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House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organized.

Topics

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

We are against the confiscation of lawfully held property by the government without compensation.

Now the government is falling over itself to pass anti-gang legislation for Quebec before the Prime Minister calls the election this Sunday.

Could the Minister of Justice explain why the victims bill of rights has languished in his office for more than a year when it could benefit all Canadians? Why has that bill not received the same high priority he is giving to the anti-gang legislation?

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 hope the hon. member heard the

peals of laughter extending across the country from sea to sea to sea as he tried to change the lamentable position of his party at the last minute. His party is against gun control and always has been.

The hon. member asked about victims. I can do no better than to point to the record of the government time after time, whether it is through amendments to the code on sentencing or the gun control bill. I well remember the day when the victims came to this building, having lost loved ones to crimes of violence committed by firearms, guns in the hands of people who should not have had them. They asked us to pass Bill C-68 to provide for the registration of all firearms, a bill and a plea to which his party turned a deaf ear.

I say to him, his colleagues in the Reform Party, the Conservatives and the NDP that they will have to answer to the Canadian people in coming months why they did not listen to the pleas of victims and join with us to adopt meaningful gun control.

Rights Of VictimsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing wrong with asking the government to compensate people for confiscated property that was lawfully obtained. The minister can stand there and say people are laughing about that. People are upset the government would take their property without compensation.

In terms of the anti-gang legislation, if the minister would give the same priority to the victims bill of rights it would have much greater impact not just on gangs but on everybody across the country.

Why will the minister not admit he is playing election politics prior to the election and has no intention of ever passing the victims rights bill?

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, what draws laughter is the pretence by members of the Reform Party that they are not against gun control. We all know they are and they are going to pay the price for it, as are the Tories and the NDP.

As for the hon. member's question, he talks about victims rights as though they are something that can be achieved by writing out something on a piece of paper and calling it a bill of rights.

Let me tell him something about victims and their rights. Last week I was in Montreal and I met a woman whose 11-year old son was killed by a bomb explosion on the streets of Montreal. The Reform Party does not like to hear this because it is truth and reality as opposed to rhetoric and superficiality.

That woman whose 11-year old son had been killed in the gang war asked me as the Minister of Justice to do everything I could to get Bill C-95, the anti-organized crime bill, through Parliament so that the police would have more tools to try to find the people who killed her son.

That is what we should do to achieve victims rights and that is what the government has done to achieve victims right. We have passed meaningful legislation that makes a difference instead of just talking a good game.

SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

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

On December 3 of last year, the Minister of Human Resources Development made the following statement: "I would like to reassure the House that, if the former Singer employees take their case to court, our department will proceed with all due speed. I have asked my colleague, the Minister of Justice, to act accordingly, in order to facilitate matters". Notification of the lawsuit was given on December 13, and these pensioners continue to suffer from inhumane delays.

What has the Minister of Justice done, in concrete terms, to settle the situation of the former Singer employees?

SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that matter is in the hands of the Minister of Human Resources Development. I am sure everything possible is being done to carry the matter forward as quickly as possible.

SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, judging by the minister's response, it is perfectly clear that he is not up to date with the case in the least. Yet, four months ago, he said: "I will proceed with all due speed, as will my colleague". This is not the case at the moment. The average age of these people is 80 years.

When does the Minister of Justice intend to produce his defence? Normally, a defence takes a while to produce, and the federal government's lawyers have not yet produced one. When does the Minister of Justice intend to come up with it? How, once and for all, is he going to settle the case of the former Singer employees?

SingerOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as is normal in this place when former employees are in front of the courts presenting a lawsuit, it would be inappropriate for us to get into the lawsuit per se.

We can say we are willing and we are aware. We are trying to minimize delays. Once we deal with the delays and the court case is through, we would certainly be willing to look at the results of the court case.

GrainOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have bungled their responsibility for grain transportation. Grain shipment delays have cost prairie farmers almost $100 million this year alone due to demurrage charges and lost sales. The Liberals have created a cash crunch on the prairies.

Tragically the best the minister can do is announce he will merely start to probe the problem sooner rather than later, knowing that we are on the verge of an election call.

In light of his failure to create a more efficient and accountable grain transportation system, and given current world prices for wheat, does the minister intend to increase the interim prices paid by the Canadian Wheat Board?

GrainOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the Canadian Wheat Board indicated a short time ago, it has made certain recommendations with respect to initial payments. Those recommendations are in the normal course under consideration at the present time.

The hon. gentleman will know that under this government we have dramatically shortened the response time to that kind of recommendation from the Canadian Wheat Board. Under our predecessors recommendations sometimes took several months to be acted upon. In the case of this government we have shortened the time to a matter of a few days when the consideration is completed.

The Canadian Wheat Board will announce the result in the ordinary course taking into account the very important consideration that one would not want to put the guarantees in jeopardy, which is a matter of very significant concern to the Minister of Finance.

GrainOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact the Liberal government is currently attempting to paper over 3.5 years of failures in a frantic pre-election flurry of deal making and vote buying the minister of agriculture has the cloak of secrecy around which the Canadian Wheat Board operates, allowing him to use the timing of increases and interim prices for political purposes.

The crop year is nearly three-quarters complete. Will the minister of agriculture announce any increases in interim prices prior to the pending election, probably this week? Or, is he saving his announcement as yet another Liberal election goodie for during the campaign?

GrainOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know-he may have missed it in his dramatic search for hyperbole and overblown rhetoric-that I do not make these announcements. The Canadian Wheat Board makes these announcements in the ordinary course of events. As rapidly as the Canadian Wheat Board is in a position to do so and taking into account all relevant circumstances the announcement will be made, election or no election.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of immigration.

Considering the fact that we are approaching the 11th anniversary of the imposition of the visa requirement for Portuguese persons wishing to travel to Canada, considering the fact that the Portugal alone among European Union countries is subject to the restrictive visa requirement policy, and considering the policy's negative impact on business between our two nations, could the minister indicate to the House the government's position of visa requirements for Portuguese persons wishing to travel to Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that on May 1 citizens of Portugal will no longer be required to obtain a visitor's visas to visit Canada.

We all know the Portuguese community has contributed enormously to the social and economic development of the country. We hope the decision of visa free access will improve business, economic and cultural exchanges, as well as promote tourism between the two countries.

ChinaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

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

Only a few months before Hong Kong is returned to China, the latter has announced that it intends to tighten up the regulations for public demonstrations, in addition to banning all contacts abroad in the case of political parties. The situation is disturbing, to say the least, as regards the freedoms the Hong Kong Chinese will enjoy after China takes over.

Could the minister tell us whether Canada intends to take action against China to prevent the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese living in Hong Kong after the changeover?

ChinaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have made consistent representations. As late as today at lunch the secretary of state for Asia and myself met with Mr. Lu Ping, the Chinese minister responsible for the transition in Hong Kong. We brought to his attention our concern about the proposed changes. Those changes have not been made yet. They are still being considered by the Hong Kong legislature.

We have certainly made our views known. We think a maximum amount of consistency must be maintained in terms of freedom of the press, the right to demonstration and the right of political parties to maintain their autonomy.

We are making all efforts to ensure that both the Chinese authority and the Hong Kong authority know exactly where Canada stands.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised to scrap and abolish the GST.

Instead of scrapping the GST as it promised, the government has not only expanded the GST into the harmonized sales tax in the Atlantic provinces but is now charging Canadians outside Atlantic Canada the expanded tax as well.

Effective April 1 the new Liberal postal tax grab means that Canadians across the nation will now pay Atlantic Canada's harmonized sales tax, an additional 15 per cent surcharge, on parcels and courier mail sent to the three Atlantic provinces with the harmonized sales tax.

My question is for the minister responsible for Canada Post. Why are all Canadians being forced to pay the 15 per cent HST on parcels and courier mail sent to Atlantic Canada?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member ought to know, a sales tax has always been paid by recipients in provinces where the tax is imposed. There is no change in this.

What change has been brought in is that Atlantic Canada has been given a tremendous opportunity to lower its costs so that its small and medium size business can create jobs. At the same time Atlantic Canadians have been given a lower consumer cost on a vast range of goods from refrigerators to automobiles. It is very clearly an important part of the rebuilding of the Atlantic Canadian economy.

That is why Atlantic Canadian premiers are going across the country. It is something Atlantic Canada and its premiers can be proud of.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

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

Later today I will be introducing a petition signed by over 1,700 people. This is part of a larger petition signed by over-

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

No props, please.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government in the red book in 1993 promised multi-year funding. What kind of long term stable funding results in hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts? How can government members face voters and claim that the red book commitment has been honoured without at least blushing?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the minister announced recently that there will be stable funding for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This is an opportunity for the CBC to start looking at how it fulfils its mandate, to look at how it does things more effectively and efficiently.

BulgariaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Jesse Flis Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of International Cooperation.

Some of my constituents are concerned about the lack of food, medicine and affordable energy in Bulgaria. The country recently elected a coalition government to replace the previous unstable communist regime. Can the minister tell me what Canada is doing to help alleviate the humanitarian instability in Bulgaria?

BulgariaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, since 1992 the federal government has provided some $2 million of assistance to Bulgaria. As well, a few weeks ago Canada agreed to activate a $10 million untied line of credit which can be used for the purchase of, among other things, Canadian wheat and other commodities. We feel this would be truly beneficial to the people of Bulgaria. Canada has also supplied election observers to Bulgaria and we intend to continue to do so.

As of yet the Government of Bulgaria has not made an international appeal for humanitarian aid. Nevertheless we have extended the line of credit I have just described.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

April 21st, 1997 / 3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, that brings to a close our question period.

It is a pleasure to welcome to our gallery a group of young Canadians who have done so much for their country.

They are young men and women who have distinguished themselves in many fields. They are talented and very hardworking young Canadians who have made a difference and they are symbols of excellence.

Please welcome the winners of the 1997 YTV Achievement Awards.