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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Communications Security EstablishmentRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), it is my pleasure to present, in both official languages, the annual report of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, 1996-97.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

I present this report with pride. The foundation of any democratic society is its laws. As a democratic society we are striving for justice.

In particular I appreciate this since I came to this country as a refugee from a country which did not have a just legal system.

The report is entitled "Renewing Youth Justice". The report deals with proposed amendments to the Young Offenders Act. The report is a product of a cross-country tour by the justice committee and of representations made to the justice committee from all segments of Canadian society.

One of the driving forces behind the report is that we incarcerate way too many young people in institutions across this country. We incarcerate 10 times as many young people as Europe, 15 times as many as Australia and New Zealand. As I studied the information before us I was shocked to find that we incarcerate twice as many young people as the United States.

Some adjustments must be made on the other side as well. We have to respond to and be involved with the community. Recommendation number four speaks specifically to that. It states that there should be community crime and justice councils, that the community should be involved at the grassroots level.

I am proud to present this report on behalf of the justice committee.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that the Bloc Quebecois produced a dissenting report for a good reason. After this cross country tour, as the hon. member said, and after investing tens of thousands of dollars in this study, the Liberals apparently gave the impression, after considering how Quebec treated its young offenders, that they would support an approach that was proposed by Quebec in the sixties and would fully support the demands of the Bloc Quebecois, demands which simply reflected the wishes of all Quebecers.

Instead, at the very last minute, the Liberals preferred to pay lip service to certain principles and make recommendations that were more like campaign promises, in an attempt to satisfy part of the electorate in English Canada. One thing I cannot tolerate is that the government made a concession on the minimum age of young offenders by lowering it to 10 and 11, with the agreement of the attorney general. It is up to the government to set standards and pass legislation that is enforced across Canada. If it does not want to do so, it should get out of this area and hand it over to Quebec, which is what we want, or the other provinces.

However, as long as we have a Constitution and certain rules, the government has an obligation to pass legislation on young offenders that will be enforced uniformly across this country.

By the way, some Liberals told me I was a whiner because I was proposing recommendations that reflected Quebec's historic demands regarding this issue. That is one of the reasons why I decided to produce a minority report. The government would not listen.

As far as age is concerned, I do not think the age should be lowered this way, even with the consent of the attorneys general of the provinces. In Quebec, attorneys general will certainly not agree to lower the age and make 10 and 11 year-olds stand trial. In Western Canada people may think differently, but I think this is unacceptable.

As far as cost sharing is concerned, one of Quebec's demands which has been on the desk of the Minister of Justice for many months and many years, is the $77 million it costs Quebec because we properly enforce the Young Offenders Act. Before the government makes recommendations as it has done in the majority report, I think it should pay what it owes Quebec and write a cheque for $77 million. But we can get back to that during the election campaign.

My third item is the federal government's tendency to intrude in a number of areas where it has no business to be. It is not up to the federal government to tell the provinces what to do with the money it pays them for the administration of justice. This is a provincial matter, and in this case, it is up to Quebec.

I realize that members from English Canada do not like listening to what I have to say, but I say it with all the facts in hand, and I have the satisfaction of having done my duty.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations on public service renewal.

The committee has closely monitored the renewal process in the public service and has made a number of recommendations aiming to ensure that the public service is supported in a way to ensure renewal, the relève initiative, improve accountability and transparency and that other key initiatives be implemented so that the public service may continue to serve Canadians with pride and efficiency.

On a personal note, I am proud to be serving my riding and to be representing on many occasions in Parliament the interests of the public servants. I salute our public service.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, a dissenting opinion on public service renewal is appended to the report by the Standing Committee on Government Operations.

The Liberal majority report indicates the need for public service renewal, particularly since 70 per cent of all public service executives will be eligible for retirement within the next eight years. In 1996, only 1 per cent of staff were under the age of 25, compared to 15 per cent in 1976.

The Liberals could have continued in the same vein and reminded people that, during their mandate, the government has made drastic cuts to the public service in the past three years. It was not smart enough to be concerned with ensuring the transmission of knowledge and the retention of the collective memory within the departments. This unfortunate state of affairs is, in large part, nothing more than the outcome of poor strategic decisions by the Liberals during their mandate, which thankfully is coming to an end.

As for the question of the under-representation of young people within the public service, we again note the incompetency and shortsightedness of successive federal governments, from Pierre Elliott Trudeau's first government right down to that of the present Prime Minister. With the calling of the election only hours away, the Liberals are feeling a sudden need to act.

The young people of the Outaouais region have borne the burden of this, no doubt about it. After three and a half years of Liberal indifference, they now have trouble believing that this same government has taken a sudden interest in them. When the Liberals came to power in October 1993, the unemployment level in the Outaouais for those under the age of 25, was 20.6 per cent; it has now risen to 21.6 per cent. The Liberal report insists on finding excuses for the way the federal government has treated young people in the difficult cuts it has had to make.

According to the government, by 1998-99 the program review will have had the effect of reducing program expenditures, and the size of the federal administration, by 22 per cent. It is, moreover, estimated that, after 1999, the government will save more than $3 billion yearly in salaries. What the Liberal report has forgotten to mention is that, in the meantime, the provinces have been forced, because of the cuts in social transfers, to reduce staff by more than 25 per cent in the areas of health, education and social services.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

David Walker Liberal Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Industry concerning its review of section 14 of the Patent Act amendment 1992, chapter 2, Statutes of Canada 1993.

I would like to take this occasion to thank the members of the committee for their hard work and also the many witnesses who came forward.

I would particularly like to take this opportunity, on behalf of all committee chairs, to thank the House of Commons publications services which worked very long hours in the last few days to get all these reports out.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Joint Standing Committee on Official Languages on the application of the Official Languages Act in the national capital region.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, we request a comprehensive response from the government.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report tabled by the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Official Languages fails unfortunately to mention the considerable anglicization of francophones in the City of Ottawa. In the past 20 years or so, the figure has increased from 17 to 28 per cent.

Accordingly, in the light of these statistics, the Bloc Quebecois tabled a dissenting report criticizing the fact that the committee tried to hide the fact that Ottawa, Canada's capital, is becoming English and anglicizing francophones at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the report looks more at the national capital region, including the Outaouais. Its recommendations tend in my opinion to anglicize francophone Outaouais.

For this reason, the Bloc Quebecois has tabled a minority report.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Health.

According to the order of reference dated March 21, 1997 your committee has approved the proposed tobacco regulations with amendments.

Insurance Companies ActRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-438, an act to amend the Insurance Companies Act.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table this bill, seconded by my colleague from Portneuf. The bill aims at essentially one thing: to eliminate the discrimination against provincially chartered insurance companies in Quebec, which prevents them from acquiring blocks of insurance from federally chartered insurance companies in order to strengthen the industry and meet the challenge of domestic and foreign competition.

It is truly a case of discrimination against Quebec, since, barely two weeks ago, two Toronto companies, one a British, the other a German subsidiary, were able to arrange a deal between themselves involving 12 billion blocks of insurance without a peep or the batting of an eye from the federal government.

A Quebec company, L'Entraide Compagnie d'assurances, since we are talking specifics, lost out on a transaction involving 1.3 million insurance policies because of this government and the Minister of Finance's inertia and lack of political will when it comes to defending Quebec's interests. This transaction would have allowed this company to compete with the four major players in Toronto.

We deplore the decision by the Minister of Finance, who has arranged it so the four Toronto insurance companies will dominate the Canadian market and part of the North American market, while the Quebec companies are left high and dry thanks to the Minister of Finance and the Liberal Party of Canada. We will remember this in the election campaign.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the first time and ordered to be printed.)

Insurance Companies ActRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest you seek unanimous consent to suspend the sitting of the House while an agreement is being negotiated with the government on a motion it wants to table.

Insurance Companies ActRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to suspend the House for a moment?

Insurance Companies ActRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. We may be predisposed to suspend the House once we get to Government Orders and then begin our discussions. I might be predisposed to that, but on this point of order we would deny unanimous consent.

Insurance Companies ActRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is obviously not unanimous consent. We will therefore carry on.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 56.1, I move:

That on Friday, April 25, 1997 until members return from a ceremony granting the royal assent to a bill or bills, the House shall not adjourn for any reason except pursuant to a motion by a minister of the crown, provided that if no such ceremony has occurred by the ordinary time of adjournment the sitting shall be suspended to the call of the Chair, which may come for the sole purpose of attending such a ceremony, after which the House shall be adjourned to the next sitting day.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed to the motion will please rise.

And less than 25 members having risen:

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

If I am not mistaken, there are not 25 members, including those who just walked in. Accordingly, I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to.)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 24th, 1997 / 10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion and hope that I lay before this House today a petition signed by more than 37,000 people from Quebec.

This petition strikes a chord with everyone, since it concerns the sexual abuse of children. The petitioners ask Parliament among other things to review and assess the treatments offered to abusers serving their sentences, and to ensure that support is available to sexually abused children and their families.

Violence against children is certainly a significant indication of how healthy society is. We must give ourselves all the tools we need to provide adequate assistance to the victims and their families, and to promote the rehabilitation of those convicted of sexually abusing children. The challenge is as huge as the problem. I think that, by making wise decisions, this Parliament can help reduce violence and its devastating consequences.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present this petition on the national AIDS strategy on behalf of hundreds of concerned citizens in my riding.

The national AIDS strategy is a vital project that co-ordinates Canada's efforts to finance HIV-AIDS education and prevention, to support HIV-AIDS research and to provide care for those affected by AIDS.

My constituents are therefore calling upon Parliament to ensure that the national AIDS strategy does not sunset in March 1998 and that it will continue to fund these very important projects.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting a petition from several electors of my riding and adjoining regions.

The petitioners pray that the Prime Minister and the Parliament of Canada declare and confirm immediately: first, that Canada is indivisible; second, that the boundaries of Canada, its provinces, territories and territorial waters may be modified only by (a) a free vote of all Canadian citizens as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or (b) through the amending formula as stipulated in the Canadian Constitution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions from constituents in the riding of Kootenay West-Revelstoke and the new area of West Kootenay-Okanagan.

The petitioners state that they are concerned about the sustainability of the Canada pension plan, that young people are forced to pay higher premiums for smaller pensions and that the recent $10 billion premium increase reduces take home pay. Since it cannot be sufficiently demonstrated that perpetually increasing CPP premiums while continually reducing benefits will salvage the CPP, your petitioners pray that Parliament enact legislation to wind down the CPP while protecting the pension of current seniors and that Canadians contribute to mandatory RRSPs of their own choosing.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two more petitions on a similar subject from constituents.

The petitioners draw to the attention of the House that Canada's seniors have contributed a great deal to this country's political

development, economic growth and sustained prosperity within the 20th century. These citizens have protected Canada's tradition of democracy and individual freedom through two wars and through a variety of international peacekeeping endeavours.

Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament recognize these accomplishments and sacrifices by not seeking to reform Canada's national medicare or pension programs in any way that would reduce benefits for senior citizens living on limited or fixed incomes.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the GST is the first federal tax in Canadian history to apply to the Bible and other reading material. The petitioners urge Parliament to remove the GST from books, magazines and newspapers. They ask the Prime Minister to carry out his party's repeated promise to remove federal sales tax from reading.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my final petition the petitioners draw to the attention of the House that as of October 1996 the German delegation to the World Health Organization Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses has proposed legislation. We are well aware of the legislation, therefore I will not go through it. The petitioners state that these proposals if accepted will lead to drastic changes in legislation.

The petitioners request that Parliament strenuously lobby the international community to oppose the above mentioned proposals for the regulation of dietary supplements in accordance with our country's decision to vote against these proposals last October.