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House of Commons Hansard #195 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week the attitude taken by the Minister of Canadian Heritage concerning Quebec's presence at the meeting on cultural diversity sent a clear message to Quebeckers on how she views Quebec's international role.

Has the Minister of Canadian Heritage not demonstrated very clearly that, if Quebeckers are to take what they consider to be their legitimate place internationally, they have no choice but to become a sovereign country, or in other words to assume sole responsibility for their relations with other countries in the world?

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois is constantly making the point that we must respect constitutional divisions between federal and provincial jurisdictions.

Under our constitution, jurisdiction over international matters belongs wholly to the federal government, and this is the position we always take. If the Bloc Quebecois wants to respect constitutional jurisdictions, it cannot have it both ways.

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, when speaking of areas of jurisdiction, in my opinion culture is a provincial jurisdiction.

With the efforts being expended by the federal government to restrict the presence of Quebec on the international scene to the strict minimum, how can the Minister of Canadian Heritage make any claim to defend the distinct cultural nature of Quebec better than a sovereign Quebec would?

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we always work to help the province of Quebec develop, particularly in the area of culture.

International matters, under our constitution, fall under federal jurisdiction. That is not hard to understand. I wonder why it is so difficult for the Bloc Quebecois to grasp this. It is constantly calling for us to respect federal jurisdictions in other areas. As I have already said, it cannot have it both ways.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we were told at the recent united alternative conference that the most popular slogan was “PM for leader”, but it was not referring to the Reform leader; it was referring to the finance minister.

We saw Reformers drooling over the Liberal's recent budget. Now we see the finance minister flirting with the flat tax.

Will the government assure Canadians that in his bid for Reform affection the finance minister will not turn his back on progressive taxation?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I think an even more important question that we have is with the endorsement of Stockwell Day by members of the Reform Party.

Does that mean that they will support him for leader of the united alternative?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government does not want to address the question about progressive taxation because Canadians woke up to the finance minister's statement that he would look at Alberta's flat tax with a great deal of interest.

The question is: In whose interest? It is certainly not in the interest of ordinary Canadians who would get shafted by the flat tax.

Has the government decided to turn its back on progressive taxation?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, just a few days ago the NDP, under the hon. member's leadership, joined with the Reform Party in an attack on progressive taxation.

Unlike the leader of the NDP, unlike the Reform Party, the Government of Canada is committed to principles that taxes must reflect an individual's ability to pay and that tax reductions must benefit first those who need them the most, low and middle income Canadians.

I think the leader of the NDP should be ashamed of herself for having, in a formal way through a vote, abandoned those principles.

The JudiciaryOral Question Period

March 12th, 1999 / 11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the New Brunswick government amended its Judicature Act in order to add a second judge to New Brunswick's Court of Queen's Bench, in Campbellton. This is a strange coincidence, given that a provincial election will soon be held.

I learned today that the Minister of Justice is still not convinced that a second judge is necessary.

What will it take to convince her? That other criminals be released into the community, because of excessive delays in court proceedings?

The JudiciaryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will take the question under advisement and bring an answer back to the House.

The JudiciaryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is not the first time I raise this issue in the House.

What more evidence does the minister need? The legal community of Campbellton, the provincial minister of justice, even the chief justice of the province agree that a new judge is necessary as caseloads are tripling. Women forced to leave abusive homes cannot even get a court date to have their properties and their support issues dealt with.

Will the minister announce to the House when she intends to make a decision on the request for a new judge in the court district of Restigouche?

The JudiciaryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I believe I have already stated that I will take it under advisement and we will bring back our response to the House.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's changes to the Young Offenders Act were largely cosmetic. For example, the law kept the identities of convicted criminals a secret for fully 99% of all young offenders. Only the names of 1% of the most extreme criminals will have their names published.

Why does the new act still hide the identities of youth convicted of armed robbery, home invasions and sexual assault with a weapon?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I understand the proposals which have been widely praised by people in the justice community, publication of names of anyone who receives an adult sentence will be permitted. Publication would also be allowed if a youth at large is considered by a judge to be dangerous. These are important steps forward. The hon. member should recognize this.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I think the Deputy Prime Minister has the wrong notes. A young person convicted of an assault with a weapon will still be released back into the community without the community knowing. A young person convicted of sexual assault will still have their identity kept a secret. These young criminals will mingle at school and in the parks without anybody knowing whatever happened.

Why does the government not think that sexual assault with a weapon or armed robbery or hostage taking during a home invasion is a serious crime? Why would we hide the identity of 99% of these serious criminals?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as was stated yesterday when the minister brought forth her new youth criminal justice act, we are not the party that wants to criminalize 10 year olds and 12 year olds. Ours is a different approach. Ours is a balanced approach. We will deal with this act differently for violent young offenders and non-violent young offenders. We are talking in this act about protecting society through accountability, meaningful consequences and rehabilitation, not criminalizing 10 year olds and 12 year olds.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Justice once again yielded in a pitiful way to the right by introducing coercive measures for young offenders, a decision that can only please hard-liners.

Will the minister admit to the House, as she did at a press conference yesterday, that her bill does not give any additional leeway to the provinces in the area of prevention or rehabilitation?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as Quebec's president of the bar said, our new approach will allow Quebec to continue to do what it has been doing so far.

I should also point out that, at yesterday's press conference, the minister said that the budget of the Minister of Finance provides $206 million for rehabilitation. Let us also not forget that, every year, we have allocated $32 million for crime prevention.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, as regards Quebec's president of the bar, I cannot wait to see the reaction of the committee of the Barreau du Québec, which examined the issue and contradicted the president of the bar.

Does the minister realize that, by toughening up the act as she did, she is putting undue pressure on the Quebec justice system, thus undermining 25 years of expertise in the area of juvenile crime?

The parliamentary secretary is from Quebec. She should speak up against her minister on this issue.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, precisely, I am indeed from Quebec and I am very pleased that the legislation introduced by the minister. Apart from the president of the bar, I want to quote what Guy Cournoyer, a well known Montreal criminologist, had to say. He indicated he “would continue to develop his psychosocial approach, as opposed to the legal approach”.

This is precisely what the new bill that was introduced will allow.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary shows certainly a knowledge of the legal system but she shows no regard for the issues the public brings forward and its concerns about the Young Offenders Act.

My question is for the parliamentary secretary. Can she tell the House why violent crimes like robbery, sexual assault with a weapon and hostage taking were left out of the new Young Offenders Act? Does she not consider these to be violent crimes?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier and as the minister indicated, we are not the party that wants to criminalize 10 and 11 year olds. I keep repeating that.

Our new approach is only one piece of the whole puzzle. The Reform Party keeps forgetting this whenever it asks questions. There are other sections in the Criminal Code that take care of cases like those, not only the present legislation we tabled in the House.

Our approach, I repeat, is a balanced approach, an approach that does want to protect society. That is exactly what we are doing with this new law. We are also talking about meaningful consequence, accountability—

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was the chairman of the Liberal justice committee who actually pronounced that 10 and 11 years olds should be brought forward as part of the Young Offenders Act, not the Reform Party.

The minister's selection of crimes to suit her purpose is a curious one. She includes aggravated sexual assault, of which there were three in 1996 and 1997, in her list of select crimes, and yet dismisses sexual assaults with a weapon, of which there were 46.

Why does the minister not think sexual assault with a weapon or armed robbery or hostage taking during a home invasion is a serious crime?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House will have opportunity to go into all these issues in detail.

In the meantime, according to the Edmonton Sun , Chief John Lindsay, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said: “We see some very positive things in this new bill. We honestly think this is a more serious response to more serious and violent crime, and that pleases us”.

There is a statement from somebody who knows what he is talking about. He is the chief of the Edmonton police force in the hon. member's own province. The member ought to listen to this voice of reality, reason and knowledge.