House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Justice
Oral Question Period

May 12th, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, a recent Ipsos-Reid poll stated that two out of three Canadians thought the Supreme Court of Canada was influenced by partisan politics. This conclusion is not surprising given the absolute right of the Prime Minister to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.

Why is the Prime Minister satisfied with seeing the court increasingly become an arm of the Prime Minister's Office because of this partisan appointment process?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report that we have a fantastic Supreme Court in Canada. I am proud to say that when talking to people all over the world and asking them what they think about the Canadian legal system, they believe that it is an outstanding legal system.

I am also proud that a lot of judges are going all over the world to tell people about the way we do things here, the way we are acting, and about the fantastic legal system we have in place. The member should be ashamed to start that discussion.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is telling the Canadian people that they have no reason to be concerned and yet they have legitimate reason to be concerned. The public's growing dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court undermines its necessary role as an independent, non-partisan institution.

The Prime Minister has the power to reverse this disturbing trend. Will the Prime Minister leave as his legacy by acting quickly and implementing a non-partisan appointment process to restore confidence in the judiciary?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that is a very unacceptable and disgraceful approach. For example, to talk about partisanship, the first woman chief justice in Canada was named to the Supreme Court by a Conservative government. When he talks about partisanship he has an example of how objective we can be. She is doing a great job and she was named to the Supreme Court by my predecessor.

We always go for the best and we do not want any political debate about it. We are judged on the quality of the appointments and when they are there they are secure until 75 years of age.

Montfort Hospital
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

This morning the minister announced a new partnership between his department and the Montfort Hospital, an important institution in the riding I represent.

Could the minister please describe the nature of that partnership to this House, our hon. colleagues and those listening?

Montfort Hospital
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to thank the hon. member for his excellent work on this issue.

This is a superb agreement for both parties. For the members of the Canadian Forces, it will provide top-notch medical care in their preferred language. For the hospital, the agreement will ensure its long-term viability.

Thus, it is an excellent agreement for everyone.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Jekyll and Hyde of arms control treaties.

When he is Dr. Jekyll, he expresses concern over the possibility of Iran violating an arms control treaty, but as Mr. Hyde, he wants star wars, the weapons system that Bush tore up an arms control treaty to develop.

Before cabinet discusses star wars tomorrow, could the minister tell us when it is okay for a country to ignore arms control treaties and when it is not?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure about the Jekyll and Hyde accusation considering it comes from the party opposite that has managed to change its position on some of these matters in an extraordinary way.

I would say, however, that cabinet will be examining this. The Prime Minister has clearly indicated in the House what we will do in terms of this issue. Like all others, we will examine it in light of the best interests of Canada to ensure security for Canada and for Canadians, and to advance the interests of Canada in the international domain of which we are so proud.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has stated that New Brunswick got $90 million and Quebec got $600 million from the federal government for workers affected by crises such as that in the crab fishery.

According to New Brunswick's Minister of Labour, under the federal department's regulations, the provinces cannot use these funds for emergencies but rather for training.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Since these funds are not available under federal regulations, will the Prime Minister provide new funding to help New Brunswick and Quebec with the crab fishery crisis?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member that I met with the crabbers' associations yesterday in Fredericton. I discussed when the fishery would resume. I heard that they held a press conference. The two crabbers' associations in New Brunswick said that they were going to resume fishing. So, the problem has been resolved.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence claimed last week that the helicopter requirements had not been reduced “one iota”, yet Colonel Akitt confirms that the procurement process has been an abject failure, riddled with political interference that has left Canada with watered down safety and operational requirements.

Why is the minister proceeding to acquire helicopters that will not even match the capabilities of our 40 year old Sea Kings? Will he commit to eliminating political interference rather than helicopter requirements so that Canada can receive the best possible helicopter?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the colonel's academic paper, I am all in favour of academic freedom but I am also aware of the freedom of academics to make mistakes.

I have read every page of that paper and I can say, from having read every page--and I will willingly make copies available to the opposition and to the media--that he does not deny at all the truth of the matter which is that the statement of requirements was approved by the military leadership of the time, nor does he detract from the second truth, which is that this statement of requirements was not changed one iota for political reasons.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, again last week the Minister of National Defence responded to allegations about political meddling on behalf of Eurocopter's helicopter bid as “largely untrue”, yet Canada's ambassador to France did write to the Prime Minister's Office, he did outline changes Eurocopter wanted and the process was changed.

Now senior defence officials, including Colonel Akitt, have emerged to support these types of allegations.

Will the minister confirm that the decision to rebundle the two contracts into one permitted Eurocopter to stay in the competition?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the decision to rebundle the contract, which was my decision, has been universally praised by the industry as the right way to go, partly because it makes the helicopter come faster and partly because it reduces risk.

I have absolutely nothing to apologize for on that. I have already quoted the chief of defence staff as saying that the statement of requirements, first, had the full blessing of the military leadership of the day, and second, has not been tinkered with one iota since that time for any political reason.

I have nothing to apologize to the member for.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, Ontario says that Ottawa has ignored public safety by not appealing the striking down of parts of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The attorney general wrote:

Your failure to take a stand continues this dismal legacy to youth justice in Canada, and will further weaken an already inadequate piece of legislation.

The provisions affected have been law since 1995 and this decision could result in new trials for cases involving murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault. Why did the minister not appeal given these considerations?