House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the health minister regarding the SARS outbreak in Ontario and in other parts of the country. The Ontario government has declared a health emergency and a quarantine has been invoked in at least one hospital.

Although the extent of the risk is unknown, under what conditions would the federal Quarantine Act be invoked to deal with the SARS outbreak?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in fact, as the hon. member is probably aware, provinces have legislation like that invoked by the province of Ontario to deal with medical emergencies that come about in relation to the residents of their province.

The Quarantine Act, as I indicated in response to the hon. member's question yesterday, permits us, when we have suspicion in relation to a threat to the health or safety of Canadians as it relates to individuals, products or conveyances, to quarantine those things.

Our legislation relates to those things coming into our country and ensuring that those things are not released into our country in a way that would harm--

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Yellowhead.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is only partially true. It also extends to those going outside of our country.

Today, the World Health Organization recommended that all travellers boarding international flights from Toronto be screened for symptoms of SARS to ensure that the condition is not exported to other countries. What specific steps is the government taking to respond to that recommendation?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the WHO has provided a number of draft recommendations, including the one referred to. We have implemented most of them. We are in the process of discussing with the WHO the one to which the hon. member refers, but I want to remind everybody in the House that Health Canada officials have reminded air carriers of the existing policy to screen and not board seriously ill passengers and refer those identified passengers to local health authorities.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 1995, egg producers have been asking the federal government to terminate the bilateral agreement with the United States and to apply WTO rules instead.

When will the Minister of Agriculture decide to take this action, which he can take, which does not involve any costs and which would give a great boost to Canada's poultry industry?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I believe what the hon. member is referring to is a request from the broiler hatching egg producers in Canada. We have an agreement with the United States but before any agreement can be changed in any way we must look at all the trade implications as well as the economic implications of that. That has been and continues to be looked at by both the Minister for International Trade and my officials.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Question Period

March 27th, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

I have been informed that the leader of the Conservative Party yesterday was sharply critical of the President of the United States, George Bush.

Could the Prime Minister say if he agrees with the leader of the Conservative Party and the comments he made yesterday?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Obviously no, Mr. Speaker, because yesterday the leader of the Tory Party said:

U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration could have done a better job of lining up allies before launching a war on Iraq.

He went on to say that in those situations we needed extreme care and that we must be very sensitive. He said that had not characterized what happened in the approach to potential allies taken by some members of the Bush administration, most noticeably, of course, Secretary Rumsfeld.

None of my ministers would have said that.

Bilingualism
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, former Prime Minister Pearson's pledge that forced bilingualism would not ruin public servants' careers was a lie and a fraud.

On March 31, certain public servants who do not meet artificial bilingual restrictions will be transferred, demoted or replaced.

Why is the Minister of the Treasury Board expanding a discriminatory, divisive and costly bilingualism scheme that unfairly restricts employment and promotion in the public service?

Bilingualism
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would suggest that the hon. member listen to Canadians, who place a high value on linguistic duality.

This is why it is perfectly normal that the public service of Canada would promote this linguistic duality. I should point out that close to two thirds of all positions in the public service are unilingual.

The federal public service is open to all citizens of this country.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, farmers are criticizing the Minister for International Trade for his lack of firmness regarding supply management, for letting too many products come in.

However, at the Liberal caucus held in Chicoutimi, the minister pledged to farmers that he would take action to settle this issue. We know that a study was conducted and recently submitted to the minister, at the end of February.

Can the minister tell us when he intends to table the findings of that study here in the House?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, indeed, when we were in Chicoutimi, the Minister of Agriculture and I set up a working group with dairy producers and supply management officials.

Our officials worked together and, last week, they submitted to the Minister of Agriculture and myself a report which we have reviewed. A number of possibilities are being examined. These are rather complex issues, and we have to look at the legal impact of any scenario that we may adopt.

Therefore, we will follow up on this request in the coming weeks.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Vancouver East.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege with respect to contempt of Parliament.

As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, on March 20 the House voted on the following supply motion moved by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie and seconded by the member for Laurentides:

That this House call upon the government not to participate in the military intervention initiated by the United States in Iraq.

That question was debated, put and passed on the following division: yeas, 153; nays, 50.

On many occasions leading up to and after the motion was passed, members have asserted that Canada will not and is not participating in the war. On March 20, for instance, the Prime Minister said “We don't have any troops and there will be no troops”. However, since then it is clear from the Prime Minister's statements in the House that this is not the case.

I would cite the following comment made by the Prime Minister in Hansard on March 26:

--of course we have ships in the ocean there....

He went on to say:

The people who are involved in flying in AWACS planes are covering many countries in their surveillance, not only one country. They are doing the job today that they have been doing for many months.

The AWACS to which the Prime Minister referred helped coordinate the bombing in Iraq. The ships he referred to are escorting American and British ships into war and which are now permitted to travel as far north as Kuwait for that purpose.

On March 25 the Prime Minister said:

They have been on loan for some time with the British and American armies.

Canadians are with British tank brigades outside Basra. Clearly this is combat.

On March 17 the Prime Minister said:

If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate.

As we know, there has been no second resolution to the Security Council, but there was a motion in this House that clearly compels Canada not to participate. The motion does not distinguish between participation in combat or non-combat. It simply deals with participation.

Nevertheless, not being in combat is being cited as an acceptable reason to be there, as the Minister of Defence has indicated. He does not deny participation, he merely tries to explain the type of participation. In his comments on March 18 he said:

As for these 31 persons, they are not in positions that involve direct combat.

On March 19 the Minister of Defence stated:

The reason there is a small number, some 30 personnel, in non-combat roles....

Yesterday, March 26, the Department of National Defence confirmed that Canadian troops were helping in the war on Iraq, that Canadians were aboard American AWACS radar planes flying command missions over Iraq, and that 31 soldiers were serving on exchange assignments with U.S. and British armies.

Today in question period in terms of the question I raised and the response from the government, clearly there was confirmation that our presence and our participation was there.

This is clearly participation but Parliament has explicitly said no participation.

As well, it is being reported today that six members of the Armed Forces are serving in logistical or support positions with combat troops on the ground.

I would say that there is a strong inconsistency between the claims that the government has made in the House and the vote that took place on March 20 which called upon the government not to participate in the war. I believe this has misled the House and that it is a contempt of this Parliament.

I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to consider these facts and the issues and if you find a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament against the government, I would be prepared to move the appropriate motion to have this referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.