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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was self-government.

Topics

National Health Care ForumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Thursday the health minister was asked to give a more formal role to the provinces in the national health care forum. The answer was not likely. Tuesday the Prime Minister said that he was much more flexible.

My question is for the health minister. Can we have today's version?

National Health Care ForumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to get Hansard and read the Prime Minister's answer. It is the same as mine.

National Health Care ForumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the provinces are the major players in health care. They deserve formal status. Will the minister give up her co-chair to allow the major stakeholders official status?

National Health Care ForumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member, as the Prime Minister stated earlier today, that the forum is not meant to take the place of the federal-provincial conference of ministers of health. The forum is meant to be a dialogue between different people in Canada, individuals, and it is meant to advise the Government of Canada.

I repeat that we must not let intergovernmental squabbles deter us from the real work of the forum which is to enhance and protect the health of all Canadians in the 21st century.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International yesterday condemned the Canadian government's attitude to human rights violations in China. Amnesty says: "Canada's public silence is interpreted by Chinese government officials as recognition that they were justified in crushing the democratic opposition in 1989". Arbitrary detentions and trials are thought to be the norm and cases of mistreatment and torture are regularly reported. In 1993 alone more than 1,400 prisoners were summarily executed.

I ask the Prime Minister if we are to understand that, for the sake of commercial interests, Canada has chosen to close its eyes on the thousands of Chinese still languishing in jail, a few days from the sad fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government's policy has always been clear: we deplore regimes that do not respect people's freedom.

We have told the Chinese government this at every opportunity. However, there is no international boycott of China. All countries in the world do business with China. We believe that the best way to open that society is to open it to the world. After trading extensively with Western countries, the Chinese themselves will recognize that Western values for the protection of human rights are the best. That is the best way to proceed, because if China is completely isolated and cut off, there will be more and more abuse.

We believe that the method used by this government of condemning those people for what they do but continuing to do business with them, as all countries in the world do, and to offer them North American, Canadian or European technology is the best way to bring them to accept western values. Completely isolating them is not the way to do it.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Prime Minister. If, as the Prime Minister says, the government has not given up on human rights will the Prime Minister solemnly undertake to

publicly raise the issue of human rights violations when he goes to China in the fall?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, whenever I met representatives of the Chinese government, I always raised the problem. I did so in Seattle and I talked about it to the press then and I will do the same thing.

However, it is quite clear that the best solution for the western world is to open China to western values and in that way the Chinese will have no choice; as happened in the Soviet Union, when people became aware of what was happening in the west, the Berlin wall fell. The same thing will happen in China.

D-DayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions.

As preparations for D-Day memorial services are under way many Canadians are taking the time to honour the over 5,000 Canadians who died at Normandy. This weekend different constituents of mine advised me that France, the United Kingdom and the United States have each minted several commemorative coins to honour those who fell in the battle and that these coins are available in Canada.

I would like to ask the secretary of state whether or not Canada has minted any coins and, if so, where Canadians may buy those coins.

D-DayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the hon. member because it is of interest to a number of Canadians.

I am very pleased to report that the Royal Canadian Mint has three issues of commemorative coins available to Canadians that commemorate the D-Day operations. The first is a one dollar proof coin that has the War Memorial on the back. There is a six-medallion bronze set depicting various war scenes and a 14-carat gold quarter ounce coin entitled "The Home Front".

All these are available at the Royal Canadian Mint and at various coin collectors.

National Workshop On Infectious DiseasesOral Question Period

June 1st, 1994 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Last Friday the Minister of Indian Affairs answering on behalf of the health minister said that the national workshop on infectious disease notification had been postponed because there was no agreement on an agenda. There is much speculation that the workshop was postponed as a result of pressure from special interest groups.

I want to know two things. First, why was this workshop postponed? Second, when will it be rescheduled?

National Workshop On Infectious DiseasesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat what was said last Friday.

The conference was postponed because there was no agreement on the agenda. We are continuing to work with the stakeholder groups to ensure that there is a conference and that it is held in a timely fashion, hopefully in the fall of this year.

National Workshop On Infectious DiseasesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, every day in the country emergency response personnel, paramedics, firefighters, nurses, and physicians run the risk of contracting contagious and infectious diseases.

The United States has already proceeded with a national protocol on the matter and the previous Parliament's standing committee on health made numerous recommendations on just such a policy.

Given these precedents, will the minister present a strategy to protect the health of emergency response personnel, and what will this strategy be?

National Workshop On Infectious DiseasesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is our intention always to work with the groups affected and concerned about these very serious issues. That is the reason we have asked that this conference go ahead so that we can hear its recommendations on how best to handle these very serious questions.

Meanwhile work does go on. There are guidelines. There are policies on how to act in these particular circumstances.

RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Recently, we learned that the Montreal refugee assistance committee had lodged an international complaint against Canada concerning the improper deportation to Zaire of a young pregnant woman who was given a sedative without her consent and this, in violation of sections 219 and 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada as well as Section 11 of the Quebec Civil Code.

The minister had ample time since the question was put to him to make the necessary inquiries. My question is as follows: Does he still maintain that medication was given to only 12 people before they were deported, while his own senior officials admit to 20 such incidents?

RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It is very crucial to keep in mind that no immigration officials administer or are permitted to administer medical assistance or prescribe any medicine for those who are being removed or deported.

The only individuals who are permitted to do that, to recommend it, and to implement it are medical practitioners.

In the particular case of the woman the member raises, it was a medical practitioner and for medical reasons that administered medical attention, not immigration officials.

Second, at the time that this issue came to the fore approximately 9,000 individuals were removed from Canada last year.

I asked my officials to give me an approximate number very quickly so that I could respond to the member and the officials told me that 12 of the 9,000 individuals who were removed necessitated some medical attention on the advice and recommendation of medical practitioners and not immigration officials.

RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, our information differs. Considering how serious this issue is and since the minister has admitted that 12 people received such treatment, will the minister commit to holding an independent inquiry, as required under international agreements, to shed light on possibly illegal behaviour on the part of immigration officers?

RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, no, I am not going to have an inquiry for something that this member throws very loosely across the floor. If he has information that anyone has perpetrated illegal acts then he has the duty and the obligation as a member of Parliament to provide me with that information.

Second, under no circumstances does any medical application get administered to any individual routinely for removals. When I put in perspective the 9,000 who were removed, approximately 12 last year received some medical application. It was on the recommendation of doctors for individuals who for the most part were on medicine or had an ailment or a disease of some sort in order to take precautions during the flight.

In addition, the member also failed to say that a Canadian nurse accompanied the woman from Zaire in order to make sure her ailment would not aggravate the situation.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general.

Yesterday a colleague of mine asked about prisoners in federal institutions receiving various forms of social assistance and he was told that the solicitor general was looking into it.

We have looked into it and discovered that not only are the prisoners receiving OAS and CPP payments but they are receiving GST rebates even though they do not meet the qualifications of the Income Tax Act.

Will the Solicitor General act immediately to rectify this outrageous situation?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member will give me the names of the people he says are receiving GST rebates I will take it up immediately with the Minister of National Revenue.

As I said yesterday with respect to the matter of elderly inmates receiving CPP and old age pensions, I am looking into that as part of my review of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to see how this can be dealt with in an appropriate way.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear some of that.

I would like to suggest that if it is up the opposition to supply all this valuable information to those who are supposed to be doing the job, let me know. I am up for hire. I will supply those names. I do have them and we will supply them.

I would like to ask the solicitor general to be just a little more specific and tell Canadians exactly when hard pressed Canadian taxpayers will be able to expect some relief and when prisoners will stop receiving GST payments.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have to check into the facts of the situation with the Minister of National Revenue and I will do that very promptly. I appreciate the hon. member's offer to help but I do not want to put him in a conflict of interest situation.

Urea Formaldehyde FoamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In the 1970s many homeowners insulated their homes with urea formaldehyde foam or UFFI. In the 1980s it was alleged that UFFI caused health problems. After a lengthy court battle no health problems were proven. Although CMHC and other lenders now make no distinction between homes with or without UFFI fear still lingers.

Would the minister consider a public information program to correct the misconception about UFFI?

Urea Formaldehyde FoamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. Unfortunately I cannot give a specific answer as the matter is presently before the courts.

As he alluded to in his question, the matter did receive some adjudication in the early 1980s. However, there has been an appeal launched and is due to be heard before the courts in September 1995. Pending the outcome of that particular decision I would be prepared to review with the hon. member as well as other members of the House the information in that particular decision to Canadians across the country.

AerospaceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry. In 1988, Canada made a commitment to participate with other partners in the international space station program, which is to put up a huge experimental laboratory in orbit around the Earth. This station will have a significant impact on scientific progress in many areas. However, the Martin budget announced a substantial reduction in Canada's participation in this project.

Can the minister give an update on the status of negotiations with NASA, so we can see how Canada could maintain its partnership while reducing its financial contribution over the next 10 years?