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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

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is finally showing some concern about human rights in Cuba, but what about human rights and the rights of the innocent victims of tainted blood here in Canada? What about the rights of elected MPs who are being made prisoners of bad Liberal policy?

The vote tonight on hepatitis C is not about which political party wins or loses, it is about doing what is right.

Why will the Prime Minister not stop tearing the heart and soul out of some of his MPs by forcing them to vote against their conscience and do what is right to correct this injustice?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when members vote tonight, of whatever party, I am sure each and every one will be doing what he or she thinks is right.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, tonight's vote is not about confidence, it is about conscience and compassion. If they are going to do what is right, and if they are going to do it with compassion, we know that we will win for sure.

This is about some Liberal members of the House being forced by the Prime Minister to support an unjust compensation package.

Not one member of the PC caucus would criticize the Prime Minister or a member of the government if this injustice were to be corrected tonight and a motion brought forward to treat all victims equally.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if my memory serves me right, and perhaps I am wrong, if Hansard is checked it will show that last week in the debate a Conservative member said that this was a vote of confidence.

I suggest the hon. member check Hansard . I suggest the hon. leader ought to talk to her own members.

I think if Liberal members have a choice, and they have a choice, they would much rather stand with the Prime Minister than with the hon. member and her colleagues.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have had quite a bit of correspondence on the hepatitis C issue. I have just such a letter here, a letter that calls for compensation for all victims of hepatitis C.

It is fascinating where this letter came from. It came from the Liberal official opposition of British Columbia. Why should the Liberals in B.C. know what is right and correct when the Liberals in Ottawa are obviously on the wrong track?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it has now been some days that the hon. member has been asking these questions. I urge the hon. member to remember that we are talking in the last analysis about our public health system in Canada.

Members of the government realize that we have no greater moral duty, we have no higher responsibility to all Canadians including the victims of hepatitis C, than to ensure that our publicly funded system of medicare will be there when they need it into the future.

There is no greater way of imperilling that system than to take the course urged—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Macleod.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister stood today and said nobody was criticizing the provinces. Here are his cousins in B.C.—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask the hon. member to address the Chair and not to use any props.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Pardon me, Mr. Speaker. The question we have to ask the government is a simple question. Why is it not compensating all victims of hepatitis C just like its Liberal cousins want to see happen in British Columbia? Why not?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the question at the heart of this matter is not the question put by the hon. member for his own reasons. It is the question he refused to respond to in the debate last week, namely, should the public make cash payments to those injured through the health system where they were injured through no one's fault. The answer to that has to be no.

Indeed in the last analysis, as disclosed in Hansard of last Thursday, the hon. member came to that conclusion. That is the reason this government and all governments of Canada are taking the right course.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

The auditor general has criticized the fact that 66% of military equipment expenditures are unnecessary.

How does the minister explain that, of three billion dollars in annual purchases, two billion dollars' worth of equipment are not required by the army?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case. We have less resources. We have to learn how to operate within less resources, and our people are doing that.

Yes, a lot of improvements need to be made in the system and have been in fact made over the last number of years. We are in accordance with the recommendations that the auditor general presents. We are working with them to bring about improvements in our system in terms of procurement.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem in this department is not the lack of money. It is the way it is being spent.

Before requesting more money to keep his capricious generals happy, will the minister prove to us his ability to manage his department by putting an end to the horror stories the auditor general continues to report?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the hon. member read the same report I did. I read the auditor general's report. I talked to the auditor general.

As I said a few moments ago we are implementing improvements and changes. We go through very extensive analysis as to what is required for the Canadian military. We do not have all the money to do all the things we would like to do, but we are buying the best equipment. We are trying to provide our troops with the best equipment possible to make sure they can do their job.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, Christine Campbell had a blood transfusion for a gall bladder operation in 1985 when she was 29 years old. She writes:

For the past 13 years I have suffered extreme fatigue, bowel problems, nervous conditions and a lot of burnout—. I live in fear of deteriorating even more—. I did not ask for this but I am paying for it and therefore I feel I am being treated unfairly by—being excluded from compensation for hepatitis C victims.

Why is the Prime Minister forcing Liberal MPs to vote against Christine and her family?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the hon. member's question. We do not think we are voting against anyone. We think we are voting for an agreement which is reasonable in the circumstances, an agreement representing the views of all the provinces as well as the federal government.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a constituent wrote to me telling me about her life since contracting hepatitis C from tainted blood. Dorothy writes:

I'm an innocent victim along with thousands of others. My life is not what I intended it to be and the things I wanted to do will never be accomplished.

Why will the Prime Minister not put principles before politics and power and let his MPs vote to help victims like Dorothy in this tragedy?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our first obligation to Dorothy is to make sure there is a good health care system in place when she needs it.

Our first obligation to Christine Campbell is to make sure medicare remains alive in the country.

Our first obligation to all these victims is to make sure that our social safety net is there to provide disability benefits, medical attention and treatment, and to research until we find a cure.

We are not going to do that if this hon. member's course is taken because it will be the end of publicly financed health care.

BurmaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the exiled Prime Minister of Burma, Sein Win, appeared this morning before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and described the systematic human rights violations occurring in Burma. He even told the committee of the government's intended genocide of Burmese minorities.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs not consider it vital to adopt stricter sanctions against Burma and order Canadian businesses to stop doing business with this country?

BurmaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, last summer we announced a series of economic sanctions against Burma. We have also initiated a number of diplomatic initiatives, particularly the ASEAN front where we put the matter on the agenda and asked them to address it.

When I met with Dr. Win Sein yesterday I indicated that furthermore at the foreign ministers meeting of the G-8 that takes place in about two weeks we will put it on the agenda to have foreign ministers of the eight most developed countries in the world take up the issue of Burma to see what we can do to bring an end to this very dictatorial regime.

BurmaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to increase pressure on Burma's illegal and illegitimate government, is the minister prepared to organize a mission of Canadian parliamentarians, as recommended to him by the group Les Amis de la Birmanie?

BurmaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we would certainly be prepared to send a group of parliamentarians. The question is whether the Burmese will accept them.

We put that initiative before them last summer. They rejected it, but I will certainly raise it on behalf of the member.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

April 28th, 1998 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Doris Corrigan is an 83 year old Surrey resident who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood during an operation in 1987. Although she qualifies for compensation under the Liberal's plan she will refuse to accept any compensation unless the government extends its offer to include all hepatitis C victims of tainted blood.

Why is the government reneging on its promise to allow more free votes in the House of Commons, forcing its members to support a compensation package that is not fair and not just?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, all governments in the country, including the provincial governments that actually deliver services and are the proprietors of the health delivery services on the ground, agreed that the appropriate response when it comes to paying cash compensation is to pay those for whom infections resulted from fault or negligence, and that is exactly what we have done.

It is the right principle. It is recognized to be good public policy and all governments agree on that course.