House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aid.

Topics

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, bioterrorism is a top of the mind issue for Canadians today. Just this weekend CTV showed us how easy it is for someone to walk into a store to buy toxic chemicals.

What is the health minister doing to make certain that toxic chemicals do not get in the hands of people who have bad motives?

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously it is an effort that must be undertaken by all of us, by all levels of government and by responsible Canadians across the country.

For our part we are working closely with provincial officials and with chief medical officers of health to get messages out into communities about being watchful and about taking the usual precautionary steps.

At the same time we are reassuring Canadians that these threats in Canada are remote, but obviously we must be prudent all the time.

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians really want reassurance and not just rhetoric, so let me make a suggestion to the minister. Health Canada could send an advisory to all manufacturers and retailers of these toxic chemicals which might say to them: be aware of someone who comes in without a purchase order that they do not know and let the authorities know about it.

Will the minister take such a step, an advisory to all those individuals so that we are sure that toxic chemicals do not get into the hands of people who should not have them?

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to take the member's suggestion under advisement and to work with him and members of his party if they have useful suggestions.

Obviously our caucus is also focusing on these issues. I think it is important that all of us do everything we can to raise public awareness, to be watchful and to do everything that is prudent in these circumstances.

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he is willing to listen to suggestions. I can tell him that there have been a lot of suggestions from the official opposition that have gone into the ether.

On this particular suggestion, on toxic chemicals, it is pretty obvious that the minister has not yet considered the suggestion. I would ask him again for an advisory to go out to all the manufacturers and sellers of toxic chemicals to heighten the awareness for Canadians. This would be reassuring, not just a photo op.

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to leave the impression that the government has not acted already on this and other areas to increase public awareness and to advise people involved to take precautions.

I am trying to signal that this is not a partisan matter. It is a matter that involves the health of Canadians. If the official opposition wishes to change its position and be constructive, we would be delighted to accept constructive proposals from all sides.

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are asking what help they could expect if there were a chemical or bioterror attack. The World Health Organization says that there are 44 possible bioterror agents and 25 chemical agents.

The health minister has set aside $5.5 million to stockpile antibiotics and pharmaceuticals. That is barely 18 cents per Canadian.

Why does a postage stamp cost more than medicine on hand for Canadians to prepare for bioterror?

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we should be careful now not to veer from constructive suggestions to fearmongering.

Let us be serious about this. We have identified appropriate, prudent targets as we accumulate medications. Our money goes not only for medications but also for training of frontline workers so they will know what to look for and will be able respond quickly. It goes to reinforcing our national network of laboratories so we can test substances and rule in and rule out quickly. It also goes for equipment that may be needed and protocols that are appropriate.

We are taking the right steps and we will continue to do what is required to protect the health security of Canadians.

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the health minister has set aside just $5.5 million for medicine, yet the smallpox vaccine he is talking about will cost over $100 million. Experts tell us that at least eight other vaccines on hand are highly desirable.

The minister's numbers just do not add up. Does he really have a plan Canadians can count on?

Bioterrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the medications we have accumulated are antibiotics. They are being stockpiled in order to make sure we are ready in the unlikely event that they are needed.

We have a plan and at the moment we are doing everything that is prudently required to protect the health security of Canadians. Should circumstances change, then we will change accordingly, but at this moment we are doing what is appropriate to protect the health of Canadians.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

October 29th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, just days after the bombings in Afghanistan had begun, the U.S. secretary of defence said that they were running out of military targets.

A few weeks later, with the number of civilian casualties rising, Donald Rumsfeld is now saying that the war effort will be long, very long.

Considering that the bombings have probably hit all the military targets, that the response should now take into account the fate of the civilian population—and should have taken it into account from the beginning—is Canada advocating a reassessment of the military strategy used so far to counter terrorism?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, civilian populations in Afghanistan are not being targeted by the alliance against terrorism.

The fight has only been going on for one month. We must continue to fight the Taliban and bin Laden's network.

Again, I am asking for the continuing support of all the parties in this House.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not of course questioning the response, but I remind the Deputy Prime Minister that it is the U.S. secretary of defence who said that they were running out of targets. The second phase of this response is about to begin with ground troops.

Is it not time, before entering this new phase, for Canada to ask the UN to assess military operations?

The response must continue but, as the Prime Minister said, we will not give a blank cheque. How can Canada play a role in this response with the agreement of its allies?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Canadian forces are an integral part of the alliance against terrorism, the Taliban and bin Laden's network. We are constantly in contact with our allies, particularly the United States and Great Britain.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, with Ramadan approaching, the bombing of Afghanistan as well as the degenerating conflict in the Middle East are causing agitation and provoking demonstrations in many Muslim countries.

Does the Prime Minister not fear that the conflagration will spread to countries bordering Afghanistan, countries that might try to finish off the work begun by Osama bin Laden and his accomplices?