This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was languages.

Topics

Upper Nicola BandOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. tribal chiefs are sending a warning shot across the bow of the B.C. treaty process by saying there could be more barricades this summer. They are reacting to the province of B.C. attempts to reduce unfulfillable native expectations. Yesterday provincial minister John Cashore called on the federal minister to help resolve the dispute at Douglas Lake Ranch.

Will the minister do more than facilitate negotiations as he has already agreed to do and cut off funding to the Upper Nicola Band until this illegal blockade is removed?

Upper Nicola BandOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Nunatsiaq Northwest Territories

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that a mediator was appointed by the province yesterday and he is in the process of mediating. All the parties to the dispute have publicly called for a peaceful resolution to this situation. I think the hon. member should be aware of that.

Upper Nicola BandOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, these standoffs often go on for an extended period of time.

The federal minister has said that this is not his territory because it is off reserve and the band is not part of the B.C. treaty process. This is irrelevant. The barricades and this whole process are expensive to the taxpayer and to local residents.

Will the minister assist in efforts to achieve a voluntary removal of the blockades by insisting on removal of the funding to the band in order to ensure compliance?

Upper Nicola BandOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Nunatsiaq Northwest Territories

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

The hon. member should be aware that a peaceful resolution to this is being sought by all parties. The minister has also made it quite clear that he is prepared to assist if asked by the province, by the First Nations or by any other group involved but to date we have not been asked.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ron Fewchuk Liberal Selkirk—Red River, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

The people of Canada would like to know the federal government's involvement in dealing with the forest fires raging in Canada and most distressingly in western Canada.

Forest FiresOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member's question, a very serious situation is emerging with a number of forest fires that are burning, in some cases out of control, in western Canada.

Emergency Preparedness Canada has been contacted by the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. We have offered our full support. Emergency Preparedness Canada under the auspices of the Department of National Defence has already provided a number of possible airlifts and is ready and willing to provide more.

We are also working to mobilize the Department of Transport where necessary. Certainly we are hoping that over the weekend things will stabilize. We are concerned and we are offering whatever help we can to both the provinces involved.

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

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

On Tuesday, an Environment Canada spokesperson suggested that the Irving Whale would only be raised high enough to slide a submersible underneath. Yet, the solution outlined in the government's call for tenders is to lift the barge more than 70 metres with steel cables before using a submersible.

How can the minister let a spokesperson from her office give the press information that is contrary to that contained in the initial bidding documents?

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in this matter, which has already been dragging for some 20 years, I am following the advice given by my hon. colleague, the hon. member for Frontenac, on March 18, 1994-15 months ago-when he asked us to act as soon as possible, and I quote: "-as an ecologist and a recognized environment specialist-this is Jean-Guy Chrétien talking-I can only welcome this announcement. As a matter of fact, I took an interest in the Irving Whale , a potential ecological time-bomb, as soon as I became the opposition's environment critic''.

Instead of complying with the hon. member's request to further delay lifting this barge, we will go ahead. The call for tenders has been issued, and the Irving Whale will be raised as soon as possible.

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, I would ask you to please refer to other members by their ridings and not by their names.

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not asking the minister to let this matter drag on for years. What we are asking her is to raise the Irving Whale as safely as possible, even if it is more costly.

A spokesperson from her office indicated that two businesses had submitted bids to refloat the Irving Whale . Since her department has known about the bids since May 11, can the minister tell us the prices quoted in these bids and release immediately all bidding documents?

Irving WhaleOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in the House of Commons last year I gave every single document relating to the lifting of the Irving Whale . I also said at that time that the proposal being pushed by the hon. member is based on a recommendation that was done by the company that is interested in doing the work.

We called for an independent assessment. If the member wants, I will refer her to an opinion of Murray Fenton & Associates Ltd., Southwark Bridge Road, London, England. That firm has no association with the Government of Canada and says that the option we have chosen is the best scientific option.

I would be very happy to table the letter so we could put the issue to bed and get the Irving Whale out of the situation it is in, which puts the fishermen of the Magdalen Islands at risk. I think the hon. member and her eight colleagues on the Magdalen Islands should stop playing politics and start doing something to get this thing up.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

June 2nd, 1995 / 11:55 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, MPs' offices are constantly flooded with complaints from law-abiding Canadians whose relatives cannot get visitor visas to Canada. Why? Because the minister's failure to enforce immigration law creates so much abuse that the only way to stop it is by denying visas to decent law-abiding visitors.

Why is the minister limiting his promise of compassion to queue jumpers and foreign criminals and not extending that compassion to those who really suffer under Canada's immigration laws: law-abiding Canadians, overseas refugees and people who want to visit Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member told me that he knew a few words of Italian, so in the spirit of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, I thought I would try it out.

In response to the hon. member, the reality in fact is the opposite. The member should be somewhat respectful of the fact that 85 per cent of all visitor visa applications, and there are some one million around the world, are accepted by Canada. There is a 15 per cent refusal rate. Eighty-five per cent out of 100 is not bad.

In the case where those refusals perhaps legitimately should have been accepted, there is a procedure in place for those individuals to make new applications. From time to time there are also interventions. I caution however that a minister should not intervene on a visitor visa program simply because of the numbers involved and simply because the fact is it works quite well.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, whether the minister speaks Italian or English, I still do not understand the point.

The minister talks a good game. Just yesterday he bragged about how well the New Delhi immigration office was working. Tell that to Victor Sumbly, a well respected businessman whose sister and nephew could not get visitor visas from Delhi. They were told there was so much abuse that officials could not risk giving visas to a mother and child, even though Victor offered to post a $50,000 bond.

Would the minister be willing to meet with Mr. Sumbly and tell him face to face that the immigration system is working just fine?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am equally confused by the member's approach today. Usually he gets up in the House and asks the government to keep people out, to slam the door shut, to keep people from coming in. Today he decides to do some constituency work after all because there have been a lot of

complaints from Canadians in Calgary, Alberta who cannot get the time of day on immigration matters from members of Parliament. It pleases me, finally, to see the member of Parliament stand up for his constituents.

Alzheimer's RegistryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general and the Minister of Health have recently announced the creation of a national registry for Canadians with Alzheimer's. I would ask the solicitor general to explain to the House the intention of the registry. Could he tell us who is going to manage the system and explain the government's expectations as to the impact the registry will have on Canadians with Alzheimer's and members of their families?

Alzheimer's RegistryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the registry is intended to help locate and identify missing individuals with Alzheimer's or related conditions. It will help to ensure that the risk to them because of their condition is mitigated and limited. It will also reassure their families and caregivers.

I am very pleased that we could work on this project together with the Alzheimer's Society of Canada and the department of health. The program will be managed by the Alzheimer's Society of Canada and its branches across the country. It will use the RCMP's Canadian police information computer system.

I think this is a wonderful example of police-community co-operation. I am very glad that the federal government has been able to facilitate the project.

Alzheimer's RegistryOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

Colleagues, this would bring to a conclusion the question period. I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will let you be the judge and decide whether this is a question of privilege or a point of order, but as you know, the matter I wish to raise is connected to the fact that yesterday, we had the second hour of debate on a motion I presented earlier in April in which I urged the government to recognize same sex spouses.

I must say that yesterday, for the first time since I became a member of Parliament, I was not very proud to be a parliamentarian. I was not very proud because, as we know, a few days ago the Supreme Court asked us to discuss one of the most important issues for the future of our society, and I am referring to equal treatment of same sex spouses.

I feel I must draw your attention to the fact that yesterday evening, some very discriminatory, hateful and offensive statements were made concerning the homosexual community, and we can hardly say the homosexual community benefited from the kind of debate we had yesterday.

My main point is, and I will give a very specific example, that I always saw the role of the Chair as allowing a maximum of freedom of expression, and I must say that you and your team have always scrupulously abided by this principle. However, I feel I must draw your attention to the fact that in the course of the debate yesterday evening, the hon. member for Calgary Northeast made some comparisons that were extremely dangerous and very difficult to accept for parliamentarians, and I think that if we do not put a stop to this and if we do not call to order members who take the liberty of making comparisons which I find deeply offensive between the homosexual community and certain rights to which I am committed on their behalf, the reputation of this institution will be tarnished.

In concluding, I simply want to bring to your attention a comment that will give some indication of the very distressing tenor of yesterday's debate, at least in the case of the hon. member for Calgary Northeast. Very briefly: "Homosexuality, to anyone who has not been brainwashed by the last decade of effective propagandizing by the gay lobby, is unnatural".

I finally want to say that I am not acting on behalf of any lobby whatsoever. In presenting a motion I felt was important, I was acting as a parliamentarian in order to raise one of those issues which, as you know, requires more than one debate.

In concluding, I want to say that I do not believe that in this Parliament or anywhere else, those who are involved in promoting gay rights have been brainwashed.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, I do not believe that this is a matter of privilege. I would ask all of you, regardless of the topic being debated, to always make judicious word choices because sometimes we are confronted with ideas that are not always acceptable to all individuals.

As you know, in this House, we use strong words and express strong opinions, and sometimes, we use unusually strong words. But, in this instance, I have not read the record of the debate. I will read those statements in context and will watch the video to find out more. If necessary, I will report back to the House with my decision on the matter.

I will look into this particular matter. To the hon. member for Calgary Northeast, I do not want to get into a debate. We had a debate on this yesterday.

At least at this point, it does not seem to be a question of privilege. If the hon. member for Calgary Northeast wishes to put something on the record very briefly I invite him to do so. I do not want to have this escalate into a debate.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand by the words I issued in my statement. I did not mention any particular person by name. That is all I will state in the matter.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his intervention.

It is not a matter of privilege, but I give the floor to the whip of the Bloc Quebecois.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I trust you unconditionally to review this issue and to listen to what was said.

To better understand the issue and put the debate in context, I suggest that we-us parliamentarians and you the Speaker-should consider that when we say that a community is immoral, for example homosexuals, we are going after each and every individual. If we were to do the same for francophones, Jews or women in general, it would not be tolerated.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to end this discussion here. As I said, my dear colleagues, I do not want members to get into a debate on the matter. I will take care of it, I will look into it, and will report to the House, if necessary.