House of Commons Hansard #250 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-7.

Topics

Canadian Forces
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. I wish to commend all members of the Canadian Forces who worked in the former Yugoslavia during the past four years.

They served with great distinction, and we are proud of all members of the Canadian Forces.

It is not very well known that Canada now has joining among its citizens upon the return of members from the armed forces more veterans from armed conflict at any time since the Korean war. The men and women who have served in Bosnia and Croatia have seen terrible hostility. They have seen a society that has been ravaged.

They have brought the best principles of civility, tolerance and compassion of a united Canada to bear upon their service in that area.

Canadian Forces
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the minister.

Could the minister tell us of the prospects for the future deployment of Canadian peacekeeping forces in Bosnia?

Canadian Forces
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, Canada would consider participating in any force set up to help keep the peace in Bosnia after the appropriate peace settlement is negotiated. That is an option we are keeping open and one that we will consider.

Canadians appreciate that we have worked very hard in that area for the last three or four years and that we have contributed much. That does not mean to say we would not be prepared to continue our co-operation with any new force.

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, as Reformers and as Canadian we sincerely believe in a strong and

united Canada both today and for the future. I know the Liberals share our vision for a more decentralized federation.

Regardless of today's vote, to indicate an end to the status quo what specific powers and changes is the Minister of Human Resources Development prepared to offer to the provinces in the area of social programs?

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the opening question of the leader of the third party asking us to engage Canadians in a major debate.

Up to now the Reform Party has opposed the major public participation that we encourage in looking at the changes to social programs. I am glad to see there has been a change in attitude on the part of the Reform Party.

One of the most important lessons out of the dialogue that has taken place with hundreds of thousands of Canadians is when they are talking about decentralization there is much talk about giving the individual more choice, providing more resources in the hands of individual Canadians and local communities to allow them to help shape, design and customize employment programs and social programs to meet the requirements of their own local communities.

As the hon. member will know, we have already taken a major step to fundamentally decentralize the operation of the Department of Human Resources Development which serves 11 million Canadians. It is the largest service delivery organization in the country. We have already announced those steps to bring the locus of responsibility, accountability and decision making to the local level so that we can work in partnership at the local level with individuals.

That is an indication of the kind of changes we want to make.

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in French, please.

The Reform Party would like to offer more hope to Canada and all the provinces, including Quebec. We believe we must decentralize control over social programs. Canadians are calling for it and so are the provinces. We want the provinces to have the final say over training, education and social assistance programs.

Will the minister of human resources be consulting in this regard?

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Calgary Southeast knows, we have, in the past year, offered all of the provinces the option of full responsibility for training so they would have all the flexibility they need to manage this area of jurisdiction. I set up a negotiating process with all the provinces and many agreements have been reached.

As far as unemployment insurance is concerned, I hope that, with the reform, there will be a new system, a new network for Canadian jobs. There will be a lot of opportunity to continue negotiating with the provinces, the unions, businesses and social groups in order to come up with a new approach to developing an employment system for all Canadians.

Jaswant Khalra
Oral Question Period

October 30th, 1995 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific.

Jaswant Khalra, a human rights activist who appeared before Canadian parliamentarians in March, was abducted from his home in Amritsar, Punjab, India on September 6 by unknown persons. He has not been heard from since and police investigations in India have revealed no information as to his whereabouts.

Mr. Khalra's abduction is of great concern to many Canadians as well as to the international human rights community. What action has Canada taken regarding the abduction of Mr. Khalra?

Jaswant Khalra
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Richmond
B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, after my department learned of Mr. Khalra's abduction our high commission in New Delhi made immediate approaches to the Indian authorities regarding this case.

We have contacted the human rights person in the Punjab state regarding his abduction. I raised the case of Mr. Khalra with the foreign affairs minister of India in New York when I attended the United Nations conference earlier this month.

The Prime Minister and I will be travelling next week to New Zealand for the Commonwealth conference. At that time we will continue to follow up with the Indian government regarding this matter.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, regardless of the outcome of today's referendum, Canadians continue to be extremely concerned about their safety. The early release of violent offenders is one issue that will not go away.

Can the solicitor general explain to Canadians why a first degree murderer is allowed to appeal his parole eligibility after serving only 15 years of a life sentence?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, section 745 has been part of the Criminal Code for almost 20 years. The debates which accompanied its introduction those many years ago disclose a will on the

part of Parliament to provide the possibility after 15 years for persons to go in front of a jury to ask for permission to apply for parole in certain circumstances.

What must be borne in mind is this is not the right to parole. This is simply a provision permitting a prisoner to go before a jury drawn from the community to test the question of whether they should be permitted to apply for parole to the Parole Board.

That was the will of Parliament when that provision was adopted 15 years ago.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, murderers Jim Peters and Robert Brown raped, stabbed to death and burned the bodies of their victims Laurie Boyd and Debbie Stevens. The Boyd and Stevens families are outraged to think that Peters could be eligible for a parole or even for parole review after serving only 15 years.

Since the solicitor general says he cannot intervene in the decision making process, will he support the repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code and ask his party to support it as well?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, over the last two years I have met with dozens of victims of violent crime, women whose husbands have been killed, children left without parents, men and women whose children have been lost to violence.

I have listened to the message those Canadians have expressed. As part of Bill C-41 we changed section 745 to ensure that the courts on application for permission to apply for early parole will be obligated to hear from the families of victims as a factor to be taken into account in making that decision.

There are those who say that is not enough. Let me respond to the hon. member further. When the private members' bill to repeal section 745 came before the House there was in essence a free vote on that subject. That bill has has now gone to committee. I have encouraged the committee to look broadly at the whole subject and make recommendations. We shall pay close attention to those recommendations once they are made.

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Canadians everywhere well remember the members of the present government's forceful opposition to the previous Conservative government's cutbacks on health care, post-secondary education and social programs when in opposition.

Yet since moving from the opposition benches to the government side there has been a change of heart. This government's cuts to health care, post-secondary and social programs are the deepest in the last 50 years. While implementing an 8 per cent cut across the board, there is a full 25 per cent cut in these three areas.

Does she feel that tearing down the very institutions which define us as Canadians and which we hold dear is the way to build a strong, unified country?

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

No, Mr. Speaker. On a day that all Canadians should be rallying to support Canada, on the eve of a very critical vote for all of us, I am rather surprised the NDP has joined the chorus of nay sayers on the Reform side of the House.

I can only hope that between now and the time the polls close tonight in Quebec the message will not be coming out-the one that seems to be coming from the opposition benches-that Canada is in a mess and that it does not work.

The people of Canada have stated loud and clear they want universal health care available to everyone. The government has taken that suggestion against the opposition of certain premiers and certain political parties. We will fight to ensure that every single Canadian has access to health care because that too is part of the Canadian dream.