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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think people know that yesterday I was somewhat agitated having been informed of the extra charges in this video just before question period. In fact as soon as I received the information I informed my staff. I sent a message to the chief of the defence staff saying that I would report this to the House. That was within a few minutes of question period starting.

If hon. members want to proceed with detailed questions as we have had earlier I will try to give the answers. However, if they want to make silly procedural points then there really is no use continuing the discussions.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians would agree there is nothing silly about these incidents.

On November 16 and 17 I raised questions in the House concerning the allegations of Major Barry Armstrong about events in Somalia, irregularities in the investigation of those incidents and reports that have occurred in Esprit de Corps and other publications about alleged cover-ups.

What steps has the minister taken in the interim to personally inform himself about the allegations of Major Armstrong or others or to better inform himself about what happened in these particular events?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, all the matters dealing with the deployment of the airborne to Somalia in 1992-93 will be the subject of an inquiry. Therefore it is inappropriate for me to comment any further.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

According to the report on income security in Quebec, the number of households that had to apply for social assistance for the first time increased by three per cent last October, among which a surprising number of young people under 25 years of age.

In all regions, workers who had not yet heard about the unemployment insurance cuts are learning about them the hard way. All the while, surpluses, which will be used to reduce the national debt, are continuing to accumulate in the unemployment insurance fund.

Does the Minister of Finance not realize that his last series of budget cuts have had very dire consequences for the young people who now have to rely on social assistance?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the situation in which unemployed young people find themselves is certainly of great concern to us, on this side of the House, like it is for the hon. member.

Having said this, I believe that the Minister of Human Resources Development's new initiative to help these young people move away from passive assistance to a more active one is something that even the hon. member will support. To conclude, I must say that the unemployment insurance fund is still in a deficit position and that we will have to find a way to eliminate that deficit.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, young people who participate in job training programs should not be refused unemployment insurance benefits. That is the position taken in Bill C-17 and in the reform proposal; it is the position that was taken in the Liberal majority report.

Does the Minister of Finance not realize that by cutting unemployment insurance benefits he has increased the fund's surplus at the expense of young people, making them pay an exaggerated amount of the deficit? In such conditions, will the minister commit to sparing young people, at least in the upcoming budget?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development- Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we will do everything possible in the next budget to really create an economic framework within which all Canadians, especially young people, will be able to find work.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear. Well said.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, 0I should also mention that the figures for this year show that the government is making progress on this front. For example, this year, in the month of January alone, just in Quebec, we created 16,000 new jobs, and that will help young people.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the underpinnings of morale in the Canadian forces have been under attack for a long period now. I was therefore dismayed to read in yesterday's Globe and Mail that when the second battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment goes to Croatia in April it will be without a Canadian surgical team, instead having to depend on a Czech facility an hour's drive away.

The most fundamental support Canada has always given its soldiers is Canadian medical treatment. Our soldiers are willing to risk their lives. They will make do with equipment shortages, but their morale depends heavily on the availability of adequate medical support.

Will the Minister of National Defence take action to ensure that a surgical team is maintained with our troops in Croatia?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the army command in the former Yugoslavia recommended to the chief of defence staff that it was unnecessary for the Canadian team to continue in that particular theatre of conflict because they had full confidence in the facilities supplied by the Czech armed forces.

It is not unnatural in multi-operational theatres of war that one shares expertise and functions. Certainly the best advice is that the facilities available to Canadian forces in Bosnia and Croatia are comparable to those that would be offered by Canadian forces personnel.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, they are comparable but they are not Canadian. When we have golf trips, inadequate housing, expenditures on furniture and all sorts of mismanagement like that, let us not add to it.

Will the minister agree that mismanagement of medical support for our soldiers in the field must not take place?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's question. There is no mismanagement of medical facilities with respect to our soldiers in Bosnia and Croatia.

If he has evidence that in some way the facilities we had operational up until now have been mismanaged then I ask him to please give us the evidence.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

February 10th, 1995 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. For nearly a year now, the Minister of Justice has told us every week that a bill on gun control will soon be introduced. Last December, the Minister of Justice confirmed that the bill would be tabled at the beginning of the session. Last Friday, the minister stated it would be introduced this week, but we are still waiting.

Since his bill is ready and he committed nearly a year ago to introduce it, what is the Minister of Justice waiting for?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr Speaker, I intend to introduce the bill next week.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

I hope we will be sitting next week.

Does the minister not recognize that his inexplicable delays in introducing the bill serve to maintain public uncertainty and give rise to alarmist speculation?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

No, Mr. Speaker, I do not.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario have plans to advise citizens when a high risk sex offender is being released into their communities. These plans are necessary because the federal government has been unwilling to introduce any legislation that deals with high risk offenders.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Why is it that the minister is not showing leadership but rather is abdicating his responsibility to the provinces?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, the steps announced yesterday by the province of Manitoba and by the province of Ontario do not represent, as the hon. member has suggested, an abdication of federal responsibility. Rather they represent on the part of those two provinces an exercise of jurisdiction that is specifically provided by federal legislation, section 25 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which enables provinces to take those very steps. I decline the suggestion of the hon. member that this in some way represents federal inaction. It is quite the opposite.

Second, the single highest priority for the government in the area of criminal justice is the safety of Canadians. That priority is reflected in the action taken by the government on a variety of fronts.

Two weeks ago I presided at a meeting of ministers of justice from across Canada in Victoria. We decided on specific action to improve the Criminal Code, to introduce new sections and to work with ministers of health to ensure public safety.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the minister mentioned the conference in Victoria. At that conference last month the Minister of Justice stated that he was opposed to post-sentence detention orders because they may infringe upon the rights of convicted sex offenders. I fail to see where this shows that the federal government is more concerned about the protection of society, as he has just stated.

Could the minister explain to the House why he believes the rights of convicted sex offenders like Fernand Auger are more important than the lives and the rights of victims like Melanie Carpenter and Pamela Cameron?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, both the purported quotation offered by the hon. member and the substance of her question represent a marked departure from her usual standard of fairness. I must say that is not what I said at all.

In Victoria when we discussed this issue first we identified changes that could be made to the Criminal Code, upon which we had agreement in principle, changes we will introduce to enhance the existing provisions in relation to dangerous offenders; second, adding new provisions to the code for long term offenders so that we have long term supervision for people who are at high risk to reoffend; and third, we had ministers of health from across Canada present to work with us on those who are mentally ill and who present a risk to reoffend.

We are taking action, very specific action. We understand that going beyond that and into the criminal sphere represents constitutional challenges, but we are committed to looking at those strategies to determine whether there are other steps we could take to enhance the safety of Canadians.

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a third question for the Minister of Justice.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice made a solemn commitment to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They promised to table a bill by June, then September, then December, when the Minister of Justice told us that we had to wait for the strategic moment.

My question to the strategically-minded Minister of Justice is this: Can the minister tell us if he has completed his strategic calculations and is now in a position to let us know when the bill will be tabled?

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, apart from the way I have distinguished myself for my ability to predict the time at which steps will be taken, I want to emphasize that in this connection the important thing is the commitment of the government to that legislation.

I emphasize for the hon. member, in response to his question, that the government is committed to the amendment to which he refers and that legislation will be introduced.

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebecers and Canadians have been hearing this answer for over a year. Even businesses like Bell Canada, a federal business, has announced today the adoption of an non-discrimination policy.

Why does the Minister of Justice not simply admit that this issue is blocked in cabinet because the government is unable to convince many Liberal caucus members to stand by its election promise?

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The government's commitment to the amendment is exactly the same. It is unwavering and the legislation will indeed be introduced.