Robert Phillip Kaplan
Hon. Bob Kaplan (York Centre):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some observations about yesterday's Question Period. The Auditor General's Report had just come out and that led the Official Opposition to obvious and necessary questions about the multimillion dollar payment to the West Edmonton Mall Fantasyland authorized by the present Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Mazankowski) when he had the responsibility for the regional expansion portfolio.
The record is clear that the Minister's authorization overruled decisions by the former Liberal Government, the Minister's predecessor, officials in the Department, and the Government of Alberta on the matter. Taking that into consideration along with the criticism of the Auditor General, the questions were certainly justified.
The Minister's reply was to the effect that the Liberal question was motivated by an anti-western attitude. I suggest that it is unworthy for the Government to make any suggestion that this was based on anti-western feeling. It reminded me of the suggestion that the amendments proposed to the Meech Lake Accord were motivated by anti-Quebec or anti-francophone feeling.
The Government should remember that this type of answer is particularly damaging to the national unity of Canada because it always gets a bigger market than it deserves. Canada is a country of great regional diversity with a multicultural society.
When authentic racism and regional bias occur, it is bad enough and we have to deal with it, but to invent anti-western feeling and racism out of whole cloth, and to hide behind it, when the real issue is the Minister's decision, is damaging to Canada and despicable. Canadians of goodwill must wince
whenever this happens and must hope that the Government will find some more-
Subtopic: AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT
Sub-subtopic: GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO OFFICIAL OPPOSITION'S QUESTIONS