House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-17.

Topics

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, if I heard the news right, I am delighted on behalf of the Liberals but despite pleas from the veterans' widows, the veterans' associations, the national media and his own government members; I appreciate, and thousands of people across Canada are going to be happy today, when this announcement becomes complete and these war widows have the money in their hands on November 11.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier here, it was not for lack of will nor for lack of heart. We are committed to resolving this issue. I just would like to say that we extend as well some $185 million for the veterans independence program for the veterans themselves.

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is an example of the language used in ads on Human Resources Development Canada's website, “L'équipe de demoiselles est intéressées par des individus mûrs et responsables”.

After 35 years of operation of the Official Languages Act, how can the Minister of Human Resources Development justify posting such poor and demeaning translations on its website? Will respect ever be shown for French in her department?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

We are hunting out this kind of unacceptable linguistic nonsense. The fact is, however, that Canada has been a leader in promoting the use of French on the Internet worldwide and that, in the early 21st century, Canada developed an action plan for official languages, which the Commissioner of Official Languages described yesterday as the single greatest act of leadership for bilingualism in Canada since the Official Languages Act was revised in 1988.

Canada will take advantage of its good fortune, since both its official languages are used internationally.

Labour
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. The minister recently travelled to Salvador, Brazil to attend the 13th Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour. Could the minister please inform the House of the outcome of this meeting?

Labour
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as Canada's Minister of Labour, I have chaired the conference for the last two years. In Salvador I handed over the chair of the conference to the Brazil minister of labour.

At the conference, labour ministers from 34 countries in the Americas adopted a declaration and action plan that focused on poverty reduction and creating decent work in the hemisphere.

The conference addresses some key issues of our time and I am pleased that Brazil will continue Canada's initiative to actively involve business--

Labour
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Palliser.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, that only one-third of women are eligible for employment insurance benefits is made worse because airline attendants are no longer considered flight crew. Although the airlines want this ridiculous ruling reversed, and employees were assured by the transport committee last May that relief was imminent, nothing has changed. Seventy-five per cent of flight attendants are women and hundreds pay full EI premiums despite being ineligible for full time benefits.

When will the government stop discriminating against the predominantly female workforce by treating them the same way they treat predominantly male pilots?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member that when hours of work are restricted by federal or provincial statute, the Employment Insurance Act considers full time employees to have 35 insurable hours per week. There is currently no statute that limits work weeks of flight attendants in this way.

We have advised the airlines, however, that they should count not only flight time but also ground time. The employers are currently remodelling their reporting systems, but we have a system in place so these employees can receive benefits.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

October 7th, 2003 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, last year the RCMP reported that marijuana grow ops are epidemic. Last spring the Solicitor General saw the problem firsthand in my riding. Last month another RCMP report revealed that international drug gangs are spreading across Canada.

Grow ops threaten communities with drive by shootings, home invasions and house fires. Apparently the Prime Minister thinks that marijuana use is some kind of joke. Families living next door to grow ops do not share his humour.

Why is this government dragging its feet in addressing marijuana grow ops despite repeated warnings from the RCMP?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member opposite is talking about increasing penalties for marijuana grow ops, we have announced that we want to do that in our national drug strategy and I expect him to be more supportive in terms of that strategy than it has been to date.

We just had a federal-provincial-territorial ministers meeting where, yes, we talked about the problem of marijuana grow ops. The fact of the matter is that the proposal, which was proposed under the national drug strategy, will go a great distance to deal with this problem on the ground of marijuana grow operations.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the tragic death last Thursday of two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, in addition to their three comrades who were wounded, raises many questions on the type of equipment used by the Canadian Forces as well as on its contribution.

Will the Minister of National Defence admit that, before committing armed forces to any new operations and procuring any new and expensive equipment, thought must be given to the role we want the Canadian Forces to play? When will the defence policy be reviewed?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there are many questions indeed. But now is not the time for these questions, as the army is holding in Pembroke a service to honour two of its fallen soldiers. I will tell the House this: everyone should read or hear General Hillier's extremely moving words.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-17, an act to amend certain Acts of Canada, and to enact measures for implementing the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, in order to enhance public safety, be read the third time and passed.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to continue my comments on Bill C-17. I have to admit it was hard for me to stop in mid-stream when I was commenting on this government's lack of consideration for the civil liberties of individual Canadians. However I have heard some cases which are still happening, and I will make a point of trying to get back on track as quickly as I can.

I want to report a number of things that have come about as a result of Bill C-17 and some of the other legislation that has had an impact on Canadians.

In the Globe and Mail an article dated Thursday, September 11 reported former solicitor general Warren Allmand commenting on some of this legislation. It said:

In November, he complained of “the diminishing role and influence of democratic institutions” and “an increasing lack of transparency in our governance processes.” He fears “we run the risk of gradually falling prey to an authoritarian style of governance not much different from the regimes we condemn.

Also:

In July, the RCMP's civilian watchdog warned that the RCMP may be misusing its new antiterrorism powers. Shirley Heafey, chairperson of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, says her organization is being hindered in investigations and not being given access to needed information.

Those comments are coming now, even before we put in place another piece of legislation which will more severely restrict access to this information and ensuring the rights of Canadians. That is unacceptable.

There is another quote I want to read and many of us over the course of our lifetime may have heard this. It is a quote by a Reverend Martin Niemoeller. He said:

In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Catholics,but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant.Then came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.

Reverend Niemoeller was a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau in 1938. He was freed when the allied forces came in 1945.

Who in Canada will speak up for the numerous Canadians, a good number of them of Muslim and Islamic background, whose rights are being infringed upon as we speak, simply because somehow it seems like it has become okay to racial profile because someone is from that background?

How have we so quickly forgotten what we did in this country to Japanese Canadians? How have we so quickly forgotten what we did to Ukrainian Canadians? These are shameful periods in our history.

Now the government is going to push through legislation that is going to do the same thing to another group of Canadians. It is not okay. Anybody who supports this legislation without ensuring that safeguards are in place to protect every individual in the country, is failing to do his or her job. It is not acceptable.

It would not mean changing the whole bill. What it would mean is we would be ensuring that safeguards were in place and that we would not be saying that it was okay to do this. I cannot help but wonder this. Is there this arrogant kind of attitude out there that because we are the white girls or boys down the street and we were born in Canada or because we are white guys from western Canada and we are farmers they will never touch us, so we should not worry about it?

I ask every Ukrainian Canadian to think about this. I ask them to let their members of Parliament know it was not acceptable when it happened to them and it is not acceptable now when it happens to others. We have to be given the right of not being considered a terrorist just because of one's name, or religious background or where one was born. That is not okay.

Without question, this is the most serious piece of legislation that I have seen before this House in the whole time I have been here. I probably did not feel quite as active about this when it first came up because I did not see it that way and thought that we have to protect the security of everybody.

As I heard more witnesses and as I was going through security week after week, day after day, I was feeling sick and tired of having everybody go through my stuff--and I was not even thinking that I was being considered a terrorist. I was getting annoyed with the infringement on my privacy as my items were being searched piece by piece.

One day while I was sitting in the plane, some people boarded who might have been of Arabic, Islamic or some other culture. I watched the uneasiness of passengers in the plane as they got on. I was also sickened because I actually felt a little of that uneasiness and thought “Is it safe?”. All of a sudden it was like this hammer hitting me in the head, and I thought, “Oh, my God, what am I doing?”

This is what happened to every black man who used to be accused of being a thief, or aboriginal persons who were not honest simply because they were aboriginal. And this same thing was happening. It was so much in the forefront that it was not acceptable.

We must do whatever we can to ensure that when we put legislation through this House it will not be a blanket piece of legislation that would allow the RCMP, CSIS, whoever, to get at these individuals.

I will read a few more comments about what has been happening. In regard to someone who was picked up in Canada for being a possible terrorist suspect:

Little or no evidence has been revealed to support the accusations, the protesters said. Federal security certificates allow the government to argue in court to deport the men while keeping most supporting evidence secret, even from the defendants

That is one of the concerns we have about the bill, that even those being accused would not be able to get all the information. They would not be able to access legal counsel, they would be able to be detained, and things could be used against them without them ever knowing.

Here is another comment.

We're asking for fair process...I'm a Canadian citizen. I should be able to know why the government wants to separate me from my husband.

Not so, says lawyer Clayton Ruby, who helped argue for a more open process in Canada's top court-and lost.

When it comes to allegations of terrorism, courts have said they won't interfere with government powers that are open to “huge abuse”, Ruby said in an interview.

But that's what the courts have said to Canadian people: you have no choice but to trust your government

I am sorry, but I do not trust the government. The government stood behind numerous people while within its own departments they defrauded Canadians, took money and did not account for, and had lavish spending. I do not trust the government to speak out on behalf of Canadians. The government has literally turned the lives of Canadians over to foreign governments without standing up for them. I am sorry, but I do not trust the government to do that. We must ensure we have some rules in place.

I will not make a point of commenting on the situation with the Canadian who was arrested and turned over and ended up in Syria. I think there will be opportunities for that to happen a bit later. But I will make a few other comments because these are the serious situations that we have to keep in mind that would get much worse if this bill is put in place.

The following is from the September 30 Globe and Mail :

Both the CSIS and the RCMP can be commended for investing a great deal of energy and expertise in protecting Canada's security. But along with their diligence comes the dark reality that they are also targeting a religious minority--with devastating consequences.

A Muslim receiving a personal call from CSIS or the RCMP at work could easily lose his job. After all, who wants to hire someone who has drawn the interest of security agents? If such a call is received at home, family, friends and neighbours are subjected to stress and fear.

We are not talking about somebody we know nothing about or someone who has terrorist ties. We are talking about ordinary Canadians.

Young Canadian Muslims embarking on careers can no longer even think of applying for jobs with CSIS, the RCMP, Canadian armed forces, their local police service, or in commercial aviation.

This is a result of legislation like Bill C-17. If we allow this type of legislation to go through, we will make their life that much more difficult

On the second anniversary of 9/11 the Canadian Islamic Congress urged Ottawa to establish an independent commission to look into the impact of the tragedy and subsequent anti-terrorism measures on civil liberties in the country. Nothing has been done to assure those individuals that they will be protected. The government will not stand up for them.

I listened to the comments of my colleague from Mississauga South who indicated that this was part of the risk, this was one of the things they had to put up with so that the rest of us could feel more secure. That is what the government said to Ukrainian Canadians and to Japanese Canadians, and it is not acceptable.

That was a shameful time in our history, and each and every one of us is repeating it. Anybody who supports this legislation will be part of that shameful history. Years down the road when we are saying that we are sorry and asking for a statement of apology from the government, each and every member who supported Bill C-17 better think about it because they will be part of that shameful history.

We should not pass Bill C-17 until it is changed to ensure that civil liberties cannot be in doubt and cannot be questioned, and ensures that people have the right to recourse. I encourage my colleagues not to accept Bill C-17 as just another bill. It is not. Bill C-17 would have absolutely devastating effects.

Warren Allmand commented that certain groups had been investigated because of possible affiliations with terrorism or challenges to security. Those groups included Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and different labour unions. Numerous organizations and anti-globalization movements that do extremely credible work were being targeted because it was felt that they were a threat to security. The democratic voice of Canadians is being stifled.