House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was social.

Topics

Canadian Hemophilia Society
Oral Question Period

February 3rd, 1994 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the tainted blood scandal implicating the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Canadian Hemophilia Society wants all the circumstances surrounding the contamination of several hemophiliacs with the AIDS virus to be fully explained.

Will the Minister of Health tell us why she is trying to gag the Canadian Hemophilia Society by limiting the financial assistance needed by this organization to testify at the hearings on the issue of tainted blood?

Canadian Hemophilia Society
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as you know, we are very concerned by this issue, but the system which was set up, namely the appointment of a judge and the allocation of funds, had been decided by the previous government. I can assure you that we are examining the issues which concern the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

Canadian Hemophilia Society
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the Minister of Health recognizes that the Canadian Hemophilia Society is the organization most directly concerned by this issue and that, consequently, the minister will immediately undertake to give it the necessary support so that it can provide the best possible input at the hearings?

Canadian Hemophilia Society
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am aware the hearing into the tainted blood that will be managed by Judge Krever is looking at asking for additional funds. The question is being considered by Treasury Board at this time.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

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

The results of two studies released by the National Cancer Institute of the United States show that the incidence of colon and rectal cancer is higher among smokers than non-smokers. Also recent statistics show that lung cancer has now passed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women.

Does the Department of Finance officially recognize the role that cigarette smoking plays in the incidence of many cancers, heart and lung disease and that proposed reductions in the tax on cigarettes would increase both smoking and the incidence of these diseases?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House is under no illusion as to the health effects of smoking. Whatever action we take, as has been so well articulated by the Minister of Health, will be taken with a view to mitigating those effects. The government must make sure that smokers in this country understand full well the dangers they are running in smoking and that we will not allow Canadian health to be jeopardized.

Having said this, the only thing I would raise is the necessity for some consistency of view. It was pointed out to me that the member for Calgary North has expressed quite publicly her support for a reduction in the taxes.

I might say to the leader of the Reform Party that some consistency of view from that side of the House would certainly help the Canadian people in understanding where his party is coming from.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Finance.

In 1987 and 1988 the minister was on the board of directors of Imasco which owns Imperial Tobacco.

I would like to ask the minister if he could assure this House that his past association with Imasco-

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is rather reaching back. Perhaps the member could rephrase his question to bring it more up to date.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if he feels he will be able to fairly consider the reintroduction of an export tax as the best way to discourage both smoking and smuggling.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to answer the member's question, although I think that he himself ought to feel a little ashamed in asking it.

The fact is that I was on the board of Imasco. I joined the board. It is a company which is controlled from abroad. As a strong Canadian nationalist I was asked to join because it was very important that Canadians be represented on that board of directors.

It is a company which is involved in a great number of ventures within this country and is creating an enormous amount of employment in many areas that have nothing to do with tobacco. It also happens to be something that is in the private sector which I thought his party was supposed to understand.

I would not have thought it necessary to stand up in this House and say this. Let me try to say this very clearly and very calmly. Many members have experience in a wide number of areas. One of the tremendous things one would hope is that having all these new members and the ability to create a new atmosphere is that they bring that experience to this House. Some of them may well have experience which conflicts with what the government is doing and things the Canadian people want to see happen. But I would never want to see any member stand in this House and say that someone's experience or background prejudices his or her decision.

Let me state unequivocally that I will act in the interest of the country in everything that I do.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

An hon. member

And let that be a lesson to you.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Berger Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Peace negotiations among the belligerents in Bosnia are to resume in Geneva on February 10.

The United States is being asked by Britain and the United Nations to take a more active role in negotiating a peace settlement. The Russians have a key role to play as well.

Does the minister agree with the British foreign secretary, Douglas Hurd, that the United States should be more active in seeking a negotiated peace? Can he tell us what the Government of Canada is doing to forge a common international approach?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me say that in the past few days I have spoken on the telephone with my colleagues, the French foreign minister and Secretary Hurd, and that in the next few hours I am to speak with Warren Christopher, the American secretary. Of course we are all trying now to make diplomatic efforts to bring the parties to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia to make peace.

Regardless of what we may all try to do, it is up to the belligerents themselves, first and foremost, to decide to make peace. Only then can we reach the goals which have been set. I also asked a small delegation of senior Canadian officials to make a tour in the coming days to meet the UN authorities in the field, to go to Geneva and also to the major capitals of the countries whose troops are involved in peace operations in the former Yugoslavia, in order to try to have a coherent, unified policy on solving the continuing impasse over there.

Senate
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, today a journalist in La Presse enlightened us about the horrible overspending of the Canadian Senate. The Senate costs over $43 million a year, and it sat only 47 days last year, with an average of 22 senators away each sitting day. In addition, we learned that a senator had his floor raised, at taxpayers' expense, so that he could better see the Parliament buildings through the window from his chair.