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House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has stated that he is concerned about the integrity of the health care system. It is not the integrity of the health care system that is in question. It is the integrity of this government and the minister which are in question because the compensation being offered to some hepatitis C victims is not the compensation package that the minister promised.

Will the minister do the right thing today and commit to compensating all hepatitis C victims who were infected through no fault of their own?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member refers to this government but she must also refer to the provincial governments who have taken the same position on the basis of public policy, Tory governments, her own party in Prince Edward Island, her own party in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta.

Just last week Canadian researchers disclosed that thousands of people lose their lives every year because they use prescription drugs as directed but have adverse consequences. Is the member suggesting we pay cash compensation to the estates of all those victims? The implications of that approach for the health system are serious—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint John.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health cannot continue to hide behind other governments. Instead he must take a leadership role. There is nothing wrong with anyone in this House who has made a decision standing up and saying “we have made the wrong decision, we are going to correct it”.

If we measure the health minister's words carefully we will conclude the real reason the government will not compensate all the victims of hepatitis C is money. The government wasted half a billion dollars on a botched helicopter deal, three-quarters of a billion dollars on Pearson airport and the list goes on. If money was found for these deals, why is the minister denying compensation to all of the innocent victims?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I have made clear, when confronted with a situation where there are people harmed by risks inherent in the medical system, governments have to choose. Part of leadership on the part of the government is making tough decisions to protect the long term sustainability of the health care system.

This is the age of the class action. It is the age of claims against governments. Just last week we were sued in a class action by those who claimed that mercury fillings are causing health risks. Is the member suggesting the government should make cash payments to all those who have claims arising from the system?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister seems to be all over the map when it comes to human rights. On his trip to Cuba he refuses to raise the issue of human rights abuse publicly. Now even though the red book says that foreign aid should be linked to human rights abuses his CIDA minister is talking about giving aid to Burma, one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

Will the Prime Minister stand up today and publicly tell his minister that we are not going to give Canadian government aid to Burma or any country like it?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, Canada's policy on Myanmar, by the way that is the name of the country now, has not changed. That being said, we always review the situation and if the country and the government is willing to show some movement on human rights and good governance, we would be happy to look at resuming our programs.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, rather than a geography lesson perhaps the minister should look at human rights abuse for a change and treat it seriously.

Here is the situation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs imposed sanctions last year because the Burmese government was one of the worst human rights abusers in the entire world. Now the minister says we are going to give government aid.

Will the Prime Minister stand up and say that this is all over, that that government is the wrong kind of government, that we are not going to support it and there will be no Canadian government aid going to the Burmese?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just want to correct a few statements.

The minister said there is nothing going there at all. She just said that. In terms of human rights, we are the government which is engaged in Cuba. I made a public statement, and it was in the paper this morning, that I would raise it publicly. I have already raised it privately with the Government of Cuba. I will do it publicly and privately. Canada will be a leader there, as we have been in other situations.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, again this morning Statistics Canada figures indicate that an increasingly small proportion of unemployed people are receiving employment insurance.

Last February, fewer than 41% of the unemployed could draw benefits.

In light of this morning's disturbing statistics, does the minister, who claimed to be concerned about this, not see them as a very clear indication that his employment insurance reform makes no sense and excludes too many people who ought to be able to take advantage of it but cannot?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

Although it is clear that this morning's figures are not good, they do not show that the situation has worsened. On the contrary, there has been a small improvement, a very slight one, in the number of participants.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Liberal Papineau—Saint-Denis, QC

I admit it is very little, but this month's figures must not be used to claim that the situation has worsened. That is false.

As I have said in this House on a number of occasions, this participation rate is of concern to us and we are in the process of examining it very closely, in order to ensure that our system is properly serving the people of Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, when the government assumed power, 65% of the unemployed were drawing benefits. In 1995, 52% were, and now the figure is under 41%. This cannot go on. The minister must get moving.

Does the minister commit to proposing concrete solutions to this problem before the summer, yes or no?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am saying very clearly that we are concerned about this situation.

On that side, they like to say that the problem is easy to fix and that this figure is essentially linked to the eligibility criteria. I say that there are also changes in labour market conditions. The economy has also undergone changes. Seen overall, the situation is rather more complex and we will not make decisions blindly, as the opposition would like us to.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

April 22nd, 1998 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the justice minister literally dozens of times when she is going to make serious changes to the Young Offenders Act. She just giggles and keeps repeating “in a timely fashion”. Timely? It has been 10 months since the minister made the announcement and now her officials tell us it is going to be at least another six months before something happens. The minister is an utter failure. Why does she not admit she is not up to the job?

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I guess I can do no better than repeat that which I said in this House before. We on this side of the House are working very hard to complete the government's response to the standing committee report. As I have said before, that response will be tabled in this House in a timely fashion.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, victims of crime and young people themselves are saying that it is just not good enough to repeat “in a timely fashion” and “let me be clear”.

Let me be clear. The minister says that young offender reforms are her number one priority. I shudder to think what numbers two, three and four are.

I will ask the minister again. Why does she not just admit what the obvious is? She is in way over her head.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me clarify for the hon. member that indeed the renewal of the youth justice system is one of my priorities but only one of my priorities and this government's priorities as it relates to the justice system.

As I have said before and I will say it again, this government will not take a simplistic approach to the renewal of the youth justice system. We will table our response in a timely fashion.

Victims Of CrimeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this week at the Standing Committee on Justice that the minister plans to establish a national office for victims of crime.

Does the minister realize that, with such a plan, she is about to willingly create duplication and overlap with an organization which is already performing, in Quebec, a function similar to that of the national office she plans to set up?

Victims Of CrimeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me clarify for the hon. member that in fact I did not say that. I said there are a number of strategies we might wish to pursue in relation to the issues of victims rights and that in fact a national victims office might be one of those strategies. But I specifically asked the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to look at that issue among others and report back to this House in terms of whether such an office is necessary. I think I made it very plain that I did not want to duplicate that which is being done in the provinces.

Victims Of CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that Quebec already has a crime victims compensation office, will the minister undertake to include in her proposals the possibility for the provinces to opt out of her national plan with full financial compensation?

Victims Of CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my commitment is clear. It is to work with the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of which the hon. member is a member. I have asked that committee as part of its study on victims rights to determine whether a national office would have any utility. I await the committee's recommendations.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, five young men, including a young offender, have been arrested in my riding for the senseless murder of a temple caretaker.

The RCMP is pleading for calm, patience and tolerance as their investigation continues. And the slow wheels of justice turn. Why will the justice minister not introduce changes to the Young Offenders Act in a timely fashion? That time is now. The clock is ticking and time is running out for her number one priority.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to a very tragic situation in the province of British Columbia.

What I do want to reassure everyone in this House about is that the existing provisions in relation to hate in the Criminal Code apply regardless of whether that hate is propagated via the Internet or any other means of communication. Therefore as far as I can tell at this point there is no problem with the application of our hate laws to this situation.