House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the next petition deals with Bill C-68, which we have heard about many times. The petitioners call upon Parliament to freeze further spending on implementation or privatization of the firearms registry and to repeal Bill C-68 in its entirety.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last petition deals with the issue of the traditional definition of marriage. The petitioners call upon the government to retain the traditional definition of marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of Canadians, including my own riding of Mississauga South.

I have been a member of Parliament for 10 years and there is no issue that has had more attention from my constituents than the issue of the definition of marriage.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the invocation of section 33 of the Constitution can override the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to invoke the notwithstanding clause so that the definition of marriage retained in our laws would be the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of people in St. John's East who make the point that non-embryonic stem cell research has already shown encouraging potential to provide medical cure and therapies and that adult stem cells have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cell research. The petitioners further state that Bill C-13 continues to permit people to kill human embryos.

They call upon Parliament to ban embryonic stem cell research.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 147 supplementary, 250 and 252.

Question No. 147
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

With regard to the answer provided to Question No. 47 by the Minister of National Defence on January 27, 2003, regarding the rubric “Losses of Public Property Due to an Offence or Other Illegal Act” for the Department of National Defence as listed on page 3.24 of volume II, part II, of the Public Accounts of Canada 2001-2002 and the cases of theft listed thereon; of the information not provided yet which represents approximately $127,000 of the $220,000 addressed in Question No. 47: ( a ) what was stolen in each individual case; ( b ) what was the value of each individual item; ( c ) what was the location of each theft; and ( d ) were there any charges laid in the case?

Question No. 147
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

The attached chart contains information representing the final $7,000 that the department undertook to provide.

The recording and reporting of this information is complicated by the wide dispersal of responsible units throughout Canada and overseas, often multiple levels of reporting between the primary unit and National Defence headquarters, and the manual nature of the process.

The department has taken steps to improve the recording and reporting process to ensure adequate validation and documentation in support of losses of public property reported in the Public Accounts of Canada for current and future years.

Theft of Military Kit

Question No. 250
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

What actions has the government undertaken, as of September 15, 2003, to respond to and prepare a plan for implementing the recommendations which the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women made at the time of its review of Canada’s 5th Report on its compliance with its commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); in particular, what steps have been taken to: ( a ) solicit input from federal government departments regarding steps they will take; ( b ) solicit input from provincial and territorial governments regarding steps they will take; ( c ) solicit input from women’s organizations and aboriginal women’s organizations, in particular regarding the best ways of implementing the recommendations; ( d ) initiate a cross-departmental process to develop and coordinate an implementation plan; ( e ) involve non-governmental organizations in developing the plan; ( f ) disseminate the Committee’s concluding comments widely in Canada; and ( g ) address other issues raised by the United Nations CEDAW Committee?

Question No. 250
Routine Proceedings

October 23rd, 2003 / 11 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

The concluding observations of the United Nations committee on the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, CEDAW, are not considered binding in international law but are considered authoritative, that is, they carry moral obligation and weight. States are expected to undertake follow-up measures on recommendations and to respond to the issues of concern to the committee in subsequent reports. While there is no requirement to develop an overall implementation plan in Canada, several steps are taken to ensure that the views of all human rights treaty bodies, such as the CEDAW committee, are given due consideration.

This follow-up process begins with the immediate distribution of the concluding observations to all concerned federal departments and to all provincial and territorial governments. Federally, each department then discusses the issues to determine whether and what measures can be taken to address those issues within its area of competence. Interdepartmental meetings are held to coordinate efforts. Provinces and territories engage in their own intra-governmental discussions. To coordinate efforts between jurisdictions, discussions are held through the appropriate established federal-provincial-territorial government mechanisms. These mechanisms include the continuing committee of officials on human rights, and in the case of the CEDAW, meetings of federal-provincial-territorial ministers and senior officials on the status of women.

In response to the sub-questions: (a) and (d) Four interdepartmental meetings have been held to discuss the concluding observations. The next meeting is expected to be held in October. A working group has been established to develop a strategy for improved reporting. In addition, the CEDAW and the concluding observations have been discussed interdepartmentally at meetings on related subjects, including discussions on the agenda for gender equality and human rights issues generally.

(b) The continuing committee of officials on human rights, which includes representatives of all jurisdictions, discussed the committee’s recommendations on five occasions. The federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women also discussed the CEDAW at their meeting in September.

c) and (e) At the request of the Feminist Alliance For International Action, FAFIA, officials from several federal departments met with representatives of women’s non-governmental organizations to hear their suggestions regarding follow-up to the concluding observations. Status of Women Canada has provided funding to FAFIA to develop strategies and coordinate action by women’s organizations throughout Canada concerning follow-up to Canada’s international commitments on women’s issues.

Federal departments are expected to include discussions of the issues raised by this and other human rights treaty bodies within their usual consultations with non-governmental organizations on issues within the responsibility of the department. There is no formal process in place to solicit input from women’s, aboriginal or human rights non-governmental organizations specifically in regard to follow-up to the views of the CEDAW committee. The possibility of establishing such a process in future, however, is one of several issues that will be examined by federal departments that are engaged in discussions on how to improve the implementation of, as well as reporting on, all six human rights instruments that Canada has ratified.

(f) The concluding observations are available to all Canadians on the website of the Department of Canadian Heritage at http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/pdp-hrp/docs/cedaw_e.cfm . Paper copies are available free of charge on request by calling the human rights program at 819-994-3458.

(g) Each jurisdiction is in the process of determining what will be done within its area to address each of the issues raised by the committee. Efforts to address the issues are expected to be ongoing over several years. In accordance with the requirements of the CEDAW committee, information on the measures implemented and the results achieved will be included in Canada’s next report.

Question No. 252
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

In respect to prescription drug costs in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, will the government commit to increasing the exemption for seniors from the current $15,935.99 to a more reasonable amount, which would make it much easier for them to qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement?

Question No. 252
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Oak Ridges
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

It is up to provinces to define the eligibility criteria for their prescription drug benefit plans and other social programs. Some provinces have chosen to provide benefits for low-income seniors based on their eligibility for the guaranteed income supplement, GIS, provided under the federal old age security program, (OAS).

Under the OAS, seniors with limited income may be eligible for the GIS. The amount of GIS benefits is dependent on both the marital status and the family income.

For a single, widowed or divorced pensioner, the monthly maximum GIS, which is adjusted to CPI inflation every quarter, currently stands at $548.53. The maximum amount for the whole year, 2003, is $6,496.26. This amount is in addition to the OAS benefit of $5,497.62 in 2003. The GIS benefit is reduced at the rate of 50¢ for every dollar of other income, non OAS and non-GIS. This means that the GIS benefit is fully phased out when other income reaches $12,992.

For a two-pensioner couple, each spouse can currently receive GIS benefits up to $357.30 per month, $4,255.83 for the whole year, in addition to OAS benefits of $5,497.62 each. The GIS benefit is reduced for each spouse at the rate of 25¢ per dollar of other family income. For the couple, this implies that total GIS benefits are reduced by 50¢ for every dollar of other income and are phased out when other family income reaches $17,020.

Similar benefits are available for low income pensioners' spouses and widow(er)s who are between the ages of 60 and 64.

Newfoundland and Labrador's seniors drug subsidy Program provides prescription drug coverage for residents 65 years of age or over who are in receipt of the guaranteed income supplement. Even though the eligibility for the program is based on the GIS, it is the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that designed the program in this way and is ultimately responsible for setting the eligibility criteria. The federal government has therefore no control over the design of provincial programs.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 245 could be made an order for return, the return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 245
Routine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Delta—South Richmond, BC

With regard to emamectin benzoate, the unlicensed drug used to treat infestations of sea lice in farmed salmon: ( a ) how many requests for emergency release have been received for each of the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; ( b ) how many requests for emergency release have been approved for the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; ( c ) what quantities of the drug were approved in the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; ( d ) how many fish were treated with the drug during the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; ( e ) what are the known effects of the drug if ingested by shrimp, prawns and lobster in the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; ( f ) what are the known effects of the drug on humans ingesting seafood that has been treated with it; ( g ) how many times has the drug been used as a preventative measure against sea lice in the following years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; and ( h ) what areas of Canada’s coastlines have been exposed to this drug?

(Return tabled.)