House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quarantine.

Topics

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

An hon. member

More than two weeks.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

My colleague says it was more than two weeks. Time passes so quickly in good company. However, I think we may have spent three weeks examining a bill as fascinating as the quarantine bill. We would not have wanted to be elsewhere.

Clause 47 of the bill speaks of the power to inspect all conveyances arriving in Canada and the granting of the means to act, if necessary. Finally, it concerns the possibility of conveyance inspection, but it goes further. Not only may a conveyance be inspected, it may be rerouted. That means it can be asked to turn back and leave Canada if there are reasons to believe it could be a vector of transmission.

Before I go any further, I would like to speak of a debate that took place in committee. The bill provides for the establishment of quarantine zones, which were first thought to be airports, but which could be other sites. We asked the following question in committee with respect to quarantine zones: if a quarantine zone is established and 300 people are put in quarantine there and prevented from earning their living for one, two or three days, should they not be compensated? Should they not receive some financial compensation to ensure no prejudice? The bill is a little unspecific. It was a little slack, if I may put it that way. It was felt that the minister could provide compensation.

So things were left a bit fuzzy, you might say.

The question arose as to whether the minister ought not to be required to compensate people quarantined. Our Conservative friends, in an uncharacteristic attack of generosity, brought in an amendment to require the minister to compensate them. I would not want my colleagues to think that the amount of compensation was cut and dried. It was to be determined by regulation.

There was quite a debate in the committee, and people were divided, some in favour, some opposed. We in the Bloc Québécois reached a middle of the road conclusion, a balanced position. We cannot define ourselves otherwise than as agents of balance, a kind of political homeostasis which has always been greatly appreciated where we come from.

We had agreed that those quarantined deserved compensation, but the extent of it needed to be determined. Of course, if 10,000 people were involved, the public treasury would be sorely taxed. We did not want to adopt any excessive measures, so we indicated our agreement with the principle but linked to it the concept of reasonable criteria as they exist in law for situations where it is required. All in all, it was a great debate, as the member for Verchères—Les Patriotes has said.

Now, to move on to a very important clause in the bill, clause 44. This deals with the obligation for cadavers, body parts and other human remains imported into Canada to be accompanied by a death certificate, with the exception of cells, tissues and organs for transplantation. This clause requires some serious consideration. Deaths may even occur on board an aircraft or other carrier. The possibility of vectors of contamination connected with cadavers must not be treated lightly. That is why this obligation is there. I know my colleagues will address the justification of such a clause as seriously as I.

It is indeed possible that bodies may be on a plane or other means of transportation. Our transportation critic ought to look into this in depth, because those things do happen.

Moving on, while taking this bill very seriously, as we should. Clause 30 of the bill was certainly the source of some concern for us. It states, “The minister may, on the minister's own motion, review any decision of a quarantine officer to detain a traveller and... order the traveller's release.

I must say that the committee heard a law professor from Dalhousie University, which usually produces very fine lawyers, while not as fine as those from the University of Ottawa or Laval University. It is almost a tie between Dalhousie and Laval.

Allow me to digress briefly. This year marks a milestone in the history of Laval University, which is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its foundation. This calls for a round of applause for everyone who graduated from that university, to which we owe valued members like the member for Verchères—Les Patriotes, who is renowned for his rigour and patience, and the member for Témiscamingue, who was interested in civil law but eventually went into criminal law. Indeed, being comfortable with legal aid issues while not minding taxation and free trade issues whenever possible was one of this member's strengths.

Coming back to the bill. I would not want to get sidetracked, because the rule of relevance could be applied.

We were concerned about the possibility that a person could be detained in detention for more—

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Placed in detention.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

I am sorry. That was a slip of the tongue.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

A pleonasm.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

A pleonasm, indeed. Let me reword that. This is almost like in a courtroom, with all the objections. I am happy to have an attentive audience.

We were concerned about the possibility that a person placed in detention could be detained for more than 48 hours. We had concerns about the principles of natural justice and, basically, the fact that these individuals could not seek legal advice and that the reasons for detaining them were not clear, especially since, initially, the bill did not really provide for the possibility of appealing decisions.

We know the importance in law of the ability to review decisions. All my colleagues in this House are indignant about the fact that the Immigration Act passed last year abolished the refugee appeal division. It should be recalled that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration at the time, the member for Bourassa, promised that the situation would be corrected. Another minister has now moved to immigration. We are on our third incumbent in this position, and the right to appeal to the refugee division still has not been re-established.

All my colleagues share with me the deep indignation of these people over such a violation of a principle of natural justice, namely the right to appeal a decision and have it reviewed.

Immigration is not an unimportant matter. There are four great immigrant countries in the world: Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Immigration is important. This issue brings us back to our national sovereignty project. In immigration, there are two great problems, two great visions of the integration of Neo-Quebeckers.

We in the Bloc Québécois have always felt that the future had to be built with immigrants. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity, by the way, to pay tribute to our critic for immigration, the member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

I would like to finish by saying that the immigration issue takes us back to the two major ways of integrating people. There is Canada's multiculturalism model, where people are led to believe that we can keep our own culture, regardless of our country or place of origin. Then there is the Quebec model with its shared public culture. Gérald Godin, formerly the member for Mercier, used to say, “There are 100 ways to be a Quebecker, but the important thing is to be one in French”. That is why, in Quebec, French plays an integrating role in regard to the shared public culture and why we had Bill 101. The father of Bill 101, the former member for Bourget, Camille Laurin, occupies a special place in our hearts.

That said, all my colleagues will understand that the connection I wanted to make between immigration and quarantines is the following. In a country that welcomes a lot of people—on October 1 every year, Canada announces its immigration plans and last year the figure was 248,000—it is very important to ensure that the most judicious measures are taken but not measures that infringe on human rights. That is why the Bloc Québécois tabled amendments to Bill C-12, because it seemed to us that we should seek a better balance.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. member for Hochelaga on his oratorical skills. It is always a pleasure to hear him speak. I would, however, like him to make a few clarifications.

With respect to this Quarantine Act, he told us about a concern over dead bodies that might be on a ship. What is the concern? Should there be concern over dead animals? Might they pose a danger to the public? How does this bill address these questions?

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the hon. member for Trois-Rivières, who is responsible for the status of women, for her very relevant question. I apologize for not providing more detail on this matter.

My colleague is asking whether we need to worry about dead animals. She will be pleased to know that we raised this issue in committee. From a strictly logical point of view—and logic reigns in every aspect of my colleague's life—it is quite possible for animals on board a plane, a ship or any other mode of transportation to be potential vectors of contamination. Hence the obligation to report and provide a certificate.

I would like my colleague to ask me another relevant question.

Quarantine Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Perhaps she could do so after oral question period.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Ottawa today, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust, we will honour the Canadian community Holocaust Memorial Day with the annual wreath laying ceremony held right after question period on the steps on Parliament Hill. It is an honour to be participating with Dr. Joel Dimitri, my constituent and chairman of the event, and survivors.

On this day it is critical to acknowledge that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilization with its acts of inhumanity, tyranny and horror. We must ensure that the Holocaust continues to have a permanent place in our nation's collective memory and that future generations understand the cause of the Holocaust and become guardians of the victims who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

We must also honour the courageous survivors, many who have told their stories. These lessons will have an everlasting effect on our youth. As Canadians we must reaffirm our strong commitment to stand up against any hatred, racism and tyranny.

I would like to thank all those who have volunteered their time and efforts to ensure the success of Canada's community Holocaust Memorial Day. I invite all members of the House to join us right after question period.

Camrose Kodiaks
Statements By Members

May 5th, 2005 / 1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate and pay tribute to the Camrose Kodiaks Junior A hockey team. For the third time in five years, the Kodiaks became the Alberta Junior Hockey League champions by beating out the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

Last Friday night, the Kodiaks defeated the Surrey Eagles 3 to 2 on home ice to also claim the Doyle Cup, the Alberta-British Columbia championship. This victory means that the Kodiaks are now off to the Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A championship.

Kodiaks coach and general manager Boris Rybalka proudly credited his players for winning the championship, but he also attributes their huge success to the staff, billets and fans. I can attest to the terrific effort of the players, the outstanding job of Coach Rybalka, and also the tremendous support this junior A team has from the Camrose community.

My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed every game we have been able to attend this year. I say congratulations to the Kodiaks and good luck. We will be rooting for them.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the second annual Holocaust remembrance day, when Canada pauses to remember the innocent victims of the Holocaust. Marked each year according to the Jewish lunar calendar on the day when the Warsaw ghetto uprising began, this day is a sombre reminder to us all that racism knows no limits and that its hunger cannot be sated.

Adopted last year by the House as an all party effort, this year I am proud to be the Liberal co-sponsor of yet another non-partisan motion highlighting this commemoration, a simple yet profound gesture that immortalizes the tragedy of the Holocaust in Canadian calendars and instills a sense of ownership in all Canadians to know its history and to learn from it.

Sixty years on and still we remain overwhelmed at the cost of this tragedy. Today many of us will have the privilege of laying a wreath on Parliament Hill during the special observance. The flame of remembrance is a ray of light that keeps undying vigil against the darkness of racism, a vigil that we need more than ever, tragically, in the face of rising anti-Semitism in Canada today.

Maison Michel-Sarrazin
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Clavet Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Maison Michel-Sarrazin, I want to pay tribute to its founders, the late Dr. Jean-Louis Bonenfant and oncologist Dr. Louis Dionne and his wife, Claudette Gagnon.

The Maison Michel-Sarrazin named for the first surgeon of the king of New France, was the first of its kind in Canada. It welcomes terminal cancer patients and accompanies them in their final days surrounded by the beauty of the setting and the love of the 80 staff members, 350 volunteers and family members.

Quebec now has 15 such hospices sharing the mission of the Maison Michel-Sarrazin.

Congratulations to Dr. Dionne and Ms. Gagnon. Their courage and determination have been vital in the establishment of their peaceful haven for those who are dying.

Many many thanks to the staff and the volunteers, because, without them, the wonderful mission of the Maison Michel-Sarrazin could not be achieved.

The Bloc Québécois congratulates the founders of the Maison Michel-Sarrazin on their great generosity.

Ontario Newspaper Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the 2005 Ontario Newspaper Award winners.

The Hamilton Spectator was the evening's major winner, with nine awards. Jon Wells was the recipient of the Journalist of the Year award and the Wayne MacDonald award for narrative writing.

The ceremony also recognized the work of Hamilton Spectator sportswriter Scott Radley, arts and entertainment writer Graham Rockingham and portrait photographer Scott Gardner.

Other award winners from the Spectator include enterprise journalists Fred Vallance-Jones and Steve Buist, and the business news team of Natalie Alcoba, Steve Arnold, Tara Perkins, Joan Walters and Steve Buist.

Let me once again say congratulations to all the winners. Their accomplishments bring pride and recognition to the city of Hamilton. It is through their work that we are continually educated, enlightened and entertained.

I wish the best of luck to the Hamilton Spectator journalists who are finalists in the upcoming 56th annual national newspaper awards.

Justice
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, as revealed in a recent W-FIVE program, criminals, even violent offenders, are more often serving their sentences at home.

According to W-FIVE , “Just look at what you can get away with in this country--without spending a single day behind bars. You can race a car down a residential street and plow into an innocent pedestrian, killing her instantly”. The punishment? House arrest.

“You can take part in a random street mugging where a passerby is stabbed in the heart and left to die in the street”. The punishment? House arrest.

“You can pick up a teenage girl in a bar, take her home, and gang-rape her”. The punishment? House arrest.

“You can strangle your mother with a telephone cord”. The punishment? House arrest.

“You can be caught with one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized in Canada”. That person can exploit children, go home, watch TV and order pizza. The punishment? House arrest.

When W-FIVE reporters asked to speak about house arrest with the justice minister, they were told it was a matter that was under study and that the justice minister was too busy with other issues like same sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana.

This justice minister should be fired and we should get one with real Canadian values.