House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously the absolute priority for me is the health security of Canadians. I want to make it clear that the emergency response officials at Health Canada acted in good faith in taking the steps they did to stockpile medications needed for health security reasons. There are different versions as to what happened. That will eventually be sorted out.

I would like to make it clear that I have directed all the interested parties to meet to resolve these issues to assure everyone that everything was done lawfully, and that is exactly what is going to be done.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, is the minister trying to tell us that the administration of his department is in such a state of chaos that he is allowing officials to violate the Patent Act without notifying him, consulting him, or without him even knowing about it? Who is running the shop in that department?

Has the minister established a contingency fund to deal with legal proceedings that may be launched by Bayer or Apotex?

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can only reaffirm that our priority on this side of the House is to make sure that the health security of Canadians is protected. We will do that. That means, including other things, the accumulation of medications that may be necessary. I can assure the House that we are making every effort.

I have told officials to meet with the companies to resolve outstanding disputes and ensure that everything is done to protect health security within the law.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the minister's soothing words, his credibility has suffered a serious setback. He first explained the illegal contract for anthrax medicine by saying that he could not get what he needed from the legal patent holder. He said that he had even asked them twice and they could not supply it.

It turns out that was not true at all. Now his story is he knew nothing about the illegal contract. Now let the minister explain this clear and glaring contradiction.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there are differing versions at the moment of what happened. We know what happened and in the fullness of time so will the House.

In the meantime, I have directed officials to meet with the companies in question to try to resolve all outstanding disputes, and I am confident that that can be done.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Well, Mr. Speaker, how can the government pretend to enforce law and order when one of its own ministers gives out a story that turns out not to be true and enters into an illegal contract, breaking the patent law of the country? Is this what the Government of Canada condones in one of its ministers?

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member will see that everything that I said will be borne out. I can only assure her and the House that we are confident that the discussions which I have directed officials to undertake will be successful.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the deputy information commissioner stated in an interview that the anti-terrorism legislation could result in what he described as a “massive contravention of the Access to Information Act”. This statement is in line with that of the privacy commissioner, who expressed similar concerns last week.

When two commissioners express reservations as serious as these, is this not enough for the minister to realize and accept the fact that her bill warrants serious review and must include sunset clauses to limit the life of it?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, obviously I respect the views of the privacy commissioner and the access commissioner. They will have the opportunity to appear before both the House committee and the Senate committee this week. I look forward to reading their testimony to see what advice and recommendations they may have for us.

However I come back to the point on which the hon. member concluded. We made it plain that we believe a review process is more than adequate to ensure the protection of Canadian rights and freedoms. We look forward to hearing what the committees have to say in relation to this matter.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know very well there are requirements for confidentiality in the fight against terrorism. Does the minister not understand, however, that what we disagree with is her deciding alone on control of information?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, my ability to issue a certificate is only in exceptional circumstances in relation to a limited type or category of information surrounding international relations or information in relation to national security.

However, as I said in relation to certain other matters, I know the concerns of the access and privacy commissioners. I know the concerns expressed by the Bloc. I look forward to what the committees have to recommend.

Health
Oral Question Period

October 22nd, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has a headache on his hands and it will likely take more than a few aspirins to clear it up.

Today he is working feverishly behind the scenes to fix the mess but to do that he may end up paying out big dollars either to break a contract or for breaking patent rights. That is money that belongs to Canadians for their health and safety. It is enough also to give each of us a headache.

Why are taxpayers on the hook for his mistake?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member should not jump to conclusions. We are stockpiling medications for health security reasons. We will continue to do that.

We will make sure that our health security needs are met. We will do that lawfully. There are disputes at the moment among companies. I have directed officials to resolve those. I am confident they will be resolved. The bottom line is that our health responsibilities will be met.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the company that was given the illegal contract said that it began production and that it will sue if the minister backs out. Will Canadians now end up paying twice for the same stockpile of medicine?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned to see that Canadians get value for their money. I am confident they will. I am confident the present disputes can be resolved. Most important of all, I am confident that we will meet our responsibilities to Canadians to ensure the security of their health needs.