House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accused.

Topics

Victims Of Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, one thing I can certainly deny is that the hon. member speaks on behalf of victims in this country. He does not. When victims look at the record of this government they find in a dozen pieces of legislation grounds upon which to say that we have improved the law for the benefit of victims.

In terms of section 745, as I have already told my friend's colleague, in Bill C-41 we provided for the victims to have a role at the hearings. After that the Supreme Court of Canada came down with a judgment that made it clear under the common law that it could do so.

If my hon. friend thinks there is any part of Bill C-45 that should be changed to make that any clearer, and I have already told him in writing that I am happy to work with him to that effect, then let the hon. member, instead of standing in the House and carrying on with theatrics and rhetoric, work with us to make changes in the law to improve it for the objective of victims.

Victims Of Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course we have to address the bungling of this justice minister. Under Bill C-41 he granted victims the right to make written impact statements and under Bill C-45 he took that right away from them. We are talking about the bungling of this justice minister.

The minister and his government have made the claim that making Bill C-45 retroactive could result in a charter challenge. Why would the minister worry about a court challenge? He should be used to them by now.

So far the justice minister's Bill C-68 has been challenged as being unconstitutional. The conditional sentencing provision of the justice minister's Bill C-41 is in court in B.C., Ontario and Alberta. The minister cost the taxpayers $1 million in the Airbus fiasco and now taxpayers may have to cough up millions more in the Pearson airport deal.

Why is he not willing to err on the side of victims, even if it does result in a court challenge? Whose rights are more important to him, those of mass child killer Clifford Olson or those of the families of his victims?

Victims Of Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, along with everything else the hon. member must struggle with, his abject inability to make distinctions between different cases is also a terrible burden. It is evident in his questions in the House.

The challenge to Bill C-68, the gun control bill, is before the court. There has been no judgment yet because the argument has not taken place. I would venture to say that the hon. member can count on that bill being constitutional and valid. Those are the submissions we will be making before that hon. court.

In terms of victims, I would like the hon. member to consider the position I put to him last week. If he thinks that Bill C-45 can be improved in any way to assure the right of the victim to participate in section 745 hearings, let the hon. member come forward and work with us to achieve that result. Spare us the tendentious partisan rhetoric in the House of Commons and work with us to make it better.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

April 7th, 1997 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

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

On March 27, Federal Court Justice Sandra Simpson stated that the government's decision to impose a time limit on the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Somalia was unlawful, considering the extent of its terms of reference. In response to this judgment, the minister maintained his decision and went so far as to change the terms of reference of the commission to include only what happened before the Canadian troops arrived in Somalia.

By unlawfully cutting short the commission's proceedings and subsequently restricting its terms of reference, is the minister not only to trying protect the military establishment but also some Liberal friends who are close to the government, such as, for instance, Bob Fowler, former Deputy Minister of National Defence and currently Canada's ambassador to the UN?

Somalia Inquiry
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, in his question the hon. member said that the federal court ruled that the procedure followed by the government was inappropriate. In this decision, the court indicated how we should proceed to ensure that the commission of inquiry reports only on the matters it has examined.

Obviously, we wanted to make the situation very clear to prevent any confusion, such as, the government asking the commissioners to report on and draw conclusions respecting situations they had not checked, examined and heard described in testimony. That is what we did.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the current Minister of National Defence has been subject to the same pressures from the military establishment as his predecessor who resigned.

Will the minister agree that his shocking decision to change the terms of reference of the commission will leave several fundamental questions unanswered, questions that were the very reason why the commission of inquiry was set up in the first place?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the commission of inquiry has now spent more than two years examining elements of the incidents in Somalia which it considered to be a priority.

As I have pointed out many times, I never commented on the commission's work schedule or on the way it organized its hearings to hear witnesses and their testimony.

Two years, 125 witnesses and 100,000 pages of documents later, I am now, like all Canadians, looking forward to the report and conclusions of the commission of inquiry, which will probably make a number of suggestions that will be very useful and will do so soon enough that they can be used.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the court told the Somalia inquiry that it had every right to investigate the torture murder of Shidane Arone and the subsequent cover-up in Ottawa, the government changed the mandate to hide the truth from Canadians.

Since hiding the truth and changing the law to protect the friends of the Liberal Party is now the policy of this government, will it promise to print-

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, we should not impute motive either in our preamble or in our question. I would like the hon. member to immediately go to his question.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, will the Liberal government in its election red book, part two, put in the true facts of what Canadians have really heard from this Somalia inquiry so they really know what the beliefs of this government are?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to my hon. friend that the decision of the federal court indicated clearly that the government should spell out, in unmistakable language, what we thought we had done in the original request to bring the commission to a close by the end of June, and that is that we would not be asking the commissioners to report on matters which they had not looked into or which they did not feel were appropriate to report on.

What is going to be happening is, at the end of June, after two years of hearings, 125 witnesses and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, the commission of inquiry on Somalia will report on those matters it has had an opportunity to evaluate and which the commissioners feel are important to report on.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago in the House the former minister stood and said we are going to get to the bottom of this; whatever it takes, we will get to the truth.

The promise was made to the Canadian people, it was made to our troops who are out there trying to do their job, that the inquiry will go right to the top and get to the truth. Now we hear that we will change the mandate.

With its terrible record of broken promises and utter disrespect for judicial hearings and quasi-judicial bodies, why should Canadians ever believe this government again?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and his party, I know, have a long record of unmitigated support for the justice and court system of Canada. We have heard many times in here over the last three years the great respect Reformers have for the justice system.

What I would suggest to the hon. member is that if he wants to find out how the Canadian forces feel about the decisions of the government, he might demonstrate his intestinal fortitude and go on to the bases in this country and-

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Davenport.