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 justice.

Topics

U.S. Helms-Burton Legislation
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, we recently marked the sad occasion of the first anniversary of the Helms-Burton legislation. Despite all the pressure brought to bear by the official opposition to have this legislation declared illegal, the Canadian government did nothing to force Americans to change their behaviour.

The Bloc Quebecois deplores the government's failure to take action in this regard. Out of fear of the Americans, the Liberal government is still refusing to challenge the Helms-Burton legislation before a special NAFTA committee, as it has been in a position to do since July 1996.

Now that the government can no longer take refuge behind the European Union's complaint to the WTO to decline to file a complaint under NAFTA, will the Minister for International Trade finally have the courage to implement the only effective means of challenging this extraterritorial legislation and finally put a stop to this violation of Canada's trade sovereignty?

Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal election campaign has truly begun. The little guy from Shawinigan is jetting off to Washington for his pre-writ Kodak tour.

Maybe the Prime Minister thinks he can brush up his sagging image by posing hand in hand with Mr. Clinton. While he is at it, why not a golf game? With the President on the injury list, this could be the Prime Minister's best chance to win something in 1997.

Canadian people are smart enough to know what this trip is really about. When the Prime Minister does not create jobs, when he cuts health care and keeps taxes high, he cannot simply fix his record by posing for a picture and taking a few divots with the President.

The Tories tried it in the past and it did not work for them. Now the Liberals are trying it again but it will not work either. At least

we know that the Liberals and Tories are one and the same. The only difference is that Mulroney preferred fishing over golf.

The Prime Minister should get ready for that Kodak moment and say cheese.

Canadian War Dead
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike their American neighbours, Canadians have always buried their war dead in cemeteries located close to where they fell in combat. Their names can be found on monuments throughout the world, including at Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel.

Here in Canada, there are memorials to Canada's war dead both in larger centres and in small towns and villages. We pass by these symbols without paying much attention, but they bear silent witness to our past and are a reminder of the sacrifice made by those who died for love of their country and of freedom.

I am happy to be able to report that these stone monuments are not our only means of paying tribute to these individuals. In Quebec, cities bear the names of places that saw combat in World War I, such as Ypres and Vimy, and there are a good number of lakes and rivers with names like Arras, Verdun, Armentières and Amiens.

I can think of no more appropriate tribute to Canadians who gave their lives in the war than to be commemorated in perpetuity-

Canadian War Dead
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The member for Peterborough has the floor.

Youth Employment
Statements By Members

April 7th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, young people are a priority for the federal government's jobs strategy. Youth employment programs such as Youth Service Canada youth internship and summer job action have provided thousands of young Canadians with work experience since 1994. The establishment of the Boys and Girls Club in Norwood in Peterborough riding is one outcome of these programs.

The youth employment strategy introduced this year will provide opportunities for Canadian youth to break the vicious circle of no job without experience, no experience without a job.

The youth employment strategy will help youth get that first job by creating internships in growth industries, improving successful programs and increasing access to information.

Young people need jobs. Canada needs their energy and talent. The government's youth employment strategy focuses on giving young people the valuable experience and information they need to make a successful start in their careers.

Youth Employment
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to make a very brief statement that has to do with the question period.

Recently, we had questions about guidelines for the Speaker during oral question period. More specifically, the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs proceeded with a review of the rule stating that one cannot, during oral question period, anticipate an order of the day.

In its 61st report tabled in the House on March 21 that committee unanimously suggested this guideline cease to be enforced. As your servant, the Chair will follow this advice. From now on, questions and answers will no longer be ruled out of order on the basis that they anticipate an order of the day.

I thank all hon. members for their time.

Youth Employment
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Justice stated that he felt that the Quebec government had not been sufficiently co-operative regarding an anti-bikers bill.

However, in a letter dated April 3, sent by his Quebec counterpart, we find the exact opposite is true. Quebec proposed three specific scenarios, which were discussed with federal officials, for neutralizing biker gangs and putting an end to this war that has already caused the deaths of several people. Two meetings on this basis between federal and Quebec officials have already taken place, and a third meeting is scheduled today.

Would the minister agree that Quebec is now doing everything in its power to find a solution and that in the final instance, it is the federal Minister of Justice who is engaging in obstruction while trying to make Minister Bégin responsible for his own failure to act?

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, in my opinion, and on behalf of the Canadian government, this is not a quarrel about jurisdiction but a matter that concerns the safety of Quebecers and Canadians.

Nearly three weeks ago, I went to Quebec City to meet my counterparts and mayors from the Quebec City area to discuss their concerns. They asked for changes in the Criminal Code. Since then I have been trying to respond to this request.

At the Department of the Justice I have set up a special task force to deal with this matter on an urgent basis. We have now reviewed and examined all the alternatives for making criminal legislation more effective and more powerful in order to help police forces in their fight against organized crime.

That is our objective, not these quarrels about jurisdiction between various levels of government. We genuinely want to deal with the core issue which is about making Canadian laws more effective so that we can help our police forces.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, who mentioned jurisdictional quarrels? We in the Bloc Quebecois asked the minister to intervene because the Criminal Code is enforced by Ottawa, as far as we know. We never mentioned jurisdictional quarrels.

What we are saying is that the minister has the full co-operation of Quebec on this matter and that the scenarios proposed by the Government of Quebec could help the minister to table amendments to the Criminal Code if he only had the political will. Is the minister waiting for Quebec to do the job for him? That is the question.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

No, Mr. Speaker. Like all Canadians, I am waiting for each level of government to act responsibly and make our society a safer place to be.

As the federal Minister of Justice, I am responsible for the Criminal Code, but it is up to the province to administer justice, according to the Constitution of Canada. We each share part of this responsibility.

I am very pleased to be able to work together with my Quebec counterpart. As I said earlier, I met him three weeks ago. For years and during the past few weeks we have had meetings with officials on this important matter. Next week we intend to announce the measures we will table to achieve the objectives we share with the Government of Quebec.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is so pleased to be working with his Quebec counterpart, he should inform his press secretary who does not say the same thing. The minister might also point out to his press secretary that the French legislation does not go back to 1936 but 1992. The numbers are the same in both official languages.

When the minister tells us that he will table amendments to the Criminal Code or C-17 or will bring forward new legislation next week, will he promise-and we promise to do our share-to ensure that this bill is passed before the next election is called?

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, I am delighted to hear the hon. member agrees there is some urgency involved here in the House of Commons.

However, as far as my dealings with Mr. Bégin, the Quebec Minister of Justice, are concerned, it is true that last week, I was disappointed by Mr. Bégin's response to my request. I merely asked him to clarify his position on an anti-gang bill. I asked some legal questions. I asked legal opinions, opinions of his Department's lawyers. I have yet to receive the details. So I am disappointed.

Forget about the politics of the issue, forget all that because the real issue is to have a more effective Criminal Code to help our police forces. That is the objective of the Government of Canada.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, as we see again today, the minister has decided to do a bit of petty politicking with this and create a media diversion to hide his lack of political will.

Far from simply doing something to resolve the war of the biker gangs, he is deliberately twisting the practical and realistic proposals of the Government of Quebec.

Given that Bill C-17, an act to amend the Criminal Code, has yet to be passed and is supposed to resolve part of the problem, will the minister accept the full co-operation of the official opposition in amending this bill at the stage it has reached in this House to include in it one of the three scenarios proposed by the Government of Quebec?

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, first, as I said, I asked Mr. Bégin a number of days ago to clarify his position. The proposals put forward by my Quebec counterpart are vague and general. I have some legal questions.

I feel it is very important in all this to avoid passing legislation that will be struck down or nullified by the courts in six months.

This sort of approach would only give Quebecers and Canadians false hope. We must pass effective legislation that is also valid and constitutional. So, as I said, we intend to announce next week the measures we will propose, and I am very happy to hear the member from the Bloc Quebecois say that he is prepared to work quickly with us.