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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was world.

Topics

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has ignored Justice Krever and created two tiers of hepatitis C victims, those who will be compensated and those who will be ignored.

Theresa Robertson of Peterborough, Ontario, was infected in 1984 and she cannot work. She has liver damage and she suffers from the side effects of medication.

Why is the Prime Minister using strong arm tactics to coerce his MPs into voting against innocent victims like Ms. Robertson?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Theresa Robertson is going to need Canada's health care system. She is going to need medicare, a publicly financed system of the highest possible quality of care in the world.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, we are listening to the questions and we should give the ministers or whomever the chance to make their responses. I go back to the Minister of Health.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

It would not be difficult to identify a wide category of people who suffer harm or illness because of risk inherent in the health care system.

However, as we have been saying in the House now for four weeks, if it is our policy to pay cash compensation to those who become ill, if it is our policy to pay cash to those who are victims of risk inherent in the health care system, we will no longer be able to have the system of public health care of which we are so proud.

Crab FishingOral 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.

On April 9 the ice committee, made up of fishermen and officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, gave the green light to crab fishing in zone 12 of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. More than three weeks later, the minister has yet to give the go ahead to this industry.

Why is the minister taking so long to make a decision, penalizing thousands of workers, especially when he knows this means the loss of significant amounts of money, especially—

Crab FishingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Crab FishingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is clearly aware of the situation in the crab fishery in that area. He will understand that putting in place an agreement, which takes into account the interests of all the various interest groups and people affected, is not at all an easy task, particularly in light of some of the declines in crab stocks.

We are trying to make a system that is fair to all. That unfortunately takes time. It is easy when there are plenty of resources, but it is difficult when the resources are limited.

Sudbury Neutrino ObservatoryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

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

The eyes of the world scientific community are focused on the inauguration of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in the town of Walden in northern Ontario.

Could the minister tell the House how this partnership of governments, universities, agencies and the private sector will benefit Canadians?

Sudbury Neutrino ObservatoryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that today and tomorrow we will be opening the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. It is an example of world class scientific research. Unfortunately the Reform Party does not seem to understand it.

Those who are interested will know that it has the key to opening some of the secrets of the universe. It will be attended with the support of several Canadian universities, the Government of Ontario and the federal government. We will be able to uncover research in that facility, true fundamental research.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Reform Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Edith Jameson, a resident of Calgary East, phoned me last Saturday. She contracted hepatitis C prior to 1986. Her liver has been damaged and her gall bladder has been removed. She told me her health has been going downhill and her financial resources are stretched to the limit.

My question is for the Minister of Health. Will he stop acting like a lawyer and for the love of God offer something to Edith and thousands like her? He should make the right moral and compassionate decision and not a legal decision.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I hope I am acting like the custodian of Canada's health care system.

As the custodian of Canada's health care system I can imagine hundreds of cases that pack emotional power of people who are in difficult circumstances, who suffer illnesses, injuries and harm as a result of risk inherent in surgery, in taking vaccines or in taking new prescription drugs, each of them with a compelling emotional pitch about how much they need our help. That is what medicare is for.

If we compensate in cash—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, tonight's vote is about real people like Keray Regan from Vernon, B.C. who was infected with hepatitis C through receiving tainted blood in 1986. Keray Regan said that he will continue to fight for all hepatitis C victims.

Will this government tell Keray Regan that it will do the right thing and compensate all victims of hepatitis C?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will tell Keray Regan as I said to Dorothy, Christine Campbell and all the other victims to whom reference has been made, I say to all those victims that we will ensure there is a publicly financed system of medicare there to look after them in their illness. We will ensure that Canada's social safety net constructed by Liberal governments in the past will be there to respond to their needs. We will make sure that responsible public policy guarantees the future of those services because that in the last analysis is our most important moral responsibility.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today at the hepatitis C rally a 15-year old boy named Joey Haché had this to say about the Prime Minister: “Why is he making political prisoners of the Liberal backbenchers? Why is he forcing them to vote against their conscience?” Joey got hepatitis C through no fault of his own, through numerous blood transfusions. He does not know why he was infected.

Why is this government forcing Liberal MPs to vote against Joey and all blood injured Canadians?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. member why the NDP government in Saskatchewan does not allow a free vote on this subject. Its position is exactly the same as ours. Why does she not turn around and direct her criticism at her own NDP government which is taking the same position in its legislature as we are taking in this House of Commons?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we also learned today at the hepatitis C rally that the office of a Liberal member called the family in B.C. that makes hepatitis C ribbons and asked for 160 of them for Liberal MPs to show their sympathy for victims. However that office refused to pay for the ribbons or the courier. They want to wear the ribbons but they do not want to pay for them. Is this meant to be an example of this government's—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Health.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know but I will tell her that I was wearing that ribbon long before she ever saw one. I got it from Jeremy Beaty of the Canadian Hepatitis C Society when I met with him to talk about victims compensation. The difference is that this government has produced $1.1 billion in compensation for 22,000 victims. That is the way we feel about the issue.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Progressive Conservative Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, before and during his trip to Cuba, the Prime Minister criticized Fidel Castro's lack of respect for democracy. This is rather surprising from a leader who does not allow his caucus to vote freely on the motion dealing with hepatitis C, particularly since some of his members asked for a free vote, because they are not pleased with the current compensation program.

My question to the Deputy Prime Minister is this: Why is the government so intent on promoting democracy all over the world, when it does not even respect it at home?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have democracy in this country and in this House. This evening's vote will be proof of that, because I am confident that the House will reject the Reform Party's motion.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Progressive Conservative Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, we saw on the lawn of Parliament Hill rows after rows of crosses bearing the names of innocent hepatitis C victims. These crosses were put there by fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses and children, in memory of the loved ones they lost as a result of this terrible tragedy.

Will the Minister of Health finally assume his responsibility and compensate all victims?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we assumed our responsibility together with the other governments in Canada, including the Conservative ones. We accepted responsibility for the period during which officials could have done something to prevent infection.

It is the policy of the Canadian government, and it is the right policy.

Science And TechnologyOral Question Period

April 28th, 1998 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science and Technology. As we speak, a rocket is being sent off from Canadian soil at Churchill, Manitoba, the first in almost a decade. This is a precursor to launching a polar orbiting satellite.

How will these activities enhance Canada's technological preparedness in the changing world of telecommunications?