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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is not about every harmful procedure. This is about a public system failing and the victims getting hepatitis C.

New Zealand has a no fault compensation package. Italy has a compensation package for every single victim of hepatitis C. They know what is right. Why has this Prime Minister chosen to do what is frankly wrong to those victims?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should take care with his examples. There is not another country in the world that has the public health care system of the quality—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 19, the Prime Minister said we could obtain all the answers to our questions on the appearance of a conflict of interest involving the Minister of Finance and Bill C-28 by raising the issue in the Standing Committee on Finance. So far, however, all our attempts to do so have not succeeded.

How can the Prime Minister explain the difference between his statements in the House and the action taken by the members of his party in committee? They have been doing everything, since then, to prevent us from getting to the bottom of this issue involving the shipowner-lawmaker.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has been making these insinuations for two months and he is getting nowhere, because the members of my party and I have full confidence in the integrity of the Minister of Finance.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the sake of consistency and especially of transparency, would the Prime Minister tell us if he intends to postpone passage of Bill C-28 at third reading, and to refer the bill back to the Standing Committee on Finance to have this matter cleared up? If he has nothing to hide, he should let the committee do its job.

Bill C-28Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have had the opportunity to study this issue and, in my opinion, the hon. member, as well as other members, have been given a fully satisfactory explanation.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the health minister keeps talking about the excellent research we have in this country. He should really acquaint himself with it.

I want to clear up a factual error the health minister keeps on repeating. He says there was no way to detect hepatitis C in the blood supply before 1986. So he will not compensate people who contracted the disease before then. That is not the truth.

Justice Krever noted that Dr. Moore of the Canadian Red Cross laboratory proposed a test as far back as May 1981. Shamefully, no tests would be implemented for nine more years.

Enough phoney excuses.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in various places throughout the world various tests were proposed. Those who understand the history of this chronology recognize that it was in 1986 when Canada should have, indeed practically could have, put a test in place. That was the year when things changed internationally and the year accepted as the turning point.

That is why it was chosen as a turning point by ministers of health not just from this government but from provincial and territorial governments that all looked at these facts and came to the same conclusion.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an unacceptable answer. It gives no help to all these victims and it is still morally wrong to abandon them.

What is particularly painful is how the Prime Minister is picking and choosing favourites. He will compensate only the top tier of victims. Everyone who contacted hepatitis C before 1986 is being abandoned. This is a national disgrace.

Will the Prime Minister stand up and tell us that this is not a two tier system of compensation?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member speaks of victims being abandoned as though the medicare system in Canada did not exist and is not available for their benefit. Thank God we live in a country in which all those people who contracted hepatitis C are able to rely on the excellent public health system we have put in place.

As for those victims in the period 1986-1990, I have well explained the rationale that all governments in this country adopted in approaching this problem.

Year 2000 Computer ProblemOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

In the Saturday issue of La Presse , the Minister of Industry was quoted as saying “If the year 2000 problem is not sorted out in time, it could trigger a recession”. But the best the minister can come up with to encourage SMBs to tackle this major problem is Business Development Bank of Canada loans.

When it is so vital to bring SMBs on side, does the minister realize that suggesting they take out another loan may well prove to be unpopular and an exercise in futility?

Year 2000 Computer ProblemOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member raises a very important question. The year 2000 problem is very serious, not just for the Canadian economy, but for all economies in the world.

Not only have we suggested loans, but the Business Development Bank of Canada has a 1-800 number that all businesses may call for immediate information to help them find solutions to their computer problems.

Year 2000 Computer ProblemOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is really interested in helping SMBs, and I certainly hope he is, why does he not suggest a tax credit for businesses that become year 2000 ready?

Year 2000 Computer ProblemOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the budget gave an explanation of the rules for SMBs making the investment, but we must remember that this is a problem that businesses must sort out. Many have already done so. It is necessary to have a system in which businesses that want to stay in business take the decisions required to protect their interests.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, in 1989 the Liberals in opposition urged the Tory government of the day to compensate thalidomide victims. The Liberal health critic rejected arguments that compensating victims would set a legal precedent: “I do not argue on the basis of legal precedent. I argue on the basis of a moral responsibility that the government must have toward its citizens”.

I ask the Prime Minister what has changed. What happened to those moral principles and the willingness to face up to a compelling responsibility?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we said earlier, this is an extremely difficult problem. We have had discussions with the provincial authorities who have responsibility in this matter. After studying the problem we came to the conclusion that the period for which government had a responsibility was between 1986 and 1990. All governments agreed the program put forward by the Minister of Health is the best program that can be offered under the circumstances.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is not about legal culpability but about compassion and moral responsibility.

The Tory health minister of the day followed through subsequently and delivered for those victims of thalidomide. Again, the Liberal health critic said: “I do not argue on the basis of legal precedent. I argue on the basis of a moral responsibility—”.

When did the Prime Minister lose that ability to tell right from wrong?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has explained very clearly what the government's responsibilities are. A lot of people are suffering in the health system and the government cannot take responsibility outside the health care system in Canada for all the victims of every type of problem of this nature.

We had a responsibility starting in 1986, according to all the ministers of health, and they have discharged their responsibility in an effective way.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Last week, the minister indicated that, in replacing the TAGS program, it was his intention to implement new measures aimed at getting a certain number of fishers out of the industry.

Can the minister explain to us what principles and criteria will enable him to determine which people are to be deemed surplus to the fishing industry

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of changes to the overall number of people on TAGS over the last four years.

To go into all the various criteria used to put people on and then later the reasons they fall off the TAGS system would probably take much longer than I have to answer this question.

We will be bringing in, however, measures to deal with issues following TAGS in due course. The Minister of Human Resources Development is in charge of a cabinet committee to this effect.

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

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

The Senate banking committee has just released a report on the Canada pension plan investment board. What are the minister's views on this and how does he intend to react?

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Senate has produced a very good report. It is largely supportive of the government's position.

Are there differences of opinion? Yes, there are. While there is not unanimity I can assure the hon. member that the report will be taken very seriously. I will be referring it to my provincial colleagues and I will be reporting back to this House.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

April 1st, 1998 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe some day we will get an answer to our questions too.

The way the minister of Indian affairs is handling the tragic shooting of Connie and Ty Jacobs confirms all our fears. Instead of listening to grassroots aboriginals, the minister only consults the chiefs who have a vested interest in keeping things just the way they are.

Connie's brother and sister want an independent inquiry into conditions on the reserve but the minister is letting her friends over at the Assembly of First Nations take over.

Why is the minister doing exactly what Connie's family asked her not to do?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, let us remember what has happened here. Two people are dead and a community is in mourning.

In response to that there is a criminal investigation under way. There is an inquiry under the fatalities act of the province in which all parties, the federal government, the province and aboriginal people, will have some input.

I find it appalling that the opposition continues to use this tragedy to try to proceed with its agenda of undermining duly elected chiefs and councils in this country.