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House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Air TransportationOral Questions

October 1st, 1996 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for many years, the official opposition has been accusing the government of favouring the carrier Canadian at the expense of Air Canada, which employs 7,000 people in Quebec. We are not the only ones to say so. Last week, the international executive officer of Cathay Pacific Airlines, the main carrier in Hong Kong, stated: "There is a lot of politics behind this decision-I think that Canada is trying not to put too much pressure on Canadian International".

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Douglas Young Liberal Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Oh, oh!

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

If the Minister for Human Resources Development could be quiet, I could carry on. Mr. Speaker, could the minister please stop talking? He is being insolent.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

He is not even polite.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Douglas Young Liberal Acadie—Bathurst, NB

He knows what he is talking about.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie has the floor.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Transport realize that, by favouring Canadian over Air Canada, he is contributing to the loss of jobs in Quebec? Why do they keep undermining Air Canada and favouring Canadian?

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is the one who is somewhat mixed up. He forgets that both Canadian International and Air Canada are in competition with Cathay Pacific. He quotes a Cathay Pacific spokesman who was quite happy to give that information because of course he knows full well it serves his interest and not the interest of the Canadian airlines.

Asking Cathay Pacific what to do with the Canadian airlines on the Pacific is bit like asking a crocodile where to go swimming in the river. It is not a very bright move.

With respect to the issue of jobs, we are not trying to reduce the number of flights. Unlike the Bloc Quebecois who think this is a zero sum game, what one must gain the other must lose, we are trying to expand air traffic.

The new air traffic routes that have been established, including open skies with the United States, incidentally the world's largest international market, have created 1,000 jobs for Air Canada, 700 for Canadian International and in addition, there is-

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. members to please make their questions and answers shorter.

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, to ask a crocodile to look after swimmers is like asking a friend of Canadian to be Minister of Transport.

If the minister will not talk about Cathay Pacific Airlines, let me put this question to him. Air Canada itself complained, the chamber of commerce complained, all the stakeholders in Quebec complained. Did the Minister of Transport hear away out west about what was going on in Quebec with Air Canada and about all the complaints regarding his actions in the area of air traffic?

Air TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has conveniently forgotten that this big expansion in air traffic, generated by the government over the last three years, directly results in jobs throughout the country, particularly in Quebec with Air Canada's head office in Montreal and where Bombardier makes the RJ jet, for which there is, I believe, some 60 orders outstanding at the present time.

The hon. member forgets that our policy of expansion of air travel dramatically improves the situation. I have to assure him that we want to maintain the policy of choice for the Canadian public. In addition, we do not want to give in to the demands of the Bloc Quebecois and Air Canada to destroy a system that we have set up so carefully over the years and which is so much to the advantage of the Canadian travelling public.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems that fear is spreading within our justice system. Madam Justice Barbara Reed has expressed her fear of making a court decision that goes against the whims of the government.

Justice Reed states in a letter to the Toronto Star that: ``I am shaken by the thought of the vitriolic attacks I must expect to endure if I make a decision unfavourable to the government''.

What has the justice minister done to create such unprecedented fear in the mind of this judge?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that I must concede that there is very little I can teach the hon. member about spreading fear out there. I think he has to figure things out for himself.

The hon. member has referred to a letter written by Madam Justice Reed to a reporter with the Toronto Star . I was sent a copy of the letter. I did not respond to the letter. I do not intend to respond to the letter, nor to comment on it.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear to anyone who understands the circumstances that Judge Reed's fear is a direct result of the justice minister's failure to exercise his authority to protect the judicial independence of the courts.

The minister should have immediately suspended Ted Thompson and launched a complaint against his senior official as well as Chief Justice Julius Isaac with the Canadian Judicial Council for their unprecedented interference into the independence of a sitting judge.

Why did the minister not take every reasonable action to immediately assure judges that any interference into their independence would not be tolerated?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member could usefully take an hour or two out from spreading fear in order to look at the facts of this case. When he does so, he would discover that some months ago I appointed the former chief justice of Ontario, the Hon. Charles Dubin, a person whose experience and integrity in such matters is beyond question, to look into all of the circumstances surrounding the incident referred to by the hon. member.

That report was received and made public in August. It made clear that the Department of Justice well understands the importance of judicial independence and acts every day on its principles.

The Hon. Mr. Dubin also made recommendations concerning Mr. Thompson and as a result of the report, as the hon. member well knows, Ted Thompson voluntarily relinquished the position he held.

The fact of the matter is that the report established clearly that there was no interference by the Department of Justice with the independence of the Supreme Court.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Last week, federal officials met with the mayors of the towns in Quebec's asbestos-producing region and the main stakeholders in this sector. During this meeting, no federal official was able to specify what financial support the government could provide to fight the French decision.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to financially support Quebec's strategy to defend the safe use of chrysotile asbestos?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, last week I made representations to the European Union and also to the French government with respect to the matter of asbestos. Rather than a total ban, we are suggesting that they look at controlled, safe uses of asbestos. There are some that are not, but there are some that are. I think the health minister and the Department of Health could verify that.

We have offered to send experts to France to assist them in the use of asbestos that can be done safely. We believe that there are some controlled circumstances where it can be used safely. We want to help them in that regard to ensure that the industry survives in Quebec and continues to provide employment.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked an answer from the Prime Minister himself since this issue affects 2,000 jobs in my region. Furthermore, it is the Prime Minister himself who should be holding talks with the French President.

Since the World Health Organization recently pointed out the risks associated with the use of asbestos, will the government finally wake up and take vigorous action to promote within this organization the safe use of asbestos, as provided for in Directive 161 adopted by the WHO in Geneva?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we are as concerned about this employment as anybody in Quebec is. We want to make sure that these jobs remain. We want to make sure that controlled and safe uses of this substance continue to be allowed in the countries to which we are exporting.

The Prime Minister said in the House in the last week or so that he was quite willing to make representations, as indeed is my colleague, the Minister of Health. All of us are concerned about this matter. We are doing our utmost to make sure we maintain that industry.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced the opening of a liaison office in Punjab, India. I would like to congratulate him and let him know that this is being greeted with great enthusiasm.

Could the minister inform the House how the opening of this new office will serve both nations?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to convey my appreciation to the hon. member and to the hon. member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton for their strong interest in this file.

I would like to confirm that yesterday, in co-operation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for India, we were able to establish a new liaison office in the Punjab. This follows on the Prime Minister's Team Canada trip to India where we dedicated ourselves to broadening our area of relationships.

The office will open in January. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for India was good enough to invite myself and a delegation of Canadians to the opening, where we will focus on trade, investment and the facilitation of immigration.

It is a very good initiative to broaden and deepen the nature of our relationship with that very important country.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister had the power to fire Ted Thompson and he refused to do it. Is it any wonder that Canadians are fed up with our system, the government and the justice minister?

Now three alleged war criminals are walking free because the justice minister, through his senior lawyer, Ted Thompson, tried to make a backroom deal with a Federal Court judge.

Today Madam Justice Barbara Reed's letter to the Toronto Star clearly has brought the entire Federal Court system into disrepute, thereby unduly influencing three deportation cases against alleged war criminals now living in Canada.

Will the justice minister directly refer these cases against the suspected criminals to the Supreme Court of Canada for a decision, yes or no?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that question is a shocking mixture of misunderstanding and misstatement. It is absolutely shocking.

We took the trouble to have a person of unquestioned reputation look carefully through all the facts of this matter. When the Hon. Mr. Dubin reported in August he did not say there were grounds for firing Ted Thompson. What did the former chief justice of Ontario conclude? Unlike my hon. friend, he took the trouble to look through all the facts carefully, speak to the people involved, examine the documents and consider them carefully in accordance with appropriate principles. He concluded that there was no basis to fire Ted Thompson. It was his recommendation that Mr. Thompson should not continue in his present role and Mr. Thompson, as a result, resigned voluntarily.

The report speaks for itself. It establishes that the Department of Justice well understands the principles of judicial independence. My friend should educate himself before asking the next question.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is shocking is the fact that this minister cannot even clean up his department.

War criminals are walking free in Canada today because the justice minister refuses to honour the principle that judges and courts must be free of interference from politicians and bureaucrats. This is not the first time the justice minister has crossed the line which separates the courts and politicians.

Why does the minister not do the right thing, pack up his bags and go home?