House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

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

Since August 1995, when young Daniel Desrochers died as the result of the explosion of a vehicle boobytrapped by organized crime, there have been a number of other explosions. Innocent people have been wounded, blood has been shed. Whole cities and towns are in shock. Municipalities such as Saint-Nicolas, Montreal and Quebec City have no idea how to cope with a problem of this scope.

On September 21, 1995, the minister said that he was carrying out consultations and that he was optimistic about finding a solution. Since the problem is still there, worse in fact than in 1995, can the minister tell the House what solution he has found to the problem of motorcycle gang wars?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I met with the mother of the boy who was killed on the Montreal street, Daniel Desrochers, last year.

I have also worked with my colleague, the Solicitor General of Canada, and with the police chiefs of Quebec and elsewhere, to find ways of improving criminal law to back up our police forces in their battle against organized crime.

Last September, the solicitor general and myself held a symposium here in Ottawa on organized crime, to which we invited police chiefs, lawyers, and provincial attorneys general. We discussed various approaches to provide police forces with the tools to combat organized crime. We identified about a dozen concrete measures.

The solicitor general and myself intend to introduce amendments to the Criminal Code in the coming months, to that end.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, outside of these empty words by the minister, which quite obviously do nothing to solve the problem, since it continues in Quebec, what does the minister have to say today to the family of little Marianne, who was hit by shards of glass in her own home, in her own crib? Or to the people of Saint-Nicolas, who watch helplessly as criminal organizations occupy their entire territory?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, to such Canadians who live in fear or with the pain of the consequences of that kind of crime, the government pledges again to renew its commitment to improve the criminal law to provide police with the tools they need to combat the activities of gangs.

There is no single simple answer to this complex issue. One speaks of an anti-gang bill. It is very difficult to define such a bill in ways that would make it valid and effective. Simply to criminalize organizations is not an answer. The simple response to that by the gangs is to change the name or the nature of the organization.

What is more effective in the long run for the victims of which the member spoke and for Canadians everywhere is to work constructively with the police to change the criminal law in ways that will make it easier for the police to gather proof and evidence against such illegalities.

That is what we had in mind when the solicitor general and I convened our anti-gang symposium last September. We left with a dozen concrete proposals for changing the criminal law. We will act upon them in the weeks and months ahead so that we will give police the tools to combat the very activity of which the hon. member spoke.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Christine, Colleen, Daryn, Sandra, Ada, Simon, Judy, Raymond, Sigrun, Terry Lyn and Louise. These are the names of Clifford Olson's victims and it is their families that are being victimized, again thanks to the Liberal government.

Thanks to the Liberal government, Clifford Olson gets a soapbox while his victims have to fight to be heard. Why will the Prime Minister not put the rights of victims ahead of the rights of criminals like Clifford Olson and enact a victims' bill of rights?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if there is anyone who is providing a soapbox, it is the hon. member and colleagues in her party who are providing a soapbox to Clifford Olson. It is a tactic of which they should be ashamed.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are glad that someone is willing to speak up for the families and the victims in the right way.

It is clear the Liberal government is determined to put consideration for brutal criminals ahead of consideration for innocent citizens. How can Canadians trust their safety to a government with such skewed priorities?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government's priorities from day one in the criminal justice system have been to make our society as safe as it can and to show respect for the victims of crime.

Through all the legislation in the three and a half years of the government there is a single thread, that is to make the system more responsive to and respectful of the needs of victims. Yet time and again the hon. member and her colleagues in the Reform Party have voted against initiatives we have introduced on behalf of victims.

In Bill C-41, changes to the sentencing law, we provided for restitution to victims and the Reform Party voted against it. In Bill C-45 we proposed to change the very section of which the member complains. The hon. member and her colleagues in the Reform Party voted against it.

The Canadian people will have an opportunity in due course to look at the record.

Commissions Of Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

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

This morning the Globe and Mail reported that Mr. Justice Krever complained in a letter about the government's interference with the work of his commission. He stated that the government had threatened to shut down the commission if it insisted on laying blame on certain senior officials and ministers.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister again justify her government's interfering with a commission of inquiry that should normally be able to finish its work without government interference?

Commissions Of Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that in December 1995 the Minister of Justice made application to the court to have certain matters adjudicated.

The court that heard the application by the Minister of Justice denied the application. Thereafter certain individuals and stakeholders appealed to a higher court.

I am sure the hon. member would want the record to show that the Government of Canada did not appeal the decision which I believe was reached in June of the following year.

I make perfectly clear that the government looks forward to the report of Justice Krever. We look forward to examining his recommendations. To the best of my knowledge there was never any intent whatsoever to try to close down the Krever inquiry.

Commissions Of Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is one particularly disturbing fact in this whole affair. Both the Krever and Létourneau commissions were targets of all kinds of obstruction from the government's officials and its ministers.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that with this kind of approach she has discredited commissions of inquiry, and could she tell us if any judge would, in the future, agree to preside over an inquiry, in the knowledge that the government can intervene at any time to prevent the chairman from doing his job?

Commissions Of Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can well understand the desperation of hon. members opposite when they make such ludicrous charges.

The House should be informed that the commission has held over 250 days of public hearings. It has heard over 350 witnesses, almost half of whom were the victims.

Testimony has been recorded on over 40,000 pages of commission transcript. Over half a million pages of exhibit evidence has been filed. The commission's deadline has been extended not once, not twice, but three times and the commission has a budget of well over $15 million.

We were the ones in opposition who called for a judicial inquiry into the blood system. I am happy Justice Krever is heading that inquiry. I look forward to his conclusions as I am sure all provinces and all stakeholders look forward to them.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party usually advocates much tighter regulations on refugee immigration. They appear to have switched over and are now concerned that we have put on some restrictions.

Despite this I have a lot of concerns coming to me from my own riding which has a lot of immigrants and refugees.

Would the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration clarify the newly imposed regulation she has put on refugees?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I was also amazed by that comment of the Reform Party critic. I take note that in the future the Reform Party will support our refugee program.

Canada has a long history of responding generously to the different people in the world who are in crisis. Never in the past have we imposed quotas on immigration. We do not intend to do so in the future.

On the contrary, with the new resettlement from abroad class, we will extend our ability to answer the needs of people abroad. It will help us to be more generous than we have been in the past. Let us be proud of that new settlement class.

Heritage
Oral Question Period

March 11th, 1997 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Joe Thornley was a senior player in the heritage minister's leadership campaign. Now the minister seems to be returning the favour with taxpayers' money. I have evidence that shows Thornley received a $30,000 contract from the minister's department to work on the national flag program.

What special knowledge did the minister's personal friend have about the Canadian flag that was worth $30,000 in Canadian taxpayers' money?