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 #153 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening carefully to the questions that have been put to the justice minister over the last few days and to his responses, and I cannot believe what I am hearing.

Judge Harry Boyle had evidence that Darren Ursel confined a young woman, stripped her, raped her, sodomized her with a racquet handle for an hour and a half until she escaped in terror. The judge found this man guilty but said he was somewhat remorseful, had been tender at times with his victim and then let him walk free.

Rather than hiding behind a courtesy letter of thanks from CAVEAT, a letter this group probably bitterly regrets sending him now, what does the Minister of Justice have to say to this young woman and her family about why nothing happened to her tormentor?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, that case is before the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and I am not going to comment on it. It is for the court of appeal to deal with the case and the issues it presents.

I also caution the hon. member about taking some facts from a case and not all the facts in presenting the issue to the House or publicly.

Finally, in relation to conditional sentencing, I and the government believe that anyone who commits serious violent crime should be imprisoned. I also believe that the amendment we made in common on Monday, to make clear that in the case of conditional sentences the courts must look at the factors, including societal protection, denunciation and deterrence, will improve the provisions and give the courts clear direction on the intention of Parliament.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the facts are in any doubt. A woman was stripped, violated and brutalized. She is a single mother. Now the justice minister brought in a hurried amendment which says that judges should consider the needs of society for protection before letting criminals walk free. Now he is saying he has done a great thing and this is really going to protect women.

Is it not amazing that laws have to be passed to tell judges that it is their job to think about our safety?

Why does this justice minister not pass one of his laws and tell judges that raping women in this country deserves time in prison?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Criminal Code contains over 800 sections. It is made very clear in the Criminal Code that the penalty for serious violent crime is imprisonment. The penalty for sexual assault is already crystal clear in the Criminal Code.

The case to which the hon. member refers is being argued in the Court of Appeal of British Columbia. It is not to be decided here in the House; it is to be decided in the courts.

The principles of sentencing are already set out in the Criminal Code of Canada. They are there to be interpreted and applied by the courts. That is the way the system of justice works in this country and this government has taken steps to ensure that system is all the stronger.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

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

On March 25, the minister announced that financial support of $185 million would be provided to the Pearson airport authority, supposedly for necessary projects relating to safety and to the environment at the Toronto facility. However, when we take a look at the breakdown of the amount paid by the federal government, we note that $145 million, or 80 per cent of the total, will in fact be used to build a new runway.

Will the Minister of Transport admit that this gift of $185 million is compensation paid to the Toronto airport authority to allow it to buy terminal 3 at a high price and thus save face for the Liberal government, which is being sued to the tune of $662 million by Pearson Development Corporation?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me again explain to the hon. member and the House that the $185 million he talked about was for three projects. The rental deferral was conditional on three things, to complete the runway, to build two fire halls on the Pearson airport area, and to

put in a new de-icing facility which was a $40 million item. This was the agreement made.

It follows adjustments to the rental formulas of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. It was in line with the general switch from the local airport authority approach of the previous government to the Canadian airport authority approach of this government. Subsequently there has been a sale of T-3, the terminal at Pearson. As I said yesterday, the chairman of the board of the local airport authority has made it perfectly clear that it was his decision to buy that facility and clearly in that case the price was determined by the willing buyer and the willing seller.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister agree that, if we add these $185 million to the $50 million to 75 $million that the federal is about to give to promoters to compensate them for the privatization of terminals 1 and 2, we arrive at a total of some $250 million, which taxpayers in Quebec and Canada will have to pay for Pearson airport as a result decisions made by this government?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of the amount the hon. member appears to know about with respect to a settlement. I made it clear I believe the first day I became Minister of Transport that I think it is always better to have lawsuits settled out of court, and this has been the government's position. From time to time there have been discussions and that is well known to everyone. If in the future there are discussions which lead to a settlement which both sides think is in their mutual interest, so much the better.

AlbaniaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Today in Ottawa journalists and parliamentarians alike had a chance to be informed on the crisis in Albania from visiting author and human rights activist Nicholas Gage.

Can the minister tell the House what this government is doing to help restore democracy and safeguard human rights in Albania?

AlbaniaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we share very much the concern expressed by the member. We very much welcome the presence of such a distinguished author as Nicholas Gage in providing a briefing to Parliament.

In the past several weeks we have participated actively in the OSCE discussions leading to an international presence in Albania to try to reconcile the parties.

My colleague, the minister responsible for international development, has authorized $500,000 for relief efforts. I spoke this week to the Italian foreign minister to endorse the leadership that his country has taken in providing a multilateral force.

We have also indicated that ultimately elections must be the means by which groups in Albania reconcile their differences. We would give very special consideration to helping in that process.

Military BasesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just returned from a visit in Washington for the Kodak dinner.

The people of Canada want to know in between all the smiles and the hand shakes whether he happened to discuss why Canada is stuck with about a $500 million clean-up of the American mess of old military bases in Canada.

Regarding the Irving Whale barge raising or the Sydney tar ponds clean-up, why is it always that someone else leaves their garbage and yet it is the taxpayer who pays for the clean-up?

Military BasesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there are negotiations ongoing with the United States as a result of several installations, including the installations to the north for the radar warning systems that were there for many years, Argentia and other areas where American facilities were stationed for long periods of time.

This is nothing new. We have been discussing the potential for American participation in a clean-up activity. When those negotiations are concluded, particularly when the American Congress approves any final settlement, we will be happy to advise the hon. member of the outcome.

Military BasesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hear that the Minister of the Environment has also been to the U.S. to smile for the cameras.

The U.S. is refusing to pay the required $500 million in compensation for the clean-up but the deal it offers is for Canada to get a mere $100 million spread over 10 years if Canada agrees to purchase U.S. military hardware. Such a deal.

Is the Minister of the Environment also going to embarrass Canada just like the Prime Minister did? Will he defend his polluter

pay principle? Will the government respond to the report of the auditor general and clean up toxic dumps? Will he get the American polluters of these sites to pay their appropriate share?

Military BasesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously is very familiar with embarrassment.

I want to assure him that when the president of the United States came to Canada to discuss various kinds of arrangements we need to enter into with that country, he was very well received.

Even the hon. member would accept that when the Prime Minister of Canada visited Washington this week he was very well received compared to the visit of the member's leader to see Newt Gingrich. I guess it is all a question of who is operating the Kodak.

Child AbductionOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Child abduction is on the rise. All too often, children are abducted by a parent who illegally takes them out of the country. That is what happened to Suzie Robitaille's five children, who were abducted by her former husband two years ago and are still in Egypt. Mrs. Robitaille has been fighting ever since to get her children back; one of them is very sick.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what his department is doing right now in practical terms to bring Mrs. Robitaille's five children back home in Canada?

Child AbductionOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the hon. member's great concern. All the necessary steps have been taken to assist Mrs. Robitaille. For instance, I have met with Mrs. Robitaille, and my office is in contact with her on a regular basis.

More specifically, an agreement on consular matters is about to be signed with the Egyptian government. This agreement could facilitate the return of the children to Canada. I hope it will be signed soon. We certainly hope we can be of assistance to Mrs. Robitaille in these tragic circumstances.

Child AbductionOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the minister, I too hope this agreement will be signed soon. As I said, one of the children is very sick.

For the past two years, Mrs. Robitaille has been sending the children, who are still Canadian citizens, money, clothing and medicine. That is how she has been keeping in touch with them. She was using the child tax benefit to do that.

But last March, Mrs. Robitaille was not only informed that she would no longer be entitled to the benefit, she was also asked to pay back $7,000 in alleged overpayments.

My question to the minister is this: Could the minister state in this House that he will be pressing his colleague at National Revenue to maintain Mrs. Robitaille's entitlement to this tax benefit for the sake of her children and as a means of keeping in touch with them?

Child AbductionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the information. I will certainly raise the matter with my colleague.

I would like to assure the hon. member that while the children are still in Egypt, members of the embassy there are in regular contact with the children to ensure their protection and to ensure that as much as possible under Egyptian law their rights are being protected.

We will take all measures possible to aid Mrs. Robitaille in this very serious matter.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is quoted in the Ottawa Citizen today as follows: ``If I fire or suspend Mr. Weatherill without having good cause, Mr. Weatherill can turn around and sue the government''.

The minister therefore expects to keep Mr. Weatherill in his position until the fall, and the chairman of the Canada Labour Relations Board has violated every principle of his office by wining and dining executives of CN and CP while adjudicating a case for the railroads and he has violated the fundamental rules that apply to his tribunal.

If that is not sufficient cause to fire Mr. Weatherill, what is?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, before I fire Mr. Weatherill I have to have all the facts and not rely on media reports.

The first day we learned of his expenses we asked the auditor general to investigate. Today privy council officials have asked the commissioner of ethics to investigate Mr. Weatherill's alleged bias. As soon as we have all the facts we will act.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I said before that it seems this minister runs his department by reading the newspapers.

The Treasury Board has been paying these bills for years. This tribunal reports to his department. He knows this and should be aware of what is going on.

He is now sending a clear signal to people who violate the ethics of their office, who have abused the principles of expenditures of their office, that it is perfectly okay to sit where they are. He has not even suspended him without pay until this investigation is complete. This type of ethics from this government we have heard time and time again.

Can the minister explain this double standard of keeping this guy on the payroll when if it were in the private sector he would be before the courts today?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, we are acting as promptly as possible and we hope in the next few days to have this matter solved. In the meantime, I repeat, I cannot act until I have all the facts.

If the member was very concerned, on March 11, a month ago, instead of filibustering, and the Reform Party moved a motion to stop doing third reading and do it in six months, by now we would have Bill C-66 and we would have a new board with a new chairman.

Canada PostOral Question Period

April 10th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 45,000 Canadian postal workers are very distressed at renewed rumours that Canada Post is going to be privatized.

Could the minister responsible for Canada Post please tell us something that might reassure these workers?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, last October I made a statement to the effect that Canada Post should not be privatized as long as it continues to serve a public policy role. I asked Canada Post to look at how it could improve its services, especially in rural areas.

That was last October. We have not changed our position on that. I made that statement two days ago in New Brunswick.

Presence In The GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Rafik Al-Hariri, the Prime Minister of the Lebanese Republic.