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 senators.

Topics

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, we also learned today that the hepatitis C victims in Ireland were forced to fight a long and hard battle for compensation. Tragically, it took the death of a prominent Irish activist and victim to convince that government to compensate all victims.

What will it take for this government to finally do what is fair and just? Is there anything these people can do to convince this government to reconsider?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it was precisely to prevent decades of fighting and litigation that I put on the agenda of health ministers last summer the whole question of compensation for hepatitis C victims.

As a result, discussions ensued. We analysed the facts. We looked at the history and together as governments, federal and provincial, including New Democratic governments in British Columbia and in Saskatchewan, we are taking the right approach by compensating those who were affected during a period when something could have been done to stop it.

If we take a different approach, we will imperil the sustainability of public health care in Canada. That is the basis of the decision we made.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is absolutely wrong when he uses the timeframe of 1986 to 1990. It is simply a frame of convenience.

He knows full well that tests were available that other countries use, specifically West Germany, to identify the problem which is now known as hepatitis C. Will the minister not acknowledge that and with that consideration reverse his decision and include all victims of hepatitis C in this country?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right in saying that, as Mr. Justice Krever pointed out, at various points in time and in various countries prior to 1986 there were tests that were in place. I think even one American state had a test before 1986.

The balance of the evidence and certainly the better judgment is that it was in early 1986 that Canada should have acted to follow the lead of competitor countries like the United States which then put the test in place federally.

That is the point in time at which most informed commentators believe the line is drawn between infections—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Charlotte.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if we have an accountant or a lawyer speaking on behalf of the ministry or the government today.

That is a flawed position. These people deserve compensation. It is as simple as that. He should not simply be looking at the dollars because he does not know himself how many victims are out there. It could be as few as 20,000. It could be 30,000. It could be 40,000.

Will he not do the honourable thing and act unilaterally to compensate these victims?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of dollars. It is a question of the sustainability of the public health care system.

If the honourable member is suggesting because a test came on stream in 1981 or 1982 that the victims back to that year should be compensated, then he is agreeing with the ministers of health of Canada. He is just drawing the line at a different place. He is just saying that was the date after which something could have been done to make a difference.

If the honourable member is agreeing with me in principle but drawing the line at a different place on the calendar then that says a lot about his position. He is indeed supporting the position of the ministers of health of Canada.

Year 2000
Oral Question Period

April 20th, 1998 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the president of Treasury Board.

A recent press article suggested that not one federal government department has taken advantage of the services offered by an elite team assembled to assist with the pending year 2000 millennium bug. What assurances can the minister give the House that federal departments are dealing with the urgency of the year 2000 crisis?

Year 2000
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in fact the information contained in the article was wrong. We already have six packages that have been put forward by six departments and of these two already have been asking for funds.

But what is reassuring is that we already have retainers for $100 million where we get the resources necessary in order to fill up the needs of the year 2000 bug if ever there is a problem. We feel we have put our systems in place and we are properly equipped to deal with the problem.

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night millions of Canadians watched in anger as officials from CIDA admitted that hundreds of millions of dollars do not go to the needy countries where it is supposed to go.

This money is going to huge Canadian corporations instead of helping the poorest of the poor in developing countries. This is totally unacceptable.

Will the minister call in the auditor general immediately to investigate this?

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the program to which the MP is referring is CIDA Inc. It is a program designed to encourage private enterprise to invest in the developing world.

The reality is that one out of three of those companies implements a successful program. For every tax dollar invested in the developing world by CIDA Inc. five dollars comes back to Canada and twelve dollars goes to the developing world.

Acquisition Of Submarines
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

As everyone said it would, the federal government took advantage of the fact that the House of Commons was not sitting to announce the acquisition of four used submarines, just as it did in the case of the helicopters, so determined is it to avoid being questioned about this $750 million purchase.

How does the minister explain that not only are his government's priorities highly questionable, because it has chosen to buy used submarines rather than give money back to the provinces so that they can ensure basic services, but that, in addition, these new submarines are not even capable of travelling under the Arctic ice?

Acquisition Of Submarines
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, these submarines are state of the art. They were commissioned by the royal navy of the U.K. at a time when that was part of its defence future. It has since decided to go to nuclear submarines.

These were very slightly used in the days when they were part of that defence department program. We have acquired them for a quarter of the cost needed to build new ones. That is a great bargain. At least we can replace our 30 year old submarines. We have the capability to patrol our shores and the Arctic.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

My question is to the minister of finance, that Bay Street banker, Mr. Speaker.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I ask you to please be very judicious in your choice of words and I would ask the honourable member to put his question.