House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

British Columbia Byelection
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbians were greatly amused yesterday at the spectacle of Liberal MPs from Ontario and Quebec professing their love and concern for our province, but only because there is a byelection under way.

They seemed so sincere as they read their prepared scripts and almost pulled off this piece of fiction until question period.

In response to a patsy question from one of her own colleagues, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women showed the true colours of the Liberals when she could not even remember the name of the constituency where the byelection is being held. This is truly remarkable considering that the secretary of state represents a riding that is less than 20 kilometres from Port Moody—Coquitlam. This shows British Columbians just how ignorant the Liberals really are about British Columbia.

World Theatre Day
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the theatre world is celebrating these days. The International Theatre Institute is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Its representative in Quebec, the Conseil québécois du théâtre, is marking its 15th anniversary.

Today is World Theatre Day. The Conseil québécois du théâtre and the performers and craftspeople in Quebec theatre are taking part in the various celebrations around the world. In this connection, over 20 theatres in Quebec have organized free activities to encourage sharing and discovery.

The eighth annual theatre congress, with this year's theme of “Theatre: a collective art”, will be held this weekend at Montreal's Maisonneuve CEGEP. Performers and craftspeople will be invited to take part in round tables and so will the public, the focus of and the audience for the theatre.

I therefore urge Quebeckers to enter the world of theatre and give it the support it needs to continue filling their lives with dreams and magic.

Infrastructure
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, at the Western Canada Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association convention in Victoria yesterday, delegates from the private sector and the provinces called for more investment in the infrastructure of our country.

As Liberals we are glad to observe that others are starting to see value in the idea we first proposed in the 1993 campaign.

While the Reform Party would have us believe that money spent on improving our nation's roads, sewers and municipal buildings is a waste, grassroots Canadians know that it is an important investment in our communities. According to an industry spokesperson the spinoff for every construction job is three more jobs. That is why we are proud to have spent over $100 million federal dollars in British Columbia over the last four years in direct support of these efforts.

We join British Columbians like Lou Sekora in Port Moody—Coquitlam who have been at the forefront in calling for direct community investment.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government announced an offer to compensate less than half of those who contacted hepatitis C through the blood system. Over 30,000 people will suffer in poverty simply because they went to a hospital for treatment and came out sicker than when they went in.

The Canadian Hemophilia Society said this is not a compassionate solution but a legalistic one. The Hepatitis C Society of Canada calls it a compensation plan created in hell. The government has forced hepatitis C sufferers to wait, to become embroiled in legal wrangles and has ignored the Krever report recommendations to compensate all victims.

The New Democratic Party urges the federal government to show leadership on this issue and put additional money forward to compensate all victims of this terrible tragedy equally rather than pit one group of ill and suffering people against another.

British Columbia
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP Government of British Columbia promised to deliver tax relief and a deficit of almost $200 million. It sounds like something out of the Reform Party platform. Just like Reform the B.C. government fails to understand that good government means cleaning your house before you redecorate.

The priorities of Canadians in B.C. and across the country are clear. They want governments to eliminate their deficit first and then lower the tax and debt burden while improving our social programs. Promising a tax cut while running a deficit is like selling the house to save the furniture.

I wonder when the tail will stop wagging the dog. Is that as good as it gets?

Commission On Future Of Mirabel Airport
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we Bloc members from the Lower Laurentians, in conjunction with the hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, tabled a brief during one of the hearings held by the commission on the future of Mirabel airport.

The Bloc Quebecois cares about the survival of the airport and the social and economic development of the Laurentians. We have made several recommendations to the commission, including one asking the concerned authorities to finish building highway 13 as soon as possible in order to allow Mirabel to maintain the highest level of economic activity.

We have recommended that ADM, Aéroports de Montréal, try to attract companies to Mirabel and allow the use of the facilities at an attractive price. For Mirabel airport to achieve its full potential, it must diversify its economic operations and be given a multi-sectoral mandate.

We deplore the fact that the federal government is not on the Tardif commission, for it is responsible for the mess we are in.

Judicial System In Restigouche Region
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, at times I understand how people can become frustrated with politicians. Take for instance a matter I have raised in this House: the backlog of legal cases in the Restigouche region.

In this region, delays in court proceedings are so long that an extra judge should be appointed to turn the situation around. What are the Liberal politicians doing about it? They are passing the buck from one level of government to the other.

On February 18, the Minister of Justice of New Brunswick made the following comment “As you know, appointments to the Court of Queen's Bench are the responsibility of the federal government.”

In Ottawa, on March 19, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice made the following comment: “the matter is a provincial responsibility.”

While the two levels of government are busy washing their hands of the matter, delays at the Campbellton Court keep getting longer. The people of the Restigouche region are being denied their fundamental right to justice.

I urge the Minister of Justice to show leadership on this issue.

The Kidney Foundation
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform this House and all Canadians that March is kidney month.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada will again be focusing its effort on educating the public regarding the importance of organ donation.

An estimated 20,000 Canadians suffer from kidney failure. Millions of others suffer from kidney related disorders. For many Canadians a kidney transplant is their only option. Nearly 2,400 of 2,800 Canadians that were on the waiting list in 1996 were still waiting for kidney transplants by the end of that year. A strategy to improve organ donation and distribution was endorsed by federal, provincial and territorial health ministers.

I take this opportunity to encourage all Canadians to sign an organ donor card and to support the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

March 27th, 1998 / 11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government today chose to exclude half the victims of the hepatitis C tragedy from compensation. Twenty thousand victims minimum are being excluded from the compensation package.

I am going to give the government the opportunity to explain this to the Canadian public. Why does Pam Rasmussen of Nantom, Alberta, who got hepatitis C from contaminated blood in 1985 not get fair and just compensation?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member opposite has taken a very calm approach to a very serious problem.

Ever since the Krever commission submitted its report and even before, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with its provincial counterparts in the health departments, has taken an approach to deal with the issue on a fair and compassionate basis.

The package that is now before Canadians represents just such an approach. We hope people will take a look at the package as it is and address it in the very many positive points that it presents for victims of this tragedy.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am certain Pam Rasmussen will know that the parliamentary secretary did not answer my question about why she is excluded. This is a human tragedy, a major human tragedy, and the government is viewing it only as a public relations damage control issue.

We received a document from them which says that they are suppose to talk in compassionate terms but deliver nothing. I want to know why the lawyers in the government won out over those who surely must know that these victims deserve a compassionate, fair settlement.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, compassion and fairness are to be seen in the package itself. There is an offer on the table representing $1.1 billion that victims can access as well as an estimated value of $1.6 billion for services in addition to those that are regularly provided under Canada's health care system through the provinces.

This represents in my view a very fair and compassionate address to a problem that has been longstanding and that we want—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Macleod.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the leaked strategy document says a huge amount to me. They know themselves that this compensation package is a failure. Why else would they try to exclude the victims from the microphone as the minister makes his announcement? Why else would they try to say to those victims “you cannot get anything if you were infected before 1985?”

Why did they choose a hard-hearted legal route rather than extending the warm hand of compassion to those unfortunate innocent victims?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is important to review some of the details of the package that are there for consideration.

It is true this represents a combined negotiated approach. All governments of Canada, all political parties of all stripes, have come together to put an offer on the table to address the needs of victims that were longstanding and were facing a long process in the courts.

We all agreed including stakeholders that—