House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Ferry Service
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

It is an old tub.

Ferry Service
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Is the minister waiting for the election campaign to finally find a safe and lasting solution, or is he waiting until after the election to give the bad news to the people of the Magdalen Islands?

Ferry Service
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I just said to the hon. member, we want to replace the Lucy Maud Montgomery with a boat that will cost less than the $30 million we set aside.

We are indeed looking at various options, but a decision has yet to be made. In the meantime, I can tell the hon. member that the Lucy Maud Montgomery is in good shape and that it has been properly maintained.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the media report today that one of my constituents has again confirmed that the Governor General of Canada, the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, pays no taxes but our troops serving under the Governor General have had their pay frozen and have suffered 37 tax increases by the government.

Why will the Minister of National Defence not treat our troops properly, fairly and with respect? Why will he not give them their long overdue pay raises? Why will he not do what is right?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. member does not do his party any service in the preamble to that question. No doubt the fate of the Canadian forces and their appropriate requirements to be cared for in an adequate way are some things that we have under active consideration.

The hon. member will know that we have asked the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to look into the people needs of the Canadian forces. There will be an in depth study over the next few months to ensure that we respond to those needs.

In the interim I can tell the hon. member that I will be announcing some improvements in the situation for the Canadian forces next week. I only regret the Reform Party has not made any contribution to the process of reviewing the future of the Canadian forces.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again the minister is spewing forth typical Liberal rhetoric: strike up a committee, make a study, spend millions of taxpayers' dollars and wait for a report. That is the Liberal way.

Currently there are Canadian Armed Forces pay and benefit recommendations before Treasury Board. The defence minister is letting them collect dust while he drags his feet.

Why is the minister refusing to act on these recommendations? Why will he not give our military its long overdue pay increases? Why will the minister not just do what is right?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

This is pretty scary stuff, Mr. Speaker. I fear the hon. member speaketh with forked tongue.

Yesterday the hon. member and his party refused to co-operate in arranging for the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to travel across the country to meet with members of the Canadian forces to be able to see exactly what the people needs are in the Canadian forces. That is something I have done from coast, to coast, to coast. I have visited with the Canadian forces. They know there are needs they would like to have addressed.

Instead of spewing whatever it was that the hon. member has just got finished with, it is too bad he would not spew the truth some time and support the Canadian forces instead of yap about it.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

March 20th, 1997 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

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

The new human rights commissioner tabled her first annual report this morning. She criticizes the government's lack of constructive action in a number of areas, including the lack of follow up to the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

As regards foreign policy, does the Prime Minister, who still is refusing to raise the issue of human rights publicly on Team Canada trips, acknowledge that his government is much better at high-sounding rhetoric than practical action, as the Canadian Human Rights Commission argues?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the member has said is totally wrong. Each time I went to countries where there were human rights problems, I raised them-in China, in Indonesia and elsewhere. He cannot say we did not raise these issues abroad.

Today we received the commissioner's report, and we will note it carefully. We received a 4,000 page report from the commission on aboriginal peoples. The minister has already put a number of recommendations into effect. He was doing so in fact even before the commission report came out, because he was in contact with the heads of the commission.

The report has just come in. It is a very important report, and we have said it requires consideration and consultation, before a full policy may be proposed. We had already implemented several recommendations, before the publication of the report.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the least we can say is that when the Prime Minister raises human rights issues he makes few waves abroad.

We will come back home for my supplementary. The commission strongly criticizes the government's inaction in 1996 on the issue of people with disabilities. Perhaps the Minister of National Defence would care to pay attention.

It stressed the fact that, apart from a few isolated breakthroughs, 1996 was for many of them-persons with disabilities-a year of almost total stagnation, with certain hard won gains actually being lost.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that the election goodies he offered people with disabilities do not make up for all the many cuts he has made, which are behind the deterioration in the situation of people with disabilities?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I find that particularly deplorable, because the government made provision in its budget to help people with disabilities deal with their specific problems, as was recommended by a committee of the House of Commons. The hon. member probably does not want to recognize it, but we acted immediately in the latest budget on the recommendations of the committee.

In society, there are always problems to be solved. We solve a lot of them, but I know they are interested in only one thing-a form of destruction-while we are trying to build a society to everyone's benefit. That is why we did something in the latest budget for people with disabilities.

Canadian Polar Commission
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

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

The Canadian Polar Commission held a conference on contaminants in the Arctic environment last fall. Because of the potential risk to human health the Department of Health was invited to participate.

Since the minister is concerned with the health of all Canadians including northerners, could he tell the House why not one official from his department participated in this important Arctic conference?

Canadian Polar Commission
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for recognizing that Health Canada is concerned about the health of all Canadians.

He will also recall that Health Canada is actively involved with aboriginal people and other sister agencies at the federal and territorial levels in matters that concern the environment through the Arctic environmental strategy and the international Arctic monitoring and assessment program.

The member will also recognize that the Canadian Polar Commission is actively in receipt of resources from the federal government. In fact the conference received supplementary benefits from the government.

In the spirit of co-operation, when the specific health officials who had been invited found that they could not meet the timetable required they contacted the lead health agency in the area, the Northwest Territories department of health, and arranged to have the health sector represented by health officials from the territories.

They did an admirable job. I thank the member for recognizing the health concerns of Canadians were well represented.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, biker gangs are a scourge and a blight on our society. Gangs like the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine exist for one reason only and that is to commit crime.

In Quebec the biker gangs are killing for control over the lucrative drug trade and prostitution. The same thing is happening in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. In fact it is happening in every major city in the country.

It is pretty strong evidence that the government's soft on crime approach to criminal justice is an unqualified failure. To make matters worse, the justice minister refuses to debate the benefits of anti-gang legislation.

If the minister will not allow Parliament to consider anti-gang legislation, what specific steps will he take to crush the criminal activities of the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine not only in Quebec but right across the country?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

As he is aware, the Minister of Justice is meeting in Quebec today with provincial counterparts, mayors and police agencies. He has indicated that as a result of meetings held last fall a number of changes were being considered to the Criminal Code of Canada. These changes would give the police the tools to crack down on this type of organized criminal activity.

You were in error to suggest that the door was closed on considering measures to deal with anti-gang legislation. It is possible, and the minister indicated that this request would be reviewed.