House of Commons Hansard #151 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister not, by his actions, giving a veto to any group, however small, that challenges the Marois reform?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times I have said this, but we are not giving a veto to any group.

I have already asked the hon. member this question: Do she and her party consider Quebec's anglophone community part of Quebec?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

If so, what is required is a consensus that includes Quebec's anglophone community. What we are asking for is a consensus, reasonable support. We are not asking for unanimity.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, one would almost think there was an election on the horizon or something like that. I know it is ironic, but the justice minister, after having been terribly soft on crime for three and a half years, all of a sudden is trying to pass himself off as the champion of victims rights across the country. The people will not be fooled.

If the Liberals are really serious about putting victims first, will the justice minister commit here, now, today to passing Reform's victims bill of rights before the next election? Do not just think about it, do it.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is one reason why the justice committee is devoting time today, tomorrow and later this week to the proposed victims bill of rights. That is because I asked it to. The last time the matter was debated in the House of Commons I undertook to direct the matter to the justice committee so it could look at the proposals in detail. I wrote to the committee and it has kindly taken up my request and is looking at the matter.

There is always more to do to make the justice system better and that includes the rights of victims. I do not think that the Reform Party or anyone else should overlook what has been achieved by this government on behalf of victims. Over the last three and a half years we have introduced more meaningful changes to the Criminal Code for the benefit of victims than any government in memory.

The Reform Party ought not to think that it has any monopoly on concern. As a caucus and as a government we have shown that we care deeply about victims and their role in the criminal justice system. We have acted.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to talk for a year and then to do something on the eve of a federal election. Surely the victims and the people across the country can understand how phoney this facade is. It is ridiculous.

Victims across the country are not laughing about this and I do not think they feel any comfort today. People like Debbie Mahaffy, Sharon Rosenfeldt, Pricilla de Villiers, Theresa McCuaig are not feeling any comfort about a justice minister who will stand up and talk about what a great job his government has done. He said there is one reason for the justice committee to get together today and it

is because he asked it to. I would like to know what his motive is. It is simply because of the letters that spell the word election.

What will it be, will the minister entrench victims rights in law or is this simply pre-election posturing, as we have seen so many times? Do it. Do it. Do it.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it was in June of 1994, just a few months after the last election, that this government introduced Bill C-37 to amend the Young Offenders Act to, among other things, improve the situation for victims, to provide for the first time that victims could provide impact statements in youth court.

That was just a few months after the last election. The Reform Party voted against those measures.

It was just a few months later, in 1994, that we tabled Bill C-41 to provide for the rights of victims and restitution, to provide increased sentences for those who harm them. The Reform Party voted against it.

In relation to gun control on behalf of victims in this country, victims who came to Parliament and asked that we act, this government had the courage of its convictions and it acted. The Reform Party voted against it.

I think the victims of this country would far rather have action than talk.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know why victims groups right across the country have been so concerned about the talk and precious little action they have seen from the government here. They are not sensing any sense of comfort, I do not think. The victims we have spoken with are frustrated. They are frightened that the likes of Clifford Olson are going to harass them again and again.

There is no justice in a minister who calls himself justice to say that he is looking after these people and victims rights. On Bill C-37, only two months later after those small changes to the Young Offenders Act did he have to send another crew out across the country because his original bill did not do it. He did not do it right the first time.

We have unequivocally always said in the Reform Party that victims should come first, unconditionally. Yesterday the minister seemed to agree with us. Now I am really wondering if he does agree with us totally that victims always should take precedence over the rights of the criminal unconditionally.

Is he truly serious about putting victims rights first, unconditionally, or is it more simple talk before an election?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if one takes the trouble to cut through the inflammatory rhetoric and the emotive language of the Reform Party and look at what those members are really saying, the problem is it does not make any sense. They pretend that they are the only spokespersons for victims in this country, which is nonsense. This government has acted, not just spoken.

They do not really understand the issue. Even the purported victims bill of rights, which has gone to committee, totally ignores the distinction between federal and provincial responsibilities.

I listened to a CBC radio program this morning, a very good one here in Ottawa. Family members of a murder victim were on. They were asked if there was one thing they could have had in the justice system that would have made their plight easier. They answered grief counselling and assistance through the court process. That of course is a provincial responsibility.

That is why I went to the table with the provincial attorneys general and asked them to look with me at the Criminal Code. That is the kind of effective action that will make a difference, not this kind of talk.

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

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

The fears expressed by the Bloc Quebecois several months ago concerning Pearson Airport are now being confirmed. The federal government is now paying a high price to purchase Pearson Terminal 3. Moreover, it is preparing to settle out of court with the developer, who is suing it for $662 million because of the cancellation of the privatization of terminals 1 and 2 at Pearson. If we add up all of the amounts it plans to pay out for the three terminals, the total is well above $1 billion.

Is the Minister of Transport aware that the Liberal government's irresponsibility in this matter will cost Canadian and Quebec taxpayers very dearly, and that thousands of jobs could have been created with the amounts squandered in this way?

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the figure used by the hon. member is simply wrong. The decisions made by the local authority in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, to purchase the T-3 terminal was its decision. It will be funding that through a bond issue. This is not a government decision but one of the authority itself.

I should point out that there are substantial savings by having the whole airport run by the same authority rather than two-thirds of it run by one authority and one-third by another authority. That is why for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority it is in its interest to purchase the T-3 terminal and why it is in the interests of the T-3 consortium to sell. The price was determined by buyer and seller and the government did not cheerlead or quarterback that decision of those two groups.

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, the Liberals made the privatization of Pearson Airport a major campaign issue relating to the integrity of the government.

Since the government is now preparing to pay out more than $1 billion to the developers of Pearson Airport in Toronto to make amends for the harm it has done, would it be prepared to do the same to make amends for the harm it has done in connection with Mirabel Airport?

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that the figures being used by the hon. member simply bear no relationship to any fact whatsoever.

The Pearson airport terminal purchase of $719 million is a deal between the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and the T-3 consortium. That is what they decided, a willing buyer and a willing seller, and they are working out the terms of that at the present time.

If the hon. member wishes to compare the rent relief provided to the Toronto airport authority of $185 million to construct a runway, to construct two fire halls, to construct a deicing facility, if he looks at that and compares it to the $100 million plus given to the ADM at the time of the transfer of the Montreal airport he will discover that in proportion to the amount of traffic, Montreal came out almost twice as well as Toronto.

Justice
Oral Question Period

April 8th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the whole country knows by now that the Minister of Justice does not understand what Canadians want in a victims bill of rights. It is not an amendment to the Criminal Code but a guiding light for the Criminal Code.

Specifically, one of the rights is the protection from anyone who intimidates, harasses or interferes with the rights of a victim. Why do you suppose that is there? I will ask the Minister of Justice.

Why is Clifford Olson permitted to write to the parents of the children he murdered, like Mr. and Mrs. Rosenfeldt, where Olson wrote of Daryn's last words and described in detail how he died?