House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, recent news reports reveal the deeply troubling link between GST fraud and terrorist groups. The founder and chair of the board of the Khalsa Credit Union, where fraudulent GST credit cheques were cashed, is now in prison, a suspect in the 1985 Air India bombing.

Could the minister tell the House how many other cases are being investigated by her department which suggest that terrorist groups may be using GST fraud to fund their networks?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member and any other interested member to attend the court and hear the evidence before they jump to conclusions. Let the courts do the work.

However there are some interesting and important statistics. We collect almost $30 billion in GST. Last year the work of the 5,000 auditors and 1,000 investigators resulted in an additional $850 million in GST revenue. We are always on the lookout for fraud, but members must admit, they are doing a good job.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

February 10th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, seven bureaucrats will be under RCMP investigation for the Liberal sponsorship fiasco. Presumably they could be held responsible for those crooked contracts, but this would mean that the Liberals now reject the concept of ministerial responsibility. We know these public servants did not benefit from the slush fund like the Liberal Party did.

If the minister really wants to get to the bottom of the mess, he has to look a little higher up the ladder. Instead of blaming bureaucrats, will the government now recall Alfonso Gagliano to explain what really went on?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. This specific review relates to the administration of the sponsorship program. There are other measures being taken, including a review by the Auditor General of over 700 files, as well as reviews ongoing by the RCMP on a broader scope.

I am confident that we will all get to the bottom of this at the completion of the reviews.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, everybody remembers that 10 years ago the Liberals' campaign red book promised ministerial accountability and transparency in government. Apparently the Prime Minister vowed at that time he would hold his ministers responsible when things like this went wrong, but I guess he did not mean wrong for taxpayers.

The sponsorship program was set up to reward the Liberal supporters with taxpayer money. That is how it worked. Gagliano claimed he did what he was told, just a good little soldier. We have to believe anybody under him was following the same marching orders.

Will the minister now admit that he will never get answers to what went wrong until he asks the guy who was giving the orders?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, there is an ongoing investigation. We are looking into all elements of this. It is important. We want transparency and accountability in our government. We intend to pursue that, at the same time respecting the legal and HR obligations that we owe as a government.

Marijuana
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the report of the special committee that recommended that the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana be decriminalized, the Minister of Justice announced his intention to amend the act.

However, it is urgent to take action, because Crown prosecutors are on their own and they are wondering whether they should initiate proceedings, or wait for the changes announced by the minister.

Does the minister realize that any delay in amending the act maintains a legal vacuum that is incompatible with the sound administration of justice?

Marijuana
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a number of discussions have taken place in recent months regarding the use of cannabis in Canada.

The Senate report, which was tabled in August or September, favoured legalizing the drug.

Then, the report tabled before Christmas by the House committee advocated decriminalization, which is not to be confused with legalization.

At the time, I made it clear that the government would examine both reports and table, at the earliest opportunity, a balanced policy reflecting the values of all Canadians.

Marijuana
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the signal sent by the minister is so confusing that, on September 13, 2002, the Supreme Court itself postponed the hearing of three criminal cases involving marijuana.

Will the minister take his responsibilities and introduce a bill very soon, so as to clarify the applicable law? When will he do it? People are waiting, and that includes defence counsel and Crown prosecutors.

Marijuana
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I fully understand the hon. member's eagerness, but I simply want to point out that the current legislation is essentially the one that is applicable.

As for the decision made by the Supreme Court before the holiday season, hon. members realize of course that I cannot comment on it.

However, I already said on a number of occasions that the government will very soon go ahead with a policy that reflects all Canadian values. We will also move forward with a policy that will allow us to achieve a balanced approach based on these Canadian values.

Child Pornography
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, on February 8 the Toronto police chief, Julian Fantino, said that he has repeatedly called on the federal government to install laws that would speed up investigation into Canada's sadistic plague of child pornography. Bureaucracy is bringing investigators to their knees. Some 40 pages of document must be completed, plus a signature of the justice of the peace must be obtained before a raid can take place. In the United States and Great Britain, only one page is required for a senior cop to sign.

When is the Solicitor General going to stop protecting child predators and start protecting children?

Child Pornography
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, maybe the member has not been paying attention. Because of the efforts of this caucus and this government, the government has been taking on child predators and child pornography since 1993.

In fact, with respect to the specific incident that the member talks about, I did in this House say two weeks ago that we have created a joint steering committee to implement a national strategy to combat Internet based child pornography. There will be another meeting with all the police chiefs on February 19, and we will continue to move ahead on that issue.

Child Pornography
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister should not try to convince me. He should try to convince the chief of police in Toronto.

Is the justice minister satisfied with the ever increasing number of house arrests, community service sentences that are being handed down by our courts for child abusers, child pornographers, child cripplers? If his answer is yes that he is satisfied, he should say so. If it is no, will he bring in tough new legislation today?

Child Pornography
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first the hon. member should have a look at Bill C-20.

Let us start with Bill C-15A, which now of course actually is the legislation in Canada that we have been using. We are talking about Internet luring. The hon. member as well should recognize that in this country we have one of the toughest laws in the world. With Bill C-20, we are going to be even more effective and more efficient.

What the hon. member should do first is read the bill and, second, support the bill so it can become law in Canada as quickly as we can do it.

Multiculturalism
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are concerned about apparent increases in racism and anti-Semitism in their communities.

Could the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women tell the House what the Government of Canada is doing to combat racism and anti-Semitism?