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House of Commons Hansard #155 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was following.

Topics

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to forget that his government has been in power for three and a half years.

Since the government is prepared to pay almost $250 million in compensation and miscellaneous payments to Pearson airport, is the minister prepared to approve the necessary funding to guarantee the continued existence of Mirabel airport?

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government wants both Montreal airports, Mirabel and Dorval, in good working order.

Charter flights and cargo would go to Mirabel, but international passenger flights would go to Dorval. We support the ADM policy in order to promote the use of Montreal as an international centre, to use both airports and maintain connections with Europe and other countries.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

April 14th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question from my colleague from Beaver River, the justice minister has supposed a litany of measures which he says respect the rights of victims. What in the world happened with conditional sentencing in Bill C-41 which allows rapists and violent offenders to walk free?

The justice minister admitted in the House last week that he does not want to see rapists walking free, as is now the case. If that is true, will the minister immediately amend the law which allows that to happen? Will he amend it?

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to want the

government to introduce a bill every time a court makes a decision with which he does not agree.

In connection with the B.C. case to which he has referred, as I told the hon. member, that decision is under appeal. Indeed, it is being argued in the B.C. Court of Appeal. Let us wait to see what the Court of Appeal has to say about it.

The hon. member ought not mislead the Canadian public about the effect of Bill C-41 and conditional sentences. He ought to make it clear that the courts have said time and again that conditional sentences are not appropriate for violent crimes.

I refer to the British Columbia decision in Regina v Bishop O'Connor involving allegations of sexual assault. The court said it would not be in the public interest to impose a conditional sentence, given the seriousness of the offences and the accused's position of trust and authority vis-à-vis the victims.

In Ontario there is the case of Regina v BLG. The initials are used because the names cannot be released. The Ontario Court of Justice, general division, was faced with an uncle who had committed indecent assault against two nieces. The court refused a conditional sentence, saying general deterrence and denunciation were more important.

Mr. Justice Kurisco, in Regina v MacNeil, again a case of indecent-

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot on a supplementary question.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, what the justice minister is reading is all fine and dandy but the courts are still releasing rapists and violent offenders on conditional sentences.

The justice minister is correct when he points out now, as he did last week, that the case of the convicted rapist in B.C. is under appeal. Until the appeal court comes to a decision, the rapist is still at large, which causes enormous apprehension and fear on the part of his victim.

Will the justice minister amend the law so that future victims of violence do not have to live with the trauma of knowing their assailant is free and can victimize them again?

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is so typical of the hon. member and his colleagues to take the unhappy facts of a single case and to use them to fearmonger, to mislead people into believing that there is a problem where it does not exist.

There are, in this memorandum, particulars of a dozen recent cases in which courts have said that conditional sentences will not be given when there is violence, when society requires deterrence and denunciation.

Let the member continue. He will find that these shallow tactics of fearmongering do not succeed.

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

On March 20, the minister said in this House, and I quote: "As long as Canada Post serves a public policy purpose then it should not be privatized". Furthermore, she said she wanted postal service to continue, especially in rural areas. However, the minister's office has stated that a firm of consultants, Valeurs Immobilières TD, has been asked to study the viability of privatizing the Canada Post Corporation.

After retaining only the election serving elements of the Radwanski report, will the minister assure us that Canada Post will not be privatized, regardless of how she fares in the upcoming election?

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said last week and what I continue to say: the Canada Post Corporation will not be privatized so long as there is a need for postal service in all of Canada's regions.

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case, if the minister really believes what she is saying, I would ask her why a firm is conducting a study on privatizing or on the possibility of privatizing the Canada Post Corporation?

"As long as there is a need", she says, but people have not stopped writing letters and will need stamps for a long time to come. There is no need to privatize for that.

So, is there something in the wind or is this purely and simply intended to waste public funds, as is the government's practice?

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if you recall, we provided a partial answer when we received Mr. Radwanski's report. At the time, we said we would continue to study his recommendations, because he was not able to get all the figures he wanted either. That is what we did, and we will continue to do our job of ensuring that Canada Post fulfils its mandate without costing taxpayers more.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is truly unfortunate that the justice minister talks about the unhappy facts of a single case.

I am aware of four recent court decisions in this land. Three are serious sex offences and one is an attempted murder. What is concerning about these cases is that all four accused were given conditional sentences. No time in jail. The justice minister thinks that is okay.

Since the justice minister is responsible for legislating conditional sentences, will he at least put some justice in the system by excluding sex and other violent offences from conditional sentencing?

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the conditional sentence provisions that are already in law provide, first, that they are only available where the court decides the sentence should be two years less a day or lower-obviously that is the less serious case-and, second, where the court is satisfied the person does not represent a danger to the community.

There have been some decisions where conditional sentences have been granted where violence has occurred. Many of those have been appealed. Some are now before appeal courts including the case in B.C. to which the hon. member referred last week.

I say to him, as I said to his colleague, let the courts decide. The law is clear. Prison is the appropriate sentence for violent crime. I have said that time and again. We have a system of justice in which judges decide on the facts of all the cases and the appeal courts can correct any error.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have about 13,000 names on a petition that says the case in British Columbia is more than less serious as the justice minister would call it.

Last week we pursued the justice minister on his lack of interest in enacting victims rights or changing conditional sentence legislation. His futile attempt to protect his poor performance resulted in his quoting from a victims rights group letter.

My question is one of integrity in the office of the justice minister. Did the minister or anyone in his office initiate a request for that letter?

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. Even if we had, it would not go near the integrity the hon. member pretends to talk about.

The answer is no. It was unsolicited. It came from CAVEAT because, as the letter says on its face, it is evidence and it expresses the view of Priscilla de Villiers that the government has acted appropriately, has introduced significant change, and has shown a willingness to listen and to act.

Migration Of Snow GeeseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

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

Since the government did not answer our question last week, we must come back to the charge concerning the annual migration of snow geese from the United States to the northern regions. This migration is resulting in major losses to the farmers of the Bellechasse region, the Beaupré coast, Ile d'Orléans, and certain other regions of Quebec, such as the Lower St. Lawrence. Last year, for the period from April 22 to May 26, the Canadian Wildlife Service issued permits to allow scaring and shooting so as to limit the damage done to fields by the geese. This measure produced excellent results.

Is the minister willing to instruct the Canadian Wildlife Service to issue immediately, for 1997, permits allowing scaring and shooting?

Migration Of Snow GeeseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question and interest in the whole issue of snow geese.

I had the opportunity of dealing with the provincial Minister of the Environment a few weeks ago at an environmental technology conference. We had an occasion to discuss the issue. I mentioned to him the issue of last spring and that we had a number of recommendations coming from round table discussions on this important issue.

In coming days I hope to have a formal answer for the the provincial government minister and ultimately for the member of Parliament.

Migration Of Snow GeeseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the point is that time is running out. It is a matter of days before the geese arrive and damage the fields. Permits must be issued as quickly as possible. It is no longer good enough to procrastinate and consult right and left, without actually taking any decision.

What farmers want to know is whether or not the government is going to authorize and issue permits to scare and shoot the geese in the coming days, because it is clear from the minister's answer that the government is in worse shape than the fields are soon going to be.

Migration Of Snow GeeseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, certainly that member of Parliament does not have a monopoly on virtue.

I understand the time issue. We also make no apologies for having consulted with Canadians in the province of Quebec from a number of different disciplines.

As I mentioned to the hon. member, in keeping with the timeliness and importance of the issue we will do the right thing in a matter of days.

YouthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

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

Many youth across Canada from coast to coast to coast are worried about the future of their country and are taking initiative by starting unity projects. One initiative is a Toonie for Canada from my riding of Burlington.

Will the minister tell us what he thinks of youth being so committed and involved in their community? The youth are in the gallery today.

YouthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, keeping Canada united is certainly an essential part of the future of our youth. It depends very much on them to carry out this duty. The solution cannot only come from governments.

We have a huge country. It is the second largest country in the world. We have a population that is dispersed from east to west. For obvious reasons the incentive to spend holidays in the south is very high.

Because of the language barrier, the Government of Canada is committed to improving programs to help youth to travel.

And the purpose of all this is to show our young people the wonderful diversity and great solidarity that exist in this country.

Recently we added to our youth exchange programs a Canada student exchange project. We intend to stress these projects in the future because we are convinced that learning to know Canada will make us even more united.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is all about the integrity of the justice minister and the integrity of the government.

I asked the justice minister a question about who in fact initiated a letter and he indicated it was neither his department nor himself.

I wish to quote from a document from CAVEAT which I received on April 11. It says: "Yesterday the office of the Minister of Justice called CAVEAT offices and asked if we would consider drafting a letter indicating his government had listened to the concerns of victims of crime".

Would the justice minister confirm or deny what I have just read?

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, neither I nor anyone at my direction telephoned CAVEAT and asked for any such letter. I am not aware of the document to which the hon. member refers. I will look carefully into the matter. Anything the hon. member says requires that kind of examination. I will examine it and I will answer when I have all the facts.

I am telling the member right now that I did not ask for that letter and I did not ask anybody in the department to do so.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has now indicated that he will look at this to see whether or not he or his department actually sent the letter or initiated the letter.

The fact is that he answered the question originally and said no. The question was: was he or anyone in his department, to which he answered no.

I would like the justice minister either to come forward now in the House and be honest about the answer, or tell the rest of the country just how the Liberal government and its justice minister are open and honest with the people of Canada.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is a measure of how badly hurt the hon. member and his party are by the views of CAVEAT that the hon. member is making this issue.

I answered with the truth. I did not ask for the letter and to my knowledge no one in my department asked for the letter. If the situation is otherwise I will tell the member. I answered with the truth as I always do.

At the member's request we shall find out what he has in his hand. I shall make inquiries. The hon. member has as usual the truth from the Department of Justice.