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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was penalties.

Topics

Team CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, FRE Composites Inc., a company located in Saint-André-Est, in the Argenteuil region, was part of the last Team Canada mission in Asia.

Team Canada's visit to Thailand turned out to be beneficial to this Quebec business, which currently employs 85 people. The company signed an agreement with a Thai partner to jointly build a production facility in Bangkok. FRE Composites will provide the new venture with its manufacturing technology and its skills. The project is estimated at $4 million.

Team Canada opened the doors for this Quebec company to export its state-of-the-art technology. This, dear Bloc members, is another example of the benefits to be gained from being part of the Canadian team.

Order Of Military MeritStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Wednesday, Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, honoured 52 members of the regular and reserve forces with the Order of Military Merit, reminding us that despite current problems, Canada's military has distinguished itself not only in armed conflicts but in peacekeeping missions and rescue efforts.

Eighty-one year old Air Commodore Leonard Birchall was one of the 52 distinguished with the Order of Military Merit and is the first Canadian to receive the fifth clasp to the Canadian forces decoration, signifying 62 years of honourable military service to Canada.

While on a reconnaissance patrol on April 4, 1942, Squadron Leader Birchall sighted Japanese ships swiftly moving in for a surprise attack on Ceylon. He alerted the British fleet of the impending attack but was then shot down and taken as a Japanese prisoner of war.

As the senior prisoner, he made continual although not always successful efforts to protect his fellow prisoners from brutality. For his efforts he was awarded the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and Winston Churchill dubbed him the saviour of Ceylon.

I am sure this House joins me in congratulating Len Birchall.

Clandestine WorkStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time all levels of government start taking measures to address the issue of the underground economy, which is getting worse. This situation is largely due to the over-regulation imposed by the governments themselves, unions and other stakeholders.

All these regulations have a price, which is paid directly or indirectly by the public, mainly consumers, who find they have to pay a lot of money for services. It is obvious that the problem of clandestine work will get worse.

The time has come to implement reforms to make clandestine work unappealing, not only for workers, but also for consumers. One of the first measures should be that all bidders who are awarded government contracts comply with the law and be subjected to a compulsory verification.

CultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Twenty-two groups from the cultural sector of Canada and of Quebec, representing 900,000 workers, have unanimously petitioned the Canadian government to maintain and strengthen existing cultural protection measures. This request comes on the heels of the statement by the Minister for International Trade that cultural protection measures that have been around for 30 years are going to be scrapped.

Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister told us that cabinet was unanimous on the cultural question. If that is the case, how can she explain the statements by her colleague at international trade, who said that the rules of Canadian ownership and Canadian content are obstacles to the cultural development of Canada and of Quebec?

CultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think that when we respond unanimously to the demands of cultural groups this morning, it is by saying that we wish to do everything we can not just to strengthen existing cultural protection, but to improve it for the twenty-first century.

We know that we are living in a time of turbulent change, and we want to be prepared and to be on the cutting edge when it comes to new cultural possibilities, as we were when we became the first country to set up a CRTC.

CultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were perhaps the first country in the world to set up a CRTC, but we are perhaps also the first country in the world to have sold ourselves down the river, when we look at what happened with Ginn Publishing, Power DirecTv and DMX.

Given what went on in the past, how can the Deputy Prime Minister expect us to believe her when she tells us that her government is defending the cultural sovereignty of Quebec and of Canada?

CultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the question asked by the hon. member deserves a very serious answer because Canadian culture gives us two opportunities as a country. First is it tells our story to ourselves which is essential for our survival as a country. Second is it creates almost a million Canadian value added knowledge based jobs.

When we came in as a government three and a half years ago, we pledged to do everything possible to create Canadian jobs for Canadians. One of the great success stories in Canadian job creation over the last decade has been the cultural sector. Certainly we are going to be working very closely with all departments to make sure that not only do Canadian cultural jobs continue to grow but most important that Canadians have the opportunity to tell Canadian stories to ourselves.

CultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, really, I think the Deputy Prime Minister is living on another planet. Her government has not created jobs, jobs, jobs in the cultural area. It has cut, cut, cut those jobs, with all the funding it took away from the NFB, Telefilm Canada and the CBC, to name a few. Enough is enough.

When the American secretary likes what the Minister of International Trade is saying, we have a problem.

The heritage minister seems to be the only one in cabinet who thinks that measures are necessary to protect and develop the Canadian and Quebec cultures. Can she guarantee the House that she will give it her full attention?

CultureOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will take the minister's word for it. Since she will be giving it her full attention, I would remind her that the four CBC ex-presidents, Al Johnson, Pierre Juneau, Tony Manera and Laurent Picard, as well as the Commissioner of Official Languages, say that the CBC no longer has the means to fulfil its mandate. The Liberal government has cut its appropriation by $414 million since it was elected.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage explain to us the difference between the Reform Party, who wants to cut budgets by a third, and her own government, which has already cut the CBC budget by a third?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is incorrect to claim that we have cut the CBC budget by a third, Second, we have followed the advice of the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, who said on March 16 1995: "If any cuts are needed, there are big ones to be made at CBC". That is what we did, we followed the advice of the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the newspaper headlines spoke of an "Unprecedented crisis at CBC". Need I remind the minister of the words of her colleague at National Defence, who said the existence of the CBC is no longer justified?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, concerning the abolished positions, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is showing her total lack of consideration for the CBC and its employees. Last December 15, she claimed only 19 people had lost their jobs at CBC, whereas the total is calculated at 4,000.

If the minister really has the CBC's interests at heart, and if she has the unanimous backing of cabinet, will she cancel the $200 million in budget cuts slated for next year?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member's statements are wrong. If the hon. member is really honest when he speaks of cuts, why does he not go and talk to his colleague, the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications, who has cut half the jobs at Télé-Québec? There were 580 employees in 1995, and only 329 were left in 1996.

We have made some hard decisions, but we have acted fairly, and have made fewer cuts and abolished fewer positions than his colleague, the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications cut at Télé-Québec.

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is a disturbing pattern emerging with respect to the government's handling of public inquiries into wrongdoing causing death.

When it came to the tainted blood deaths and the murder cover-up in Somalia, the Liberals were very eager to investigate Tory wrongdoing. However, when the inquiry started to get too close for Liberal comfort and too close to the top, there were government induced delays, government induced legal challenges, document tampering by government officials and political interference.

In the case of the Somalia inquiry, after the government had caused half of the delay, it tells the commissioners they are out of time.

What is the government going to do to ensure that Canadians learn the truth, the whole truth and not just the Tory truth about the tainted blood tragedy, the Somalia scandal and the botched airbus investigation?

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think the time is rapidly coming to a point where the hon. leader of the Reform Party is going to have to state clearly what his view of inquiries should be.

As I have alluded to on a number of occasions in this place, in September he was asking us to guarantee that we would close down the Somalia inquiry before the election was held.

To go beyond that, it is very important for the Canadian people to know whether the leader of the Reform Party believes that once an inquiry has begun it should be allowed to continue until everyone who is involved with the inquiry, either as a commissioner, a party or a lawyer, is satisfied that everything has been done. If that is the position the hon. leader of the Reform Party is taking, then he should say so because it has huge implications for Canadians and for inquiries to get to the truth in a reasonable amount of time.

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not answer my question, but I believe he makes reference to my remarks to the Prime Minister when I asked him to guarantee that the results of the Somalia inquiry would be made available before the next election; not half a report, not a cover-up report, not a whitewash report but results that answer the questions.

Does the minister understand the word results: names, dates, times, acts committed, acts not committed by ministers, Liberal and Tory, deputy ministers, generals, high ranking officials who had anything to do with murder and cover-up in Somalia?

How can the minister guarantee that those results, the whole truth, will be forthcoming from an inquiry when government induced delays and political interferences are making it impossible for it to complete its work?

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, a lot of Canadians are paying a lot of attention to this. I want to make sure, again, that I provide the opportunity to the leader of the Reform Party to explain to this place and to Canadians what he really means.

What he said on September 17 was: "To ensure there is no ultimate cover-up in the Somalia inquiry, will the Prime Minister guarantee to this House that the results of the Somalia inquiry will be made fully public before the next election?"

He can play all the semantic games he wants. He knows that you cannot go to an inquiry and force it to hear witnesses it does not want to hear; nor can you force it to give results before the election if the inquiry is not over. Results are provided when the work is done, and that is what we have asked it to do.

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister, as is his custom, resorts to bluster and fluster to avoid the real question, what the government has done from day one on Somalia and on Krever and on the botched airbus investigation.

If I had to sum up the Liberal government's approach to integrity and accountability-and that is what we are getting at-I would have to say that it has gone from the red book to whitewash. The Americans have Whitewater; what we have here is whitewash. Answers to the Krever inquiry, whitewash; answers to what happened in Somalia, whitewash.

Why has the government chosen to whitewash the facts rather than give Canadians the truth about the tainted blood scandal and the Somalia murder cover-up?

Public InquiriesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, sooner or later my hon. friend, the leader of the Reform Party, is going to have to decide how he wants to do this.

This is the manual prepared by the Reform Party to guide it through question period and its strategy for this session. This is a direct quote from section 13 of the Reform manual: "Questions should not be used to get straight information. That is a primitive use of question period that we have now passed".

What is the point of trying to get to the bottom of something when the leader of the Reform Party says that he does not want any straight answers? The shame of it is he cannot even ask a straight question.

Bill C-46Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

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

Yesterday, the Supreme Court gave its decision on the disclosure of the victim's records in sexual cases. In a five to four decision, the majority of the justices ordered a stay of proceedings in a case of sexual assault, because a rape crisis centre had destroyed the records of the victim, which the accused had requested in his defence.

How is it that the bill introduced in June 1996, which was intended to severely limit access to victims' records, has not yet been passed? This bill was introduced in June 1996, and still today the minister has done nothing to move it along. Will the minister do anything to hasten the passing of this bill?

Bill C-46Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member said, Bill C-46 was introduced in June to resolve all issues relating to personal records for complainants in criminal matters before the courts.

Last Tuesday, we began debate at second reading of this bill. I hope that in the coming days and weeks we will complete debate at second reading and be able to send the bill to committee.

Bill C-46Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, since June 1996, the Supreme Court has had time to hand down two decisions against victims. I can assure the minister of the full co-operation of the official opposition in passing Bill C-46 as quickly as possible.

Will the minister undertake to have Bill C-46 passed before the next election to ensure victims of sexual crimes enjoy full protection?

Bill C-46Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I undertake to do everything within my power to ensure that the bill is passed as quickly as possible.