House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

October 1st, 1996 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced the opening of a liaison office in Punjab, India. I would like to congratulate him and let him know that this is being greeted with great enthusiasm.

Could the minister inform the House how the opening of this new office will serve both nations?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to convey my appreciation to the hon. member and to the hon. member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton for their strong interest in this file.

I would like to confirm that yesterday, in co-operation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for India, we were able to establish a new liaison office in the Punjab. This follows on the Prime Minister's Team Canada trip to India where we dedicated ourselves to broadening our area of relationships.

The office will open in January. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for India was good enough to invite myself and a delegation of Canadians to the opening, where we will focus on trade, investment and the facilitation of immigration.

It is a very good initiative to broaden and deepen the nature of our relationship with that very important country.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister had the power to fire Ted Thompson and he refused to do it. Is it any wonder that Canadians are fed up with our system, the government and the justice minister?

Now three alleged war criminals are walking free because the justice minister, through his senior lawyer, Ted Thompson, tried to make a backroom deal with a Federal Court judge.

Today Madam Justice Barbara Reed's letter to the Toronto Star clearly has brought the entire Federal Court system into disrepute, thereby unduly influencing three deportation cases against alleged war criminals now living in Canada.

Will the justice minister directly refer these cases against the suspected criminals to the Supreme Court of Canada for a decision, yes or no?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that question is a shocking mixture of misunderstanding and misstatement. It is absolutely shocking.

We took the trouble to have a person of unquestioned reputation look carefully through all the facts of this matter. When the Hon. Mr. Dubin reported in August he did not say there were grounds for firing Ted Thompson. What did the former chief justice of Ontario conclude? Unlike my hon. friend, he took the trouble to look through all the facts carefully, speak to the people involved, examine the documents and consider them carefully in accordance with appropriate principles. He concluded that there was no basis to fire Ted Thompson. It was his recommendation that Mr. Thompson should not continue in his present role and Mr. Thompson, as a result, resigned voluntarily.

The report speaks for itself. It establishes that the Department of Justice well understands the principles of judicial independence. My friend should educate himself before asking the next question.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is shocking is the fact that this minister cannot even clean up his department.

War criminals are walking free in Canada today because the justice minister refuses to honour the principle that judges and courts must be free of interference from politicians and bureaucrats. This is not the first time the justice minister has crossed the line which separates the courts and politicians.

Why does the minister not do the right thing, pack up his bags and go home?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have a better idea. I will send my hon. friend a copy of the Dubin report and ask him to read it. After he has read it, maybe he can come back and ask a question that is relevant.

The Fight Against Tobacco Use
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

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

Yesterday, a coalition of 130 organizations asked the Prime Minister to take immediate action in the fight against tobacco use. Although the health minister's predecessor promised last December that a bill regulating tobacco products would be introduced in the spring, no such bill has been tabled so far.

Will the minister honour his government's commitments and immediately table a tobacco bill?

The Fight Against Tobacco Use
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question. The subject matter has received some public attention in the last number of weeks.

I wish to share with the House that, since we issued the blueprint in November 1995, there have been over 2,300 different submissions from Canadians from different regions of the country.

We are in the process of examining our proposals as they relate to the charter to make sure that we are not back in court as we were on a previous occasion with the legislation. When we do come

forward, we will have comprehensive legislation that will address the needs, not only of the health groups across the country but the young people of this country as well.

The Fight Against Tobacco Use
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister justify the fact that, while his department is spending millions of dollars on an anti-smoking campaign, the Minister of Agriculture is subsidizing research on tobacco production in Ontario?

The Fight Against Tobacco Use
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that the vast majority of funding that is provided by the Department of Agriculture with respect to tobacco is related to agronomic matters and is highly focused on alternatives to tobacco production so that tobacco producers may find ways to diversify away from a dependence on this crop.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals soft on crime approach has skewed our judicial system. Politics is tipping the scales of justice.

The RCMP, while investigating a Quebec senator and her daughter suggested that she be charged with fraud. All Canadians are supposed to receive the same treatment, but it appears that some are more delicate than others.

Why did the justice minister not prosecute the senator for defrauding the Government of Canada?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have now heard from all parts of the fearsome trilogy on justice.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Etobicoke Centre, ON

I am standing here wondering if we put them all together, do we come up with a sensible question? I do not think even then we can do it.

In the case to which my hon. friend has referred, we have to distinguish between law on the one hand and politics on the other.

Let us talk about law for 30 seconds. For law we have a very competent prosecutor, a lawyer in the Montreal office, who looked at the facts, applied the usual criteria and decided that no prosecution should be brought based on legal principles. It was taken to his superior who reviewed the same facts and came to the same conclusion. That is law. That is the way the system should work.

Now let us look at politics. That is politics, a man who does not know the facts, does not know the law and comes to the floor of this House with that outrageous question and tries to make short term political hay. That is politics.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the sad part of all the rhetoric that is coming from that side of the House is the fear that Canadians have because these social engineers are not in justice. They do not know anything about it.

This senator, the deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, made a speech on UI. She knows the rules. Why is it that the rules apply to every ordinary Canadian whether they are ignorant of the law or not, but do not apply to a politician or a senator if it was not for social engineering by this minister?