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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

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that public safety should not be compromised on any basis. I insist that in this case it was not.

The agents who were appointed are competent for the task for which they have been retained. As to the comments of the police officers, I know only what I have read in the press and what has been quoted by the hon. member.

I can say that any concerns anyone in the administration of justice system has about the quality of any of our agents can be communicated to the regional office and their comments will be considered; but we are satisfied that the agents we have in place are competent to carry out work on behalf of the people of Canada.

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, three times this year the Minister of Justice was unable to explain why individuals and businesses in Quebec receive only 5 per cent of the value of professional and special services contracts awarded by his department and has even expressed some doubt about this percentage. However, his own officials confirm our allegations.

After studying this matter for three months, can the Minister of Justice explain to us why his department awards 15 times more contracts to residents of his province, Ontario, than it does to residents of Quebec?

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a subject that two of his colleagues raised on earlier occasions.

I have a draft response on my desk to which I should have got this week but did not. I will see the written response is in the hands of the hon. members who asked the questions next week. It will furnish a detailed response to the questions that have been raised on this subject.

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the minister has been studying this matter for three months but has yet to give us an answer. The Minister of Justice has also said in this House that he did not believe that 98 per cent of professional and special services contracts are drafted in English. But, once again, his officials say the opposite.

Is the Minister of Justice still of the opinion that the fact that research contracts awarded by his department are drafted in English only accurately reflects the reality of bilingualism within his department?

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has the right to expect a detailed and factual response to these questions. Both the hon. member and his colleagues have asked specific questions about the number and percentage of contracts that have been awarded and the use of language in specific work done for the department.

My officials have prepared a response which I have in draft form on my desk. I shall get that response on these points to the hon. member and his colleagues within the week.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian knows full well the story of 15-year old Tara Manning from Quebec and how she was sexually assaulted and stabbed 47 times.

Every Canadian's heart goes out to her family and is outraged that a killer may go free if a court upholds the claim that the killer's rights were infringed by a judged granting a warrant for a DNA search.

Since the minister knows full well that in order for the perpetrator of the crime to be held accountable legislation must clear the House before the summer break allowing a judge to grant a DNA search, will the minister immediately bring the legislation before the House?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am very aware of the case. I met with Mr. Manning, the father of the victim, and with his parents. I was very much affected by the sadness of the tragedy, particularly for the family.

I am not going to discuss the Manning case because it is pending in the courts. However I will respond on the subject of DNA testing and I will say that the government has said it would introduce changes to the Criminal Code to provide a further basis upon which authorities could take samples for DNA testing for prosecution purposes.

I should point out to the hon. member that there are provisions in the code at present which are being used for that purpose. Nothing I say is intended to suggest that those are insufficient for that purpose at this time.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians continually hear the government and the minister state that they will change legislation to enhance public safety. It has been 19 months and I have not seen it yet.

Canadians should have confidence in the justice system. We are waiting for the drunkenness defence bill. Now we are waiting and waiting for this legislation, which will definitely serve a purpose in the country and solve the problems.

How could the minister dare speak of justice when he completely abandoned the most basic concept of humanity, that when a person is murdered society must punish the murderer?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member

to be fair to the facts. Bill C-72 with respect to the drunkenness defence is before the House. Indeed it is at committee.

The hon. member took a very active role in the consideration of Bill C-37, which was improved because of his work on committee dealing with amendments to the Young Offenders Act. That bill is now in the Senate. The hon. member participated in committee work with respect to Bill C-41, which is intended to strengthen the sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code.

However, on the point the hon. member raises, I can tell the hon. member as I have in the past that we will introduce legislation to amend the Criminal Code to broaden the basis upon which DNA samples can be obtained.

I emphasize to the hon. member that there are provisions-

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

When?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

I cannot say exactly when, but I can say we will do it.

I want the hon. member to be aware there are provisions in the code already that can be used for that purpose and have been used for that purpose. I do not suggest for a moment that they are insufficient for that purpose.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

June 2nd, 1995 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs says that the scandal involving Canadian diplomats who trade their airplane tickets for money is a thing of the past. The President of the Treasury Board claims that the phenomenon is limited to diplomats assigned to dangerous and difficult cities. However, for a diplomat posted in Tokyo with his family, it can amount to 40 per cent of his salary, tax free.

How can the President of the Treasury Board justify that such financial benefits, which were granted in 1993, are still available to Canadian diplomats, when other civil servants have had their salaries frozen since 1991?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to look further into the particulars the hon. member has raised.

I can say, as I have said before, that in terms of foreign service directives there has been a tightening up of those procedures and that previous difficulties that arose have been corrected.

I could also point out that there is a three-year review which is being conducted this year with respect to foreign service directives. The matter is fully under review.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, moreover, the majority of diplomats who trade their airplane tickets for money to pay for their holidays do not go to Canada and are not even obliged to submit their receipts. They pocket the money, tax free.

Will the President of the Treasury Board undertake to review these benefits, granted in 1993, before laying off more civil servants, who cannot take advantage of the lax approach of Treasury Board?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, surely the hon. member understands that when people receive foreign postings they and their families should have an opportunity to be able to come home from time to time. There are, particularly in the case of what are called hardship posts, increased opportunities to do that.

Some very strict rules have been put into place. Lately we have been experimenting with a pilot system whereby we have actually lowered the amount of money that we will provide to 80 per cent from 90 per cent of the economy fare for a return trip, in that way further controlling the costs and recognizing the need of the government to cut government spending.

We will be evaluating that in the framework of the three-year review which is due this fall. We will be looking at further measures to ensure that the taxpayers' money is well protected and well spent in this regard.

Youth Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand there was news this morning concerning Youth Services Canada. Since this is the time of year when many students are seeking employment, could the Secretary of State for Training and Youth provide the House with some of the details of the important announcement?

Youth Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Western Arctic Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew LiberalSecretary of State (Training and Youth)

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to respond to my colleague from Oxford.

We have the start up of 63 new projects under Youth Services Canada. These projects will allow over 850 young Canadians across the country to gain valuable skills while helping out in

their communities. Whether it is opening up a second hand store for the needy in Montreal, setting up crime awareness programs in Winnipeg or preserving native culture in Yukon, projects are geared to help both the kids and their communities.

Unemployed youth who participate in Youth Services Canada are breaking the cycle of dependency and learning good, solid job skills.

The announcement underlies once again the government's commitment to the youth of the country and its determination to take action on it.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the Solicitor General confirmed for the record that the commissioner of the RCMP advised that the commercial crime section of the RCMP in Winnipeg had reviewed allegations made by the member for Lisgar-Marquette and found no evidence to support an investigation.

The crime section of the Winnipeg RCMP has no record of a request from the commissioner of the RCMP on the matter.

My question is for the solicitor general. The commercial crime division in Winnipeg says once thing; the solicitor general says another thing. Who are we to believe?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have conveyed to the House, and earlier to the hon. member's colleague, information provided to me by the commissioner of the RCMP.

The deputy commissioner for operations of the RCMP today sent a letter to the hon. member's colleague setting out the position of the RCMP on the matter. If the hon. member's colleague will agree, I would be delighted to ensure that the letter is released to the public. I think it should clear the air and help the hon. member to get on to something more constructive.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I hope we are making progress here. We are not asking the solicitor general to launch an investigation or become involved in the day to day operations of the RCMP. However, we are very concerned that we find out exactly where the file went. There is supposed to be a file.

Could the solicitor general advise the House where the file went? If it did not go to Winnipeg, as they say it did not, then where did the file go?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would have hoped the hon. member would have confirmed, on behalf of his colleague, that the letter the deputy commissioner of the RCMP sent to him explaining the involvement of the RCMP in the matter be made public. I think that would be a better way to clear the air than to keep asking this kind of question.

There must be some other matters the hon. member could deal with rather than attempting to create wrong impressions which should be the subject of an apology.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

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

In her recent answer to a question on the health hazards from 24 highly contaminated sites, the Minister of the Environment has reaffirmed the polluter pays principle and confirmed that Environment Canada denies any responsibility concerning so-called orphan sites.

Could the minister tell the House when the inventory of contaminated orphan sites will be completed by her department, and when she expects to be in a position to lay charges against owners who refuse to clean up their sites?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that question could have been addressed to my Quebec counterpart. The hon. member is aware that the federal government signed an agreement with Quebec a few years ago whereby we financed, in partnership with the province, provincially identified orphan sites. Federal funds have been paid to the provinces, and they made the decisions on the use of those funds for clean-up operations.

When all environment ministers agreed two years ago that we should stop paying for orphan sites, we did so at the request of the provinces, who have the instruments to initiate prosecutions in the private sector, more particularly in Quebec.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Minister of the Environment expect us to take seriously her commitment to the polluter pays principle, when, in 1994, the Canadian government initiated just 13 prosecutions under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which is 30 per cent less than in 1991, and 40 per cent less than in 1992. And that does not include contaminated sites in the Arctic which are not under the direct responsibility of the provinces. How can the minister explain such a drastic drop in the number of prosecutions, if not by a total lack of commitment to a stringent enforcement of the act?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as a result of my intention to increase the number of enforcements at the federal level there were 13 charges laid in the metropolitan Toronto area last week alone as a result of the activities relating to the export of illegal hazardous material.

I have issued a new directive in my department. We are moving away from the issuance of letters of warning. It will be one strike and you are out. I intend to pursue aggressively those polluters who would despoil our environment simply to make a buck.