House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mmt.

Topics

Criminal Justice System
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, last April 5 a terrible tragedy occurred in my riding of Okanagan-Shuswap which resulted in the shooting deaths of nine people. My deep sympathy goes out to all their family and friends who have suffered again through the coroner's inquest which has revealed a lot of heartbreaking information.

The police will now routinely contact the spouse when a person applies for a restricted weapon. This sounds good in theory, but in practice the RCMP already have their hands too full dealing with a 20-year crime wave and laws which impose so much red tape that it can take longer for the officer to complete the paperwork than a judge imposes as the sentence.

Nevertheless, our present government continues to cut funding for the administration of justice. My office has received complaints that the public does not believe there are enough police to protect law-abiding citizens and their property.

The investigation into the so-called Vernon massacre clearly indicates the continuing lack of justice in our criminal justice system.

Fisheries
Statements By Members

September 27th, 1996 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise again to encourage the government in its efforts to develop sustainable domestic and international fish stocks management policies. We need to put our own house in order in the inland and marine fisheries so that we can ratify the United Nations convention on the law of the sea in the near future.

In the meantime, we should surpass the standards set by the FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries.

We should also use all our influence to gain full international recognition for the agreement on straddling stocks and highly migratory fish.

The policies and achievements of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans last year gave us a position of moral leadership in global fish stocks management. We should work to retain that position.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Justice referred to conditions mutually acceptable to Canadians and Quebecers based on the

Canadian Constitution. Need I remind everyone that this Constitution has been judged unacceptable by all of the governments of Quebec? The present federal Minister of Immigration, who is present in the House, moreover, held that opinion when she was a member of the Quebec National Assembly. I do not know whether she has changed her mind since then.

The Minister of Justice also stated yesterday, and I quote: "We shall take whatever steps are necessary in the months ahead to comply with the commitment we gave in the speech from the throne".

Does the Minister of Justice confirm that referral to the Supreme Court is only the first step of plan B, and that the federal government is preparing to impose impossible conditions on Quebec, by setting the rules for the referendum itself?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

No, Mr. Speaker, and might I add a note of reality to this?

It was Mr. Bouchard himself who sent his Minister of Justice into a Montreal court room, a few months ago, in the spring of this year, in order to convince it to close the Bertrand case because, under the Constitution, the courts have nothing to do with sovereignty. He was not successful. We responded to that in court and were successful in convincing the judge to continue because the court does indeed have a role to play by deciding these matters of law.

After that, the Quebec Minister of Justice left the case, yet the basic questions remain, those raised by Mr. Bouchard and his Minister of Justice themselves.

We have raised those fundamental questions in the highest court of the land, and Mr. Bouchard and the Government of Quebec have refused to participate. In my opinion, the only conclusion we can reach is that Mr. Bouchard and the Government of Quebec are well aware that what we maintain is true: unilateral action is illegal.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the unilateral action by the Government of Quebec is illegal, yet the unilateral action by the federal government is legal. That is this boils down to. That is what they mean by democracy.

Their "democracy" is a game with loaded dice. Their "democracy" denies the existence of the people of Quebec.

Will the Minister of Justice admit that any desire for change expressed by the people of Quebec is subject to a veto by any one of the provinces, from Newfoundland to Prince Edward Island, since unanimity is required under the Constitution, a constitution no Quebec government, whether Liberal or PQ, has accepted or signed?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it suits the purpose of the hon. member to confuse one issue with another. What he fails to address is that the one rule that binds us all in this country is the rule of law.

What is at issue here is whether that rule of law is to govern all that we do, including resolving the great national question of separation.

We made clear yesterday that we must respect a decisive majority on a clear question on that issue as expressed by the population of Quebec. The question will be separation or not, nothing in between, not partnership or any such thing. Separation or not is the clear and honest question that must be asked.

We have every confidence that when that question is asked, the population of Quebec will vote, as it has done on two earlier occasions, for a united Canada.

The issue we confront in the case that we have now referred to the Supreme Court of Canada is this. My hon. friend and the government of the province of Quebec pretend that if they get the result they want the very next day they can walk away unilaterally from the nation that is Canada. That is not so.

They would have to follow negotiations to resolve the tough issues involved in separation, not partnership. Those negotiations have to be in accordance with an orderly process consistent with the rule of law.

That is our point in taking his questions to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are getting closer and closer to the real bottom line. What this minister is telling us is that Quebecers and their government lack the maturity and democracy to be capable of making a decision on their own concerning their development, their future. That we need the other provinces, the anglophone majority in Canada, to tells us how to go about it. That is the bottom line.

With the exception of his better approach, this minister is acting exactly like his Prime Minister, who has always found a way to stick it to Quebec-

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

An hon. member

What is the question?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

What is the question? Hold on, it is coming up. As I was saying, like the Prime Minister, who has always fiddled with principles in order to stick it to Quebec.

To quote the Minister of Justice again, because it is noteworthy: "Mr. Speaker, I very much hope that our federalist allies in Quebec will see the value of clearly determining these questions that have now been put at issue". You see, the Quebec federalists are not in agreement with the federal government. They can smell a trap that

reeks of Meech Lake, but the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration does not seem to be unable to do so.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question. Question.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

My question is on the way, if only the wolves will stop their howling.

Is the Minister of Justice aware that this government is in the process of cutting all ties with Quebec, even with its federalist allies like the Quebec Liberal Party?

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have addressed the question, we have made a speech.

But the speech mentioned the word "democracy", a pertinent word here, because of course we must respect the decision of the population of Quebec on the question of separation. Of course, if a decisive majority voices its opinion on a clear question after a legal process, and decides to leave Canada, to separate, that decision must be respected. That is true.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Etobicoke Centre, ON

Yes, it is true. It is obvious that we do not intend to hold someone within Canada by force, against their will. We are, however, confident that decision will not be taken.

But the reason for our referral to the Supreme Court this week is that action after such a vote cannot be unilateral. We need answers to the difficult questions which arise under such circumstances. That is to say, all Canadians are involved in this process, a process which must respect the rule of law. That is the purpose of our action this week.

Constitution
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

If I may be allowed to comment, the first round of questions took us 10 minutes. I would therefore appreciate the co-operation of both sides of the House in making both questions and answers more concise.