House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Bill C-42
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, under Bill C-42 the government is dramatically changing the rules of our democratic society. Ministers will have the power to act unilaterally without checks or balances.

The only other time this kind of power can be exercised is under the Emergencies Act. Even then, quite properly, the decision to use that power has to come back before parliament for debate and approval. If coming before parliament is good enough for the Emergencies Act, why is it not good enough for Bill C-42?

Bill C-42
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not done his homework. He does not fully understand the provisions of the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act is designed for a broader long term emergency. Certain procedures are prescribed, including the devising of the order in council and consultation. All of that is provided for in the statute.

When there is a localized one time emergency ministers need to act quickly. That is what happened on September 11. Had there been further terrorist attacks and the country was in a state of apprehension then obviously the Emergencies Act would have been invoked.

Bill C-42
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have no problem with ministers acting to protect Canadians. We just want parliament to have a role in knowing what is going on.

Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister claimed that Canadians need not worry, that ministerial decisions taken under Bill C-42 were subject to judicial review. That is simply untrue. There is no judicial review in the bill. There is no oversight committee and there is no role for parliament.

Bill C-42 gives absolute power to the ministers and we all know what absolute power does. Why would the government once again bring forward legislation that compromises the rights and freedoms of Canadians and belittles the role of parliament?

Bill C-42
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend had better take his questions back to the drawing board. I have been advised that there is authority for judicial review under provisions outside the proposed bill and that it does not have to be specifically mentioned in the bill.

My hon. friend's accusation is totally wrong. If he has any decency, he will withdraw it.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, for eight long years we in the Canadian Alliance have been calling for improvements to Canada's immigration and refugee system, changes like stopping economic migrants from claiming refugee status, common standards in co-operation with the U.S., ending refugee claimants from safe countries like the U.S. and hiring more frontline immigration officers.

The minister of immigration has personally attacked us for calling for these things, but now the Liberal chair of the immigration committee is calling for exactly these changes. Will the minister of immigration just admit she is wrong and make these changes?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the member's question. When I appeared before the immigration committee I said very clearly that I thought a safe third agreement with the United States could be beneficial and that we were pursuing those discussions. I have said that in the House.

I have also informed the member that we received $49 million. During the security concerns we have been able to add over 100 new immigration officers on the frontline to secure our borders. The member's question--

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lakeland.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister rejects the premise of anything anybody in the opposition says. The fact is that she has not stopped economic migrants from claiming refugee status. The fact is that she has not ended refugee claims from safe third countries. The fact is that she still has not put in place common standards with the United States. She has not done that. Those are the facts.

Will the minister of immigration finally admit that she has been wrong, that the chair of the committee is right, and make the changes we have been calling for, for eight long years.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has been a member of the immigration committee for quite some time. He should know and understand that while the Geneva convention allows for agreement between countries for a safe third provision, no country can or should act unilaterally.

I have said to him and to others that Canada is interested and has been interested for some time in negotiating a safe third agreement. I think there are a number of items that the member as a former member of the committee should understand.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question we asked him yesterday about airfare in the regions, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport said, and I quote:

All the measures taken... by the various departments promote fair competition.

If fair competition should lead to reasonable prices, does the Minister of Transport find it reasonable to have to pay $1,191.12 for an Ottawa-Mont-Joli return airfare, when one can fly to Europe for half of that amount?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, since the airline system was deregulated 15 years ago, consumers have been getting a good deal because prices have come down.

However, the fares between major cities are one thing, but those between smaller communities are another matter. The hon. member is right, small communities do not have the same advantages as larger ones in this country.

For that reason, we are going to encourage competition country-wide.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that this is also a problem in northwestern Quebec.

In Abitibi, for instance, a round trip between Rouyn and Montreal cost $483 in 1995. Today, the same ticket costs $743. Is a 60% increase fair competition?

How can the minister say, as he did last week, that fares are cheaper and that there are more flights, when it is plain that the opposite is true?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, before September 11, the policy of competition in the airline industry was working extremely well. Seventy-five per cent of Canadians were within two hours driving distance of airports where there was choice, where there was competition and where there were fares that were quite acceptable. Had we not had the events of the 11th and the competition that emerged, the smaller communities gradually would have had a much better regime.

I was in British Columbia yesterday and the smaller communities in British Columbia have that competition. Unfortunately this is not uniform across the country and that is why we have to look at our policy to encourage further competition.

Justice
Oral Question Period

November 30th, 2001 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, following Catherine MacLean's tragic death just 10 months ago the foreign affairs minister said publicly that immunity should apply only in the course of a diplomat's duties. Yet the Liberals have been giving out blanket immunity in cases where it is not required by the Vienna convention.

Break and enter, sexual assault, drunk driving and other actual crimes against Canadians have nothing to do with diplomatic immunity, nothing to do with diplomatic duties.

I would like to ask the government in how many of the 90 plus cases in the last five years has Canadian justice been served by the waiving of diplomatic immunity.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this question has been asked a number of times by the hon. member. It has been answered many times. It has been answered in the House since the bill came in. It has been answered in committee. It has been answered here just recently.

I would like to tell the hon. member that he knows full well we have a zero tolerance policy, that we have brought that into place in the Department of Foreign Affairs and that it is below contempt that he would continue to use the MacLean incident in a cheap political manner.