House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we have a judge, we have an open inquiry, we have the public accounts committee, a second kind of inquiry. Does the member want to substitute another process? The reality is they have the responsibility to ask. They have the ability to answer. They have the ability to call witnesses. If they want this information, they will get it.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 5, and this is unprecedented, the Quebec City police force arrested Mohamed Cherfi in a church, thus violating a place of worship and refuge, to help deport him quickly to the United States, where he could be deported to Algeria, a measure that would pose serious risks to his safety, considering the situation that prevails in that country.

How can the Minister of Public Safety justify the eagerness of Immigration Canada services to deport Mohamed Cherfi to the United States, when it is obvious that only a humanitarian solution is in order, namely to bring Mohamed Cherfi back to Canada at the earliest opportunity?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the hon. member knows that there must be respect for our refugee laws in this country.

In fact I want to correct the implication by the hon. member in relation to what happened in that church in Quebec City. The Quebec City police went into that church under a separate warrant that had nothing to do with Mr. Cherfi's immigration status. They went into that church in relation to a separate criminal matter and they executed a warrant that had nothing to do with his immigration status.

Status of Women
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the visit of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Canada during International Women's Week, and given that Mr. Annan focused precisely on the issue of HIV-AIDS, I would ask the Minister of State for the Status of Women to tell us and Canadians about federal initiatives to address this issue, particularly as it pertains to women.

Status of Women
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased, as was the rest of the House, to participate today with the Secretary-General and also later on to attend a luncheon with Mrs. Annan. That luncheon was organized by the United Nations Association where the topic was women and HIV-AIDS.

Status of Women Canada is involved in several initiatives around the issue of women and HIV-AIDS. There is a program in the city of Montreal. There is a program in Toronto. There are programs around the country involving women and HIV-AIDS.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

March 9th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, government statistics reveal that Indians make up a disproportionate number of prison inmates because they commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In Saskatoon their crime rate is more than 10 times that of non-Indians.

To make matters worse, the Criminal Code orders judges to give lenient sentences to Indian criminals. Just like Chrétien's regime, the government is also refusing to scrap the racist two-tier sentencing scheme that gives Indian criminals a get out of jail card. Why?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I reject the implication in the question about a racist two-tier sentencing scheme.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond by way of a follow-up to my point of order of February 27 and a subsequent response from the deputy government House leader.

The Prime Minister has stated both in the House and elsewhere that all elements of the sponsorship program would be made public. The member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik in June 2003 asked for the list of sponsorship projects from 2000 to 2003. That point is not in dispute.

The government, when it tabled its response on February 18, decided to include some of the projects from the fiscal year 2003-04. The list tabled on February 18 is incomplete. What we in the official opposition are asking for is the complete list of sponsorship projects.

We trusted the government at its word when the deputy government House leader said it covers the year in question, but providing a partial list is misleading. As a result, hon. members have no way of knowing what list the Prime Minister was reading from.

If the government is sincere when it says it wants to distance itself from Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Gagliano and the sponsorship scandal, it will quit playing word games and table the complete funded sponsorship program list.

No more cover-ups from the Prime Minister. Parliament and the Canadian public have a right to know how the taxpayers' dollars are spent.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the matter which we addressed yesterday is quite a straightforward one. The member is asking for a document that the President of the Treasury Board was quoting from. That document was tabled and the opposition questioned the document in question.

The document that was quoted was indeed the response tabled by the government in the House in response to a question from the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik and that is the document which was quoted in the House and we tabled.

As far as the completeness of answers, those can be found in all the public accounts reports that are tabled and available to all members of the House and indeed to all Canadians.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It sounds as though we are getting into a debate here. The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke wanted a document tabled the other day. When the minister answered the question in the House yesterday, I believe it was, on a point of order, he indicated the document quoted from was the answer that had been given to a question posed by the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik. He offered to table an additional copy of the answer to the question which had been the document quoted from.

It seems to me what the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke now is demanding is more information. I think she is free to ask it as a question in the House, but to expect the government to table copies of all documents on any matter that are not required to be tabled in the House is not a point of order.

It seems to me that the hon. member is getting into an argument with the deputy government House leader. I would suggest the two of them sit down, have a run through the document and if the hon. member wants something else, and the hon. minister is prepared to make it available to her, either by tabling or by delivering it to her, that is a matter between the hon. members. I would recommend they follow that course for the time being.

I do not believe it is a matter for dispute with the Chair because no one is suggesting that the answer to the question was not the document being quoted. That is the end of the matter as far as the Chair is concerned.

The hon. member for Medicine Hat on a point of order.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, during question period there were a number of questions asked in the House about the famous schooner the Bluenose . During question period the President of the Treasury Board in response to another query made it very clear that he was actually the captain of the brown nose and I just wanted that noted for the record.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I did not hear that, but the hon. member I guess is making his point of order and that is that.

The hon. government House leader.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre pointed out that the government had not tabled the appointments published in the Canada Gazette , as prescribed under Standing Order 110.

I wish to thank the right hon. member for Calgary Centre for bringing this issue to the attention of the House. I am pleased to inform the House that those orders in council will be tabled in the House today, pursuant to Standing Order 110. These orders in council relate to the appointments made between October 28, 2003 and February 27, 2004.

I regret that this obligation was not fulfilled. However, I wish to remind hon. members that all this information was published in the Canada Gazette . I also wish to inform the House that the internal follow-up procedure has been tightened up to avoid a repeat of this situation.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that action by the government, and I will accept the word of the government House leader that this was an administrative error only.

However, I think there remains a question for the Chair to consider because the Standing Orders in question are very clear. They require the tabling of those orders in council within five sitting days after their publication in the Canada Gazette . That did not happen.

Some of the appointments with regard to which it did not happen were very important appointments. They had to do not simply with the nomination of individuals. They had to do with, in at least two cases, major changes in the structure and operation of the Government of Canada: in one case, the establishment of a secretariat responsible for Canada-U.S. relations; and in the other case, the creation of a brand new office, a special adviser on security matters to the Prime Minister.

The latter is particularly important because there had been commitments made by the Prime Minister with respect to opening up the intelligence and security operations of Canada to parliamentarians. Instead of doing that, what the government was doing, until it was caught, until I raised the issue, was effecting changes with regard to security and intelligence within the government without effecting changes that would allow the House of Commons or the other place to examine those security and intelligence operations in the way the Prime Minister had promised would occur.

Not to prolong this, I think there remains a question, without opening the validity of the House leader's reference to administrative error, as to whether the privileges and the rights of this House were abused by the repeated failure of the Government of Canada to follow an order given by this House and spelled out in Standing Order 110(1).

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank both the government House leader and the right hon. member for Calgary Centre for their submissions on this point.

The right hon. member for Calgary Centre yesterday raised this point of order, and I will again quote to the House Standing Order 110(1):

A Minister of the Crown shall lay upon the Table a certified copy of an Order in Council, stating that a certain individual has been appointed to a certain non-judicial post, not later than five sitting days after the Order in Council is published in the Canada Gazette. The same shall be deemed to have been referred to a standing committee specified at the time of tabling, pursuant to Standing Order 32(6), for its consideration during a period not exceeding thirty sitting days.

Now the right hon. member for Calgary Centre has pointed out that in fact these order in council appointments have been tabled late.

The government House leader indicated that this was an accident and that the problem has now been corrected.

What I am prepared to do, and I think is reasonable in the circumstances based on the submissions of the right hon. member, is order that the 30 sitting days will start today, from the date of the tabling, not from the date they should have been tabled, if that argument should arise. Accordingly, there are now 30 sitting days for the committees involved in the appointments that have been tabled today by the government House leader to study the matter as they would have been able to do had they been tabled on time.

I quite agree with the right hon. gentleman that this was a breach of our Standing Orders. He indicated that yesterday, and I agree with him. In the circumstances, he I think is inclined, as I am, to accept the apology of the government House leader.

We can now move on to the review of these appointments in committee for the period provided under the rules of the House. I believe that this matter is now closed. If there are problems with the committee review, I am sure the right hon. member for Calgary Centre will let me know.