House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

November 29th, 1996 / 11:50 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Evidence Act defence to hide cabinet documents from Krever is bogus.

The McDonald commission in 1979 obtained secret cabinet documents by an order in council and the then clerk of the privy council, Michael Pitfield, admits the decision is discretionary and lies with the Prime Minister.

Since there is a choice, why has this Prime Minister chosen to hide the files?

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the McDonald commission occurred before the introduction of section 39 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, why do we care about these documents?

In 1985 Saxon William Forbes was born. He was given a tablespoon of blood to bring colour to his cheeks. He was constantly sick, diagnosed with HIV and today he has full blown AIDS. This did not have to happen.

Regulations were drafted in 1984. The government of the day decided to quash them. Today the government also has a choice. If it wanted to, it could release the documents to Krever. Why will the Deputy Prime Minister not release those documents?

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, nobody wants to get to

the bottom of the issue surrounding the blood scandal more than the government. The commissioner has the capacity to compel any previous minister to testify. I believe at least one previous minister of health has made a public statement suggesting that she would like to go before the commission to provide information.

The fact is that commission counsel has suggested that her testimony is not necessary. If any clarification can be brought to the matter, I am sure that the commission and Mr. Krever will do their best to compel those witnesses to come forward and put all the facts on the table.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

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

In Canada, it is estimated that between 26,000 and 35,000 persons carry the AIDS virus. An average of 3,000 new cases are identified each year in Canada. It is a sorry state of affairs, since Canada, along with Australia, is one of the countries where the average age of those with the disease has dropped since the start of the epidemic.

Given the proportions of this scourge, is the minister prepared to renew the national AIDS strategy for five years with its budget of $40.7 million a year? Is he prepared to make the commitment?

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the subject matter to which he made reference is a serious issue. It has been given serious attention and will continue to receive serious attention.

We have provided substantial moneys for this fiscal year, the next fiscal year and thereafter additional moneys will be made available. We are presently reviewing the programs we have in place.

By the testimony from many experts across the country, the interventions by government have been very helpful and very successful. I look forward to constructive suggestions being made by the hon. member as well as the standing committee, the subcommittee of which he is a member, as well as from other Canadians as we get closer to the time at which we will have to re-evaluate our position on additional moneys.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, a little more leadership would not hurt.

Can the minister assure us that there will be a third stage to the national AIDS strategy and that it will cover all the needs of those with the disease, namely, treatment, community group support, prevention, education and research? I invite the minister to take a firm stand.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right. What is needed is a national strategy. The federal government, being one part of that strategy, would like to do everything that it can within its fiscal resources. I hope that other governments, non-governmental organizations and others can be a part of the solution and that they will not just stand back and complain.

Many of the activists who I have met across the country have come forward with some very valuable and constructive suggestions. I look forward to that continuing as we get up to the time at which re-evaluation and decisions will have to be taken.

Economic Development
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

I was in Yellowknife not too long ago as part of the natural resources committee study on rural economic development and I heard some very deep concerns about the depletion in the availability of carving stones for the Inuit. I understand that there has been a major discovery of alabaster on Victoria Island recently.

Can the minister tell the House if NRCan played a role in that discovery and what it means for northern communities and Canada?

Economic Development
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important question. It is both a question of cultural and economic concern to the people of the north.

This summer, during a regular geological field survey near Holman on Victoria Island, one of the geological survey mappers discovered a very large deposit of alabaster which will enable many people of the north to continue their important carving activities.

The geological survey is committed to mapping and documenting resources such as this. We appreciate that this is important, not only to the economic self-sufficiency of this region, but it is an important part of the culture of this region.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question yesterday from my colleague for Comox-Alberni regarding the softwood lumber dispute being taken to the WTO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs answered: "To provide an orderly arrangement with our largest customer requires us to play by the rules".

Surely the minister must know that Canada was one of the main proponents in establishing the World Trade Organization. It took nine years at the Uruguay round of the GATT to establish rules to handle disputes of this nature which are extremely important, more important in many cases than our NAFTA rules of dispute.

Would the minister not agree that it is time to use these rules to defend Canada's interest in these types of trade disputes?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, over the past 15 years there has been, almost in every year, a countervail action taken by the United States against the Canadian softwood lumber industry. This has caused major uncertainty in the industry. It has resulted in major costs to the industry. There was $800 million collected on export fees alone by the United States during one period. It has caused enormous disruptions in the marketplace.

The Canadian government negotiated a five-year agreement in which there will be no countervail whatsoever so there can be an orderly marketing arrangement between Canada and the United States without any threat of trade actions. That agreement was based on a level of 16.4 billion board feet, which is the highest level in the last 10 years, with the exception of one year, based on average exports.

That was the deal which was arrived at. It was supported by the exporting provinces. It was supported by the industry. It was put into an agreement and now the export market is proceeding.

In the meantime, certain lumber companies rushed to the border, exceeded their quota and they are now in the position of saying: "We do not want to play by the rules any more".

The Minister for International Trade set up certain safety valves. They can borrow quota against their values for next year. They can provide extra fees if they want to export more. It is all there, but they cannot continue to say: "Simply because we are not getting our cake and eating it too we want to change the rules". The rules are there to ensure there is effective marketing and safety of the industry against countervail costs being imposed by the United States industry.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

Noon

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, surely this minister would know that every time Canada has had a trade dispute with the United States on softwood lumber we have won. In fact the $850 million he talked about was fully rebated to Canadian producers.

The only thing that has happened is that the United States has done an end run on us and changed its domestic legislation which means that we will probably not win at the NAFTA panel any more. That is why we are suggesting we should take this dispute to the World Trade Organization.

We have been in contact with many producers in the last few weeks. In fact, we surveyed companies and 80 per cent of those which responded want us to cancel this deal and walk away if we are countervailed by the United States again and to take this to the World Trade Organization.

Why will the government not honour that kind of concern by those companies that there is a threat of massive job layoffs?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

Noon

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I would invite the hon. member to be a little more detailed. I certainly take his representation but if he wants to produce those calls, those responses, those companies, I am sure the minister of trade would be very happy to take that representation.

In the meantime, the minister has established an advisory committee made up of members of the industry from across Canada to provide him with that kind of advice in terms of constantly reviewing the agreement to determine quota levels and ways of administering the agreement.

Rather than a random phone call survey, I would suggest the hon. member put his case and his information to the minister of trade. He can take it to the advisory committee which represents the entire industry and determine if those cases have been made. The hon. member constantly comes to the House and grandstands the idea of ripping up the agreement and going to dispute. This is simply continuing the uncertainty and the problems rather than trying to make this agreement work.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

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

Yesterday, we heard about some questionable accounting practices and the outrageous perks of the Canadian Space Agency chairman, Mr. Evans. More details came out today. The chairman has reportedly been given a severe reprimand by the information commissioner for deliberately destroying certain documents.

In light of such disturbing facts, does the Minister of Industry recognize that his former advisor, who now heads the Canadian Space Agency, is bereft of credibility when it comes to heading one of Canada's leading institutions, an internationally renowned institution?