House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have shown over the period of the last period of years that to this government, actions speak louder than words. We have done better than talk about this. We have referred to the Supreme Court of Canada fundamental questions about the constitutionality of the position taken by the Government of Quebec which claims that it can proceed entirely without reference to the courts and the Constitution.

We believe that is wrong. As a result we have put to the Supreme Court of Canada in a reference questions to determine the answer: Can the Government of Quebec unilaterally act to separate from the rest of the country without reference to the Constitution?

We believe it cannot. We have put our position before the court. We have done the responsible thing with respect to the Constitution. We have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to rule that the Constitution applies throughout this country.

Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should get his Quebec counterpart to join in the intervener stage to see if he could come to some agreement on that plan.

We are promised by the leader in Quebec that by 1998 we will have another referendum and that he will be going to the people at that time. Has the justice minister decided what he will do if such a thing occurs to ensure that the question is fair and that the unilateral declaration of independence does not have any weight in Canadian law?

We are unwilling on this side of the House to let the Quebec separatists manipulate the question, set the agenda and destroy the country-

Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Sit down.

Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I find the question to be hypothetical. If the hon. Minister of Justice cares to address it he may.

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

April 21st, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On April 10, the official opposition brought up the tragic case of Suzie Robitaille, whose children are still in Egypt, having been abducted by their father nearly two years ago. In this case, as in many others, the government is dragging its feet, even though one of the children is seriously ill. We have learned that Canada is currently involved in negotiating a bilateral agreement with Egypt concerning child abduction.

Does the minister commit to making signature of the bilateral agreement with Egypt conditional upon the settlement of cases in dispute, in particular the one concerning the children of Suzie Robitaille?

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first let me clarify that negotiations are under way. Officials are in Cairo right now negotiating a new consular agreement with Egypt that would allow us to have a better set of rules, disciplines and initiatives to protect Canadian rights.

Unfortunately, Egypt does not adhere to the Hague convention with respect to the abduction of children. It has not signed that covenant. Therefore, we have no standing in international law that would require Egypt to return the children.

We will continue to work as actively as we can with Egyptian authorities and impress on them the necessity to give Mrs. Robitaille her rightful place in court, to make sure that she has access to the children and, if at all possible, to adhere to the Canadian judgment, which is to return the children.

We will continue to do what we can, but we are limited by the fact that Egypt has its own laws and we must work within that legal framework. However, I can promise the hon. member that we will continue to work very closely with Mrs. Robitaille to do whatever we can to help her in this very difficult situation.

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a law. Egypt is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is not respecting that convention.

Given the health status of Mrs. Robitaille's eldest child, which continues to deteriorate, can the minister, at the very least, implement emergency repatriation measures for this seriously ill child?

Child Abduction
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I intend to be in contact with my counterpart, the Egyptian foreign minister, within the next day or two to make these representations.

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has advised Mr. Sheppard of Calgary, Alberta that he will not be compensated for the loss of his private property. The justice minister's order in council which prohibited Mr. Sheppard's firearm forced this Calgarian and thousands more Canadians to turn over their property to local authorities without compensation.

How can the Minister of Justice seize property that was legally acquired and lawfully held without compensation?

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-68 the government took steps to take off the market those handguns which are small, easily concealed and cheaply manufactured. They are called Saturday night specials in the United States and they account for more police killings than any other form of firearm in that country. We also took off the market some military type assault weapons.

The government does not believe that Canadians want a country in which people can have access to military type assault weapons and Saturday night specials.

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister failed to answer the question. Yes, he has taken this property from Canadians, but the question was why he has not compensated them. That property was legally acquired and lawfully held.

How can he say that he stands for the rights of Canadians when he takes their property from them without compensation? How can he do this? Will he answer the question?

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that, when we passed orders in council which took guns out of the hands of people, we compensated them for the cost.

For those that were prohibited, they were grandfathered. People were allowed to keep them and use them for the rest of their lives and to sell them to others in the same class of ownership.

The real difficulty this hon. member has is that he and his members are against gun control. The Reform Party, the Conservative Party and the NDP are against gun control.

The time will come in the not distant future when the people of Canada will have the opportunity to express themselves on the subject. On that occasion, this member, the other members of the Reform Party, the Tories-wherever they may be-and the NDP

are going to find out the cost of opposing what Canadians want: gun control.

St. Hubert Military Base
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

On a number of occasions, we have called for the federal government to set up a fund to compensate for the negative effects of the closure of the St. Hubert military base and we have insisted that the region be treated just like other Canadian communities, where bases were closed, like Cornwallis, for example, which received over $7.5 million.

Could the minister confirm today his government's intention to provide compensation for the closure of the St. Hubert base?

St. Hubert Military Base
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, when the military bases were closed or reduced, in certain regions, evaluations and analyses were done to assess the economic impact on the region.

Obviously, there were a series of closures that had significant impact. The hon. member mentioned Cornwallis, for example. In my province, however, the military base at Chatham was closed at a cost of 1,000 civilian and military jobs.

I think that, in all the reductions we have faced at national defence and in the Canadian forces, we have been as fair as possible and have applied similar criteria, as circumstances dictated, across the country, including in St. Hubert.

St. Hubert Military Base
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the minister does not intend to use the upcoming campaign to announce the payment of compensation, which we estimate at several million dollars, for the loss of 1,400 jobs, when all we want is for the government to give St. Hubert what it is entitled to.