House of Commons Hansard #155 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was port.

Topics

Mirabel Airport
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to forget that his government has been in power for three and a half years.

Since the government is prepared to pay almost $250 million in compensation and miscellaneous payments to Pearson airport, is the minister prepared to approve the necessary funding to guarantee the continued existence of Mirabel airport?

Mirabel Airport
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government wants both Montreal airports, Mirabel and Dorval, in good working order.

Charter flights and cargo would go to Mirabel, but international passenger flights would go to Dorval. We support the ADM policy in order to promote the use of Montreal as an international centre, to use both airports and maintain connections with Europe and other countries.

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question from my colleague from Beaver River, the justice minister has supposed a litany of measures which he says respect the rights of victims. What in the world happened with conditional sentencing in Bill C-41 which allows rapists and violent offenders to walk free?

The justice minister admitted in the House last week that he does not want to see rapists walking free, as is now the case. If that is true, will the minister immediately amend the law which allows that to happen? Will he amend it?

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to want the

government to introduce a bill every time a court makes a decision with which he does not agree.

In connection with the B.C. case to which he has referred, as I told the hon. member, that decision is under appeal. Indeed, it is being argued in the B.C. Court of Appeal. Let us wait to see what the Court of Appeal has to say about it.

The hon. member ought not mislead the Canadian public about the effect of Bill C-41 and conditional sentences. He ought to make it clear that the courts have said time and again that conditional sentences are not appropriate for violent crimes.

I refer to the British Columbia decision in Regina v Bishop O'Connor involving allegations of sexual assault. The court said it would not be in the public interest to impose a conditional sentence, given the seriousness of the offences and the accused's position of trust and authority vis-à-vis the victims.

In Ontario there is the case of Regina v BLG. The initials are used because the names cannot be released. The Ontario Court of Justice, general division, was faced with an uncle who had committed indecent assault against two nieces. The court refused a conditional sentence, saying general deterrence and denunciation were more important.

Mr. Justice Kurisco, in Regina v MacNeil, again a case of indecent-

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot on a supplementary question.

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, what the justice minister is reading is all fine and dandy but the courts are still releasing rapists and violent offenders on conditional sentences.

The justice minister is correct when he points out now, as he did last week, that the case of the convicted rapist in B.C. is under appeal. Until the appeal court comes to a decision, the rapist is still at large, which causes enormous apprehension and fear on the part of his victim.

Will the justice minister amend the law so that future victims of violence do not have to live with the trauma of knowing their assailant is free and can victimize them again?

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is so typical of the hon. member and his colleagues to take the unhappy facts of a single case and to use them to fearmonger, to mislead people into believing that there is a problem where it does not exist.

There are, in this memorandum, particulars of a dozen recent cases in which courts have said that conditional sentences will not be given when there is violence, when society requires deterrence and denunciation.

Let the member continue. He will find that these shallow tactics of fearmongering do not succeed.

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

On March 20, the minister said in this House, and I quote: "As long as Canada Post serves a public policy purpose then it should not be privatized". Furthermore, she said she wanted postal service to continue, especially in rural areas. However, the minister's office has stated that a firm of consultants, Valeurs Immobilières TD, has been asked to study the viability of privatizing the Canada Post Corporation.

After retaining only the election serving elements of the Radwanski report, will the minister assure us that Canada Post will not be privatized, regardless of how she fares in the upcoming election?

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said last week and what I continue to say: the Canada Post Corporation will not be privatized so long as there is a need for postal service in all of Canada's regions.

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case, if the minister really believes what she is saying, I would ask her why a firm is conducting a study on privatizing or on the possibility of privatizing the Canada Post Corporation?

"As long as there is a need", she says, but people have not stopped writing letters and will need stamps for a long time to come. There is no need to privatize for that.

So, is there something in the wind or is this purely and simply intended to waste public funds, as is the government's practice?

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if you recall, we provided a partial answer when we received Mr. Radwanski's report. At the time, we said we would continue to study his recommendations, because he was not able to get all the figures he wanted either. That is what we did, and we will continue to do our job of ensuring that Canada Post fulfils its mandate without costing taxpayers more.

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is truly unfortunate that the justice minister talks about the unhappy facts of a single case.

I am aware of four recent court decisions in this land. Three are serious sex offences and one is an attempted murder. What is concerning about these cases is that all four accused were given conditional sentences. No time in jail. The justice minister thinks that is okay.

Since the justice minister is responsible for legislating conditional sentences, will he at least put some justice in the system by excluding sex and other violent offences from conditional sentencing?

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the conditional sentence provisions that are already in law provide, first, that they are only available where the court decides the sentence should be two years less a day or lower-obviously that is the less serious case-and, second, where the court is satisfied the person does not represent a danger to the community.

There have been some decisions where conditional sentences have been granted where violence has occurred. Many of those have been appealed. Some are now before appeal courts including the case in B.C. to which the hon. member referred last week.

I say to him, as I said to his colleague, let the courts decide. The law is clear. Prison is the appropriate sentence for violent crime. I have said that time and again. We have a system of justice in which judges decide on the facts of all the cases and the appeal courts can correct any error.

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have about 13,000 names on a petition that says the case in British Columbia is more than less serious as the justice minister would call it.

Last week we pursued the justice minister on his lack of interest in enacting victims rights or changing conditional sentence legislation. His futile attempt to protect his poor performance resulted in his quoting from a victims rights group letter.

My question is one of integrity in the office of the justice minister. Did the minister or anyone in his office initiate a request for that letter?

Rights Of Victims
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. Even if we had, it would not go near the integrity the hon. member pretends to talk about.

The answer is no. It was unsolicited. It came from CAVEAT because, as the letter says on its face, it is evidence and it expresses the view of Priscilla de Villiers that the government has acted appropriately, has introduced significant change, and has shown a willingness to listen and to act.