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House of Commons Hansard #198 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was internet.

Topics

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

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

According to a midday report by the CBC's Johanne McDuff, the Krever Commission was told that, in the 1980s, Connaught Laboratories, the Canadian blood fractionation centre, got their blood product supplies from the United States and that most of the blood came from prison inmates in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who are very high risk donors. To hide this fact, Connaught Laboratories put Canadian Red Cross labels on these products.

Given the seriousness of these revelations, does the minister intend to intercede with her colleague, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, to get him to lay criminal charges against those who falsified products knowingly or were involved in these manipulations which had tragic consequences?

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are taking these matters very seriously. We put aside $12 million for the Krever inquiry commission, and we want to wait for Justice Krever's report on the problems experienced with the blood supply system in the 1980s.

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have had enough of the minister's irresponsible, thoughtless rhetoric in this matter.

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Given the seriousness of this morning's revelations, does the minister not realize that she must take immediate action against those responsible for this scandal?

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does not seem to understand how serious it is to ask a judge to conduct an inquiry. We must not interfere in these proceedings. It is up to Justice Krever to reach these decisions and to make representations to us before submitting his final report if he sees fit to do so.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on legislation that affects traditional aboriginal hunting rights, the federal government has a constitutional obligation to consult in a prescribed manner with the James Bay Cree and the native bands of Yukon.

Section 24.4.26 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement states that all regulations relating to the hunting, fishing and trapping regime proposed by responsible governments shall be submitted to the co-ordinating committee defined in the agreement for advice prior to enactment.

Yesterday it became quite clear that the Minister of Justice failed to consult the James Bay Cree or the aboriginal people in Yukon on his proposed gun control bill in the prescribed manner. According to the Liberal chair of the justice committee this makes the entire legislative process unconstitutional.

Will the Minister of Justice put his bill on hold until he has consulted the James Bay Cree and the Yukon First Nations on his gun control bill in the prescribed manner?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I record my astonishment that such a question would emerge from the party that to date has refused to meet with aboriginal people, describing them as a special interest group.

That such a question would emerge from a party that has voted against every single piece of legislation introduced in the House to advance aboriginal rights and that less than a year ago voted against legislation giving rights of self-government to the Indians in Yukon to which the leader has referred.

The record will show that I consulted throughout the country before preparing the proposals that are engendered in Bill C-68. In addition to the consultations carried out in advance of the legislation, we have already put in place an elaborate and unprecedented process of consultation with the aboriginal leadership and communities throughout the country.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the minister introduced his gun control bill he said, as he said again today, that it was the result of the most extensive consultative process known to man. He had consulted everyone from Elvis Presley to the ghost of Mackenzie King.

The evidence is now mounting to suggest the minister's information tour was neither extensive nor substantive in many instances. He forgot the legal requirements of the James Bay Cree agreement and the provincial politicians in Alberta and Saskatchewan say the minister's consultations were a joke.

Has the minister assessed the damage that can now be done to federal-provincial and aboriginal relations if the government rams through this defective bill in its present form?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, for a period of almost one year I have met with individuals, groups, associations and representatives of governments at all levels in the country to discuss firearms' control. That consultation has been complete and entirely in accordance with our legal and constitutional responsibilities.

To listen to the leader of the third party one would conclude that to him consultation means doing exactly what he would have us do. In fact, the consultations in which we have participated over this last year have resulted in a bill which is respectful of and responsive to the needs of aboriginal peoples, among others, in the country.

We will proceed with the legislation which is very much in the public interest.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, these allegations of deficiences in the consultative process are coming from the Attorney General of Alberta, the

Attorney General of Saskatchewan and representatives of the James Bay Cree.

What we have here with respect to gun control is yet another top down, made in Ottawa solution to a problem; the NEP, like the Charlottetown accord, like the TAGS program and a whole bunch of others. They start with an allegedly high level of consultation and high levels of support which then diminish as the provinces and the people get a look at the content and discover the flaws.

Is the minister willing even at this late date to listen and respond by incorporating legitimate concerns of Alberta, Saskatchewan, the James Bay Cree, the Yukon First Nations into his gun control proposals?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the contradictions in the hon. member's position are almost too numerous to identify in these brief moments.

Let me begin by observing that he is hardly in a position to champion aboriginal rights in the House of Commons. Second, this is the party of law and order that in not supporting Bill C-68, stands against the chiefs of police and frontline police officers.

This is the party that would have us listen to the people. The Attorney General of Alberta comes to this city and tells us he opposes gun control when his own public opinion poll shows that two out of every three people in his province are in favour of it.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

May 10th, 1995 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Quebec Minister of Finance announced yesterday that the Quebec government intended to implement a series of measures to give the province a real policy on manpower training, he requested that the unemployment insurance premiums levied in Quebec be reduced, and I quote: "These premiums are at any rate too high, given that the unemployment insurance fund is now in a surplus position and that the federal government is using some of the premiums to intervene in programs which are in fact our responsibility".

Does the Minister of Finance intend to follow up on his counterpart's urgent request to reduce the unemployment insurance contributions of Quebec businesses, which would prove that he is dedicated to job creation and that the federal government is moving towards withdrawing from the sector of manpower training?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, members of Quebec's business community clearly indicated at our meetings with them that they preferred to accumulate a surplus in their fund to ensure that there will be no need to increase premiums during the next economic downturn, like what happened during the last one. Such is our intention. We would certainly like to reduce them, but we would also like to keep them at that level once they are reduced.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we to understand by the Minister of Finance's evasive reply that he will continue to skim money from the unemployment insurance fund, to use the huge surpluses that he is generating by setting premiums too high to increasingly interfere in a sector where he has no business being and stifle Quebec's job creation efforts?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if my answer seemed evasive, I will repeat it. It is the members of the business community in Canada, in Quebec, and in Montreal who asked us not to lower the premiums, but to create a surplus in the unemployment insurance fund, because they do not want to have to increase premiums during the next economic downturn, as such increases are a real hindrance to job creation.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, on December 7, 1994, in answer to a question regarding the extent to which the justice minister had consulted with the provincial attorneys general on Bill C-68, the justice minister stated in the House:

Consultation was engaged continuously with officials in the offices of every provincial and territorial attorneys general, every one of them.

The attorneys general of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Yukon have flatly denied there was any serious consultation, let alone continuous consultation.

Will the justice minister explain the enormous contradiction between his statement to the House and the declarations of these attorneys general?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the statement that I made on December 7 was true then and it is true now.

The officials in provincial governments were kept abreast throughout the process last year. They were told exactly the proposals that were under consideration. The paper of November 30 came as no surprise to any of them.

In so far as the province of Alberta is concerned, we already know from the attorney general's poll in that province that two-thirds of the people of Alberta support the proposals.

As far as Saskatchewan is concerned, I suggest the hon. member wait until after the election in that province in June at which point this will become a lot less significant for that government.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have a good idea of what happened in Manitoba where the Liberals lost 50 per cent of their seats.

Aboriginal representatives from Yukon as well as the James Bay Cree claim a constitutional right to be consulted in the prescribed manner before the enactment of Bill C-68. Both groups claim consultation in the prescribed manner never took place. The James Bay Cree indicate their letters to the justice minister regarding the matter were never even answered.

How does the minister explain the violation of the constitutional rights of these aboriginal peoples?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, neither the Department of Justice nor the government has any lessons to learn from the hon. member with respect to consulting aboriginal people.

During the course of past months I have visited the Inuit in the Northwest Territories. I have travelled to Yukon. I have been to the northern parts of every province to speak with aboriginal communities to learn their concerns and their perspectives on the issue.

I urge the hon. member to do exactly the same. Let him learn as I have the perspective of aboriginal communities. He will learn as I have the appalling fact that firearms are the leading cause of accidents and death in many of these communities.

We are confident we have complied with every constitutional obligation for consultation. That consultation continues and it will.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is launching a series of pilot projects at Canada Employment Centres in Quebec. In Jonquière, for instance, we have one of the first single-wicket operations, where the federal government wants to control manpower training by bringing all agencies that provide manpower training under the aegis of the Canada Employment Centre.

My question is directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Does the minister realize that his government's pilot project directly contradicts a consensus in Quebec on the need for transferring manpower training to Quebec, and that this is an instance of direct provocation aimed at the Quebec government?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York North Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

The hon. member should know that the federal government has co-operated a great deal with the provincial governments throughout Canada. As a matter of fact, there are proposals tabled with the provinces that speak to the clarification of the responsibilities of both the federal and provincial governments to arrive at the delivery of a more efficient system so that at the end of the day the people of Canada, whether they live in Quebec or outside Quebec, can have the best possible service.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs must know that the most important mechanism in this respect in Quebec is the Société québécoise de développement de la main-d'oeuvre. Would the minister agree that setting up an entirely new federal manpower network is a clear indication that Ottawa has no intention of transferring manpower training to Quebec?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York North Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is interested in an intelligent discussion of the issue, perhaps he should know that Human Resources Development Canada had approximately 50,000 labour market contracts in Quebec; 9,600 contracts with non-profit organizations; 9,300 contracts with private sector firms; and 2,800 contracts with public sector organizations.

The point I am making is that there is a need to deal with these individuals. At the end of the day Quebecers will realize that there is a role for the federal government to play in co-operation with the provinces and local organizations.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

Since the minister was instrumental in establishing a modern agreement with the natives of Yukon, why has he not insisted on consultation with the justice department in the creation of Bill C-68?