House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-16.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, without question, having good information is part and parcel of building good public policy. We believe that, the privacy commissioner believes that and I believe that Canadians believe it.

In the context of issues around visibility, we will continue to work with the privacy commissioner to determine the most appropriate way to ensure that Canadians are comfortable with the information they provide and the way it is used.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue and the government House leader gave section 241(3) as their excuse for being unable to share tax information about CINAR with the RCMP.

Now that we have learned about the direct link that existed between Revenue Canada and HRDC, how could the Minister of National Revenue and the government House leader stand up repeatedly in the House and make grand speeches about the confidentiality of tax files, when quite the opposite was true?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly in the House that one of the cornerstones of the Income Tax Act, one of the fundamental principles that the government will always defend, is the element of confidentiality.

I have also said repeatedly that when information was shared—specific information, not all the information on any one taxpayer—this was done in accordance with the Income Tax Act, section 241 in particular.

I would simply like to remind the opposition that the much-discussed press release that we tabled today quotes the privacy commissioner as saying that there was never any breach of confidentiality in the past.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the RCMP was complaining that it could not pursue its investigation of CINAR because of the lack of co-operation from CCRA, it seems that, when it came to the average member of the public, information went directly from CCRA to HRDC.

How can the minister defend the fact that information is available on individual citizens, while companies that commit fraud are apparently protected?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the opposition question strikes me as rather odd right now.

On the one hand, there has been an exchange of information concerning the element of confidentiality when the Income Tax Act allows it, more specifically section 241.

I said that this government is going to protect the principle of confidentiality as long as the Liberal Party forms the government.

It strikes me as odd that, while my colleague is providing the public with excellent service and increasing confidentiality, the opposition wants us to share information and make it available publicly. There is no question of doing any such thing. We will protect the confidentiality of taxpayers for a good long while.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

May 29th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians were horrified when 26 miners were killed in the Westray mining disaster. They were even more horrified to learn that, in spite of overwhelming evidence of gross negligence, the crown prosecutors had to drop charges because under the Criminal Code of Canada they could not make those charges stick. The Westray officials got away with murder. In fact, they got away with 26 murders.

Will the Minister of Justice assure this House that within this parliament she will amend the Criminal Code of Canada to make it a criminal offence to kill workers on the job?

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is probably referring to recommendation 73 of the Westray inquiry. Let me reassure the hon. member that the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is considering recommendation 73. I look forward to receiving its report.

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the justice committee is not dealing with recommendation 73, nor is it dealing with Motion No. 79 which passed in this House. It has been three years since Justice Richard of the Westray inquiry made recommendations to amend the criminal code so that senior management would be held personally accountable in cases of gross negligence causing death. In those three years this government has done absolutely nothing.

The justice committee is not seized of the issue. We doubt the justice committee will be dealing with the issue within this parliament, unless the Minister of Justice takes action.

Will the minister act within this session of this parliament to make recommendations to amend the criminal code along the line of recommendation 73?

Criminal Code
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that the justice committee is charged with the obligation of reviewing recommendation 73. I look forward to its report.

As far as my department doing nothing, let me reassure the hon. member that federal, provincial and territorial officials and ministers have discussed this issue. We await the review of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. At that time, hopefully we will have heard from all relevant parties and, if necessary, we will move forward.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government disbanded the ports police in 1997 numerous organized crime investigations were abandoned and files destroyed. Former ports officials were investigating alleged connections between the Hell's Angels and ports authorities in Vancouver and Halifax. Now that evidence may be lost.

Shutting down these investigations is appalling and is reminiscent of operation sidewinder, another investigation which was shut down without explanation.

Will the minister tell Canadians why these active investigations were not forwarded to other police agencies? Why have these files gone missing or been destroyed?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in the House, the number one law enforcement priority of this government is to fight organized crime. In fact, that is why this government gave an extra $59 million to the RCMP to be sure that we can fight organized crime.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think the solicitor general is mixing up his lines. I thought public safety was his number one priority.

The minister's supposed commitment to public safety runs contrary to this government's disbanding of the ports police and the continued underfunding of law enforcement agencies in Canada. Despite the minister's hollow assurances, we know that our overworked RCMP and CSIS officers already compete for scarce resources and are now being tasked to take on illegal activities in Canada's six major ports.

Will the minister admit that during his government's seven years in office Canada's ports have become a welcome mat to organized crime? Would he tell us what he is going to do about it?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member what we will not do. We will not run a deficit, as my hon. colleague's government did to make sure that there would be no funds to put anywhere.

Under the direction of the Prime Minister we were able to put $810 million of new money into the solicitor general's department so that we could fight organized crime. If we were to believe my hon. colleague, there would be no funds left to do anything.