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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accused.

Topics

Selva SubbiahStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week Selva Subbiah, one of the most hideous serial rapists in Canada, was convicted of raping more than 20 Canadian women. These innocent victims were drugged, threatened and sexually assaulted by this evil man. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail and according to published accounts, the presiding

judge has ordered the investigating officers to escort Subbiah to the airport for deportation when he is released. In essence, after serving the sentence, he will be deported back to his native Malaysia.

Canadian tax dollars should not be spent to keep this evil person in our prisons. Even if his lawyer files an appeal, it should be heard in his absence.

The justice minister should immediately make arrangements to deport this convicted criminal and send him back to his country of origin. It is time for the federal government to get tough on individuals like Subbiah.

Evinrude CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, Peterborough riding was honoured this past Saturday by the presence of two of our most honourable colleagues: the members for Brant and Northumberland. They joined me and the people of Peterborough in celebrating the opening of a fine new arena, the Evinrude Centre. To have these ministers attend this event is testimony to this government's continuing support of and interest in the infrastructure program in the city and county of Peterborough.

Many athletes, including hockey players and figure skaters, will use the Evinrude Centre. Among others, it will be home to the Peterborough Pirates of the Central Ontario Women's Hockey League and other women's teams.

My congratulations to all those who have worked to bring the Evinrude Centre into being, including city council, Ken Armstrong and the fundraising committee, city staff and all those groups and individuals who have donated time and money to this fine arena.

My thanks also to all municipalities who have helped make the national infrastructure program such a success in Peterborough riding.

Women's Curling ChampionshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that a woman's team from Buckingham, a city in the riding of Gatineau-La Lièvre, won the Canadian curling championship in Thornhill, Ontario, last weekend.

Agnès Charette, the skip of the winning team of Mary Ann Robertson, Lois Baines and Martha Don, represented Quebec at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Canadian women's senior curling championship. The team from Buckingham beat the Greenwood team from Ontario in the finals.

This is the first time a Quebec team has won since the women's championship was founded in 1973. Congratulations to Ms. Charette, who is well known in the world of curling, and to her teammates.

Saguenay FloodStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently in my riding of Leeds-Grenville we had an excellent example of the generosity that some Canadians have for other Canadians in difficulty.

The mayor of Brockville, accompanied by a group of local residents, travelled to the flood stricken Saguenay region of Quebec to deliver a cheque for $40,000 to the residents of Chicoutimi. The purpose of this donation was to assist the community's recovery from the July flood.

The money was collected from citizens and companies in the Brockville area, most of whom have never visited the Saguenay region. The drive for funds originated with a local businessman, Mr. Joe Hudson, who saw it as a great opportunity to show concern for fellow Canadians, regardless of where they live or the language they speak.

I want to congratulate the Hudson family and all the citizens of the Brockville area who gave generously to the plight of other Canadians in their time of need.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, torture, kidnapping and political assassinations by security forces are prohibited under Turkish law and international treaties on human rights.

Yet, in Turkey, these are everyday occurrences. In 1995 alone, more than 35 people disappeared after being arrested by the security forces, 15 died from torture while in custody and another 100 or so were killed for political reasons.

The figures for 1996 paint an equally dramatic picture. During the first 10 days of January, four prisoners were beaten to death in an Istanbul prison, and a reporter covering their funeral suffered the same fate.

We condemn the complacency of the Canadian government, which did nothing to promote respect for human rights in countries where these rights are systematically violated, and in Turkey in particular.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, during our winter recess I met with a number of constituents who told me about how this Liberal government has ruined their lives.

Like the boat store owner who has had to lay off 70 per cent of his staff because of high taxes. Or the builder who was in dispute with GST over the amount owing. Revenue Canada garnisheed 70 per cent of his net income, forcing him into bankruptcy which has led to the loss of his home and the breakup of his marriage. Or the young trucker who decided to buy his own truck. However he failed to incorporate his business and when he fell behind in his GST payments his personal accounts were garnisheed and he and his wife, who was six months pregnant, lost their home.

If only this government would attack its own wasteful spending with the same zeal it has gone after the average Canadian taxpayer, then maybe we would not have such high unemployment, a record number of bankruptcies, or the personal tragedies that were brought to my attention over the past six weeks.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, during the last election this government ran on a promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. However, under this government's new EI regulations it is to the recipient's benefit to say no to part time work and stay on welfare.

Instead of living up to its jobs promise, this government's legislation is actually penalizing people who want to work.

In the wake of vocal opposition from the people of Atlantic Canada, a newly formed committee of Liberal MPs is now trying to make changes to the legislation they initially supported.

During the debate in the House, I warned members of the government of the problems with this legislation. Nevertheless, every single Liberal MP present during the vote supported the bill.

For the sake of Atlantic Canadians, I hope this committee will make changes to the legislation. However, for those MPs trying to appease their constituents because an election is coming up, this is a case of too little too late. Their homework should have been done before this flawed legislation was passed.

Peace OfficersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the national memorial to slain police officers is only a few feet away from this Chamber. Every year hundreds of Canadians gather in the nation's capital to honour these men and women who gave their lives in the line of duty.

The murder of a peace officer is tragic and unacceptable. It is for this reason that I recently introduced Private Members' Bill C-344 which would end any chance of early parole for those convicted of the first degree murder of a peace officer in Canada. This measure is supported by the Canadian Police Association and over 1,200 Canadians from every part of Canada who have signed a petition.

Police deserve our support. Bill C-344 acknowledges that those who died and are honoured on this Hill shall never, ever be forgotten.

MicrocreditStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Microcredit has been one of the most successful development strategies of this century.

Twenty years ago Dr. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and began to lend small amounts of money to those who had never been considered acceptable credit risks before, mainly impoverished rural women. These women invested the loans with spectacular returns, thus benefiting all members of their families and the economic health of their country.

Microcredit is now included in development projects worldwide, in developed countries as well as poor ones.

The Calmeadow Foundation in Toronto is a pioneer in Microcredit in this country, making small loans available to the inner city poor and to aboriginal groups throughout Canada.

Today in Washington two of our colleagues joined delegates from 36 countries to promote the use of Microcredit worldwide.

We should join together in wishing them the best of luck in this endeavour, which is so crucial to the future of so many people around the world.

Special OlympicsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, from February 1 to 8 Canada will host the sixth Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto and Collingwood.

During this week over 80 countries, including 2,000 athletes with mental disabilities will be giving it their all for the joy of sport, and will come together to build friendships and support in an atmosphere of acceptance and dignity.

Since 1968, Canadian athletes have been representing Canada at the Special Olympics and all have come home as winners. The mission of this World Games is to foster awareness and understanding both for the Special Olympics movement and for people with mental disabilities everywhere.

I would like to invite all Canadians to encourage and support our Special Olympians and their families by attending and cheering on our athletes at the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

February 4th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the New Brunswick coalitions in opposition to the Chrétien government's cuts to the UI program have not given up. They are carrying on.

Angela Vautour, the coalitions' spokesperson, sent me a statement condemning the Liberal government and the members from New Brunswick, which reads: "Following your cutbacks in 1994, thousands of workers go without any income from January through August. This year, things are even worse. Even more families and children will suffer the disastrous effects your decisions will have on both the economy and people".

It reads further: "Seasonal jobs greatly contribute to the wealth of our province and the country; we are proud to do this sort of work and feel we should not be seen as second class citizens".

It goes on to say: "Gentlemen, we would like to know what you plan to do now to remedy the situation. Unemployment is not the problem, the lack of jobs is".

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the family is the most overtaxed institution in Canada.

When Canadians voted the Liberals into power four years ago, they were putting their trust in the Liberal government to live up to promises about job creation, tax relief and personal security.

The Liberals have shattered that trust. They are keeping the jobless rate hovering around 10 per cent by refusing to provide tax relief and eliminate the barriers to job creation. They have hammered Canadian families with an average $3,000 pay cut through hidden tax hikes. They are implementing a knee-jerk alternative to their GST promise which has business interests screaming about lost jobs and opportunities in the already strained Atlantic provinces.

Canadians need a party they can trust, one that follows through on its promises like opting out of the pension system that provides excessive rewards to MPs on the backs of taxpayers.

Team CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone in Quebec remembers the last team Canada mission, which included over one hundred Quebecers among its 400 participants.

Spar Aerospace, in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, is among the Quebec companies that greatly benefited from the team Canada initiative.

Through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Spar signed an agreement with Thailand's national research council to rebuild a remote sensing satellite. A contract estimated at $155 million was finally signed after lengthy negotiations, thanks to the Prime Minister's intervention.

Team Canada is a good example of the benefits that result from being part of Canada. Team Canada promotes the development of export markets and helps create jobs, which is precisely what our government pledged to do.

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the economic slump which we inherited from the previous Conservative government is slowly lifting, just like a fog.

This morning, La Presse released the results of a poll conducted by the Institut du Grand Prix de l'Entrepreneur, which indicate that Canadian entrepreneurs have regained confidence in Canada's economic prospects.

Among the major findings of this poll, we note that 54 per cent of respondents feel the economy will improve in the coming months; 58 per cent believe that Canada's position on world markets will be strengthened over the next five years; 77 per cent of entrepreneurs expect an increase in their business activities; while 68 per cent of them anticipate that their profits will go up.

This poll confirms what we have known for a long time: Canadian consumers and entrepreneurs have faith in our government's economic policies and they know that economic conditions are better than ever to do good business in Canada.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in this House we had some debate about whether the Somalia inquiry should report before the election.

One thing Canadians are unanimous about is to see some action on health care before the election and not to be subjected to a bunch more Liberal promises without action.

Today the Prime Minister was given the opportunity to act through the report of the national health care forum that he set up.

Let us see some action on drug prices. Let us see some action on establishing a stable core for federal funding. Let us see some action on home care. And let us see some action on unemployment, which is the major cause of bad health in this country.

All these things the Liberals can do before the election. Let us see some action.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

The inquiry into the events that took place in Somalia has taught us a lot about the behaviour of senior officers in the Canadian military. But since the minister has decided to have the commission wind up its work soon, we will unfortunately not learn the whole truth. It must be admitted that the armed forces wasted at least six months of the commission's time with the business of documents that were falsified, hidden, hunted for, and not found, and now that everything needed is available, the minister decides to put a stop to the inquiry.

Will the Minister of National Defence agree that he could very well require the commission to produce an interim report on June 30, allowing him to go ahead with the changes he wants to make, and then authorize the commission to continue its work and try to find out what really happened in this affair?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the commission is examining a rather complex matter, that being the events that took place in Somalia, what happened before the troops were sent on the mission and, obviously, what happened after the incidents that took place were discovered, which Canadians categorically reject.

The only question in my mind, and I hope my hon. colleague will understand this, is whether at some point Canadians interested in knowing what went on in Somalia would like to have a historical document. The commission has been sitting for almost two years. We have never commented on the list of witnesses; we have not commented on the schedule; the commission of inquiry on Somalia was granted three extensions, it was originally supposed to hand in its report by the end of December 1995.

In my opinion, Canadians are interested in how we are going to react in the future, should such incidents happen again. They want to be sure that there is not a repetition of all the problems we have heard about and discovered during this inquiry.

If the Leader of the Opposition is interested in a historical document, we in the government are prepared to take action and think that the time has come to take steps to learn what the commission has done, to evaluate its recommendations and to try to do whatever we can to avoid a recurrence of such events.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has several times mentioned a historical document, he just did so again. What the opposition wants is not a historical document, but the truth about what went on. We share his concern-the one he has expressed in any event-for seeing that light is shed on this whole affair. We want to see changes in the Canadian armed forces; that is what everyone wants. Changes are necessary.

My question is the following: If he wants to take appropriate action and take it in the right place, does he not have to have all the information? If so, why he is rejecting the extraordinarily construc-

tive suggestion we are making of requiring an interim report on June 30, which would allow him to begin taking the action he wishes to take? All the information will be included in the final report, as he sees it, allowing the commission of inquiry to deal with all the new material that came up during this inquiry, which no one had any inkling of at the outset.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this inquiry has gone on for almost two years. There is no doubt that those who have been following the whole inquiry have no trouble understanding that, if we were to go along with the hon. member's suggestion that the three commissioners must be satisfied they have seen and heard all the witnesses that were to appear, and gone into all the details of what went on before, during and after, and that all the lawyers representing all the intervenors, that everyone must agree that everything was completed, my hon. friend, the Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, and I would not live long enough to see the end of the affair.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just made an extraordinary revelation: we did not know there was so much involved. Imagine what we will miss if he wraps up the inquiry on March 31.

Seriously though, I am sure that the Minister of National Defence will want to reply to this question. A very serious thing has occurred: senior officers of the Canadian military blackmailed the former defence minister, Mrs. Campbell, who was running for the office of Prime Minister at the time. Such a revelation is very worrisome, fraught with consequences for institutions like the armed forces and Parliament, and for democracy.

I put the following question to the minister. Should we not get right to the bottom of this affair, so that it does not happen again? Listening to the minister's answers, seeing him shift from one idea to another, I wonder whether he himself has been the subject of threats or pressure from the armed forces.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the Leader of the Opposition's concern as to whether I have been threatened by someone. Not lately.

I can assure you that I have such respect for my predecessor, who went on to become Prime Minister of Canada, that I would not want to lend credence to the idea that when a minister arrives in a department such as National Defence, everyone can blackmail him as simply as the hon. member seems to want us to believe.

I think it is relatively easy for those who feel that something is not right, that the former Prime Minister is certainly entitled to speak out, and as former defence minister as well. I hope that everyone understands that, in order to find out what happened and whether it was as serious as some people are claiming, all that the individual in question has to do is to give their version of events.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

The minister claims not to have been pressured, at least not recently, by senior officers in the Armed Forces. We are aware that, during her leadership race, former Minister of Defence Kim Campbell experienced very heavy pressure, even blackmail, from senior ranks to convince her not to go too far with her investigations in the Somalia affair.

How can the minister expect us to believe that he has not been pressured as former minister Kim Campbell was, when he suddenly changes his tune and quickly puts an end to the work of the Commission?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, all I can do is assure my hon. colleague that I have not been threatened at any time. No one has tried to scare me, or encourage me to make a decision.

I would like to remind my friend that, when I assumed my position as Minister of National Defence-and this is quite easy to verify-I said right from the start, and repeated it numerous times, that I hoped the Somalia Inquiry would table its report on March 31, 1997. I have never changed my mind. From the time I assumed my position I have repeated, and repeated frequently, that I hoped they would make their report public March 31.

Obviously, because an extension was requested, the government agreed for the third time to extend the mandate of the Commission until the end of June. We thought, however, that this was sufficient to get the work done.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he appeared before the Commission as a witness last week, the Chief of the Defence Staff literally insulted the commissioners and prosecutors by attacking their work. This was an obvious attempt to discredit the Commission and, according to Justice Létourneau, the Chief of the Defense Staff came very close to being cited for contempt of court.

Is the Minister of National Defence's rush to prevent the Commission from hearing more witnesses not the result of pressure from the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, who has had enough of watching Armed Forces personnel answer the commissioner's questions?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have always been careful not to comment on the evidence submitted to the Commission. I do not believe it would be right.

I wish to assure my hon. colleague that, given my experience as a lawyer, I understand that it is not unheard of for lawyers involved in legal proceedings to be a bit difficult when questions are being asked. Some are more polite than others. I hope everyone understands that. I believe that most Canadians who saw Admiral Murray in action understood that this is a man who wanted to defend his situation as best he could. All Canadians have a right to do so under any circumstances.