House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Laval Symphony Orchestra
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, as part of its non-broadcast gala, the ADISQ recognized the talent of the Laval symphony orchestra by presenting it the Album of the year award in the classical music/orchestra and large band category.

The winning album “Mozart” includes two major works of the great composer, namely the magnificent “Concerto No. 23”, which is full of light, softness and joie de vivre, and the “Symphony No. 41”, known as “Jupiter”, which is avant-garde and dramatic.

The wonderful rendition of these works by the orchestra earned it the top awards thanks to the internationally renown pianist Alain Lefèvre and the conductor and artistic director of the Laval symphony orchestra, Jean-François Rivest, who was able to channel the talent of his musicians with his usual energy.

This award confirms the enviable position of the Laval symphony orchestra at the national level.

Lumber Industry
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber dispute is continuing to victimize workers and their families and penalize the economies of Canada and the U.S. We have more than 20,000 forest workers laid off across Canada, the North American economy dipping into recession and consumers retreating from spending.

On Wednesday I asked once again for the minister to call a national stakeholders meeting to get the Canadian forest sector on the same page prior to next week's anticipated anti-dumping decision by the U.S. department of commerce. Once again no meeting has been announced by the minister.

Yesterday two U.S. consumer groups urged U.S. and Canadian negotiators to resist lumber export taxes because higher prices hurt consumers.

The minister cannot drop the ball on softwood lumber. When will we have the national stakeholders meeting?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations national safe list includes those countries from which no fugitive could credibly claim fear of being killed, tortured or persecuted for their religious or political beliefs. Canada, the United States and most European countries are on that list.

This week the government shockingly voted against a Canadian Alliance motion that Canada not accept fugitives running here from the United States claiming bogus refugee status.

Now we learn the government is negotiating an agreement with the United States which in effect would agree with the Canadian Alliance motion, the very motion the government voted against. Is this true?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

No, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition clearly does not understand either the safe third agreement or the fact that my officials speak with their U.S. counterparts and have talks about how we can better co-ordinate our activities and better co-operate on a whole host of very important issues.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, very interesting. We will be watching that closely.

The immigration committee wrote in 1998, and I quote:

--it strains public credibility when people who arrive in Canada without travel documents--

That means they have destroyed their documents to get here.

--are allowed to enter Canada and remain at large pending the hearing of their refugee claim.

This is one of the well known weaknesses of our refugee system.

Will the minister and the government have a change of heart and accept the committee's recommendation and the Canadian Alliance recommendation that all suspicious new arrivals, that would be those without documents included, not be--

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, if we have any concerns that people who arrive at a port of entry, be they refugee claimants or potential visitors, pose any security threat to Canada, if we do not know who they are or if the immigration officers have reasonable grounds to believe they pose a threat, they are detained. That is the fact.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

In actual fact, Mr. Speaker, it does not happen.

One of the essential elements for a bilateral agreement between safe third countries is for there to be a common visa policy. The United States has more stringent policies for issuing visas than Canada does.

Does the minister of immigration intend to harmonize our list of countries with a visa requirement with the U.S. list?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I attempted to explain this fully yesterday at the immigration committee hearing.

We discussed with the United States and other countries, but particularly with the United States, emerging trends in the world where there may be a need for a visa imposition or where a visa requirement could be lifted. That is ongoing business.

I would say to the leader that he gives the wrong impression to suggest that we are not consulting. We certainly are and we always have. Because of our good relationship with the United States, my officials speak virtually every day with our neighbours.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister is now going to stockpile vaccine against smallpox.

I would like to quote what my medical textbook says about the terrorism threat:

The recurrence of smallpox resulting from a deliberate release of variola virus cannot be ruled out. However, the potential damage of such an act should not be exaggerated.

Why has the health minister not quietly stockpiled smallpox vaccine instead of making a big announcement so that he can divert attention away from his other problems with Cipro?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would have hoped this would be the kind of matter we could discuss in the interests and in the protection of the public and its health.

Yesterday before the committee I responded to a question put by the hon. member's colleague in the Alliance Party about what we were doing in this regard. I responded by being very frank and saying that like other countries, we were taking responsible steps to protect Canadians against all eventualities, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the text goes on to say:

Smallpox does not spread rapidly, and an outbreak caused in this manner (that is by bioterrorism) should be able to be contained within 3 to 4 weeks.

The minister could have easily and quietly stockpiled this vaccine. He could have done what they have done in other countries instead of making a great big fuss about this.

Why did the minister try to divert attention away from his Cipro blunder by bringing up something to scare Canadians?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member should read along farther in whatever he is looking at because if it is accurate, it will tell him that there is no more smallpox vaccine stockpiled in the world.

We have some on hand from 25 years ago. There is more now being developed. When I met with Secretary Thompson in the United States, I told him Canada was interested in working with the Americans on the development of that new vaccine and that we want to be part of the process when it is available. We will do what is necessary once again to protect the health of Canadians.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the Minister of Health was at fault in totally ignoring a report from his own department in June 2000 indicating that Canada was not in a position to deal with a bioterrorism attack. He has just recently not even hesitated to break the law in order to conceal his errors in judgment.

Does the minister realize that the message he is sending to the public is that he will resort to anything to conceal his errors in judgment, up to and including breaking the law?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is very important for Canadians to know that Health Canada has been working for some months on preparing itself for emergency situations here in Canada.

Among other things, Health Canada inaugurated an emergency centre in July 2000. We now have stockpiles of drugs. As well, we have put in place co-ordinated emergency response measures and will continue our efforts.