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House of Commons Hansard #265 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was institutions.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, which I believe is of importance to all members of the House.

I have to tell the hon. member, and I believe the House is aware, that this spring a special commission was struck on the restructuring of Canada's reserves. The commission was chaired by a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Two acknowledged experts in the field were his compatriots on the study. The study was completed at the end of last month and was reported to the minister and indeed to the parliamentary committee.

The Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs is now in its third week of hearing witnesses with respect to the recommendations that were made on the report, which was tabled in the House about three weeks ago. The hon. member should also be aware that the other place has recently struck a committee and it too will be studying the contents of this very important report.

Regarding the timeframe, both committees are to make a report to the minister by mid-January.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

November 27th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, victims groups, the police, the Reform Party and a majority of the Liberal caucus want the elimination of section 745 of the Criminal Code, which allows first degree murderers to appeal their sentence after serving only 15 years of a life term.

I ask the Minister of Justice, will he support the removal of this unacceptable provision by ensuring that Bill C-226 is brought before the standing committee before this session of Parliament ends?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I first observe how welcome it is to hear the hon. member asking about a new and important subject.

Last spring, when the private member's bill was before the House, there was in effect a free vote on the question of whether it should go to committee. It went to committee. Shortly afterwards I wrote to the chair of the committee and asked that the committee arrange to have hearings on the bill early on. Those hearings were started just after the House resumed in September.

I have urged the committee to look at the question of section 745 in the broader context of penalties for murder. I hope it does that. I also hope to have something to say to the committee before it completes that deliberation on the whole subject so that we can see the issue in context.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, what motivates, at least in part, my question to the justice minister is my knowledge of his stand on Bill C-226 when it came before the House.

I say to the justice minister that Darrel Crook, the convicted murderer of RCMP Constable Brian King, is appealing his parole ineligibility for first degree murder this February.

Will the minister put a stop to the further torment of Brian King's widow or will he subject her to reliving the brutal death of her husband one more time? Will he support the elimination of section 745 from the Criminal Code? Will he tell us of his intention today?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I met last June in my office with Marie King Forest, the widow of Constable King. I had an opportunity to discuss with her firsthand the effect that the application has had on her and her family.

More than anything else, it was my perception that her exclusion from the process was enormously hurtful. That in large part motivated the change in section 745 which I brought before the House in Bill C-41, which guarantees the role for the victim in the section 745 hearing. This change was brought about largely due to my meeting with Marie King Forest.

I do not believe the issue is so simple that it can be dealt with solely by the repeal of section 745. I have made every effort to encourage the hon. member, the House and the committee to see that question in the broader context of penalties for the crime of murder.

As the committee examines that broader question, I shall have something to say by way of what I hope are constructive suggestions as to how it might improve the regime for murder penalties in Canada. This will include the question of the application provided for in section 745.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the heritage minister.

In response to a question put to him last June about the fact that the Canadian sports guide was published in English only, the heritage minister promised to have the Official Languages Act enforced in organizations that his department awards funding to. I wanted to remind him of that promise.

How can the minister explain that several sports associations that his department is responsible for, such as Badminton Canada, Water Ski Canada and a dozen other associations, are still publishing their annual reports in English only?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, since that time, we have taken steps to negotiate an accountability framework for the various federations receiving financial assistance from the federal government.

If our hon. colleague has additional information, I will be pleased to look at it, but the policy I outlined has not changed: we expect these documents to be published in both official languages.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have never heard of legislation being open to negotiation in this House before.

Here is my supplementary question: How can the minister explain that, this year, for the first time, Football Canada's report was published in English only, if not by the fact that francophones are the first ones to bear the brunt of budget cuts?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I will remind our hon. colleague that the funding of sports governing bodies does not come under any statute of the Parliament of Canada nor directly under the Official Languages Act. Arrangements are made by my department to make sure that French is used as it should be in Canada. But the law was not broken in this case.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the United States has initiated a trade action against Canada's tariffs on supply managed farm products.

Will the Minister of International Trade use this dispute as an opportunity to negotiate a reduction in American subsidies, subsidies which restrict Canada's ability to export dairy and poultry products south of the border?

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Mac Harb LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, working groups are now considering this issue. Discussions are taking place. We believe that a proper approach to trade and trade remedies will deal with the issue.

I will take the issue under advisement and bring it to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food who is in the best position to answer the question.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary should realize that this is a winner take all dispute. It is a very important question for Canada's supply managed farmers.

Why is the government playing Russian roulette with our farmers? If Canada loses the dispute, our supply managed sector will see open borders almost overnight. Thousands of farmers will go broke. Why is the minister not offering partial tariff reduction in exchange for fair access to the U.S. market?

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that a number of trade discussions are going on with the United States on a number of fronts. The challenge through the NAFTA panel process on supply management is only one of them.

We have said very clearly that we will continue to handle each concern which the United States has with us and which we have with it one at a time. We have also said very clearly that we will defend Canada's supply management system very fervently. We are confident the process will work in our favour.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, many of our fellow citizens in the Outaouais are very concerned about the public service cuts. The government has expressed its desire to provide quality services.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board tell the House what measures have been taken to boost morale in the public service?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board has taken a special interest in the public service. He has outlined, both here in the House of Commons and in public, his vision of the public service and has been involved in a number of initiatives to raise morale, to try to work with these people. The President of the Treasury Board has also attended special events of all kinds.

The President of the Treasury Board has set up a secretariat to look at renewal in a profound way. He has set up an advisory council for change in order to do just that. He has hosted a series of meetings and has been involved in them in a hands on way. He has opened dialogue with everybody in the public service, including the frontline workers. He has sent a letter to his colleagues encouraging them to do the same.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general. Some time ago, the RCMP suspended Sergeant Gaétan Délisle for running in a municipal election and being elected Mayor of Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu. This individual has been campaigning for years to defend the right of RCMP officers to form a professional association.

How can the solicitor general justify Sergeant Délisle's suspension, when other RCMP officers elected to public office in their communities have never been suspended from their jobs?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral 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, according to the information I have, the other officers the hon. member is referring to were elected as school board trustees and not as mayors. The regulations prohibit any officer from running for mayor, for member of a provincial legislature, or for member of Parliament. It is also a matter of internal discipline. This whole matter will be reviewed thoroughly.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the solicitor general that the rules that now apply to the RCMP used to also apply to the Public Service Act, and that this act was ruled unconstitutional and obsolete. I therefore ask the solicitor general if he intends to intercede with the Commissioner of the RCMP to defend Sergeant Délisle's democratic rights and stop the RCMP management's harassment campaign against him?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral 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, once again, according to my information, the Supreme Court ruling has no direct bearing on Staff Sergeant Délisle's case. In any event, the matter is under review as part of the RCMP's internal discipline process, and I will gladly take steps so that this process will in time provide a response to this very important matter for Staff Sergeant Délisle.

Public Service Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, due to popular demand the federal government's cash buyout program aimed at reducing the public service is expected to cost an extra $500 million in addition to the original cost of $1 billion. These expensive buyout programs are costing the taxpayers millions of dollars and are giving some lucky public servants a golden handshake similar to winning the lottery.

Will the President of the Treasury Board confirm that the government's buyout plans are far too generous and that it has been a long time since so much has been given by so many to so few?

Public Service Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, when the government initiated these programs it obviously went to the private sector to see what was being done there. Certainly what we are doing is very comparable to the private sector.

My colleague fails to understand there has been an initial rush on that program. There have been more people than expected. Yes, it may reach $2.3 billion, but during that same period of time $4.2 billion will be saved and $2.2 billion per year thereafter. That is a clear saving.

I am really quite surprised that my colleague would make such a charge. It is unfounded and completely incorrect.

Public Service Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, talking about the private sector, the National Capital Commission is cutting 400 jobs by contracting work out to employee takeover companies. Spokesperson Diane Dupuis said that the project works because employees will receive less pay and benefits in the private sector than they would as public servants.

Would the parliamentary secretary please tell us why civil servants are paid more than private sector employees, have better job security than private sector employees and have far more generous buyout packages than what one could have in the private sector?

Public Service Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated that the first question was totally erroneous, that there is going to be savings over time.

With respect to the second question that if one privatizes or commercializes there would be a particular savings because people would earn less, we all know that sometimes it works that way but other times it is completely the opposite. In this case we are keeping those programs we need to keep. We are keeping those civil servants we need in order to give the best service to Canadians. In certain cases we are looking at alternatives which is a wise, sensible and sensitive way to proceed.

I am surprised that my colleague is not jumping up and down applauding the government for this wisdom.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

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

Louisiana-Pacific's OSB plant and harvest plan in Manitoba is under review by the province. There have been claims of errors and omissions in the entire existing process. There have been calls for an environmental impact for the entire escarpment area. There appear to be federal triggers in place including aboriginal land interests and fish habitat.

Does the Minister of the Environment have the opinion that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is applicable in this case? Is she prepared to take the steps necessary to see that a joint federal-provincial assessment is done?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Yes, Mr. Speaker.