This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Hospital ClosuresOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week I had occasion to visit two of the Ottawa hospitals that are slated to close, the Montfort and the Riverside.

In the case of the Riverside, it is closing because the Liberal government chose to give its entire budget, $97 million, to a corporate buddy, Bombardier. How can the government possibly justify its choice of corporation subsidies over Canadian hospitals?

Hospital ClosuresOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite continues to make reference to the situation in the province of Ontario with regard to the decisions that the Ontario government and Premier Harris have made.

I wish to quote for the hon. member a statement by the Minister of Finance on March 6, 1997:

In other words, he should understand that if hospitals are being closed in Ontario it is as a result of a political choice. Tax cuts are being made. I will not dispute them, but they are not the result of a reduction in transfers from the government.

Hospital ClosuresOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, maybe the health minister could then explain how Harris has cut the hospital beds in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta?

These cuts are the direct responsibility of the Liberal government. Maybe the health minister should listen to what Dr. Tony Wade, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, thinks about the Liberal's attack on health care. He stated: "I don't need a dictionary to know that they spell abandonment".

Can the health minister tell Dr. Wade of New Brunswick why the Prison Art Foundation gets $100,000 that should go to the hospitals in New Brunswick? Explain that.

Hospital ClosuresOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, again I thank the hon. member for the lob ball question.

The hon. member should be aware of the situation in the great province of Alberta. I wish to quote again the federal Minister of Finance who said on March 6:

At the same time the province of Alberta is declaring surpluses and cutting taxes. He cannot say that it is reductions in federal transfers when Alberta is cutting taxes and declaring surpluses.

And at the same time it is closing down hospitals.

Breast CancerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

My question is for the Minister of Health.

The red book states on page 81, and I quote: "It is well known, for example, that research into breast cancer, which afflicts one woman in nine, has been seriously underfunded." As a result of the parliamentary report on breast cancer, the Conservative government had committed significant investments for research on this issue, but the program is coming to an end in 1998.

On the eve of International Women's Day, is the Liberal government able to tell us that it intends to renew for another five years its commitment to research on breast cancer in Canada, as did the Canadian Cancer Institute and the Canadian Cancer Society?

Breast CancerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question because it is substantive and important to women all across the country.

Earlier this week I met with a number of representatives from the Canadian foundation, the breast network association across the country, as well as other representatives to discuss with them their proposals and ways in which to work together in order to continue financing this initiative.

We have also contributed $2.7 million over five years to the breast cancer information exchange pilot projects. The hon. member is aware that Canada and the United States had the first ever women's health forum whereby one of the clear priorities of Canada and the United States is to focus research on breast cancer.

I assure the hon. member that this a serious issue and that we are taking it very seriously.

Breast CancerOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, this evaluation report states that research is often disconnected from reality and recommends that women who have survived breast cancer play a more active role in research.

Does the Minister of Health intend to follow through with this recommendation by modifying the research funding criteria?

Breast CancerOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that point is very substantive and has been made to me. It deserves very serious consideration.

I have asked my officials as well as the various funding bodies to examine that to accommodate what I believe is a very legitimate request made by the hon. member and by other members as well.

Health CareOral Questions

March 7th, 1997 / 11:40 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party is committed to publicly funded health care in Canada.

I will speak very slowly so that the Minister of Health and members on the other side will understand real life examples of my experience in the emergency department.

A young woman came in needing urgent dialysis. She could not get it because the hospital has had its funds cut. She went into cardiac arrest after three days and almost died. On an average night 8 out of 13 hospital bays are filled with patients. There is no room in the hospital and the hospital does not have any money.

Is the minister's version of better health care management to give $97 million to Bombardier or to give money to health care so that Canadians can get urgent treatment when they medically need it?

Health CareOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I do not think any member on this side of the House would want to debate or argue the sincerity of the hon. member opposite, particularly in relation to his preamble.

In Hansard in 1995 he said the following:

Let us allow the provinces to experiment with alternative funding models such as private clinics, private insurance and the like.

I know the hon. member is doing flip flops, huffing and puffing, but I suggest that he, his friend from Macleod and the leader of the Reform Party get their acts together and come to the floor of the House of Commons with a reasoned, well thought out health policy.

Health CareOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, let the provinces deal with health care but do not cut the legs out from under them.

Why has the government chosen handouts over health care? Why has it chosen to give $97 million to Bombardier when patients are absorbing the $4 billion in health care cuts with their own flesh and blood and sometimes by their own lives?

Will the minister tell patients and the hospitals how the government will provide urgent health care to Canadians when they medically need it?

Health CareOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member underlines the significance in every substantive provincial and federal report by royal commissions and by quasi-royal commissions. The issues affecting health care are primarily under the jurisdiction of provincial governments as they relate to hospitals. It is not an issue of funding; it is an issue of management.

What is the hon. member talking about? He is talking about management issues which are the sole responsibility of the different provinces.

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Under the Liberal and Tory governments, the Treasury Board did all it could not to give women employees their due as far as pay equity was concerned. Showing an evident lack of good faith, the Treasury Board used all the stalling tactics it could find to postpone the day when it would have to meet its obligations and comply with the Human Rights Act on the issue of pay equity.

Why did the President of the Treasury Board insist on delaying equity, why did he spend millions of dollars on legal quibbling, refusing to give female government workers the money they were owed and perpetuating pay inequity within the federal public service?

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, my colleague echoes some of the myths that are being spread, especially by her colleagues, and that are diametrically opposed to reality.

Not only did the federal government pass a law, in 1978, well before most of the provinces, stating-

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

It was in 1977.

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Massé Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Check your dates. Not only did that legislation establish the principle of pay equity, but since then, we have spent more than $1 billion to implement that principle, to turn it into reality, and we have succeeded.

We have even negotiated with some of the unions, with the professional employees, an agreement granting pay equity. Let me add that we are willing to implement pay equity. We have already indicated that we are ready to negotiate the pay equity issues.

The unions chose to go before the courts. We are awaiting a court ruling. There is no doubt that we have established the principle, that we have put it in place and that we will continue to adhere to it, as we must.

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board spoke about myths.

I could remind him of all the stalling tactics used by Treasury Board from 1990 to this day, simply to avoid implementing the legislation on pay equity. I have a list here and I could table that document. The President of the Treasury Board talked about hearings before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which should render its decision shortly.

Will the President of the Treasury Board commit humself to abiding by the decision of the commission and, this time, really implement the legislation as quickly as possible?

Pay EquityOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that in this field the federal government provided leadership to the private sector and the provinces.

I repeat, we have paid over a billion dollars since the legislation came into force to implement pay equity. Not only do we believe in pay equity, but we have negotiated agreements with a number of unions. Therefore, in those cases, the unions were in agreement with us. We negotiated agreements to implement pay equity.

However, when demands reach $2 or $2.5 billion, you would expect any good government, especially if the process is flawed, to say the equity principle requires that we serve all taxpayers, not just the ones in the public service, and that is what we have done.

I repeat, we are willing to negotiate with the unions and settle the issue, even before the court makes a decision.

TransportOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport or his parliamentary secretary.

According to the Transportation Safety Board rail tanker cars presently used to haul dangerous chemicals are vulnerable to breaking apart in accidents, putting people, communities and the environment at risk.

Would the Minister of Transport proceed with the safety board's recommendations and ensure that tanker car standards are strengthened for the protection of the public?

TransportOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Hamilton West Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member for Davenport asks an important question. I want him to take comfort in the fact that safety is and will always be Transport Canada's number one priority.

Even before the recommendations by the Transportation Safety Board, Transport Canada limited the carriage of 80 dangerous goods in the tanker cars the member is concerned about.

With respect to the recommendation made by the TSB, Transport Canada has already eliminated two of sixteen dangerous goods and is doing a thorough examination of the remainder. Work is already in progress to upgrade the strength of the tanker cars.

Senatorial SelectionOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbia has a law in place called the senatorial selection act which allows British Columbians to elect their own senators.

B.C. Senator Len Marchand was to retire March 1. However now the Prime Minister has coaxed the senator to stay on until after the next federal election. Despite Marchand's postponed retirement, we can be sure that B.C. will have a vacancy in the Senate very shortly.

Will the Prime Minister allow British Columbians the opportunity to elect their next senator?

Senatorial SelectionOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we all appreciate the tribute paid to Senator Len Marchand. I for one would like to see him serve the people of British Columbia and Canada in the Senate for a very long time.

However, if he chooses to step down, I am sure the Prime Minister will be very careful about following his constitutional responsibilities to the utmost.

Senatorial SelectionOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, Glen Clark, the premier of British Columbia, indicated that he will back an elected senator. Where do we stand?

The people of B.C. want to elect their next senator. The premier of B.C. says he will back electing the next senator. The B.C. senatorial selection act allows that to happen in law. The only person preventing British Columbians from electing their next senator is the Prime Minister.

Will the Prime Minister recommend to the Governor General the individual chosen by the people of British Columbia to fill the next Senate vacancy?

Senatorial SelectionOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is one problem among others in the hon. member's suggestion. Once the senator is elected how does one bring the senator's term to an end? What if the people of British Columbia decide that the person they elect no longer has their confidence? The Reform scheme does not deal with that point at all.

Furthermore Reform Party members, if I am not mistaken, rejected a package of constitutional reforms that called for an elected Senate. It is rather strange that today they are doing something exactly the opposite to what they followed when they had a chance to speak for constitutional reform. Who can take them seriously on this important subject?

Correctional Service Of CanadaOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

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

Spokepeople from the correctional service of Canada have announced the transfer of 47 women prisoners to men's penitentiaries. Yet, the Arbour commission concluded last year, with regard to similar events, that there was at least an appeance of oppression in incarcerating women in an institution that inevitably houses many sexual offenders.

Since the correctional service just finished building five new penitentiaries for women, including one in Joliette, and in light of the conclusions of the Arbour report, how does the minister explain this service's decision?