House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

October 6th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Regina RCMP forensic lab is in my riding. Prior cuts and closures in the lab have reportedly resulted in 110 Regina families being relocated to Ottawa at a cost of $8 million.

The Liberal minister from Regina has not been able to stop it.

I ask the Solicitor General, how many more families will be forced out of Regina and how much more money will it cost his crime fighting budget?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think--

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The question was asked of the Solicitor General, who has risen to respond, but there is so much noise we cannot hear his response. I know that sometimes other conversations are helpful and useful to hon. members, but during question period it is helpful to listen to the person recognized by the Chair. The Solicitor General is that person at the moment.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I did answer this question previously. As I indicated, the RCMP is always looking to improve the situation relative to the forensic labs, but this does give me a little more time to lay a few more facts on the table.

There are really 683 cases in the entire country presently being worked on. Of those 683 cases, approximately 615 are in the analytical process. That is far short of the numbers being talked about by the opposition party. We are having better turnaround times.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, because of the lack of funding and the cutback in personnel, numbers of RCMP forensic experts have moved to the United States. More are anticipated to follow suit if the Solicitor General continues with this closure, slash or cutback, whatever it is, of the forensic lab in Regina, which is being turned into office space.

How can the Solicitor General justify the loss of some of the most important crime fighters in Canada and the loss of an eight year old facility to equip them?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member did not hear me previously. I talked about improvements to the system and that is what we are doing. We are improving the system. We are getting better turnaround times than in the past and we will continue to work at improving the system and bringing in greater efficiencies. Just last week, in fact, we announced a fairly major milestone in terms of DNA, and that was the one-thousandth match.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, the member for Jonquière and I met with people from the Syndicat des employés d'Abitibi-Consol, a division of the Port-Alfred plant, who are victims of a temporary shutdown and are having a hard time coping with the employment insurance waiting period. These workers are among the victims of the softwood lumber crisis, since their company is directly affected by these woodlands operations.

My question is for the government. The government reacted swiftly for the Toronto workers who were victims of the SARS crisis. Why, then, is it refusing to do the same for the workers in my region who are victims of the softwood lumber crisis?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Shefford
Québec

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we are always very concerned when there are massive layoffs. Naturally, our goal is to help the affected employees re-enter the labour force.

We have introduced major changes to the employment insurance plan in response to the problems that these workers are faced with. Moreover, the small weeks initiative has become a permanent feature in employment insurance, and we recently increased the small week threshold to $225.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the SARS crisis in Toronto, the Minister of Human Resources Development, who is from Toronto, decided within days to help the workers who were affected by the crisis, and good for them.

However, the victims of the softwood lumber crisis in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and all the regions of Quebec would like to receive the same treatment. They are depending on the government. What is the government waiting for?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Shefford
Québec

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we waived the waiting period for people infected with SARS in order to support efforts to control the epidemic. Rest assured that the government is aware of the needs of seasonal workers and of whatever difficulties they may be going through.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, an international convention on human cloning is being debated at the United Nations. Many countries want to see a comprehensive ban on human cloning, both therapeutic and reproductive.

In fact, the government's Bill C-13 calls for prohibitions on both reproductive and therapeutic cloning, but our negotiators at the United Nations are seeking prohibitions on reproductive cloning alone. Why the double standard?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

In fact, Mr. Speaker, there is no double standard. Let me be absolutely clear that the hon. member is right, that in Bill C-13, which I would ask this House to pass with alacrity, we ban all forms of human cloning. However, achieving a broad international consensus to ban all forms of cloning may not be possible at this time.

But it is clear that the international community is ready to pass a ban on human reproductive cloning. I would suggest that Canada is supporting this effort. We should all support this effort because not taking that step at this time may mean having no convention at all.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, in January the minister said when it comes to therapeutic cloning, “not at this time”, but she would not rule it out in the future.

Creating human life for the purpose of harvesting spare parts is deplorable, yet Canada's position at the United Nations amounts to support for an attack on human dignity. Why would we have one position at home and another one abroad?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned, the only attack on human dignity is perhaps the antics of the opposition in relation to their delay in passing Bill C-13, which in fact speaks to human dignity for families, for men and women in this country who would like to have families and cannot.

Let me reassure everyone in this House that Bill C-13 bans all forms of human cloning for any purpose, howsoever done. Let me also indicate to the House that we believe it is much better to ban reproductive cloning in the international community than to have no--