House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleagues on the other side of the House who have spoken on Bill C-245 for their support and their thoughtful input on my private member's bill which will bring about improvements hopefully in our whole justice system.

I want to thank the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby for reminding us that the Young Offenders Act needs some improvement and changes. I know our government will be bringing those forward.

I want to thank the member for Berthier—Montcalm who talked about the balancing of the freedom of expression in the protection of our children with respect to the Internet.

I want to thank the member for Kamloops who seconded my private member's bill and who pointed out from his experience as a teacher that this was something he had some first-hand knowledge of.

Finally, I want to thank the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough who in his other life was a crown prosecutor and whom I feel made the point very clearly that major offences which incur short sentences are not really what we are looking for in Canada which is of course exactly what my bill is trying to address.

In my address earlier I mentioned how I considered the introduction of the bill to be my duty as a member of Parliament for Oxford. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines duty as a moral or legal obligation which one is bound or ought to do. I can assure hon. members I do feel a moral obligation to protect our children from abuse. This bill will help provide this protection.

As a member of Parliament I feel a legal obligation to introduce legislation that responds to a need within our society. My colleagues have made that quite clear in the last hour we have listened to them.

The cases I have laid out for hon. members show why I feel there is a need within our society for this legislation. If any members doubt me, they need only read of Martin Kruze or any other victim of abuse and ask themselves if the sentences being meted out are adequate. If so, please tell me why 44% of those convicted of sexual touching of a child under 14 received only probation.

I believe that we have a duty here today to provide protection for our children from those who prey on them. As part of this duty I ask the House for unanimous consent to introduce a motion. I move:

That Bill C-245 be made votable, that it be eligible for two additional hours of debate and, at the conclusion of this debate, be put to a vote at second reading.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

7:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Oxford has asked for unanimous consent that this bill be made votable. Is there unanimous consent?

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

7:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

7:55 p.m.

An hon. member

No.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

7:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

There is no unanimous consent.

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped from the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 1, I put a very important question to the Minister of International Trade.

The asbestos region is facing hard times with chrysotile asbestos. Great Britain has announced its intention to ban this asbestos following in the steps of France and seven other European countries. Since March 1997, I have been calling on the Prime Minister to take vigorous action with France.

He, through his Minister of International Trade, preferred to take route of diplomatic negotiations. They led nowhere. What the asbestos industry needs is vigorous action before the WTO against France to avoid the domino effect that could result from other countries like Great Britain banning chrysotile asbestos.

In addition, Canada could claim financial compensation from France as the result of its unilateral action. Instead of dozing off with diplomacy in the style of Jacques Roy, the government must listen to the people in the industry and defend us just as vigorously as it defended durum wheat and the Sherritt company of Toronto against the United States and the Helms-Burton legislation.

In the asbestos region, Thetford Mines to be specific, the consensus is to demand the federal government take legal action before the WTO. Led by the Government of Quebec, asbestos producers, LAB Chrysotile, with Jean Dupéré, and Johns Manville with Bernard Coulombe; the three unions, FTQ, CNTU and CSD; the members for Québec, Vallières and Lefebvre, under the banner of the Liberal Party of Quebec; the RCM, with its chairman Fernand Huot; the Thetford Chamber of Commerce; all are unanimously calling on the federal government to file a complaint with the WTO, but the federal government is refusing to take action.

Unfortunately for the asbestos region, the response I would have liked to hear from the Minister for International Trade, and it is undoubtedly a response dated December 2, will be read this evening by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.

Of course, the response, which undoubtedly dates back to December 2, should have been modified to fit today's circumstances, because almost four months have passed since that time, but for lack of anything better, I will naturally content myself with this late response. I hope it will provide some hope for producers and especially for workers in our asbestos mines.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Ahuntsic
Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the objective of the Government of Canada in this dispute, in partnership with Quebec, the industry, unions as well as local communities, is to maintain market access for asbestos products.

Turning to the specific question the member raises of challenging the French ban at the World Trade Organization, officials held exploratory discussions on WTO options with interested partners, Quebec included, the asbestos industry as well as the trade unions in September 1997.

A number of times the Prime Minister of our country has intervened with Prime Minister Blair, specifically on September 30, 1997 and on October 22, 1997 raising this issue. Our mission in Paris also raised the issue with senior French authorities. It was also raised during Premier Bouchard's visit to France and between our Prime Minister and President Chirac during the francophone summit. There have been ongoing discussions on this issue.

The deputy minister of international trade on November 26 also held consultations with interested stakeholders, Quebec, the asbestos industry as well as the trade unions.

The meeting proved to be beneficial. All the key players were involved in all discussions that the government has conducted. The federal government meets regularly with the Quebec government, the industry and the unions to develop a common approach in addressing the French ban on asbestos use as well as its potential effects in other markets.

The federal government will continue to consult closely with all the major stakeholders with respect to our options in the WTO.

Let me assure Canadians that Canada attaches a high priority to protecting access to foreign markets for chrysotile asbestos and is prepared to explore all available options to accomplish this objective.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

8:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 8.06 p.m.)