House of Commons Hansard #220 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were deeply saddened and troubled last week by the news of the shooting in Taber, which left Jason Lang, a 17-year old student, dead and another student of the same age seriously injured.

As we know by now, this tragic incident at W. R. Myers High School was the work of a former student, barely 14 years old. This only adds to the tragedy and our bewilderment.

It is always hard to understand the reasons for such actions. It is just as painful, if not impossible, to know how to interpret them. The easy way out, of course, is to say that violence breeds violence. Yet how can we explain that a small peaceful community in southern Alberta would have to go through such a tragedy?

One should avoid drawing easy parallels with what happened in Littleton, Colorado, a couple of weeks ago. Others go back 10 years to the tragic events at École Polytechnique, in Montreal, although the social problems at the roots of that tragedy were quite different. Nonetheless, the pain of the grieving families in Alberta is just as real and deep.

The main lesson we must learn from such events is the need for soul-searching as individuals and as a community. We must analyse our collective and individual behaviour, and wonder what impact it has on society in general and young people in particular.

We must therefore wonder about the roots of violence, about our ability to deal with the distress of many young people and about the role to which we confine them in our society. We must reflect on the despair that afflicts too many young people and on the inadequate answers provided by the governments.

Should we put the accent on rehabilitating young people or on imposing coercive measures that only alienate them more? The answer is obvious.

On this day of the memorial service for Jason Lang, I want to offer to his family and friends, on behalf of all my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois, our sincere condolences in this most difficult time. I also wish Shane Christmas a speedy and full recovery.

Our thoughts are with you and with all the families in Taber and Alberta.

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party we join with all members in a profound expression of sympathy and grief to the community of Taber at its loss, a loss that is shared across the country.

To the family of Jason Lang, we can only begin to understand the horror and tragedy of the loss of a young and promising life. To the family of Shane Christmas, we wish for hope and strength that this young man will come through both physically and emotionally.

There are many questions and we in the NDP like all Canadians want to find answers to prevent the senseless violence that occurs.

As we grieve surely we must also struggle to find the means to channel violence and social exclusion in our society into a strengthening of our communities so that young people are not marginalized and left feeling lost but are part of a genuine human family that fosters respect, understanding and dignity for all.

The people of Taber have bravely demonstrated to us all the strength of their community to cope, to understand and to begin to heal. Their loss can never be forgotten.

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, less than a week ago the nation was sent into a state of shock over hearing about the random shooting at the W. R. Myers High School in Taber. Sadly we also received word that one of the young men, Jason Lang, had passed away.

Today, a family, a community and a country are burying one of their own. On this sad day I would like to call on all Canadians to look into their hearts and to say a prayer for the family that is suffering. These families, especially the Lang family, will live every day with the pain of this event. It will become an ache that they will learn to deal with but know will never subside. Through their daily lives they will carry the spirit of Jason with them in all they do.

As Jason's father Reverend Lang stated a few days ago “it is like a piece of your heart is gone and it will never come back”. The Bible states blessed are those with a pure heart because they will see God. Today Reverend Lang stated that Jason has definitely seen God.

The country has seen the strength and courage of one family dealing with the utmost pain, and today we are witnesses to a wounded community healing itself.

During the memorial service today Reverend Lang said “Jesus is weeping with this community today”. Not only is he weeping. Jesus is asking us to look at our lives and see what is really important to us. We must open our hearts to one another and we must learn to love. We must not hate and we must not allow hate to take over our schools and make them a breeding ground for other such incidents to happen.

The prayers of the country are with the Lang family and the community of Taber, Alberta. I ask my colleagues today to stand for a moment of silence and a wee prayer for all of them, the families of Taber and the families of Colorado.

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if there would be unanimous consent to return to tabling of documents.

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in such a fashion?

Taber, AlbertaRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

Tabling Of Treaties ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-506, an act to provide for the tabling of treaties in the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill to provide for the tabling of treaties in the House of Commons.

Pursuant to this bill, at least 21 sitting days before Canada ratifies a treaty, the Minister of Foreign Affairs shall table in the House of Commons the treaty, with an explanatory memorandum on the content and the impact of the treaty.

Also, before Canada amends a treaty, the Minister of Foreign Affairs shall table in the House of Commons, at least 21 sitting days before approval of the amendment, the treaty itself, an explanatory memorandum on the content and the impact of the treaty and the amendment with a letter explaining the content and the impact of the treaty.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by many of my constituents asking that parliament understand the concept of marriage as only a voluntary unit between single males and single females.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on the subject matter of human rights which is signed by a number of Canadians including from my own riding of Mississauga South.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that human rights abuses continue to be rampant around the world including countries such as Indonesia, and Kosovo. The petitioners also acknowledge that Canada continues to be recognized as the international champion of internationally recognized human rights. Therefore they call upon the Government of Canada to continue to speak out on behalf human rights and of those whose human rights are abused and also that it seek to bring to justice those responsible for such human rights abuses.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 3rd, 1999 / 3:15 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege today of presenting a petition with 308 signatures. These residents from the south Okanagan are greatly concerned about the future of the Penticton airport. The negotiations have been ongoing since 1994. Right now they are at an impasse. My constituents are calling on the government to appoint a mediator to assist in the transfer of the Penticton airport.

There will be thousands more to come.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions. The first one has over 50 signatures.

The petitioners are bringing to the attention of the House of Commons their concerns regarding mandatory labelling and thorough testing of all genetically engineered foods. They want to ensure that there is clear labelling of all genetically engineered foods and their byproducts available in Canada, and to have tests to ensure the safety of these foods when consumed by humans.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has 150 signatures on it.

The petitioners are drawing to the attention of the House the following. The Canadian government has blindly followed a careless and dangerous U.S.-NATO policy of bombing the sovereign country of Yugoslavia and the Serbian people. Because of the dangerous precedent set it could open the door to the bombing of other countries, the interfering with the internal affairs of nations and with other minorities.

The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada and parliament to disengage from such policy and bring the troops home.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from residents of Peterborough and the surrounding area who are concerned about drinking and driving.

The petitioners point out that 4.5 Canadians are killed and 125 Canadians are seriously injured every day as a result of alcohol related driving.

These petitioners pray that parliament immediately amend the Criminal Code to streamline the judicial process and provide sanctions that better reflect the seriousness of the crime by introducing amendments to provide for tiered penalties for driving with a blood alcohol count of more than .08% and to introduce mandatory assessment and needed treatment of offenders to sentences of impaired driving, and to authorize alcohol interlock as a term of probation for drinking and driving offenders.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of the friends of Clayton McGloan, a young person who died at the hands of young offenders a while back.

The petition is signed by a number of people from my hometown of Sundre, Alberta. They call upon the government to change significantly the Young Offenders Act to the point that it makes the protection of society the number one priority in its justice system.

I am pleased to present the petition on behalf of the petitioners today.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the Minister for International Trade is here. He would be delighted that in spite of what he had to say earlier, these constituents from Kamloops do not agree with his assessment of the contribution that the North American Free Trade Agreement has made to the Canadian economy.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions.

This petition asks that parliament enact legislation, such as Bill C-225, so as to define in statute that a marriage can only be entered into between a single male and a single female.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon parliament to enact legislation to ensure that Sumas Community Correctional Centre officials will have the right to refuse violent repeat and dangerous offenders who could pose a danger to society, and that habitual violent offenders and sexual perpetrators should not be allowed to reside at Sumas Community Correctional Centre any longer.

This makes for over 30,000 names. The petitioners are asking for action from the government sooner and not later.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of residents of the beautiful constituency of Elk Island. Some of the names on this petition I actually recognize. They are people I know. They are asking, as many Canadians are, that the tax code be revised so that it be fair to those who choose to have one of the children's own parents raise them at home instead of sending them out to have that done by someone else.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from Canadians of Serbian origin who call upon parliament to amend the decision to participate in NATO military action against Yugoslavia, to call upon our allies in NATO to cease their participation in the undeclared war against Yugoslavia, and to support a peaceful solution to the crisis which is fair and acceptable to all sides.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 202 and 217. .[Text]

Question No. 202—

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain why Canada, which has been a member of the Organization of American States since 1990, has not yet ratified the American Convention on Human Rights?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

A key human rights instrument in the Organization of American States (OAS) system is the American Convention on Human Rights convention or ACHR.

Before Canada can ratify a human rights convention, we must ensure that we are in a position to live up to the commitments we would undertake by ratifying it. Since 1991, consultations have been conducted with federal, provincial and territorial officials to assess compliance of federal and provincial legislation with the convention. The review process has been complicated by the vague, imprecise and outdated language used in the convention. Many provisions in the Convention are ambiguous or contain concepts which are unknown or problematic in Canadian law. More importantly, many provisions of the Convention are inconsistent with other international human rights norms, making it difficult for us to comply with both the ACHR and those norms.

By way of example, the ACHR would preclude prior censorship, and therefore would conflict with Canada's international obligations to suppress hate propaganda and child pornography. The ACHR would preclude the extradition of nationals, and therefore would conflict with Canada's extradition obligations and our obligations to co-operate with international criminal tribunals or the future international criminal court. Serious concerns have been raised that the unusual wording of the ACHR provision on the right to life may create a conflict with charter rights. The ACHR contains a right of reply to innacurate or offensive statements in the media, which is not known in our law and may conflict with charter rights. The ACHR guarantees equality before the law but does not contemplate affirmative action.

In order to ratify the ACHR at present, a very large number of reservations and statements of understanding, SOUs, would be required. However, Canada's position with respect to reservations to human rights treaties is that reservations should be few in number and limited in scope. We are concerned that ratifying the ACHR with a large number of reservations and SOUs would be contrary to this position and would undermine our efforts to dissuade other states from ratifying human rights treaties subject to sweeping reservations.

Until such time as the concerns with respect to reservations and SOUs expressed by both levels of government have been satisfactorily dealt with, Canada will not be in position to ratify the ACHR.

Canadians are already entitled to bring petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging human rights violations. Therefore, even without ratification of the ACHR, Canadians already benefit fully from the inter-American human rights system.

Question No. 217—

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Which corporations, individuals, or consortiums have expressed an interest in purchasing the Prince Mine owned by the Cape Breton Development Corporation?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsable for the Canadian Wheat Board

On March 29, 1999, the Cape Breton Development Corporation, DEVCO, advertised nationally its requirement for financial advisory services in respect to the sale of its assets. The closing date for proposals was April 27, 1999. It is expected that Devco will engage a financial advisor in early May. At that time, the financial advisor will begin preparation of an information package for prospective purchasers. Private sector interest in Devco's assets will only be known after the information package is available and bids have been received.