House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Privilege

June 1st, 1995 / 10 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, a short while ago the hon. member for Saint John raised a point of privilege. I had suggested to the House that we wait until we hear from the minister who was involved. Today the Minister of Health is with us and I have been informed that she has asked to make a statement.

Privilege

10 a.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to a question of privilege which has been put before the House by the hon. member for Saint John.

The question concerns the inclusion of a photograph of the hon. member in a report released by Health Canada on May 19 of this year. The motion is serious and it is important that the House be apprised of the facts involved. According to the information provided to me by my officials, after looking into the matter, they are as follows.

The report contained the findings of an independent panel of experts which had been commissioned by Health Canada to assess the possible impacts of plain and generic packaging of tobacco products. I want to emphasize the independence of this panel. It was given the authority and responsibility to produce an objective and unbiased assessment of the issue. The research conducted by the expert panel included a visual image experiment. It was in this context that a photograph of the hon. member appeared.

A private company was contracted by the panel to provide test pictures for this study. The company has advised that the method by which the photograph of the hon. member was selected is widely used in consumer image research and that it is not common practice to use release forms.

In this instance images from a variety of public sources, including libraries, magazines, stock image inventories and images in the public domain were compiled by a student on work placement with the firm. These images were then sorted and filed according to certain criteria which had been established by the panel. Final selections were made by the panel after it had reviewed all of the images.

The company has confirmed that numerous images were seen throughout the sourcing and selection process by all members of the project team but that at no time did anyone recognize one of the photographs as being the member for Saint John.

There are other points which I believe should be brought to the attention of the House. These pertain to several statements made by the hon. member when she rose on this question of privilege.

The first concerns the language used in the report to describe the photograph of the hon. member. The only description of that photograph is the one on page 91 of the report. Members will find that it does not correspond to the description that the hon. member has attributed to the report in her motion.

The second concerns the suggestion that this incident is similar to a 1985 question of privilege which the hon. member cited in her motion. It is important that the House be aware that unlike the situation in 1985, the hon. member in this case is not identified in the expert panel report by name as a member of Parliament or in any other manner.

The hon. member has asked for a public apology. I can inform the House that apologies were conveyed by all concerned without delay. I spoke to the hon. member and wrote to her within hours following the release of the expert panel report. I repeat today the regret that I expressed at that time.

The company that provided the photograph in question issued a public apology as did the expert panel. Canadians were advised of these actions through a statement issued by my department to the news media that same day.

The hon. member has also asked for an explanation of the events that accounted for the use of her photograph in the expert panel report. That explanation, which I have related here this morning, was provided in a letter to the hon. member which I am tabling today for the information of the House.

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for giving us the information. This circumstance carries quite a few ramifications for all sitting members of Parliament. As was suggested by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, I would like some time to review both the statements of the hon. member for Saint John and the hon. Minister of Health.

After my deliberations, I will return to the House with a decision. I thank all members for their interventions.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Department Of Health Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-95, an act to establish the Department of Health and to amend and repeal certain acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my duty and honour to rise in the House to present a petition, duly certified by the clerk of petitions, on behalf of 60 individuals from the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands and surrounding areas.

The petitioners call on Parliament to enact legislation against serious personal injury crimes being committed by high risk offenders by permitting the use of post-sentence detention orders and specifically passing Bill C-240.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present a petition this morning, which has 922 signatures.

The petition pertains to the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the objection to improving the social security policy in Canada, which is unacceptable to these nearly 1,000 students of my riding.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma, ON

Madam Speaker, I have several petitions I would like to present this morning.

The first petition is from constituents in the Blind River area of my riding. The petitioners wish to express to the government their concerns with respect to the issue of same sex legislation.

On the same issue, there is another petition signed by folks from the area of Blind River and Algoma Mills.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to present a petition that has to do with the rape of women in the war in Bosnia. Constituents from the Sault Ste. Marie area of the Algoma riding wish to express their concerns on the issue.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the honour today to present a petition on behalf of certain individuals from my riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt as well as other areas in the province of Saskatchewan.

The signatories to the petition are deeply concerned about the use of BST in dairy production and urge the House to desist from passing legislation legalizing the use of BST and require that products using BST be identified on their entry to Canada.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my duty and honour today to present three petitions from people from across Canada.

Two of the petitions are signed by almost 200 individuals who call upon Parliament to oppose any amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act or to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that provide for the inclusion of the phrase "sexual orientation".

I concur with the petitions.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, the third petition I have the honour to present today is from people in the Vancouver area, some of whom are from my riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.

The petitioners pray that Parliament ensure that the present provision of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the

law that would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition in accordance with Standing Order 36 on the subject of gun control.

The petitioners request that Parliament support laws that would severely punish all violent criminals who use weapons in the commission of a crime. The petitioners also request that Parliament support new Criminal Code firearms control provisions that recognize and protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use recreational firearms.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I suggest that all the questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Is it agreed?