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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Ferry ServiceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

It is an old tub.

Ferry ServiceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Is the minister waiting for the election campaign to finally find a safe and lasting solution, or is he waiting until after the election to give the bad news to the people of the Magdalen Islands?

Ferry ServiceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I just said to the hon. member, we want to replace the Lucy Maud Montgomery with a boat that will cost less than the $30 million we set aside.

We are indeed looking at various options, but a decision has yet to be made. In the meantime, I can tell the hon. member that the Lucy Maud Montgomery is in good shape and that it has been properly maintained.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the media report today that one of my constituents has again confirmed that the Governor General of Canada, the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, pays no taxes but our troops serving under the Governor General have had their pay frozen and have suffered 37 tax increases by the government.

Why will the Minister of National Defence not treat our troops properly, fairly and with respect? Why will he not give them their long overdue pay raises? Why will he not do what is right?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. member does not do his party any service in the preamble to that question. No doubt the fate of the Canadian forces and their appropriate requirements to be cared for in an adequate way are some things that we have under active consideration.

The hon. member will know that we have asked the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to look into the people needs of the Canadian forces. There will be an in depth study over the next few months to ensure that we respond to those needs.

In the interim I can tell the hon. member that I will be announcing some improvements in the situation for the Canadian forces next week. I only regret the Reform Party has not made any contribution to the process of reviewing the future of the Canadian forces.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again the minister is spewing forth typical Liberal rhetoric: strike up a committee, make a study, spend millions of taxpayers' dollars and wait for a report. That is the Liberal way.

Currently there are Canadian Armed Forces pay and benefit recommendations before Treasury Board. The defence minister is letting them collect dust while he drags his feet.

Why is the minister refusing to act on these recommendations? Why will he not give our military its long overdue pay increases? Why will the minister not just do what is right?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

This is pretty scary stuff, Mr. Speaker. I fear the hon. member speaketh with forked tongue.

Yesterday the hon. member and his party refused to co-operate in arranging for the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to travel across the country to meet with members of the Canadian forces to be able to see exactly what the people needs are in the Canadian forces. That is something I have done from coast, to coast, to coast. I have visited with the Canadian forces. They know there are needs they would like to have addressed.

Instead of spewing whatever it was that the hon. member has just got finished with, it is too bad he would not spew the truth some time and support the Canadian forces instead of yap about it.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

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

The new human rights commissioner tabled her first annual report this morning. She criticizes the government's lack of constructive action in a number of areas, including the lack of follow up to the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

As regards foreign policy, does the Prime Minister, who still is refusing to raise the issue of human rights publicly on Team Canada trips, acknowledge that his government is much better at high-sounding rhetoric than practical action, as the Canadian Human Rights Commission argues?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the member has said is totally wrong. Each time I went to countries where there were human rights problems, I raised them-in China, in Indonesia and elsewhere. He cannot say we did not raise these issues abroad.

Today we received the commissioner's report, and we will note it carefully. We received a 4,000 page report from the commission on aboriginal peoples. The minister has already put a number of recommendations into effect. He was doing so in fact even before the commission report came out, because he was in contact with the heads of the commission.

The report has just come in. It is a very important report, and we have said it requires consideration and consultation, before a full policy may be proposed. We had already implemented several recommendations, before the publication of the report.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the least we can say is that when the Prime Minister raises human rights issues he makes few waves abroad.

We will come back home for my supplementary. The commission strongly criticizes the government's inaction in 1996 on the issue of people with disabilities. Perhaps the Minister of National Defence would care to pay attention.

It stressed the fact that, apart from a few isolated breakthroughs, 1996 was for many of them-persons with disabilities-a year of almost total stagnation, with certain hard won gains actually being lost.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that the election goodies he offered people with disabilities do not make up for all the many cuts he has made, which are behind the deterioration in the situation of people with disabilities?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I find that particularly deplorable, because the government made provision in its budget to help people with disabilities deal with their specific problems, as was recommended by a committee of the House of Commons. The hon. member probably does not want to recognize it, but we acted immediately in the latest budget on the recommendations of the committee.

In society, there are always problems to be solved. We solve a lot of them, but I know they are interested in only one thing-a form of destruction-while we are trying to build a society to everyone's benefit. That is why we did something in the latest budget for people with disabilities.

Canadian Polar CommissionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

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

The Canadian Polar Commission held a conference on contaminants in the Arctic environment last fall. Because of the potential risk to human health the Department of Health was invited to participate.

Since the minister is concerned with the health of all Canadians including northerners, could he tell the House why not one official from his department participated in this important Arctic conference?

Canadian Polar CommissionOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for recognizing that Health Canada is concerned about the health of all Canadians.

He will also recall that Health Canada is actively involved with aboriginal people and other sister agencies at the federal and territorial levels in matters that concern the environment through the Arctic environmental strategy and the international Arctic monitoring and assessment program.

The member will also recognize that the Canadian Polar Commission is actively in receipt of resources from the federal government. In fact the conference received supplementary benefits from the government.

In the spirit of co-operation, when the specific health officials who had been invited found that they could not meet the timetable required they contacted the lead health agency in the area, the Northwest Territories department of health, and arranged to have the health sector represented by health officials from the territories.

They did an admirable job. I thank the member for recognizing the health concerns of Canadians were well represented.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, biker gangs are a scourge and a blight on our society. Gangs like the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine exist for one reason only and that is to commit crime.

In Quebec the biker gangs are killing for control over the lucrative drug trade and prostitution. The same thing is happening in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. In fact it is happening in every major city in the country.

It is pretty strong evidence that the government's soft on crime approach to criminal justice is an unqualified failure. To make matters worse, the justice minister refuses to debate the benefits of anti-gang legislation.

If the minister will not allow Parliament to consider anti-gang legislation, what specific steps will he take to crush the criminal activities of the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine not only in Quebec but right across the country?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

As he is aware, the Minister of Justice is meeting in Quebec today with provincial counterparts, mayors and police agencies. He has indicated that as a result of meetings held last fall a number of changes were being considered to the Criminal Code of Canada. These changes would give the police the tools to crack down on this type of organized criminal activity.

You were in error to suggest that the door was closed on considering measures to deal with anti-gang legislation. It is possible, and the minister indicated that this request would be reviewed.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind members to always address their remarks through the Chair.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, all the Liberal government seems to do is review, review, review. In the meantime the lives of Canadians right across the country are in jeopardy. Canadians are living in fear.

The only way to deal with organized crime is to rip the heart out of its operation. It exists to make a profit. The government has had 3.5 years to do something about it and has failed to do so.

Canadians want safe streets and clean neighbourhoods. They will not tolerate having their lives held hostage by a few lawless people.

If the justice minister is serious about cleaning up biker gangs, will he enact legislation giving the RCMP and the prosecutors special powers to wipe out organized gangs like the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the federal government introduces and deals with legislation through the Criminal Code. The administration of justice is the responsibility of provincial governments. It is the responsibility of municipal officials and their police departments to enforce the laws that are in effect.

Murder is a crime. Bombing is a crime. Drug trafficking is a crime. What is needed is strong enforcement at that level. The federal government, provincial governments and municipal officials need to work together to solve the problem.

This has been a problem for a considerable period of time. It is amazing that finally the Reform Party has figured out that it is a problem.

Police Services In PortsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

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

A rare occurrence: last Friday the Minister of Transport managed to gain unanimity, but it was against him. When he announced the federal withdrawal from police services in ports from Vancouver to Halifax, including Montreal and Quebec, there was a general hue and cry against his method of unilaterally announcing, without any impact study, that this withdrawal would take effect before next fall.

How could the minister have presented a so-called new model of port policing without reaching any agreement with the provinces concerned?

Police Services In PortsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the ports police issue was examined in great detail by a Coopers & Lybrand study. It proposed a new model for the policing of our major ports.

To make sure the study done by Inspector Mann was confirmed we had another study done by the former chief constable of the city of Vancouver, Mr. Stewart, and the former head of the RCMP detachment for North Vancouver, Mr. Gill Yard. They came to the same essential conclusion that more effective policing could be done. More effective means more security for the Canadian public.

As the hon. member mentioned Vancouver, I have to mention that British Columbia did not take part in that study although every other affected province did. We therefore waited until a study was done by Superintendent William Neill, the former Saskatchewan RCMP head. He did a study for the province of British Columbia which came to the same conclusions.

There have been three studies by senior police officials which say we can get more security for the Canadian public by a new model that uses municipal policing, customs services, immigration and security services. That deals with criminal problems much more effectively than the existing model we are using now.

Food And Drugs ActOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians use health foods, nutritional supplements, as a preventive measure. We have health police in Canada who are going after them. That crew over here fights cigarettes with more nicotine while attacking 60 common products like camphor and mineral oil.

Will the government admit that the Food and Drugs Act requires amendment to create a category for nutriceuticals so that these products will continue to be available for all Canadians?

Food And Drugs ActOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is being irresponsible by highlighting a couple of instances that hide the fact that Health Canada is being extremely responsible and diligent in the exercise of its obligation to ensure that all products that come on the market are both safe and effective for consumption, especially when there is a medicinal claim attached to them.

We cannot blame our officials for doing the job entrusted to them and demanded of them by Parliament.

Canada PostOral Question Period

March 20th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister responsible for Canada Post.

When the Canada Post mandate review report was made public last October, the minister promised that Canada Post would not be privatized as long as it continued to fulfil a public policy role. The report strongly recommended that the corporation should not be privatized.

However, in a study that the minister commissioned by TD Securities she has asked the firm to evaluate whether withdrawing from competitive operations is consistent with the objective of possibly "privatizing Canada Post".

Does the minister agree that Canada Post should remain a crown corporation, which is what she said last fall? Or, is she seriously considering privatization which is suggested in the terms of reference in the present study?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I stand by what I said last fall. As long as Canada Post serves a public policy purpose then it should not be privatized.

Hong KongOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal government announced that residents of Hong Kong would continue to be exempt from Canada's visitor visa requirement after the territory has been returned to Chinese control.

Could the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration inform the House why this is an important initiative for Canada?