the ones who have been elected. He should assume his responsibilities.


Are we to understand from the decision of the Prime Minister of Canada that he puts personal friendship above the integrity of his Cabinet?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I take full responsibility for this decision. Never did I attempt to evade my responsibilities in making this decision. In response to a question, I said that I could have not requested any advice, but chose to do so and was told that, under the circumstances, it was totally acceptable, and I take full responsibility for that.

Again, I find it somewhat surprising to hear the Bloc Quebecois come here and talk about integrity when employees are blackmailed by its parent organization to retain their jobs. What is going on in Quebec City is a disgrace. It is embarrassing!


Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, first we hear the Prime Minister say that he was making a representation as an ordinary MP. Then in the next breath the Prime Minister said: ``Well, it was an honest mistake''.

We want the true answer to this. Was it representation or was it a mistake?

The Speaker: Order. We must presume that our word will be taken at face value in this House. I do not know that the truth should be questioned like that. Perhaps the hon. member could rephrase the question.

Miss Grey: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage claims that he wrote the letter to the CRTC on behalf of a constituent to ensure that he received ``a fair hearing and due consideration''.

He also claims he had absolutely no intention of influencing the CRTC. Does the minister have any reason to believe that the CRTC would not give his application a fair hearing and due consideration unless he personally wrote them a letter?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the fullest confidence in the CRTC. The CRTC is an arm's length agency, which I respect, as I stated in this House on several occasions when some members of the


opposition were suggesting that I should interfere in its operations.

When there was an indication that the letter I sent could lend itself to misinterpretation, I quickly made arrangements through a second letter to make sure the original meaning was understood.

Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, this gives new meaning to the phrase ``the six month's hoist''. Improper ministerial influence is apparent when only one application to the CRTC is favoured with a personal introduction by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on ministerial letterhead.

This morning the minister said that he ``never for a moment had any hesitation or misunderstanding about my role or responsibilities as a minister''.

If that is the case then he knowingly and grossly violated that understanding by favouring this application. For his incompetence and his incredible lack of judgment, will this minister resign?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, no I will not.

* * *



Mr. François Langlois (Bellechasse, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. None of the government ministers was able to confirm that no spying was done on members of the Quebec government and on the Quebec sovereignty movement. Their ignorance is probably due to the fact that the Communications Security Establishment reports directly to the Prime Minister and to him alone.

Can the Prime Minister assure us that members of the Quebec government and the sovereignty movement were not spied on by the CSE?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Privacy Commissioner conducted an investigation to determine if there had been any wrongdoing and he reported to the government that nothing wrong was done. The commissioner is still investigating the matter. He has a duty to tell us if this organization illegally monitored the conversations of Canadian citizens or spied on them.

As far as I know, it was not done and I say to the House that I do not want this to be done because we do not need this in a democratic society.


The commissioner will submit his report. I did not appoint him; he has been in that job for a very long time. I think that he is a competent man, and I am sure that if there has been abuse in this area, he will notify me and I will act accordingly. So far, I have seen no evidence that anyone was spied on illegally in Canada, at least since I have been Prime Minister.

Mr. François Langlois (Bellechasse, BQ): Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister claim that his government has nothing to hide when his Minister of Defence refuses to release any information on the CSE's mandate, activities and budget, and even refuses to give the name of its director, even though it appears in the government telephone directory?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the name appears in the telephone directory, it is not hard for Canadians to find out who he is, it is no secret.

* * *


Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Everyone here knows how important it is to make the Royal Military College in Kingston bilingual.

Can the minister tell us what he intends to do to really make this college bilingual and then to have this principle of bilingualism respected and maintained?

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague for his question. It is a legitimate one. I must reassure him of the importance I myself attach to this subject, especially making the Canadian Forces bilingual, including the Royal Military College in Kingston.

I would like to inform the House that I have appointed a special committee to review and monitor the bilingualization of the Royal Military College in Kingston, with three top-flight members, including the former commander, General Émond, the former principal, Roch Carrier, Dr. Paule Leduc of the Privy Council, and myself as chair. This committee will make recommendations on all the aspects raised by the hon. member.

* * *



Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Prime Minister looked carefully enough. In support of his application to the CRTC is a letter from the Greek National Bank. I will just quote from that letter.

``Any services extended towards Mr. Daniilidis will be greatly appreciated''. This letter also comments on how honest and capable the applicant is.


Now this same Greek National Bank is listed as a contributor to the campaign of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): I would like to ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage whether he maintains that this entire affair is still above board?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the answer was so short I must have missed it. I presume he said yes.

In an intervention letter complaining that the same type of application was turned down only four months previously, there were serious allegations of impropriety on the part of the applicant, specifically that he failed to report under oath his complete holdings in a communications company when he declared bankruptcy in July 1992.

Could the minister explain how this applicant, who he supports, cleared his name from the bankruptcy file in only one year and surfaced as a major shareholder of a new company?

The Speaker: My colleagues, I am not sure that the thrust of the question deals with the responsibility. The question should be directed to the administrative responsibility that this minister holds. I rule that question to be out of order.

* * *




Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier-Montcalm, B.Q.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The latest events concerning the Communications Security Establishment have highlighted the lack of external control over the activities of this federal spy agency. It is completely unacceptable that the CSE, with nearly 2,000 civilian and military employees and an annual budget of over $200 million, is not subject to any external control.

In a democratic society like ours, how can the Prime Minister accept spending over $200 million a year on espionage activities without making CSE officials accountable to the public?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is answerable to the House for such questions.

Earlier, I answered the question of whether Canadian citizens are subject to illegal espionage. The Privacy Commissioner is investigating. A report a few years ago said that they were not. I hope that the same positive report will come out of this investigation. As for the structure of this commission, it answers to the House through the Minister of National Defence, who must defend his budget estimates before the House of Commons.

Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier-Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Prime Minister should reread some answers which his minister gave on this subject.

I shall ask my second question. How can the Prime Minister refuse to set up a real external control mechanism for the CSE's activities, when the Liberal Party in opposition barely five years ago demanded just such a system to control the CSE?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are looking into this situation now. It is something that has come up recently. The minister said that it was possible, but people must also understand that this kind of activity concerns what goes on outside our country, and helps to ensure that terrorist acts do not occur in our society; various governments throughout the world exchange information so that all societies in the world can protect one another.

I think that we must do so in a reasonable manner, in co-operation with the other levels of government. If there were a way to find an acceptable control mechanism, I would really like to do so. For now, I do not have the solution, but if I can find it, I will be pleased to submit it to the House of Commons.

* * *



Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the words honesty, openness and integrity appeared in the red book in the last federal campaign, as they did in the Reform Party's blue book for three years longer. We are trying desperately to encourage this government to walk the talk.

I would like to read from the ethics principles that are in place: ``Public office holders should not step out of their official roles to assist private entities or persons in their dealings with the government where this would result in preferential treatment to any person''.

My question for the Prime Minister is does he believe that in the case of the subject today with the Minister of Canadian Heritage this principle is being violated?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have clearly explained what happened many times to the House. I came to the conclusion that the minister sent a letter as a member of Parliament. When it was interpreted by some people to be a recommendation, he explained clearly to all concerned that was not his intention. He corrected himself


without any pressure from anybody when he realized that his letter had caused some confusion.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I have no choice but to interpret that answer as meaning that the Prime Minister does not believe the principle was violated.

Could we then ask the Prime Minister, in order to bring some level of confidence to the people of this country that things are going right, that the ethics counsellor should now be asked to conduct a full and open investigation, making the results public in this House as well as to all Canadians? Will the Prime Minister undertake to give the ethics counsellor that authority today?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor has informed me that he is satisfied with the conclusion I have come to at this time. I do not know what else is needed at this time. He has reported to me, as it is his responsibility, and I have reported that to the House of Commons.

* * *



Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville-Milton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

Yesterday in Vancouver in a speech to the Tourism Association of Canada the Prime Minister announced the creation of the Canadian Tourism Commission and a substantial increase in funding to promote tourism.

Will the minister tell this House what these initiatives mean for job creation and economic growth in my riding and across the country?

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we in the House focus not just on the importance of tourism but on the effect it has on job creation throughout Canada.

This announcement means that the federal government is back in the business of selling Canada as the world's best tourism destination. It means jobs for Canadians. It means improvement in our current account balance and even the editorial writers at the Financial Post today said: ``The federal government needs not only to spend less, it needs to spend smarter. An example of smarter spending is Ottawa's decision this week to bolster its support for the tourism industry''.

* * *



Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. In spite of the election promise made by the Prime Minister not to increase taxes, the Minister of Finance, through irresponsible statements, and particularly since yesterday, lets the uncertainty persist regarding the possibility that RRSPs will be taxed. Yet, all agree that such a measure would be irresponsible, despicable as well as a step backward.

Will the Prime Minister eliminate the uncertainty that prevails by pledging not to tax RRSPs?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is doing something that has never been done previously, before a budget is tabled. He is holding vast consultations with Canadians. Everything is subject to review. There may be people who favour that option. I do not know. Once this consultation exercise is completed, the minister will have all the necessary information to prepare a budget with a very clear objective: To create jobs and to reduce the deficit.

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not realize that his Minister of Finance is himself responsible for that uncertainty and that unacceptable situation. Yesterday morning, RRSPs were not going to be taxed; in the afternoon, the minister did not know for sure, while in the evening there was a possibility that RRSPs might be taxed. This is irresponsible on the part of the government.

If the government really wants to show taxpayers that it is serious about reducing spending and not increasing taxes, why does the Prime Minister refuse to formally pledge that he will not raise taxes and that he will not tax RRSPs? The Prime Minister must fulfill his promise!

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have to wait. The budget will be tabled in February, as is the case every year. The answer will then be known. In the meantime, the Minister of Finance is doing his homework. I think it is a very good idea to consult people and not rule out any solution. Let us not forget that some people complain that our tax system is not always adequate and is sometimes unfair. The minister is considering the whole issue of taxation. Moreover, he is inviting all Canadians to make representations. For example, Mr. Battle, who works in the field of social policy in Canada, appeared before the committee yesterday and said that the government could go ahead with its reform but should also look at the taxation issue to ensure that the system is fair to all Canadians.

* * *



Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, there are still a lot of unanswered questions relating to the Daniilidis application.


The Minister of Canadian Heritage took six months to clarify his intervention to Mr. Daniilidis' application. When did the Prime Minister learn of the intervention by the Minister of Canadian Heritage?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this month.


Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, in 1978 John Munro called a judge on behalf of a man being tried for an offence. He was forced to resign from the cabinet because this was in violation of ministerial rules of conduct established by Prime Minister Trudeau at the time.

Will the present Prime Minister uphold the ethical standards that were applied by Prime Minister Trudeau and ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage for his resignation?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I explained exactly the situation. It is not the same situation at all. I looked at this situation with the documentation that is in front of the public. The minister acted as soon as he learned that his letter created the impression that he had tried to influence the case. He clarified it very clearly in unequivocal terms. I am satisfied that he has done in the circumstances what had to be done to clarify it to make sure there was no ambiguity.

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Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Health. Mr. Justice Krever will give groups represented before the commission only ten days to formulate comments and make recommendations and only two days to question the experts, after the report on the blood supply system is tabled.

In the public interest and in order to give groups represented before the Krever Commission a chance to give this report some careful study, will the minister agree to ask Mr. Justice Krever to give the groups more time to look at the details of the report?


Hon. Diane Marleau (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at the question. We have just had a series of questions based on interference. Now the Bloc asks me if I will intervene with a judge.

No, I will not. The Krever commission is a judicial inquiry. Mr. Krever did ask for an extension of his time, did ask for additional moneys to study the blood supply system and we did give him the additional moneys and the additional time in order to do a very good job in studying the blood supply system in Canada.


Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, earlier this morning the Minister of Canadian Heritage tabled a letter that he wrote to Mr. Pattichis regarding an application to the CRTC. That letter was in response to a letter he received on September 20.

I wonder whether the minister would table that letter and any other communications he had regarding this case.

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the letter addressed to me of course is privileged by the writer but I will be in touch with him. If he agrees this will be tabled.

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Prime Minister.

In this age of government cutbacks and free trade agreements and rapid technological change Canada needs a strong minister to protect and promote our cultural heritage.

This latest mistake, as the Prime Minister described the actions of the minister of heritage, is further proof of an alarming incompetence by the minister and his office.

Will the Prime Minister ask the minister of heritage to do the honourable thing and resign?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): No, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Reg Alcock (Winnipeg South, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board and the minister responsible for the national infrastructure program.

We have heard many members opposite suggest that the national infrastructure program is simply filling potholes in the nation's highways.

As this is Technology in Government Week, I would like to ask the minister if he could tell us what the infrastructure program is doing to build the electronic highway for the next century.

Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, fully two-thirds of the infrastructure program are traditionally roads, sewers and sidewalks and these are projects that have a long term payback in our communities in terms of attracting additional investment dollars and improving the quality of life. We also are helping to fund information highway projects.


Some $27 million of infrastructure money is going into high technology infrastructure mainly in our school systems in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. It is not only helping in terms of better communications but it is helping to improve the education system to help prepare our young people for the future.

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Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order and draw to your attention the official Hansard debates for Tuesday, October 25, 1994. On page 7178 is my member's statement on national parks. The first sentence of the last paragraph states:

The premier of the province of New Brunswick has quietly increased over 1,00 different fees-
This is incorrect. What I actually stated was ``1,000 different fees''. In the French version of the Hansard for the same day my statement was recorded correctly. I offer this as a correction and I trust that members will concur.

The Speaker: We will look into this request.

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Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate it if the Leader of the Government in the House would announce the business of the House for the next few days.


Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the weekly business statement. When you call Orders of the Day, we will commence the second reading debate on Bill C-57 regarding the World Trade Organization.

Tomorrow we will start with Bill C-36 regarding the Split Lake agreement. This will be followed by resumption of debate on Bill C-53 regarding the Canadian heritage department reorganization, and Bill C-54 respecting technical changes in the Canada pension plan and old age security legislation.

On Monday we will commence second reading of Bill C-56, amendments to the environmental assessment legislation. We would then return to uncompleted debates such as those on Bills C-53, C-54, C-36, or Bill C-55, the Yukon surface rights bill.

On Tuesday we shall return if necessary to Bill C-57, followed by resumption of other unfinished debates.

On Wednesday we shall begin with Bill C-50, the Canadian Wheat Board amendments after which we would again return to unfinished debates.

We will assess progress on legislation early next week before announcing business for Thursday and Friday. However members opposite may want to know now that I may well designate next Thursday as an opposition day, but this will be subject obviously to confirmation.






Hon. Roy MacLaren (Minister for International Trade, Lib.) moved that Bill C-57, an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the legislation we are considering today, Bill C-57, is an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization. The bill will ensure the implementation of the GATT agreement which I signed on behalf of Canada in Morocco in April.

Adoption of this legislation will enable Canadians to reap the benefits of the biggest trade deal in history. By creating a more open and stable international trading environment this agreement will generate increased Canadian exports and investment. Exports, the driving force behind Canada's recent economic recovery, are crucial to the achievement of this government's job and growth agenda and to Canada's continuing prosperity.


The legislation before us today approves the agreement. It amends Canada's existing laws and tariff schedules to bring them into conformity with our obligations under the Uruguay round agreement. Finally, it provides for the appointment of representatives to the new World Trade Organization and for the payment of Canada's share of its budget.

We made clear before assuming office that a Liberal government would continue to support GATT as the cornerstone of Canada's trade policy. We undertook to focus our efforts on breaking the deadlock in the GATT Uruguay round of negotiations and on building a new World Trade Organization. This legislation before us today is the fruit of those efforts.

The Uruguay round, the largest most comprehensive trade negotiation ever undertaken, involved more governments than any of the previous rounds of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The final package contains over 30 agreements, understandings and declarations, capped by the agreement to


create the new World Trade Organization. The agreements include an enormous package of national commitments to lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers to merchandise trade, a thorough reform of trade rules and the extension of the world trading system to cover such new issues as trade in services and trade in intellectual property.

Completion of the Uruguay round will have major implications for the world and for the Canadian economy well into the next century. Conclusion of the round after seven and a half years of difficult and uncertain negotiations has already had a positive impact through improved confidence in the global economy.

The GATT Secretariat in Geneva estimates that the global income will be at least $500 billion higher in the year 2005, some 10 years hence, than it would have been without the Uruguay round. Some economists believe that even these numbers, large though they are, may underestimate the impetus to growth, innovation and investment that will result from the Uruguay round agreement. Economists without exception have underlined the substantial potential benefits for all members of the global trading system, including Canada.

Using prudent economic assumptions, we estimate quantifiable Canadian gains of at least a .4 per cent increase in real income, or $3 billion annually when the agreement is fully phased in. These are however only a fraction of the actual gains that will certainly occur.

Although this Uruguay round agreement covers a wide array of issues affecting international trade relations, three areas stand out, both as a result of the leadership role that Canada played in promoting progress and consensus and as a result of these elements representing for us the most important and beneficial achievements of the Uruguay round. I refer to the market access package, to the agreement on subsidies and countervailing duties which grew out of a Canadian draft, and to the agreement to establish a new institution, the World Trade Organization, with a greatly strengthened and integrated dispute settlement system. The creation of the World Trade Organization is largely the result of a joint initiative by Canada and the European union.

Under the Uruguay round agreement access to markets for industrial products will be substantially improved with most tariffs being cut by at least one-third. Deeper cuts including zero tariffs in some 10 sectors will also be made. Overall, Canadian exports to the European union for example will benefit from tariff reductions of almost 60 per cent. To take another example, tariffs on our exports to Japan will be reduced by about 70 per cent.


The impact of tariff escalation will also be reduced. For example the gaps between tariffs on finished products and raw materials will fall by as much as two-thirds for products of importance to Canada such as copper, lead, zinc, and other non-ferrous metals.

A major achievement of the Uruguay round is that for the first time the agricultural sector is brought under the rules based multilateral trade regime. Agricultural tariffs will be cut overall by 36 per cent with domestic support measures to be reduced by 20 per cent and export subsidies by 36 per cent in terms of budgetary expenditures over a six year period. This represents a significant gain for Canadian agricultural exporters. More generally the agricultural reforms will contribute to improving efficiency in the world economy, providing a good start for future disciplines particularly on agricultural export subsidies.

Also for the first time trade in services and trade related intellectual property are brought within the framework of the multilateral trade disciplines. The agreement on services covers trade and investment worth some $2 trillion annually and will promote continuing liberalization in these sectors. Multilateral rules on intellectual property will provide a stronger basis for the development and transfer of technology. Agreements in areas as diverse as rules of origin, import licensing and pre-shipment inspection will improve conditions for all international traders.

As I already mentioned the agreement strengthens trade remedy rules, thus realizing one of Canada's priority objectives on going into the Uruguay round some seven and a half years ago. The agreement defines the concept of subsidy for the first time in a multilateral trade agreement. Further, it sets out criteria exempting certain subsidies for regional development, research and development, and the environment from countervailing measures. In this era of fiscal constraint, Canada will benefit from the strengthening of multilateral disciplines on subsidies that can have such an adverse effect on our competitive position in both domestic and foreign markets.

Although the Uruguay round agreement does contain some improvements with respect to anti-dumping measures, we shall have to go further to ensure that such measures are not used in the future as an instrument for continuing protectionism.

The agreement effectively precludes unilateral measures in responding to trade disputes. The new integrated dispute settlement system, one with clearer rules, tighter deadlines and for the first time an appeal process with binding effect is a major improvement over the existing GATT system. In the final analysis rules after all are only as effective as the means of enforcing them. This wholesale reform of the multilateral trade dispute settlement system therefore can represent an important if unquantifiable benefit for the small and medium size trade players like Canada which are inherently vulnerable to the threat of unilateralism by the economic giants.


Without a doubt the crowning achievement however of the Uruguay round is the creation of the new World Trade Organization that will replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Such a new organization is indispensable in overseeing the operation of the complex series of agreements and other instruments resulting from the Uruguay round. It will also provide for greater political surveillance of the system by trade ministers in coming years.


The new World Trade Organization will finally put international trade on a firm institutional footing by becoming the third pillar of the world's commercial and financial structure, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

As a successor to the GATT, the World Trade Organization will provide the forum for future trade negotiations aimed at further trade liberalization world wide and the development of new global trade rules.

All parts of Canada, all regions, most sectors of our economy will reap substantial benefit from the Uruguay round agreements. The business and agricultural communities as well as the provinces were closely consulted throughout the course of the seven years and more of negotiation. It is in no small part due to their contributions that these agreements will provide real tangible benefits for Canadian producers and consumers in all regions.

Elimination of tariffs for example on paper and allied products and lower tariffs on lumber will substantially improve access to the European union and Japanese markets for our forest products industry, particularly in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

The reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers in Europe, Japan and Korea, although more limited than we would have wished, will enhance the export competitiveness of our fish products based in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia.

The agreement will produce a more market oriented and global trading environment for our agricultural sector. The reduction in export subsidies and in the volume of subsidized exports will put our field crops, particularly grains and oilseeds from our prairie provinces, on a more equal footing with those of our principal competitors.

At the same time, supply management will be able to continue operating as an effective Canadian approach to producing and marketing dairy and poultry products. The Uruguay round agreement allows for the continuation of supply management through high import tariffs that will maintain a real security for these sectors.

New rules and disciplines on sanitary and phytosanitary measures will improve prospects for exports of many Canadian agricultural and forest products.

The reduction and harmonization at lower rates of tariffs for chemicals and chemical products will improve access to world markets especially in Asia and Latin America for our producers concentrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

Sectoral free trade for pharmaceuticals will result in lower import costs and improved market access and will enhance exports to offshore markets, particularly from Quebec and Ontario. Improved protection for intellectual property will enhance prospects for investment and for research and development.

The Canadian communications and electronic equipment industries concentrated in Quebec and Ontario will benefit from the substantial reduction of tariffs in important industrialized markets. Software and computer service exports will be facilitated by the agreements on services and trade related intellectual property.

Canada has many strengths in the services sector that will benefit from increased global market opportunities brought about by the new General Agreement on Trade and Services. Services in which Canada is competitive internationally include various professional and management consulting services, technical testing, financial, computer and environmental services, telecommunications, air transport, tourism, commercial education and training, health related services, maintenance and repair, and services incidental to agriculture, mining, forestry, energy and manufacturing.

Increased clarity and discipline in the use of multilateral trade rules, particularly countervailing duties as well as more effective dispute settlement mechanisms, will provide greater security of access for Canadian products in many markets. Canadian products that have in the past suffered harassment from countervail actions that can expect more secure access as a result of the agreement include lumber, fish, pork and magnesium.

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In addition, new rules under the Uruguay round agreement on subsidies provide for the possibility of taking action against subsidized products that displace Canadian products in foreign markets, including those of the subsidizing country. These provisions alone can be a real benefit to Canadian manufacturers of civil aircraft and ground transport equipment, steel and steel products and other sectors that have often been heavily subsidized by foreign governments.

As a country that stands to benefit greatly from these agreements, Canada has insisted that our principal partners fully implement their Uruguay round obligations by legislating them


into domestic law. We paid particular attention to the United States implementing of legislation. We were in frequent touch with the American authorities at the highest level. We urged them to ensure that the United States legislation faithfully reflects the international agreements.

We are satisfied that the United States legislation now awaiting vote in Congress while not perfect, substantially implements the Uruguay round agreements. All of our principal trading partners are now in the process of moving their legislation forward. We are currently reviewing the European union and Japanese implementing bills, which have just been tabled. While none of our major partners has yet completed the legislative processes, it appears probable that they will in fact do so in time to bring the agreements into force and to establish the new World Trade Organization two months or so hence on January 1, 1995.

It is important that Canada play its part and give a clear signal to the world community that we intend to complete our domestic procedures and implement these agreements into Canadian law in time for the January 1 start-up. However, we shall keep a close eye on the course of the legislative process in Washington, Tokyo and the European union.

We do not intend to complete our legislative procedures until we see how events unfold elsewhere. Accordingly, we shall proclaim our legislation only after our principal partners have obtained their necessary legislative approval.

With the exception of Germany, Canada is more dependent on international trade for its economic well-being than any of the other G-7 countries. Canadians understand that our domestic market is too small to generate alone the level of prosperity we enjoy.

It behoves Canadians to make a contribution to the functioning of the international trading system proportionate to our interest in the system itself. That is why Canada played a key role in the seven years or more of negotiations that led to the agreement to establish the new World Trade Organization which will replace the GATT on January 1. That is why we are now playing a leadership role in the complex, detailed, preparatory work required to get the new World Trade Organization up and running.

We in Canada are committed to completing as soon as possible the unfinished work of the Uruguay round in such areas as government procurement, financial and telecommunications services. We are also committed to beginning work on that new generation of trade policy issues including such matters as the relationship of international trade to the environment, to competition policy, to investment and to labour standards. We intend to help shape the agenda and basic concepts at an early stage so that future negotiations will advance Canadian interests.

Canada's economic strength now and in the future will depend fundamentally on our willingness to stay on the leading edge of freer trade, to continue to take an active and creative role in forging new relationships and in building new structures that over time can extend the reach of a rules-based international order.

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The multinational system centred on the World Trade Organization will be the foundation of that international order but it is not the only element of what is and must be a complex and constantly evolving trade order.

We must harness for positive ends the profound forces pushing us all toward deeper economic integration. Today it is more accurate to speak not of trade policy as such but of international economic policy. Jurisdictions and policy areas that have long been considered to be quintessentially domestic are now increasingly subject to international negotiations and rule making.

The old trade policy issues of tariff and non-tariff barriers remain on the table but they are being overtaken by a new agenda: concerns over investment policy, regulatory regimes, intellectual property, competition law and even international monetary policy, a trend which in turn reflects the evolution of a yet more globally integrated world economy.

If we accept that economic security inevitably lies in deepening our commitment to open rules based trade, then the issue is really no longer whether we should surrender sovereignty but how we take a leading role in building a new kind of sovereignty to reflect a new economic order.

The reality is that Canada cannot wait for the international community to provide the institutions of mechanisms that will ensure our economic security. Multilateralism while remaining our first option cannot remain our only option. For Canada, this means taking a yet more active and creative role in forging additional relationships and in building new structures that can over time extend the reach of rules based trade.

This was the original justification for the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the subsequent North American Free Trade Agreement. It was really just that, to push forward in areas where our degree of economic integration seemed to call for a deeper, more comprehensive, more expeditious regime of rules and procedures than the GATT itself could provide.

It is Canada's goal to extend this deeper free trade relationship throughout the western hemisphere and beyond, regionally if possible, bilaterally if necessary. We are already engaged in the negotiation of bilateral investment agreements with some international partners. We shall have to consider the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements if other avenues forward should become blocked.


Although the negotiation and implementation of NAFTA has focused Canada's attention in recent years southward to the rest of our hemisphere, we must also begin to explore additional means of expanding our trade relations eastward, across the Atlantic to Europe and westward across the Pacific to Asia.

The momentum for trade liberalization both in the western hemisphere and around the world is strong. Canada seeks to maintain that momentum. Accordingly I shall convene a meeting of the trade ministers of Japan, the United States and the European union here in Canada this spring.

We shall strive to develop a consensus for new common trade initiatives that will be considered at the G-7 summit next June in Halifax.

In submitting this bill today to the House for approval, the government counts on the consensus of all parties in this House that the cornerstone of trade policy is a multilateral system of mutually agreed market access conditions and non-discriminatory trade rules applicable to all that free, fair and open trade is essential for the future of the Canadian economy and for securing the competitiveness and long-term sustainable development of Canada and that trade expansion contributes to job creation, achieves higher standards of living, offers greater choice to consumers and strengthens the Canadian economic union. Such are the objectives that the bill before us today seeks to promote.


I invite members from each side of the House to join in considering its provisions, its purposes and ensuring its timely adoption.


Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity today to speak on second reading of Bill C-57, an Act to implement the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. On April 15 in Marrakesh, Morocco, the 125 signatories to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, commonly referred to as GATT, finally signed the agreement that finalized the lengthy negotiations of the Uruguay Round, which had taken nearly eight years.

Later on, I will elaborate somewhat on the process that led to the conclusion of this agreement and on the various stages of the Uruguay Round. By signing the Marrakesh agreement, member countries created the World Trade Organization, which is to replace GATT from now on. However, implementing the various provisions of this agreement and the tariff tabled by Canada in February will require a number of adjustments to existing legislation.

The bill before the House today is essentially concerned with consequential amendments to existing legislation. Part I of the bill covers the ratification of the agreement, identifies the positions of Canadian representatives with the various bodies of the World Trade Organization, determines the payment of Canada's contribution towards the operating expenses of the World Trade Organization and contains provisions for suspending concessions the agreement allows in specific cases.

Part II of the bill, which is also the most substantial part, amends certain acts to reflect the obligations contained in the agreement, and as a result, many existing acts will be amended by this bill. These include, for instance, the Bank Act, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Canadian Wheat Board Act, the Canada Cooperative Associations Act, the Copyright Act, the Customs Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, the Financial Administration Act, the Investment Canada Act, the Investment Companies Act, the Meat Import Act, the Patent Act, the Special Import Measures Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Trust Companies Act, the Loan Companies Act and the Western Grain Transportation Act.

Part III deals with the coming into effect of this bill, showing the extent of the ramifications and implications this bill will have in our everyday life. In this regard, it is obvious that the significant changes brought about by trade liberalization are likely to raise a number of concerns in certain circles. The changes made in international trade rules are undoubtedly bound to result in a restructuring of the various national economies and certain economic sectors are more affected than others.

But apart from these structural adjustments, which are temporary and transitional, we must recognize that trade liberalization presents us with to formidable challenges and note the remarkable adaptability demonstrated so far by the various sectors of our economy as well as the vitality shown by Canadian and Quebec businesses in the face of market expansion.

Trade liberalization forces us to become competitive. We must rely on those areas where we excel, occupy new market niches, put the emphasis on value-added products and, consequently, invest massively in research and development as well as put in place coherent and efficient vocational training and manpower adjustment policies.

The establishment of the World Trade Organization will result in the strengthening and hastening of the planetary trade liberalization movement. There is every indication that it will soon be joined by new members, some of which, like China, show a major potential for economic development.


Needless to say that we will be supporting this bill, since it is intended to implement an