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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was magazines.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Yet, Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, the Minister of Health said he was prepared to give back to the provinces the money for the health sector.

Now that the government is showing substantial budgetary surpluses, will the minister demand that the provinces be fully reimbursed for the cuts in health transfers, or will he knuckle under to the Minister of Finance as his colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, does so well?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the priority for us is health. We have already acted on this priority and it is our intention to deliver on this commitment.

As the Prime Minister said, our next major reinvestment would be in health and, to this end, I plan to work together with my provincial partners.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the House should know that the heritage minister wants her own culture cops. These culture cops would have the right of search and seizure.

Can the minister tell this House why she thinks it is necessary to have her own culture cops?

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member asked this question. One of the challenges that I made to the Reform Party today was to stand and tell Canadians why it is opposing legislation which provides support to Canadian Legion magazines across the country.

I would like Reform members to stand in their places and answer that question. On the eve of Remembrance Day, it is absolutely disgraceful that the Reform Party does not support Canadian Legion magazines.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, for three weeks we have been talking about free speech and democracy. Here we have a minister who wants to start another police force called culture cops.

Does the heritage minister really think this kind of censorship is reasonable in a democratic society?

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, not only do I oppose censorship vigorously, I want the Canadian people to be able to read every magazine that they can get their hands on, including Canadian magazines like the Alberta Report , the Legion magazine and Maclean's magazine.

The only party in this House that is supporting censorship is the party that would stifle the voices of Canadian magazines instead of supporting the right of Canadians to tell their stories.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the latest figures regarding coverage for the unemployed once again provide an indictment of the minister's EI scheme. Only 43% of unemployed workers received benefits in August. Thus 57% of unemployed workers were shamefully made to contribute to the budget surplus.

What is the Minister for Human Resources Development waiting for to take immediate steps to restore the credibility of the system? Is he perhaps waiting for the green light from the finance minister?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the report is full of statistics on the unemployed. The PQ branch office in Ottawa is trying to confuse everybody and to make workers feel insecure.

The facts are very clear: 78% of Canadians who worked full time for at least three months and left their job with cause or were laid off are covered by the employment insurance system. There is no point in scaring Canadians.

Asbestos IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Liberal Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade. Yesterday at the World Trade Organization, the European Union turned down Canada's request to set up a panel to review France's ban on asbestos. Since this industry is of paramount importance, could the minister clarify the situation?

Asbestos IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his very important question.

At its meeting yesterday, the WTO reviewed our request. We knew the European Union would not agree. As a result, the decision has been postponed by one month.

On November 25 a panel will be automatically set up to examine our complaint. The goal of the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Government of Quebec, the industry and unions—

Asbestos IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Skeena.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the health minister signed a $12 million agreement with the Gitksan Indian Band in northern B.C. for health care administration.

Now we find that several hundred thousand dollars of this money is invested in the stock market.

When I asked the minister in writing how these funds could be in the stock market, he referred to these funds as surplus funds.

Does the minister really think that the Gitksan band has more money than it needs for health care and that these are in fact surplus funds?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will look into the matter raised by the member and respond when I am fully informed.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wrote to the minister on this matter about five months ago and he has responded, so I think he is informed.

Band members have told me they cannot get travel money when they need to go to Vancouver or Terrace for a CAT scan or to see a specialist. As a matter of fact, I have had band members tell me that when they are in Vancouver they sleep in a pick-up truck because there is no money for them to have a motel room while they are waiting to get a hospital bed.

How can the health minister refer to these funds, in writing, as surplus funds when so many of the band members are so obviously short changed on their health care?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to the member when I am fully informed. I will very carefully examine the facts that he has referred to today to determine whether they are accurate.

Health Protection BranchOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, testimony given today under oath by Health Canada scientists paints a horrifying picture of what is happening right now in the health protection branch.

They are talking about gag orders and intimidation under this minister and under this government.

Does the minister deny that these serious events occurred and, if not, how does he respond to these very serious allegations?

Will he lift the gag order? Will he let the scientists do their work?

Health Protection BranchOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, once again, just to introduce an air of reality to these proceedings, the hearings today concerned the question of rBST which is an additive in milk that is approved in the United States and has been for years.

Health Canada has not approved rBST and it will not approve rBST unless and until we are satisfied that it is safe and appropriate for use in Canada.

On the subject of the alleged gag order, the member should know that after the Senate committee subpoenaed the scientists from Health Canada they first did not want to go. I had officials write to them to encourage them to go and remind them of their obligation to testify.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the solicitor general and it concerns the APEC inquiry.

Will the solicitor general tell the House precisely what role the lawyer for the federal government, Ivan Whitehall, played in reviewing RCMP tape recordings of Jean Carle, the Prime Minister's top henchman, at APEC?

Has Whitehall been given any privileged access to review the evidence and, if so, does the minister not recognize that this makes a mockery of the commission's independence and in effect will destroy the credibility of the commission itself?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I rely on the public complaints commission and its counsel for their judgment as to whether they are getting access to all the information they need.

To this point there has been absolutely no complaint.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, the dreaded mad cow disease that ravaged Britain has jumped the species barrier.

The human version of the disease is identified as CJD. Because of the possibility of infectious agents being in their blood supply the British government has outlawed the use of all U.K. plasma.

In March 1998 Britain closed its own plasma industry and stopped accepting blood from its citizens, all because of the connection between British beef and the mad cow disease which could be harboured in the blood supply system.

What assurances will the minister give us that he is doing everything to protect—

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Health.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there was a report tabled just last week from an advisory group on this whole question. That report has been received by Health Canada officials and technical people and is being examined very carefully.

I should tell the member in response to his question more broadly that we have a world class surveillance system at Health Canada in relation to contaminants, including CJD. CJD is the subject of an extensive research project that has been started at Health Canada so that we can better understand this new class of prion contaminants in blood. I assure the House we take the risk very seriously.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I think this is the same minister who fell asleep at the switch in regard to Canada's tainted blood supply system. Have we not learned something by Krever? When other nations are taking action now to protect their citizens, we want assurances that the same tragedy we are suffering now will not occur again because of inaction by the minister.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member has his chronology a bit wrong. The Krever commission reported when we were in office, inquiring into events that occurred when his party was in office.

National ParksOral Question Period

October 22nd, 1998 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last June the Secretary of State for Parks along with the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that they would protect our national parks from excessive commercial development.

What concrete actions has the secretary of state taken to preserve the natural assets of our parks for future generations, like my son Zachary who is currently causing grief in the gallery?