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House of Commons Hansard #217 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was guns.

Topics

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

It looks like the Clinton administration may prohibit Canadian companies that do business with Cuba from exporting to the United States. Such a move would infringe on our sovereignty and would violate key provisions of the North American free trade agreement as well as the WTO.

What is the minister doing to ensure that Canadian companies continue to have access to the U.S. market?

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this matter first came up when the so-called Helms bill came before the U.S. Congress.

At that time, we made our objections clearly known to the United States government. Since then the administration has questioned the terms of the bill in such a way as to suggest it will not go forward in the way that was first anticipated.

On the more specific question the member raises, I have asked our embassy in Washington to inform us of the details of the U.S. treasury's proposed action. We do not have all the details yet. However, I can assure the member opposite we will do everything to make certain Canadian companies have the full opportunity to participate, as they are now doing, in the Cuban economy.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is reassuring to know we do not have Jesse Helms setting Canadian trade policy. However Canadian companies like Lantic, Redpath and B.C. Sugar may be targeted as early as tomorrow because they buy raw sugar from Cuba.

What is the minister doing to protect these interests today? These are interests that have to be looked after at this very moment.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we do not have the details and certainly not details on the supposed action that might be taken against Canadian sugar companies in the context that the member mentions.

Our present concern is to ascertain the possible action the U.S. treasury might take against four Cuban Canadian joint ventures led by the Sherritt company. In that instance, we are seeking further information. I hope that I shall have more information I can provide the member in due course.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

June 13th, 1995 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

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

According to an Angus Reid survey, three out of four consumers are concerned about the use of BST. Even the dairy industry is against it. The Dairy Council, which represents processors, rejects this product, deeming it unnecessary and undesirable, while dairy producers have demanded that the minister extend the moratorium.

Does the minister admit that neither the dairy industry nor consumers want BST on the market and that they all want the moratorium to be extended?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, when concerns were first raised about the potential use of rBST, a synthetic product, in the spring of last year, the House of Commons agriculture committee undertook a very useful examination of a number of issues surrounding that question.

It produced a report. That report recommended a number of things, including a delay period during which a task force could be structured to bring forward further information which would be of assistance to producers, processors, consumers and others that are interested in the question.

Over the course of the last year this process has gone forward. The delay period has been in place and remains in place until the first of July. The task force has completed its work. A great deal of useful information has been brought forward which will be helpful to all of those interested in this question so they can understand and appreciate all of the issues and all of the arguments, pro and con, with a little more detail.

The key question is one of health and the efficacy of this product, which is being studied as is required by law by the regulatory and scientific officials within the Department of Health. Unless and until the Department of Health issues a notice of compliance, the use of this product is governed under the controls of the Food and Drugs Act.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, less than 19 days before the moratorium expires, the Minister of Agriculture must admit that both the public and the dairy industry expect him to act quickly. Does the minister undertake today in this House to extend the moratorium on the use of BST?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I understand that many in the dairy industry have expressed the concerns to which the hon. gentleman has referred. There are others in the dairy industry who have advanced the other point of view.

The existence of the moratorium or the delay is not the critical issue, quite frankly. The critical issue is whether this product has a notice of compliance issued to it by the legal regulatory authorities in Health Canada. No such notice of compliance has been issued. Therefore the sale and distribution of this product in Canada remains illegal.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, on May 31 I faxed the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development regarding the Adams Lake road blockade to tell him that both the native spokesman and the lessees behind the blockade urgently requested his personal involvement. As of 9.30 this morning I have had no reply.

In law and in good conscience how can the minister continue to hide behind the bureaucracy and ignore the Adams Lake road blockade which has been in place since March 21?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there have been two blockades in B.C. in the last month: Upper Nicola and the one at Adams First Nations.

The blockade at Upper Nicola, as the hon. member knows, is down. The other is up. It is more sensitive than Upper Nicola because it was fish and this is an archaeological site. Artefacts have been found which the province has designated. The developer gave an undertaking that he would do an archaeological study, which he has not done. The province has sent him a letter under the B.C. heritage conservation act demanding that he do the study and cease the work. That has not been done.

Reformers said we were going to have three Okas there, which meant military force, if we did not follow their instructions. I would like to point out to the House that two men came forward at Upper Nicola. Their names were Stanley and Belleau. They went to the chiefs, talked to them with dignity, and the blockade at Upper Nicola came down. They were RCMP officers and a proud tradition did the job. Also, they were aboriginal RCMP officers and I want to commend them in the House.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the blockade on Douglas Lake was taken down and I appreciate what the RCMP did there.

Adams Lake Chief Ron Jules has confirmed that the band will remove two cattle guards eliminating all vehicle access as of June 15. The RCMP have advised residents to form an evacuation plan. We are talking about private property here.

What recommendation would the minister of Indian affairs make to the Adams Lake residents regarding the evacuation plan which his continued inaction has created?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this is clearly provincial. I have worked well with Mr. Cashore out there.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

It is not clearly provincial.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ron Irwin Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

It is off reserve and it is clearly on provincial property. As hon. members were told last week the RCMP are under contract to the B.C. government and it is their call. If requested we will go in and facilitate.

In the Upper Nicola there was a difference. The member of the Reform Party offered to go in and help. I am hoping this member will take some lessons from his seatmate over there and will do the same thing.

BosniaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—Woodbine, ON

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

In Bosnia-Hercegovina innocent lives are being lost every day. Conditions continue to worsen for the people in Bosnia. Our soldiers are doing a magnificent job in their attempt to protect citizens. What action has the minister taken on behalf of the Canadian government to assist those who are fleeing the bloodshed in Bosnia?

BosniaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the valiant efforts the member of Parliament noted on behalf of our peacekeepers, the government has seen fit to extend two special immigration programs to try to assist some of the citizens of the former Yugoslavia.

The first has been a family class program that has had its criteria relaxed so that people can be reunited with families living in Canada. As a result of that program, over 7,200 individuals have been reunited with their loved ones in Canada. The second program has been to try to focus on some of the refugee relief work in that troubled area. To date the results indicate that over 8,200 private and government sponsored refugees now call Canada their home.

These programs are working well but it is a modest response to a horrific situation. The only answer, as we all know, is for civility and peace to return to the region. We all hope and pray that it will be sooner rather than later.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention today to the presence in the gallery of two outstanding Canadians.

One is an internationally acclaimed author. She won the 1993 Governor General's Award and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Stone Diaries . Colleagues, I present to you Carol Shields.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, the other prominent Canadian made history in 1984 when he became Canada's first man in space. He continues to be a source of inspiration to many young Canadians and will be returning to space in 1996. I present to you Dr. Marc Garneau.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Saint John on May 30, 1995. For providing me with the relevant facts and documents related to this matter and for their contributions to the discussion, I would like to thank the hon. member and the hon. Minister of Health.

In her presentation, the member brought the House's attention to a photograph of her used in an expert panel report entitled "When Packages Can't Speak". The report concerning plain and generic packaging of tobacco products had been prepared at the request of the Department of Health.

The member claimed that the unauthorized use of her picture in a visual impact study included in the report had violated her privacy, was an assault on her dignity as an individual and as a member of the House, had opened her up to ridicule and had stereotyped her in a manner that misrepresented who she was and thus could impede her ability to perform her duties as a member of Parliament. She therefore requested a public apology from the Prime Minister and an explanation from the Minister of Health as to how her picture could have found its way into this expert panel report.

On June 1, 1995, the hon. Minister of Health responded to the matter. In her intervention, the minister explained that she, members of the expert panel and representatives of the private company charged with selecting the photographs, when informed that the picture used was one of the hon. member, had immediately issued a letter of apology to the member. The minister then tabled a copy of a letter to the hon. member explaining how her picture had been selected.

This matter has troubled me and I have looked into it carefully. I believe that it is important that I give the House a chronology of certain events which preceded the raising of this question of privilege, for the panel report in question is part of a larger study in which the House, through one of its committees, has been directly involved.

On June 21, 1994 the Standing Committee on Health presented its first report entitled "Towards Zero Consumption: Generic Packaging of Tobacco Products". Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the government was requested by the committee to table a comprehensive response. On November 18, 1994 the Minister of Health tabled the government response to the committee report. In responding to the standing committee's recommendations the government noted that:

-an expert panel, comprised of specialists in marketing, package design and consumer behaviour, and chosen in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners in the National Strategy to Reduce Tobacco Use, has established a study framework designed to determine what relationship may exist between generic packaging and the taking up of smoking by youth.

The Government response also noted that Health Canada would thoroughly review and analyse the evidence assembled by the expert panel and would take into account the study and conclusions of the Standing Committee on Health. Thus, the standing committee could be said to have been anticipating the opportunity to give detailed study to the panel report.

The report dated March 1995 was released to the media and the public on May 19, 1995. To ensure that the committee was familiar with its contents, that morning Health Canada held an informal briefing for the committee attended by members, staff and researchers. Copies of the report were also distributed to all members of the House in the usual manner.

Photographs of members of Parliament and images of the House of Commons and the Parliament buildings are seen everyday on television and in newspapers and magazines. These images form part of the media coverage of Parliament that we have come to expect. They may be used in a straightforward manner or satirically, but their focus is ultimately on the work of Parliament and parliamentarians.

It is possible however that these same images of members and of the institution of Parliament may be misrepresented. In our history there exist examples of cases where the symbols of Parliament have been used inappropriately. In each instance objections have been raised in the House.

As examples, I would refer members to Speakers' rulings regarding the Sperry and Hutchison Company, as found in the Journals of February 16, 1960 at pages 156 to 158, and the Steelworkers of Hamilton Council as found in the Journals of March 23, 1965 at pages 1159 and 1160. In both cases, documents meant to look like Hansard , a publication carrying with it the image of the House of Commons, were published and distributed by non-parliamentary bodies. The Speaker ruled both matters to be prima facie cases of privilege.

As members are aware, Erskine May's 21st Edition , at page 69, defines privilege as follows:

Parliamentary privilege is the sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively as a constituent part of the High Court of Parliament, and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals.

Neverthless, not every matter which is seemingly offensive to the House may fall within the strict definition of privilege. As May continues:

When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded or attacked, the offense is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under the law of Parliament. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempts actions which, while not breaches of any specific privilege, obstruct or impede it in the performance of its functions, or are offences against its authority or dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its members or its offencers.

Most relevant to our current situation, May further points out on page 121 of the 21st edition that:

Indignities offered to the House by words spoken or writings published reflecting on its character or proceedings have been constantly punished by both the Lords and the Commons upon the principle that such acts tend to obstruct the Houses in the performance of their functions by diminishing the respect due to them.

Reflections upon members, the particular individuals not being named or otherwise indicated, are equivalent to reflections on the House.

My role is to determine therefore whether or not at first glance the circumstances of the question of privilege before me fit the criteria as described by Erskine May. The question is: Has the use and publication of the photograph of the hon. member for Saint John constituted a contempt of the House?

The hon. Minister of Health has explained to the House and to the hon. member for Saint John how this incident arose. She has also apologized on more than one occasion, as have others involved in the production of the report.

Based on my research and my understanding of the citations found in Erskine May I cannot conclude the member, although perhaps embarrassed by this event, has been impeded in performing her duties as a member of the House of Commons.

In the absence of malicious intent or any other obvious motive it is difficult to find that a contempt of the House has occurred.

Members of Parliament are public figures and frequently appear in the media. Those who interact with government and with Parliament must remember the use of a member's photograph in a situation totally unrelated to his or her parliamentary duties may well lead to unforeseen difficulties and could cause considerable embarrassment.

In this case I can only go so far as to remind everyone that the House of Commons and its members must be treated with respect and dignity first by its membership and also by all intervening parties. I hope all members appreciate the seriousness and potential dangers of a repetition of a situation such as this.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-68, an act respecting firearms and other weapons, be read the third time and passed; and of the amendment.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to offer my support for this vital piece of legislation currently before the House of Commons.

I am particularly honoured to offer my congratulations to the House on its passage of the non-derogation clause as requested by numerous presentations to the justice committee.

Unfortunately I am faced with the irony of the Reform Party which in its presentation in debate and through question period attested to the valid and warranted requests by aboriginal people for their treaty of aboriginal rights to be respected in this matter. Yet it voted against this clause last night in an effort to continue to try to discredit what we as responsible parliamentarians are privileged to support.

Why have we created this clause? Since the government's action plan on firearms control was tabled in November of last year aboriginal people throughout the country expressed their concerns about the impact of the legislation on constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights to hunt and trap. Submissions were made to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs by several organizations including the Council of Yukon Indians, the Assembly of First Nations, the Grand Council of the Cree, the James Bay and Northern Quebec agreement hunting, fishing and trapping co-ordinating committee, the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. Submissions were also received from the governments of the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The federal government recognizes the need to take into consideration these concerns. The government has moved this motion to address such concerns and has thereby ensured aboriginal treaty rights are respected when this new law is implemented throughout Canada.

The legislation will help protect the aboriginal treaty rights and the aboriginal people of Canada. We will see these rights are

reconciled with the highest standards for public safety which is in this firearms act and part III of the Criminal Code.

We must challenge ourselves as people who are wiling to do the best for our country and our fellow Canadians. We have acted responsibly in showing Canadians that in a number of instances we have heard their concerns with respect to this legislation and have acted on them. I am proud we are accomplishing that in the House.

I am a bit disappointed with the Reform Party. It says it is the party that will listen to the people, but it will not. When three of its members will eventually support this legislation I will not mock out of respect because I respect parties and people who keep their word. Reformers said they would listen to the people but they will not. They said they would allow free votes in their party but they are not adhering to that. They ran on the issue of safe streets but they have forgotten that promise. They said they want to come to Parliament and address fiscal responsibilities but they obviously do not know the difference between a bond and a bullet.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been an experience in the House today listening to Liberal members trying to defend this indefensible gun control legislation, Bill C-68.

We in the Reform Party, the hon. member would be surprised to know, understand the recognition of aboriginal rights contained within the Constitution. We certainly can read although he may doubt that sometimes.

Recognizing that in the Constitution hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights are protected for aboriginal people, the Constitution does not specifically refer to methods of hunting, trapping or fishing. We are not talking about entrenched treaty rights in the application of Bill C-68 to aboriginal people. We are talking about the use of an implement to carry out their hunting, fishing and trapping rights.

This same instrument is used by many non-natives in northern hinterland areas. I assume these non-natives who hunt for sustenance enjoy the same or similar hunting rights as aboriginals. I find it questionable that the government in its amendments to this bill has not recognized hunting for sustenance activities of non-natives who live in remote northern areas.

I ask the hon. minister of Indian affairs whether his government specifically sees a difference between a remote residential aboriginal hunting for sustenance and a non-aboriginal who lives in a remote district of Canada and hunts for sustenance. Why would one under the proposed legislation be required to comply with all the regulations of Bill C-68 and yet a special provision might be given to another?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ron Irwin Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, in broad terms we have populations of aboriginals in Winnipeg, Toronto, Kenora and other areas as high as 60,000 to 65,000. Within these areas aboriginal people are more at risk to violence by all facts right now. It is in their best interest to look at our policies of safe streets, knowing that we are not attacking gatherers or hunters or tourism or farmers, all things the Reform, I thought, stood for.

The hon. member says I would be surprised by some things Reform does or says. Nothing surprises me when it comes from the Reform.

There are provisions in the act having nothing to do with being Indian or not. If you are under 18 and a gatherer there is an exemption. You can use your gun if you are a gatherer of food.

The member talks about methodology, and I have said over and over again this does not free any person on methodology. Surely using the test of reasonableness under the treaties no aboriginal person can go hunting with a Sherman tank. By any test of reasonableness we can control and legislate on methodology.