House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister realize that, while he remains unfazed by the highly negative comments from the privacy commissioner on Bill C-55, and passes on to the courts the responsibility for resolving this, certain of the rights of citizens involved in these military zones will remain suspended, in particular the right to institute civil proceedings?

Is this acceptable in a country where rights and freedoms are supposed to be properly protected?

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first the law has to be passed. The hon. member has just said that citizens are going to lose rights, yet the law is not even passed yet.

It is going to be looked at in committee. He is entitled to his opinion, but I am convinced that this bill respects the law of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms we hold so dear.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have seen with today's softwood disaster that the government's ability to make deals with the U.S. is non-existent. Why then do we have to wait for another theoretical deal on refugee claimants?

The government could begin today by declaring the U.S. as a safe third country. This would help stop asylum shopping, something the Liberal chair of the immigration committee is concerned about. It would open the way for many more legitimate refugee claims, something the Alliance is concerned about.

Why do we have to wait? Why will the government not act right now?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I think that what is the most important to point out is that we have legal obligations. As a result of the Singh case in 1985, we have an obligation to have this process in place for refugees. If we immediately send claimants back to the United States, we would have to be answerable before the courts on our obligations.

We must therefore ensure that, not only is article 33 complied with, but that we used due diligence to ensure that the safe third country agreement is in place.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, why does the minister not want to help true legitimate refugees?

Seventy two per cent of our refugee claimants come through the United States. By declaring the U.S. as a safe third country and following the United Nations guidelines on refugees, we could make it easier for those in camps and dire straits to get into Canada. Why is the minister so opposed to helping these people in dire straits?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. I am in favour of having more resources and more refugees coming from camps. At the same time, we have a duty to be respectful of the law. The supreme court made it clear that anyone coming as a refugee claimant has the same rights under the charter of rights and freedoms.

To do so, the only way to be respectful of article 33 of the Geneva convention is to make sure that we sign a deal with the Americans as a safe third country. If we have that, we will be able to do so.

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

May 2nd, 2002 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 allows the Minister of National Defence to create military zones without having to reveal their location to anyone. This means that, based on the wording of the bill, some citizens could find themselves inside a military zone without knowing it.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us exactly what will happen to people who find themselves in such zones without knowing it, since they could be expelled by force without knowing why? Is this not interfering with people's freedoms?

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, if people were staring a jet fighter in the face, they would be politely asked to leave the area.

These authorities in the case of military zones are the same that exist in the civilian realm. They have existed for hundreds of years under the common law, except in that case it is for police. It provides the same kind of authority for the military in protecting military equipment and personnel as the police have in other crowd control instances.

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the minister is reserving the right to determine the period of designation of a military zone, and its dimensions, is it not worrisome for the public to know that such a zone may be designated by the Minister of National Defence alone, for a period of one year, with the possibility of renewing it for an additional one year period?

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not read the legislation. It requires the military to make a recommendation to start with. The Minister of National Defence does not just go off and do this on his or her own. It also requires that the Minister of National Defence do what is reasonably necessary. If something is beyond the realm of the legislation to protect equipment in a reasonably necessary way, it can certainly be challenged in the courts.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, when people buy something at a fire sale, they check it out very carefully. The government bought the subs at a fire sale price. One would have thought it would have checked the subs out very carefully.

I ask the minister, when the government bought the subs, did it know they had been condemned by the British House of Commons and refused by the Australians?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. It is absolutely not true at all. The Royal Navy, one of the finest navies and expert navies in the world, has certified them. The kind of items that were in disrepair when the Australians looked at them have long since been repaired.

The Australians took 15 years from start to finish to get their submarines into operation. We will be doing it in a lot less than half of that.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, we make do with 40 year old Sea Kings. We make do with too few soldiers. We make do with leaky subs. We make do with the minister. We cannot continue to make do with the minister.

Respected military experts are warning Canadians today that we are only 15 years away from mass extinction. How many more reports does the minister have to hear before he will do something to prevent this mass extinction of our military?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately we also have to make do with the opposition critic who knows nothing about the military, who has the worst research of any opposition critic in the history of the House.

Facing extinction if we did absolutely nothing, one never knows, that is quite possible. However the government is investing in new equipment. It has increased the budget of the defence department 20% in the last four years. It is increasing it by $1 billion over the next five years.

The government is committed to ensuring that the Canadian forces get the tools, get the education, get the equipment and the people to be able to do their job.

South Africa
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent trip to Africa. The Prime Minister was questioned on the South African government HIV-AIDS policy. I understand there are recent developments on this issue in South Africa. Could the Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa and la Francophonie give us an update?