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House of Commons Hansard #219 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentencing.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cochrane—Superior Ontario

Liberal

Réginald Bélair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in the last election the government made a commitment to govern with integrity. We intend to honour this practice.

We are aware of the situation that the member has brought to our attention. To this end, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has directed his deputy minister to give instructions that guidelines should be respected.

It is not standard practice to hire family members. This particular group that the member mentioned is now the subject of an internal audit. If the allegations are substantiated as a result of this audit we will direct the department to bring in corrective measures.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am encouraged at the government's show of concern for ethics in the public service, but is it not ironic that it will investigate the public service for unethical conduct while the unethical conduct of the heritage minister and the public works minister goes uninvestigated altogether.

It is no wonder that the auditor general says there is confusion in the public service about ethics. It is examples from the top that prove the old adage that the fish is rotting from the head down in this case.

My supplementary question is for the Acting Prime Minister. Since the federal code of conduct does not seem to apply to the cabinet, how does the government expect to enforce ethical standards in the public service?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, ethics are very important to the government. We show this in many ways every day when it comes to the cabinet and when it comes to the public service.

Dealing with the hon. member's rather tasteless metaphor about fish, obviously things have stretched quite a way down to the bottom of that party judging by his question.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

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

Health Canada officials revealed today that the synthetic hormone somatotropin can legally be imported and used in Canada. Yet, the Minister of Health has tried to reassure the public by saying repeatedly in this House that the use of somatotropin is illegal in Canada and that cheaters would be punished.

How could the Minister of Health let us believe in the House that Health Canada had the situation under control when she knew that, through a loophole in the Food and Drugs Act, synthetic somatotropin could legally be used in Canada?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in our opinion, the current regulatory framework adequately blocks the use of bovine somatotropin in Canada. The example mentioned by the hon. member is a minor exception.

I am aware of the hon. member's concerns, but, up to now, they have been unfounded. We will continue investigating and, if we detect any problems, we will take the appropriate action.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the minister that all of the members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, which met this morning, share this concern about this minor exception. If she talks to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, she will realize that he is of exactly the same opinion.

How can the minister explain why, in the past year, she has taken no steps to plug this important legal loophole, now that the voluntary moratorium imposed by her agriculture colleague has expired?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, for the vast majority of people in Canada other than pharmacists or veterinarians it is illegal to import, to sell, or to distribute rBST.

To date Health Canada has felt that the regulatory framework that was put in place was effective in preventing the use of rBST in the country. If that is not the case we will take appropriate action.

BosniaOral Question Period

June 15th, 1995 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, every report from Bosnia suggests that our peacekeepers can no longer do their job. The Canadian commander says they are "frozen in place".

In response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said this morning that if our peacekeepers "are no longer able to accomplish their raison d'être then they will have to be evacuated".

Given the minister's statement, is the government now preparing the evacuation of Canadian troops from Bosnia?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

No.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, we found out today that the government will be joining the Bosnia strike force. The presence of such a force is not in keeping with the peacekeeping mandate and has only two purposes: one, to join an escalating conflict as a combatant; or two, to facilitate the withdrawal of UN troops from the region.

Since the government is contributing troops to the strike force, does this mean it is abandoning its professed resolve for neutrality or is it preparing for withdrawal as we have proposed for the last six months?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know by reading reports from the NATO meeting a couple of weeks ago that the establishment of the rapid reaction force is a measure designed purely to assist UN personnel in danger. That is why it is being put together.

Whether a country is part of that or not does not lessen the fact that the UN force is there not in a belligerent capacity but as one leading the search of peace. That is Canada's position. We intend to stay and finish the mandate unless it becomes absolutely impossible for us to continue. The Prime Minister has made that clear in the House many times.

While it is true that in the last few weeks there have been some considerable difficulties in helping to discharge the mandate we believe the situation can be resolved.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Seventy five per cent of all consumers are against the hormone somatotropin. The dairy industry is demanding that the moratorium on its use be extended, and, this morning, the Standing Committee on Health passed a resolution for the renewal of the moratorium for at least two years. With 15 days left to go before the end of the moratorium, the Minister of Agriculture is still undecided regarding the issue.

Will the minister admit that we are talking about something bigger than the minor exception that the Minister of Health would have us believe, something which more closely resembles a gaping legal loophole which permits somatotropin to be used in Canada, and will he admit that, in the short term, the only thing that will protect consumers who want to drink milk that was not produced using somatotropin will be an extension of the moratorium?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has referred to the provisions in the Food and Drugs Act and the regulations promulgated under that act which is legislation under her jurisdiction. She has indicated quite clearly what the provisions of the law and the regulations provide. She is quite correct to indicate that the possibilities of importation are exceedingly limited to certain specific individuals and certain specific cases. The answer given by the Minister of Health is completely accurate as to the facts.

She has also indicated that on further review if the legal framework appears in any way to be inadequate to properly deal with the situation, then that legal framework can be strengthened.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us stop beating around the bush. My question was very clear.

Does the Minister of Agriculture acknowledge, yes or no, the right of citizens to drink natural milk that was not produced using hormones, and if so, what is he waiting for to announce that he will extend the moratorium for as long as is needed to guarantee consumers that they will be able to drink unadulterated milk, in accordance with their wishes?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the last year, on the recommendation of the agriculture committee, we undertook in co-operation with all of the interested stakeholders, including many in the private sector, a task force investigation of a variety of facts surrounding rBST. We did that following the advice of the agriculture committee to provide more information, to get all of the details on the table so that everyone could be fully informed on the issue.

The one important piece of data which remains to be concluded and provided is a critical piece, which is the scientific regulatory review of the health aspects with respect to rBST. That is presently being studied by the Department of Health. Until the Department of Health is satisfied with all the health and safety issues, then obviously no notice of compliance will be issued.

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, today the Correctional Service of Canada released its report on the September 5, 1993 murder of 25-year old Dennis Fichenberg.

Fichenberg was murdered by Paul Butler, a federal inmate who was on day parole at the time of the murder. At the time of sentencing Butler was considered to be a psychopath and at the time of his release he was described as a high risk offender with a high potential for violence. Butler, however, was able to stay on day parole despite committing numerous violations over the six-month period he was on parole.

Is the Solicitor General satisfied with the way the correctional service and the National Parole Board handled Butler's release?

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the parole board is an independent

quasi-judicial tribunal, operating at arm's length from the minister, who has no right under the law to interfere in its decisions.

However, I want to say that the investigation report which was released had recommendations for change and a correction in the situation to help prevent it from taking place again. I want to ensure that these changes are put in place because, like the hon. member, I do not want to see this kind of thing happening again.

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, there is some suggestion that Butler was able to maintain his day parole status because he had previously been an informant for the RCMP.

Was Butler's freedom due in part to the intervention of the RCMP and is the minister satisfied that the RCMP acted in an appropriate manner?

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the report of the investigation into this matter says that the parole board applied the criterion of the protection of the public as its main guideline.

I am not in a position to comment on the RCMP's involvement or non-involvement in the matter.

At the same time, this happened before the government took office. I want to ensure, in so far as I am able to do so, that the circumstances which led to this tragic occurrence do not happen again. I am glad to have the hon. member's concurrence in this concern of mine.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

As the minister knows, for more than a year now the whole farm safety net program has been studied and reviewed. Can the minister tell the House, the hundreds of farmers across Carleton-Charlotte and the thousands of farmers across Canada what the status is of the study and when we can expect to see its results?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, through most of 1994 we were discussing the future shape of agricultural safety nets with farm organizations and with provincial governments.

In December 1994 we achieved unanimous agreement among the federal government and all of the provinces with respect to the principles to underpin the future design of safety programming in Canada.

At the moment our officials are working on the drafting of an omnibus memorandum of understanding hopefully to be signed in due course between the federal government and all of the provinces outlining the basic components of the safety net structure for the future, indicating the necessity for trade compatibility and production and market neutrality.

We want to ensure interprovincial fairness and balance. We want to achieve a cost sharing ratio of about 60 per cent federal, 40 per cent provincial. We want to achieve national consistency across the country with sufficient provincial flexibility to meet local and regional objectives.

We think we will get there. The memorandum of understanding is very well advanced.

Defence Industry ConversionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has consistently refused to set up a genuine defence conversion program and has cut the few resources remaining in the budget for the defence industry productivity program, which has had serious consequences for Montreal. In fact, Pratt & Whitney, a leader in Canada's aerospace industry, is planning to move its research centre.

Does the Minister of Industry realize that by refusing to set up a genuine defence conversion program, he is denying the Quebec aerospace industry an opportunity to develop its technological capability and thus undermining its ability to compete?

Defence Industry ConversionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to commend the hon. member on the interest he has shown in the broader issues of technological development here in Canada. I am very much aware of the problem concerning Pratt & Whitney, which has been discussed in the media.

I want to say to the hon. member that in the budget, which of course reduced the funding available for this program, we promised to review it. Cabinet intends to discuss the broader issues of technological development, and I am looking forward to hearing what the hon. member has to say about these programs.

Defence Industry ConversionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the almost British phrasing of his reply, the minister did not answer my question.

My question is: Since Ottawa funded 18 per cent of Pratt & Whitney's R and D investments over the past ten years, mainly for military applications, why does the minister now refuse to support civilian applications of the company's research? Why does the minister refuse to help a Quebec company? That is the question.

Defence Industry ConversionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I may remind the hon. member that Pratt & Whitney is not exactly a Quebec company. It is a multinational that also has plants in Halifax and Lethbridge, Alberta. The issue is one that is important to all regions in Canada.

I would also like to point out that during the past decade, Pratt & Whitney Canada received nearly $525 million from the federal government, and we are committed to giving the company another $91.2 million during the next four years. So we did not exactly forget Pratt & Whitney.