House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Operation Apollo
Statements By Members

October 24th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand proudly in the House to applaud the men and women of the Canadian forces who are participating in Operation Apollo and to express my support for the families who stand by them.

Because of their dedication to our nation and to our values we have confidence in our armed forces, confidence in our leadership and confidence that we will see a positive resolution to the task at hand.

In the face of terror it is our moral responsibility to Canadians and to humanity as a whole to participate in this battle of fundamental importance.

I call on my fellow parliamentarians and every Canadian citizen to unite behind our armed forces and their loved ones who stay behind. In the struggle to preserve our freedom they make extraordinary sacrifices. They are all Canadian heroes of the highest calibre.

Trade
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, last year an average of $1.7 billion of commerce flowed across the Canada-U.S. border each and every day. Fifty-seven per cent of that commerce was Canadian exports heading south.

In the aftermath of September 11, that trade is now in jeopardy as the Americans place security at the top of their agenda. Yet when people like American Ambassador Paul Cellucci talk about perimeter security the government outrightly rejects that idea.

Members of the government frequently say that September 11 changed everything. However, when it comes to the $1 billion a day in Canadian exports that head south to the United States, the government acts like nothing at all has changed.

Is the government prepared to protect Canadian exporters, or is it intent on sitting back and risking the one-third of the Canadian economy that is shipped to the United States each day?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Bayer says that at no time did Health Canada contact it to order one million Cipro tablets.

The minister is accusing the company of lying. This is serious. It is only common sense that there should be a written request when one is getting ready to spend $2 million.

Will the minister table evidence to support his statements, which are becoming increasingly contradictory?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I made clear yesterday in the House, Health Canada officials have confirmed that on two occasions last week they asked for Cipro and they were refused.

By the way, while we are on the subject and in relation to a matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday, he should know that today Apotex agreed that if Bayer fills future orders from Health Canada and the Apotex product is not used, it will refund every cent of the Government of Canada's money to make sure that we do not pay one cent more than we should.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, damage control is an amazing thing. When a minister of the crown puts in an order of $2 million to an international pharmacy company it is not the same as phoning the local pharmacy and asking if there is any aspirin on the shelves.

There must be a record of this request. The official opposition has now contacted Bayer and it has denied that any such request ever took place.

As the minister said, he has only two options. Will he restore his integrity by tabling the evidence that he ever made a request or will he restore the shattered public confidence in--

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Health.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada officials acted last week in good faith to protect the health of Canadians. They have confirmed to me their conversations with Bayer, and that is good enough for me.

I want to know why this member is more interested in protecting the bottom line of a giant pharmaceutical company than in protecting the health of Canadians.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that there is no proof that he is telling the truth. We cannot get an answer out of him.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. To be able to cover this loss of dollars and the hundreds of millions in other losses the auditor general has talked about this year, will the finance minister finally, after a year of our requesting, commit to restore some confidence in the public in terms of government spending and table a budget before the year is over? Will he do that?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I compliment the Minister of Health on having the right priorities. When an urgent situation such as this exists, it is the responsibility of ministers to ensure that everything will be done to protect the health of Canadian citizens.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister might be a little early in congratulating the health minister. We have learned today that Health Canada had already ordered 800,000 Cipro pills from Bayer before it contacted Apotex.

An order for 400,000 pills was made by Health Canada on October 9 and was confirmed with a purchase order. An additional order for 400,000 pills was ordered on October 15, again confirmed with a purchase order. Bayer officials say there were no further discussions about quantities.

Why did the Minister of Health feel it was necessary to break the patent law by ordering pills from Apotex?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I made clear in the House what the facts are. Last week Health Canada officials were acting on my direction to accumulate Cipro. They called Bayer on two occasions on Wednesday and were told there was no Cipro available.

I think we all heard for ourselves yesterday the weasel words used when Bayer was confronted with those facts. I can tell the House that is what happened. We were refused when we asked. Our objective, as always, is to protect the health security of Canadians.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, we just heard some weasel words right now from the minister. That is for sure.

Bayer has purchase orders from Health Canada proving that 400,000 pills were ordered on October 9. It has proof that another 400,000 were ordered on October 15 and delivered on October 16. The other 400,000 were asked to be warehoused by Health Canada.

The minister insists on his version. Where is his proof?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, when Sherlock Holmes over there goes back to his work maybe he will find out that last Wednesday we wanted to buy another million pills from Bayer, and Bayer said they were not available, not once but twice.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Health told us that his responsibility was to protect the health and security of Canadians.

Yet, this responsible minister did not obtain approval from cabinet, from the Prime Minister's Office, or from the patent commissioner before his officials, supposedly of their own accord, placed an order with Apotex.

What makes the Minister of Health, who claims to be a responsible individual, think that he can get us to believe that his officials took such a decision without anyone consulting him first?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the officials received a personal request from me to stockpile the necessary drugs. And they reacted in a responsible manner.

Clearly, it was a mistake not to respect the details in the Patent Act, but the officials acted in good faith.

I have a certain latitude in emergency situations, and I acted to protect Canadians.