House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me make it absolutely plain that section 1 of the charter, which speaks to reasonable limits on otherwise guaranteed rights, is very much in use.

Let me report to my colleagues that this morning my officials, the solicitor generals and officials from Quebec had a very co-operative and constructive meeting. We are looking at all aspects of organized crime. We are looking at a reform of the existing provisions in the criminal code in relation to organized crime. We are looking at provisions around intimidation of those involved in the justice system. We are looking at the issue of recruitment of people into criminal organizations. We will be working with the police both in Quebec and elsewhere to talk about law enforcement.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, would the minister agree and acknowledge that denying the right of association to groups of recognized criminals in no way prejudices the right of association of democratic organizations in our society and that, therefore, no means must be excluded should the means chosen fail to pass the test of the charter and an opinion were given by the supreme court?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I made plain yesterday, we are looking at all possible measures in terms of dealing with the challenges of organized crime. I made it plain yesterday that we believe there is much we can do both on the enforcement side and on the legislation side that does not involve us using the notwithstanding clause.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, article 20 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Would the Prime Minister take a page from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and make it illegal to belong to a biker gang?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as far as we are concerned, we have a charter of rights that protects the rights of everyone.

But, as the Minister of Justice has just said, a legislative solution to this problem is possible. It is not just a question of legislation, but also of police activity.

Section 1 of the charter provides for certain freedoms, but immediately invoking the notwithstanding clause would, in my view, be completely out of the question. To date, the Canadian government has never used the notwithstanding clause and I do not think it is a good idea to start doing so now.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite what the Prime Minister has said, yesterday in the House the Minister of Justice said that the legislation would be amended if necessary.

Will the Minister of Justice assure us that she has succeeded in convincing the Prime Minister and that the government will take action accordingly?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said yesterday, and I repeat today, that if legislative amendments are possible, we will be very pleased to make them.

That is why the Deputy Minister of Justice and the Deputy Solicitor General are now in Quebec City to discuss the possibility of amending the legislation. I have nothing against that.

But I would like to repeat that all other legislative and administrative solutions will have to be exhausted before the notwithstanding clause is resorted to.

Fuel Prices
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Over the last few days we have heard a lot about the GST from the friends of big oil over there. It is clear that consumers are hurting. It is also clear that oil companies are racking up unprecedented profits.

In the spring session the NDP tabled legislation to get some accountability over oil companies, to gain some control over energy price gouging.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the government follow the NDP lead and establish an energy prices review commission?

Fuel Prices
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the government has already moved to try to achieve greater transparency with respect to the functioning of the marketplace and the pricing trends within Canada.

We have commissioned an extraordinary study to be conducted by the Conference Board of Canada as a totally independent body that can shed some light on the situation so that all Canadians can know exactly what is happening in that marketplace and why.

Fuel Prices
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians already know what is happening in the marketplace and what is happening with energy price gouging. The problem is if one feigns impotence once too often, one is bound to end up permanently impotent.

We have a national problem which requires national leadership. While consumers are being gouged, oil companies are getting the lion's share of the energy price hike. Why is the government refusing to stand up for consumers?

Fuel Prices
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the government is very anxious to have the information that can be provided by the conference board so that all Canadians, those in government as policymakers and those in the private sector who run various industrial parts of our economy as well as individual consumers, can fully see in a transparent way the exact trends in those markets so that when, for example, there are those inexplicable price spikes before long weekends people would be in a position to act.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Last week's health agreement delays for another 18 months the full restoration of federal health funding to 1994 levels. That delay costs Canadians more than $3 billion, a $3 billion gap between what the Prime Minister promised and what he has delivered.

Will the Prime Minister agree in the House right now, today, to restore the full 1994 levels right away?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. leader of the Conservative Party should know that if we had kept the formula introduced by his government, the restoration would not be a restoration to 18.7. The cash payments today would be $11 billion, because the formula was based on the premise that if the tax revenues were to increase the cash payments were to decline.

We stopped that and that is why today we are in a position to give more cash than ot would have ever been if the Tories had remained in power.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

I take it, Mr. Speaker, that the answer is no.

The unilateral cuts made by the Liberal government have devastated this country's health system. Even Monique Bégin has said that this has “deprofessionalized” nursing. It is impossible to create a new health system without the assurance of stable funding.

Will the Prime Minister make a commitment today to introduce legislation to guarantee the stability of federal health funding?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member ought to know that, in the agreement we have signed with the provinces, we guaranteed them stable funding in the coming years. All provincial premiers were very satisfied and signed enthusiastically.

At one point, I proposed a return to the formula used by the Conservative government. One of them replied “Maybe”, then consulted his officials and immediately came back with “No, I prefer the Liberal regime”.