House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Bloc Quebecois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois has a new leader, and, for the first time, the leader of a federal political party was elected by universal suffrage.

More than 50,000 members of the Bloc exercised their right to vote. That figure is more than the number of Quebecers belonging to the Liberal Party of Canada. This is an extraordinary democratic exercise, and I challenge the other federal political parties to follow the Bloc's example.

I speak on behalf of all my colleagues, supporters of the Bloc, and leadership candidates in congratulating the member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie.

We have no doubt that, with our team of members, he will gain the support of all those who hold so dear the sovereignty of Quebec and the defence of the interests of the people of Quebec.

Well done, Gilles.

1997 Brier
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Kevin Martin and his Ottwell Curling Club rink have once again proven that Edmonton is a city of champions.

Kevin, along with lead Don Bartlett, second Rudy Ramcharan, third Don Walchuck and fifth man and coach, Jules Owchar, won the 1997 Brier yesterday in Calgary with a thrilling 10-8 victory over the powerful Vic Peters rink from Manitoba.

All who helped organize this year's Brier championship are to be congratulated. A quarter of a million people attended the event during the week.

It looked bad when we lost to Peters in the round robin during the week, but on Friday night in the quarter final we squeaked out a win and it was then one game each. Then Sunday was the all-time, ever-lovin', championship tie-breakin' round. In the eighth end my heart sank when Peters stole two, but in the ninth we scored three back and then in the tenth end we stole one for the win. What a finish.

Now it is on to the world championships where once again Martin will prove that we are the best of the best. Way to go Kevin Martin, you are the champ.

Renewable Fuels
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Halton—Peel, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association and its members are gathering in Ottawa today to discuss the environmental and health benefits of ethanol fuels. Ethanol and other renewable fuels can greatly reduce vehicle tailpipe emissions, the leading source of air pollution and related health problems. The use of ethanol in our vehicles will reduce ground level ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the air we breathe.

A healthy and vibrant ethanol fuel industry in Canada will provide the following benefits: clean air, reduced health care costs, a domestic and renewable fuel supply and a stable domestic market for Canadian grains.

It is time for all Canadians, both rural and urban, to adopt the vision of cleaner air through renewable fuels like ethanol. It benefits all of us.

Montfort Hospital
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, three weeks ago, the Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission recommended the closure of the Montfort hospital. Since the announcement, there has been an upsurge of popular opinion in eastern Ontario and especially within the francophone community in support of the Montfort hospital.

To mark the blossoming of this solidarity in support of the Montfort, a rally will be held at the Ottawa Civic Centre this Saturday, March 22 at 2 p.m.

I invite everyone in the community, everyone who is a friend of the hospital, everyone who believes in the importance of being given health care in one's own language to help the organizers of the SOS Montfort campaign fill the Civic Centre to the overflowing.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

March 17th, 1997 / 2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

We will now proceed to oral question period with the new Leader of the Opposition.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a crowd of over 600 demonstrated noisily in front of the Hell's Angels headquarters in Saint-Nicolas.

These citizens turned out, despite low temperatures and gang members' attempts to intimidate them. They are calling for concrete and rapid action from this government to put an end to the biker war. They even carried placards asking politicians how many more victims it would take to get them moving.

My question to the Prime Minister is this: How many victims will it take before this government makes up its mind to take action and finally introduce a bill outlawing gangs like the Rock Machine and Hell's Angels as criminal groups and known law-breakers?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to congratulate the new Leader of the Opposition on his democratic election as leader of his party. I wish him much good luck, not too much, obviously, but enough to enjoy his new duties, which I have already performed and which are not very easy. It is not always easy to lead a party. I come from Shawinigan, and I know whereof I speak.

I would just like to say that you have already been in the House for some time now and that we are ready to work in everyone's best interests.

Obviously, I had occasion to answer the hon. member's question last week. The Quebec Minister of Public Security, Robert Perreault, echoed the words of his predecessors last week when he said that an anti-gang law would not resolve the problem, that it was a question of the administration of justice. Sufficient staff were needed to work on this problem.

Furthermore, the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve said that Pierre Sangollo was the man most qualified to speak on this topic. He quoted Mr. Sangollo as saying that the bomb problem would not go away because of anti-gang laws; the only way to restore peace to Quebec was to increase the number of Carcajou investigators and give them the tools they need.

This could be sorted out if you were to call the head office in Quebec and ask them to bump up the number of investigators in the Carcajou squad, as Mr. Sangollo recommended.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting because Mr. Perreault also said that he was open to a public debate.

Is the Prime Minister telling us that if he receives a request from Quebec-because the Criminal Code is a federal statute, is it not-he is prepared to respond positively, to take action, to outlaw groups like the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels as criminals and law-breakers? If he were to receive a request from the Government of Quebec, am I to understand that he would agree to take action?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

By its wording, the question is a hypothetical one, but if the Prime Minister wishes to reply, it will be allowed to stand.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the Solicitor General and the Minister of Justice are in constant communication with responsible authorities in all provincial governments. This is not a problem peculiar to Quebec; groups like this exist throughout Canada. It is very difficult to define with any great precision which are criminal and which are not.

I am certain that my colleagues, the Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General are presently holding discussions with provincial authorities. If they have any good proposals to make that require legislation, the government will consider them, as we always do.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is almost the only person in Canada who does not know who the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels are. We are not talking about choir boys or a bowling team, as everyone knows.

There is an emergency in Quebec. People have been killed as a result of what is going on. Bombs are going off weekly. Is the Prime Minister ready to hold an emergency debate, here, today, this evening, on the issue of biker gangs in Quebec, because that is where they are raging?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that the administration of justice is a provincial government problem. The responsible police forces in Quebec report to the provincial government and are directed by one of the opposition leader's predecessors. If the Quebec police need the federal police, we are always prepared to come to their assistance, but the responsibility is Quebec's.

He could call his former leader and tell him what to do.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister appears to be out of touch with Quebec reality. There is a bikers war in Quebec, and it has been going on for some years, but the Prime Minister keeps blathering on, as though nothing was wrong.

How can the Prime Minister contend, as he did today, that we have all the tools necessary to combat the activities of criminal biker gangs, when in Quebec not one week goes by without buildings being blown up, or worse, innocent bystanders being killed?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government appreciates the

confusion and dismay biker gangs are causing in the Quebec City area. It is a very serious and dangerous situation indeed-and a tragedy, in the case of young Daniel Desrochers, who was killed in Montreal last year.

At the same time, the Prime Minister said, might I remind the hon. member, that this is essentially a provincial matter. It concerns the administration of justice, which falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.

The Solicitor General of Canada and myself have made it clear that we are prepared to work with our Quebec counterparts to find appropriate ways and tools for the police to fight organized crime. We said so six months ago, at the national forum on organized crime that was held here in September. We are prepared to work with our counterparts to find tools that can help the police.