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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as recently as an hour ago I asked that very question of officials. I was assured that the product in question meets safety standards not only in the United States but also in Canada.

Last week we invited the caucus colleague of the leader of the NDP to meet with officials in my department. She was given a full explanation of what is going on. The member now knows because officials told her that as a result of a shortage under the special access program we have imported albumin into this country at the request of physicians. It meets standards of safety both here and in the United States.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, they are laxed out standards to try to evade the fact that this minister is not attending to his responsibilities.

Judge Krever recommended that the federal government “retain the duty and authority to make decisions about products to be distributed in Canada”. Yet this government has gutted the health protection branch to the point where the safety of blood products for Canadians can no longer be assured. Has the minister learned nothing from the hepatitis C tragedy?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I think we are going to have them over to the department again and take them through the facts one more time.

The reality is that for the first time, Health Canada under this government is requiring all foreign blood product manufacturers to sell their product through a licensed Canadian importer. We put new and stringent requirements in place. The product referred to by the member meets health and safety standards both in the United States and in Canada.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, any communication between a lawyer and a client is privileged information, yet the Minister of Justice's own officials gave a confidential letter dated May 4 received from the chairman of the Somalia inquiry to the defence department. The inquiry's findings of course were reviewed by the federal court and further litigation is pending.

The minister's own government shut down the Somalia inquiry early. Can she now explain why she would violate solicitor-client privilege in further undermining this important public inquiry?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the letter in question was not impressed with solicitor-client privilege. Neither Mr. Justice Létourneau nor the functus commission were the client in this case. It is the Government of Canada that is being sued.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it would appear that this government is leaking like a sieve.

The minister's own justice officials gave a confidential letter that was dated May 4 to the department of defence. On April 28, Justice Barbara Reed threw out some of the findings of the Somalia inquiry because the inquiry's representatives from the Department of Justice did not file adequate affidavits. The department has an obligation to represent the client with diligence.

Is the justice minister prepared to fully defend the client, the Somalia inquiry, and to announce that she will be appealing the commission's findings?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, because in fact this government is in the process of making a decision as to whether we are going to appeal the decision of Madam Justice Barbara Reed, I will not comment on the specific case.

Let me assure the hon. member that the client in this case is not Mr. Justice Létourneau. The client is not the Somalia commission. In fact the hon. member as a lawyer should know that the commission is functus. The client in this case is the Government of Canada.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yet another terrible mess is coming to light in the defence department. Not only do women and men in the military suffer appalling living conditions and subsistence wages. It has now been revealed that the government has been sitting by while military officials regularly cover up cases of rape and physical abuse.

Why is the Liberal government condoning such abuses by its years of inaction?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me say unequivocally that the government will not tolerate matters of sexual abuse or sexual harassment in the Canadian forces.

The government is taking action. We have established harassment advisers in each of the units across the country to help us deal with these issues. We have established the national investigation service which provides for military police independent of the operational chain of command to be able to investigate these matters.

Very soon I will be announcing—

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister thinks a little high flown rhetoric will cover up the Liberal government's complicity and the suffering and humiliation of victims in our military.

Is it not true that the minister is more interested in political damage control than in any real control of abuse in the military?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. We want justice to prevail in these cases. We want to fully integrate men and women into the Canadian forces. We want them to be able to work side by side in a harassment free and an abusive free environment.

We have put new training procedures into effect. We will do whatever is needed to make sure in future the message is clear that there will be no such discrimination in the Canadian forces.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

May 25th, 1998 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Human Resources Development keeps trying to defend the indefensible, while he is trying to convince the unemployed who cannot collect benefits that the reform is good for them, the surplus in the employment insurance fund continues to grow. Between the beginning and the end of oral question period, the surplus will have increased by $700,000.

Will the minister admit that, if the surplus increases at the incredible rate of $700,000 per hour, it is, among other reasons, because there are 500,000 more people than before who are contributing to the fund, even though they have little chance of ever collecting benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when we took office, there was a $6 billion deficit in the employment insurance fund. We had to eliminate this deficit and that is what we did.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Yes, we did. I am very pleased to say that there is now a surplus, a reserve in the employment insurance fund. This is our guarantee against an increase in premiums.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Another liar.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, instead of chatting endlessly with technocrats in the comfort of their offices, why do the ministers not undertake to meet tomorrow morning the unemployed coming to Ottawa to tell us about the disastrous consequences of the government's reform?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to travel across the country, to meet with Canadians and discuss the impact of our reforms with them.

Before I left and upon my return, I noticed that members of the opposition promised to put to us in this House any question they may have. They were very active last week and we will be pleased to hear what they have to say.

The unemployed know full well that the purpose of the transitional job fund, along with the active measures, is to get them back to work as quickly as possible and to help them once they are back in the labour force.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

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

When some female soldiers in the Canadian forces complained of being sexually harassed, they were ushered out of the military and given what was called a trauma based disability pension.

Is it not true that this trauma based disability pension is just another way of saying to some sexual harassment victims “If you leave without making a fuss, we will pay you some hush money?”

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker, but according to the defence critic of the Reform Party the problem is having women in the military to start with.

He is suggesting, so it seems, that what we should do is get rid of the victims. What the government is suggesting is that we should get rid of the perpetrators.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what some of these pensions are: a way for the top brass in the Canadian military to sweep these problems under the rug.

Not only are these victims being told to go away quietly, but the perpetrators of these offences are being allowed to go free, to continue working for the Canadian forces.

Why is the minister turning a blind eye to this problem instead of bringing these offenders to justice?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. Again their research is faulty.

Many of these people have been brought to justice. Many of them have been convicted and in fact have been put out of the Canadian forces.

We intend to continue to get to the heart of these matters. We intend to deal with matters that are past, present and future in a just way.

David LevineOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Prime Minister found that the hue and cry over David Levine was, and I quote “rather artificial and unacceptable”.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister not acknowledge that the Levine affair is first and foremost a political attack against freedom of opinion and that the last time this fundamental right was abused in Canada was during the October crisis, when the Trudeau government arrested 500 Quebeckers without grounds?

David LevineOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, people attached to their country and fearing its loss because of the secessionist threat posed by the leaders of the Bloc and the PQ allowed their fear to find expression in a deplorable reaction.