House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the provincial ministers themselves identified as a threat to the health system as a whole any plan to compensate all victims regardless of fault.

All Canadian health ministers, at the provincial and federal levels, have agreed that only those infected during the period when governments could have acted to prevent infection should be compensated.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health continues to be insensitive to hepatitis C victims excluded from the program, although the latest figures show that the federal government is headed towards a substantial surplus for 1997-98.

Is it not disgraceful that the Minister of Health refuses to reconsider assistance to all hepatitis C victims, when his government, with its deep health cuts in recent years, is generating surpluses it had not even expected?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health system in general poses risks for everyone. I wonder whether the hon. member is suggesting that Canada's governments should compensate all victims for all risks.

Has the hon. member asked her colleague, Minister Rochon, in Quebec City, if he is open to such an approach? All Canadian health ministers have agreed to adopt the approach I described.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the provinces have paid until now to look after hepatitis C victims, and since they will continue to do so in future, should the federal government not pull its weight and provide appropriate compensation for all those who contracted hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, all governments in Canada have acted together. As I said, we identified a four-year period during which action was possible to prevent these infections, and we agreed to compensate those who contracted hepatitis C during this period.

I think this is a wise, prudent, appropriate approach and I repeat that we have adopted an appropriate approach in these very difficult circumstances.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

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

“Whenever bankers rush to do the same thing at the same time it is a sure rule that problems will follow”. So states today's Financial Times . Through his delay, our finance minister resembles a pipe major leading the parade of mega-mergers.

Let me remind the finance minister that he has a duty to the Canadian public that comes before his Bay Street buddies. Small depositors, small businesses and small communities across this country want to know why the Canadian government will not launch an immediate inquiry into these revolutionary changes and massive concentrations in the banking industry.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to respond to the leader of the opposition. Perhaps instead of reading the Financial Times if she were to read some of the Canadian papers she might know that some time ago the government did that very thing. It is called the MacKay task force and it will be reporting this summer or September at the latest.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, why does the Minister of Finance keep hiding behind the task force on financial services when its members have said themselves they are not looking at the bank merger issue?

Canadians want to have a say in the future of our banking industry. Unfortunately the finance minister says they have to wait until the bankers have had their say, wait until the task force reports, wait until the mergers are unstoppable, wait until there is a loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The bank mega mergers are not waiting. Why is this government waiting until it is too late to make a difference?

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. The decision on the bank mergers will be made by this government, by this Parliament and by the Canadian people. It will not be made by any financial institution. Anybody who has any doubt about that had just better watch us.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

April 20th, 1998 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Today in the House of Commons the Minister of Health sounds more like an accountant or a lawyer. The Minister of Health is responsible for the blood system. My question is very direct. Will the minister reopen the hepatitis C compensation package, a package that leaves up to 40,000 Canadians, innocent victims, with nothing?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member sounds as though this is a decision made by one government, one party. The approach I have described was taken by all governments of all parties including the Progressive Conservative governments in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. I wonder whether the hon. member is saying that the Progressive Conservative governments of those provinces are also taking a wrong policy approach to this issue.

We are sounding not so much like lawyers and accountants as we are like ministers of health concerned about the implications of this most difficult situation where the sustainability of the health system will—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the Conservative Party.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the package announced by the Minister of Health is not fair and it is not honourable. Sadly it effectively denies innocent victims fairness and compassion. I want to remind the House that the government has the constitutional authority to correct this human tragedy, to act unilaterally as we did in 1991 with HIV. Will the minister exercise moral and constitutional leadership to correct this injustice?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that it is her party in power in Prince Edward Island, her party in power in Ontario, her party in power in Alberta and Manitoba. They were at the table with us taking a position in relation to this very difficult issue which we believe is in the public interest.

If the hon. member's approach were taken, the public health care system would have to pay to all claimants who suffer harm as a result of risks inherent in medical practice. The ministers of health from all governments in this country have decided—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Medicine Hat.