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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, one thing is very clear from the Liberal government. It has placed the blame for Canada's growing debt on the men and women of the Canadian armed forces and that is wrong.

The government has promised to foot the bill for some $23 million for a mission in Haiti and it will not even seek reimbursement from the United Nations, which is normal practice. At the same time it is gutting the defence budget by some $800 million which will put Canadian sovereignty at risk.

Will the minister agree to reassess each and every overseas mission until it can adequately fund the Canadian Armed Forces or at least make the UN contribute to our costs?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party in the last election championed massive spending cuts. In fact, the leader of his party in reply to the Minister of Finance this week said the government is not going fast enough. Now we are told that we should not be cutting in certain areas.

In fact, the Reform Party tried to pose this week as the guarantors of health and other social programs. Canadians will see through this rhetoric.

Chinese OrphanagesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. So as not to jeopardize its trade, the Canadian government is closing its eyes to the treatment of babies in Chinese orphanages, abandoning them to their fate. It would appear, however, that people in Canada and Quebec disagree.

Could the minister tell us what kind of concrete measures his government intends to take to put an end to the blatant abuse of human rights in Chinese orphanages?

Chinese OrphanagesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question.

Federal government officials have visited China. During conversations with officials the issue of the situation with babies and small children in China has been raised. We have told them of our concern about the deplorable conditions we learned about in which some Chinese children are living. We have offered our assistance to help them deal with this situation. We have also referred them to UNICEF. We understand that right now China is in dialogue with UNICEF and that UNICEF will be providing some assistance.

The Government of Canada supports UNICEF financially and we will keep an eye on this issue to make sure there are improvements being made.

Chinese OrphanagesOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well what we want, and what the Bloc Quebecois has been condemning for many months now. We want an unequivocal condemnation by the Canadian government of children's human rights abuse in Chinese orphanages. Behind the scene dealings will not protect Canada's reputation in the world.

I would like the minister to tell us when her government is finally going to adhere to a consistent policy on the issue of trade and human rights, in order to protect the reputation Canada used to have, and I do mean used to have, throughout the world?

Chinese OrphanagesOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very sympathetic to the issues that the member raises with regard to human rights issues worldwide. We have officially addressed abuses to human rights in China. Among those, we have raised the issue of the conditions in which children and babies find themselves.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission will be convening shortly. The Minister of Foreign Affairs will be attending that meeting in Geneva, along with, we hope, other parliamentarians. We will all have an opportunity to address these very serious issues, not only in China but in other areas of the world where we have serious concerns.

The Canadian government, through CIDA, has also put together a policy on human rights, democratic development and good governance. I would be very happy to share this with any parliamentarian here.

JusticeOral Question Period

March 8th, 1996 / 11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

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

On January 24 the minister appointed Mr. John Desotti of Sudbury, judge of the Ontario court in Sarnia. At the time of this appointment, was the minister aware that a three-year-old, unresolved complaint alleging professional misconduct was pending against Mr. Desotti before the Law Society of Upper Canada?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Yes, Mr. Speaker. In order to be fair to the man and fair to the facts, I hasten to add that I was also aware that the complaint had been investigated and dismissed by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely clear that it was a three-year case, that a review into the matter was under way and that the appointment by this justice minister simply threw a cloak of immunity over Mr. Desotti and the Law Society of Upper Canada lost jurisdiction as a result of this appointment.

Because of his actions, which violated the fundamental principle of due process and violated the right of the complainants in this case to a fair hearing, I ask the minister what action he will take to have the appointment of Mr. Desotti rescinded until the complaint or the complainant receives a fair and just hearing and to ensure the ethics of the newly appointed judge are no longer in question?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, involvement in public life brings a certain responsibility, including a responsibility to be fair to the reputation of people. I invite the hon. member to bear that in mind.

What is required of us, as responsible public officials, is more than simply to cobble together bits of phrases that sound very righteous and to combine them with indignation.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Here is the file.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the facts of this case, so let me tell the House and the hon. member what really happened.

A client complained to the Law Society about Mr. Desotti when he was in practice. The Law Society investigated that complaint and found it without foundation and decided not to proceed. In those circumstances, having regard to the fact that finding had been made and looking at the facts and the nature of the complaint, I exercised my judgment and I brought the man's name forward to cabinet because he is going to be a good judge.

The client, unhappy with the fact that the complaint had been found without merit, asked for a review by a lay bencher of the Law Society. It was while that review was pending that the appointment was made.

Our judgment and our determination was that the appointment was appropriate and I invite the hon. member to be fair to Mr. Desotti and to the system.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was announced that non-commissioned members of the Canadian forces will receive a 2.2 per cent pay catch-up to bring them in line with federal public salaries. This is welcome news to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving of our country.

Will the Minister of National Defence tell the House when these truly deserving members of the Canadian forces can expect this measure to take effect? This is another good news story to follow up on his clarification of the purchase of equipment which he made just a few minutes ago.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke for his intervention.

Very few other members in the House have had such a long and distinguished record in support of Canada's armed forces and I think that should be recognized.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, to answer the specific question, this measure, which is long overdue, will take place on April 1 of this year.

I would like to thank publicly the men and women of the armed forces and in particular, the 50,000 non-commissioned members who will be affected by this pay catch-up. These people have made a sacrifice over and above the sacrifice made by public servants in the last couple of years. They were not only caught with the freeze but their catch-up, which was due in the 1990-1993 period, was also caught in the freeze. This measure now corrects that injustice.

The morale of the men and women who serve in the armed forces is particularly good. I saw it last week in Bosnia. I hope this shows Canadians' appreciation for the work and the sacrifice that they have been making over the last few years.

Correctional ServicesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard St-Laurent Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

In her study on the Correctional Service of Canada, Janet Laishes indicates that almost half of the suicides committed by inmates in federal penitentiaries in the last four years occurred in the province of Quebec.

Would the minister therefore acknowledge that the shortage of correctional officers to supervise inmates is one of the main causes of this problem?

Correctional ServicesOral 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 hon. member has raised an important issue. We are currently reviewing the report he referred to, but I am not ready right now to accept the premise to his question.

GrainOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the budget the Minister of Finance briefly referred to the disposal of a fleet of grain hopper cars. This issue is extremely important to farmers and they need answers to some questions very soon. They need the government to reveal its intentions or even its inclinations of how it is going to deal with this matter.

Will the Minister of Transport please give the House a couple of simple answers. When will the government dispose of the 13,000 hopper cars and more important, what is the department's asking price? The farmers who are interested in buying should at least know what the numbers are on the price tag.

GrainOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Hamilton West Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. I know him to be a visitor to the transport committee and an interested participant.

In answer to his question on the hopper cars, the current policy of the government is to get out of the business of transportation assets and transportation services. That is a very successful policy. This means we are trying to create efficiencies.

The price, as the hon. member will know, on the hopper cars has yet to be established. That is only fair because, as pointed out earlier this fall, what we have to do as a government is consult with the interested parties, CN and CP, but also there has been a call by the farmers and the producers who will be using those grain cars and who want to have a say in the opportunity of taking ownership of those 13,300 grain cars.

We will have to get together and establish who will buy those hopper cars but only after all the parties have come to the table for a full and thorough discussion on the matter.

Child CareOral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for the Status of Women.

Page 38 of the red book says:

Quality accessible child care is an economic advantage for Canada. It enables single parents to end dependence on welfare and food banks by re-entering the workforce. It provides direct jobs for Canadians, particularly for women. On average, one person is employed for every five child care spaces created.

It is clear the Prime Minister has abandoned his promise to a national child care program. In the budget the Minister of Finance clearly has abandoned that promise as well. A voucher system is not a child care system.

Will the secretary of state for women state publicly today that she will support a national child care program for Canada?

Child CareOral Question Period

Noon

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a question that is extremely important. Everything she quoted in the red book is true; it was true then and it is true today.

The Minister of Human Resources Development is looking at how we can continue to keep that promise and implement it. We have to keep the process going. We have to discuss innovative ways we can accomplish this. If we cannot do it with provinces we still have a commitment to do it.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for Secretary of State for the Status of Women.

This week Canadians are celebrating International Women's Week, highlighted by International Woman's Day on March 8. It is an occasion to look back on the accomplishments of women in Canada and across the globe.

What is the government doing to further the cause of women's equality?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

Noon

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for a very good question on a very important day.

The cornerstone of the government's initiatives for equality among women is gender analysis. I said earlier how that empowers and will increase women's economic independence, will look at their social life and will look at their physical well-being.

We talked earlier about some of the initiatives we have taken with regard to child support, with regard to the WIS, with regard to the Canada student loan programs, with regard to employment insurance. By simply applying gender analysis we have looked at hours of work instead of weeks of work because we know so many women work hours in terms of part time jobs and need to get benefits.

We have talked about empowering education and looking at the issues that will help young women get an education. We have talked about the court challenges program and we have done it. We have looked at violence against women. We have looked at female genital mutilation. We have the Firearms Control Act, which will decrease violence against women. We have created centres of excellence for health. I could go on and on.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

I have a point of order and then I will make my decision on the point of contempt raised by the hon. member for Beaver River.