House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Journée Internationale De La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, Thursday, March 20 is the Journée internationale de la francophonie. Since 1970, Canada has been a world leader in promoting la francophonie and a founding member of the Agence de coopération culturelle et technique.

Canada holds an enviable position as a member of the major organizations of the international community. Its linguistic duality and cultural richness make it a partner that is in demand in la francophonie, a network of 49 countries and governments that has in common the use of French.

Belonging to la francophonie also means showing the rest of the world the essence of our Canadian culture and giving 8.5 million French-speaking Canadians a chance to reach out to the rest of the world and to exert their influence in many countries.

Happy Journée internationale de la francophonie to all francophones and francophiles in Canada.

Bloc Quebecois
Statements By Members

March 18th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, having completed the long and tedious process they imposed on themselves, Bloc Quebecois members finally elected a new leader.

In an effort to steer as far away as they could from last year's disappointing experience, when their leader was elected by an electoral conclave, this year, Bloc members went to the other extreme by having their leader selected by universal suffrage.

The sole purpose of the convention that just took place was to confirm what all observers had known for more than four months: that the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie would be elected leader of the Bloc.

Bloc members have just elected a new president. However, as far as the new leader of the Bloc Quebecois is concerned, they will have to be patient, because Lucien Bouchard is clearly not about to give it up.

International Aid
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the words "duplication" and "encroachment" have symbolic meaning in Quebec. The separatists never miss an opportunity to condemn federal interference.

However, what about when the shoe is on the other foot? Do we hear Bloc Quebecois members asking the PQ government to respect federal jurisdiction? No. They fall silent, as they did last week following Minister Simard's announcement.

Might I remind members that international aid comes under federal jurisdiction and that the minister responsible for CIDA is doing an excellent job in this area.

Sylvain Simard's plan to create a parallel secretariat will simply squander $1.5 million annually in an area that comes under federal jurisdiction.

As a Quebecer, I call on the Government of Quebec to direct its attention to citizens' concerns about hospital cutbacks. Minister Simard has just reminded us of the fable of the frog and the ox.

Ms. Shirley Douglas And Mr. Kiefer Sutherland
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour two of Canada's leading thespians, Ms. Shirley Douglas and Mr. Kiefer Sutherland, who are presently the leads in "The Glass Menagerie".

Ms. Douglas plays the mother and Mr. Sutherland appropriately plays her son in the production of this play.

Ms. Douglas is the daughter of the late the Honourable Thomas Clement Douglas. Tommy Douglas, P.C., C.C., LL.D. was elected seven times to this House. He served as premier of Saskatchewan for 17 years and was the former leader of the New Democratic Party in the House of Commons. He led the first socialist government elected in Canada. Mr. Douglas was one of the most eloquent and well liked members of the House.

It is my pleasure to extend my warmest wishes to his daughter, Ms. Douglas, and grandson, Mr. Sutherland, during their stay and performances in Ottawa.

Ms. Shirley Douglas And Mr. Kiefer Sutherland
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, Ms. Douglas and Mr. Sutherland are here with us now in our gallery.

Ms. Shirley Douglas And Mr. Kiefer Sutherland
Statements By Members

2:10 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 the Prime Minister ruled out the Bloc's suggestion that an emergency debate be held on the war between the groups of biker gangs. He washed his hands of it saying that the federal government had nothing to do with this question.

That is not, however, the opinion of those involved primarily. The Government of Quebec and all the municipalities in the Quebec City area trying to deal with these biker gangs are requesting exceptional measures from the federal government for an exceptional situation to help them in their efforts to rid themselves of this scourge.

My question is for the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice. Given the unanimous desire for action on the part of the Government of Quebec and municipal authorities, including the mayors of Quebec City and of Saint-Nicolas, will the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice admit finally that the federal government must also act urgently in this matter?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I share the concern expressed by the hon. member. The most important thing is to protect families and communities in Quebec and throughout Canada.

I spoke today with Robert Perreault, minister responsible for public safety in Quebec. We agreed it would be preferable to meet as soon as possible to look at all the possibilities and at all available, valid and constitutional approaches. I plan to meet Mr. Perreault and the mayors of the Quebec City area municipalities on Thursday morning to discuss the situation.

As I said yesterday, I am open to looking at all available strategies, all valid and constitutional measures to improve the Criminal Code and criminal law so as to help the police in their fight against organized crime.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is good news, finally. The Minister of Justice has decided to take on the issue.

I ask the Minister of Justice if he would agree-we could do it unanimously in this House-before meeting minister Perreault and the mayors of the Quebec City area, to hold an emergency debate here in the House and to table the dozen measures he announced yesterday so this House might debate them?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, before we have a debate in the House, I think we have first to identify the specific measures we can take to strengthen the Criminal Code.

We must look at the situation, meet those who are involved in Quebec and then, if possible and desirable, introduce a bill for debate here in the House.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the minister undertake, following this meeting, in fact, to take positive steps, either through the introduction of a bill, before the elections are held, or through the holding of an emergency debate, again before the elections, so that we may deal with this urgent matter here?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member and I share the same goal, that is, to improve the law and the Criminal Code, to help the police. If it is possible, after our meeting Thursday morning in Quebec City, to identify specific, valid, and constitutional measures, we will adopt them, we will propose them here, in the House, for debate.

If the hon. member or his colleagues have some ideas, I am open to them. As I said today to Mr. Perreault, the most important thing is to equip the police, validly and constitutionally, with the tools they need to fight organized crime and to protect Canadians throughout the country.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we saw this morning, mayors from the Quebec City area and the Quebec Minister of Public Security sent a letter to the federal Minister of Justice reminding him that, under Bill C-17, for which he is taking credit, he has additional powers, but that this is still not enough. The minister must go further to stamp out organized crime.

Given the reply he just provided to the Leader of the Opposition, I am asking the minister whether, when he refers to valid and constitutional clauses to stamp out organized crime and biker gangs, he is alluding to the "notwithstanding" clause in the Constitution, and whether he is prepared to go so far as to use that clause in the fight against biker gangs?

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, it is premature to consider such an

option. The important thing right now is to meet with those involved and, as I said, to look at all the options with an open mind.

The hon. member referred to Bill C-17, in which we proposed several changes to the Criminal Code, so as to strengthen the legislation. I hope that with these measures, and perhaps other ones which I will discuss on Thursday morning with my Quebec counterpart, Mr. Perreault, we will be able to improve the situation.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in their letter to the minister, the mayors and the Quebec Minister of Public Security talk about an exceptional situation. Exceptional measures are therefore required. I asked the minister a very clear question, but he did not answer it.

I want to know, if the Quebec government and the vast majority of mayors from the Quebec City area who are stuck with this huge problem ask him to go so far as to use the "notwithstanding" clause, whether the minister is prepared to go that route to follow up on the request made by these municipalities and those who are stuck with that problem?