House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Health Protection Branch
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, testimony given today under oath by Health Canada scientists paints a horrifying picture of what is happening right now in the health protection branch.

They are talking about gag orders and intimidation under this minister and under this government.

Does the minister deny that these serious events occurred and, if not, how does he respond to these very serious allegations?

Will he lift the gag order? Will he let the scientists do their work?

Health Protection Branch
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, once again, just to introduce an air of reality to these proceedings, the hearings today concerned the question of rBST which is an additive in milk that is approved in the United States and has been for years.

Health Canada has not approved rBST and it will not approve rBST unless and until we are satisfied that it is safe and appropriate for use in Canada.

On the subject of the alleged gag order, the member should know that after the Senate committee subpoenaed the scientists from Health Canada they first did not want to go. I had officials write to them to encourage them to go and remind them of their obligation to testify.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the solicitor general and it concerns the APEC inquiry.

Will the solicitor general tell the House precisely what role the lawyer for the federal government, Ivan Whitehall, played in reviewing RCMP tape recordings of Jean Carle, the Prime Minister's top henchman, at APEC?

Has Whitehall been given any privileged access to review the evidence and, if so, does the minister not recognize that this makes a mockery of the commission's independence and in effect will destroy the credibility of the commission itself?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I rely on the public complaints commission and its counsel for their judgment as to whether they are getting access to all the information they need.

To this point there has been absolutely no complaint.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, the dreaded mad cow disease that ravaged Britain has jumped the species barrier.

The human version of the disease is identified as CJD. Because of the possibility of infectious agents being in their blood supply the British government has outlawed the use of all U.K. plasma.

In March 1998 Britain closed its own plasma industry and stopped accepting blood from its citizens, all because of the connection between British beef and the mad cow disease which could be harboured in the blood supply system.

What assurances will the minister give us that he is doing everything to protect—

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Health.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there was a report tabled just last week from an advisory group on this whole question. That report has been received by Health Canada officials and technical people and is being examined very carefully.

I should tell the member in response to his question more broadly that we have a world class surveillance system at Health Canada in relation to contaminants, including CJD. CJD is the subject of an extensive research project that has been started at Health Canada so that we can better understand this new class of prion contaminants in blood. I assure the House we take the risk very seriously.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I think this is the same minister who fell asleep at the switch in regard to Canada's tainted blood supply system. Have we not learned something by Krever? When other nations are taking action now to protect their citizens, we want assurances that the same tragedy we are suffering now will not occur again because of inaction by the minister.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member has his chronology a bit wrong. The Krever commission reported when we were in office, inquiring into events that occurred when his party was in office.

National Parks
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last June the Secretary of State for Parks along with the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that they would protect our national parks from excessive commercial development.

What concrete actions has the secretary of state taken to preserve the natural assets of our parks for future generations, like my son Zachary who is currently causing grief in the gallery?

National Parks
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Secretary of State (Parks)

Mr. Speaker, we have undertaken a number of steps including reducing the commercial development that will be allowed in Banff, reducing the size of the community, and placing a moratorium on outside commercial development in respect of accommodation. Just yesterday I had the opportunity to announce the formation of a panel which will have as its job to set specific principles that any future development may undergo. All of these things have one very special principle in mind, that we protect our parks not only for today's generation but for Zachary's generation as well.

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal commercial is over.

The Sydney tar ponds are saturated with cancer causing toxins. Studies have shown that Sydney residents have experienced a 130% increase in the rate of stomach cancer.

I witnessed firsthand this appalling mess. It makes me wonder what would happen if that oozing mass of filth were on the front lawn of Parliament Hill or on a certain lawn in Shawinigan. How long would it take this Liberal government to clean it up then?

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland
Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government is very concerned about the Sydney tar ponds and contamination in the area.

We have worked very closely with a citizens group in Sydney, Nova Scotia, which also has representation from all three levels of government. We have contributed funds to this process which is working to resolve this very serious issue. We have met with the process, the so-called JAG. We have signed an MOU with them. We have met with the affected citizens in the area and we are working with the province to resolve this very serious issue.

Program For Older Workers Adjustment
Oral Question Period

October 22nd, 1998 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to replace POWA, the government promised in 1996 to develop “various income support measures for those who could no longer find work in the highly competitive labour market”.

Why is the Minister of Human Resources Development not honouring his predecessor's commitment and developing new income support measures to help older workers in this particularly difficult situation?

Program For Older Workers Adjustment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed the situation of a number of older workers in Canada is causing us concern. Theirs is a difficult situation.

We had to end the POWA program, which was unfair. It was unfair to everyone in this category.

So, obviously, we provided more funding for active measures in order to help people return to the labour market. We set up a number of programs intended for the population as a whole, including those looking for work. However, we are very concerned by their situation.