House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was discrimination.

Topics

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I urge members to stay away from any kind of personal remarks about other members.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In March 1993, the then Leader of the Opposition and current Prime Minister of Canada made the following comments about the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act introduced by the Conservative government, and I quote: "The Liberal Party is appalled by these measures. Obviously, by reducing benefits and further penalizing those who leave their jobs voluntarily, the government shows very little concern for the victims of the economic crisis. Instead of getting to the heart of the problem, it goes after the unemployed".

As his government is getting ready to adopt a so-called reform of the unemployment insurance program, which makes existing penalties even harsher, is solely designed to cut billions of dollars in funding and will have a more devastating effect than any reform to date, how can the Prime Minister justify this new about-face on the part of the Liberals?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons why we had to find ways to improve on the Unemployment Insurance Act was precisely the fact that tens of thousands of women could not have access to the program at all.

The hon. member knows full well that, as a result of changes made to the Unemployment Insurance Act, women working less than 15 hours per week for instance, who used to be penalized for all kinds of reasons, will now be covered and have access not only to the unemployment insurance program, but also to a variety of programs also designed for those considered to be ordinary employees by their employers.

There is no doubt that the Unemployment Insurance Act had to be amended. Everyone agrees with that. But what is happening now? The government has introduced legislation. Members of the committee to which the bill was referred have proposed amendments. But all we hear coming from the official opposition party is that the bill should be withdrawn.

We do not know whether they in favour of the status quo, whether they have amendments to suggest that might be regarded as improvements, or whether they are just playing petty politics at the expense of the most vulnerable segment of our society.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the then Prime Minister told people protesting against a reform less devastating that this one that they could count on the Liberals to demand that the bill be withdrawn.

Does the Prime Minister not agree that this reform is of no help at all in resolving the unemployment problem? In his own words, it does not go to the root of the problem. Worse yet, it is anti-employment.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important point in her question and that is this concern with employment. The bill does provide among other things for $300 million to be invested in a transition fund, precisely to create jobs in the most disadvantaged regions of the country.

As an extra benefit, once the program is fully implemented, $800 million will be invested in job creation programs. There is one thing on which we agree with the hon. member, who is her party's critic on the subject. We agree that the solution to the problem facing the unemployed is job creation. And that is what we are working on.

Edmonton Institution For Women
Oral Question Period

May 1st, 1996 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, Correctional Services Canada is showing how innovative it can be in the Edmonton Institution for Women. There were three more escapes last night. That means that one-quarter of all inmates have walked away from that place.

Since it opened last November there has also been a suicide, an assault on staff, and several reports of attempted suicide and self-mutilation.

Does the acting solicitor general agree with the warden that there is nothing to worry about at this prison even though there are children being raised there? Or does he think it is time to close this mistake until they get their act together at the Edmonton prison?

Edmonton Institution For Women
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right to raise this issue. The solicitor general is concerned about it, as are the department, the warden and I. We are taking steps to upgrade security at the facility.

Many practical steps have already been taken. Today the solicitor general called the attorney general of Alberta and arrangements have been made in the meantime to transfer many of the inmates to provincial institutions, another example of co-operation between the two levels of government and corrections.

Many of the inmates have been transferred to provincial institutions in Alberta. There are difficulties at the Edmonton facility and steps have been taken and will be taken to address them.

Edmonton Institution For Women
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has built five such prisons in the country. I have visited two of them.

Virtually all of the guards at this prison in Edmonton were hired straight out of college. I think it is time the government look not only at the Edmonton Institution for Women but at the Nova Institution for Women and all the other facilities to revise its policy. Change it.

I ask the justice minister if that is the case. Is the government looking to change its policy on women's prisons?

Edmonton Institution For Women
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vaudreuil
Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the opening of the correctional facility in Edmonton was the result of a task force, established in 1989, which recommended the closure of the correctional facility in Kingston in favour of opening five regional centres.

To date we have had problems in Edmonton, but there are other facilities that have proven to be without incident, one in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan and one in Truro, Nova Scotia.

On the question of safety and security in Edmonton, today Correctional Services Canada announced an additional eight measures it is implementing to ensure safety, which was a concern expressed by my colleagues from Edmonton East and Edmonton North.

These measures are taken very seriously. We have implemented the procedures and are doing so immediately.

Flooding
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

David Iftody Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, flooding in southern Manitoba has reached critical levels. In the Red River Valley region alone 180 families have been evacuated.

The Government of Manitoba is saying national defence is not meeting its responsibility to the flood victims.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell the people of Manitoba what actions and financial help Canada has provided to southern Manitoba flood victims?

Flooding
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the flooding in Manitoba this year has been particularly severe. As was the case in southeastern Saskatchewan last year, there are mechanisms in place whereby the federal government can assist the provinces.

The prime responsibility for co-ordination of disaster relief is with the provinces, and the province has requested relief and assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces. Seventy class A reservists have been working over the last three or four days to assist with flooding in the Saint-Adolphe area.

However, under the disaster financial arrangements regime there is a program whereby the federal government can assist the provinces and in turn the provinces can compensate individuals or municipalities. Officials of the two governments are working on this right now. Official requests are to come in the next few days.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans regarding his department's massive changes to licensing and the fishing zones of the west coast.

B.C. communities have elected their representatives, raised the money to support them and sent them to Ottawa to get the minister to halt the plan so that improvements can be made to it.

Will he now commit to suspending the May 24 deadline and commit to beginning a serious discussion with representatives of the affected communities who have already been chosen to negotiate effective ways to achieve fish stock enhancement that will also maintain west coast communities?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question, which I know is a serious one.

I met with a community sustainability group yesterday. It expressed some of the concerns and misunderstandings with the Pacific revitalization plan which, as I said, is not 100 per cent perfect. I understand these difficulties and I understand the uncertainty involved. I have great concern for the concerns of fishermen and their families.

I will be in British Columbia tomorrow meeting with fishermen, addressing their concerns, listening to them, bridging some of the gaps, addressing uncertainties and fine tuning the program, which will probably address some of the items mentioned by the hon. member.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I have received notice that the hon. member for Laval Centre wishes to raise the question of privilege.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, I feel that my privileges as a member of Parliament have been breached by the unacceptable remarks made by a member of this House.

The discriminatory and racist comments made by the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan prompt me to ask you to suspend him from this House until his case is reviewed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

In an interview to the Vancouver Sun , the hon. member said that if he ran a business and if he had a homosexual employee-