This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I made clear in the House what the facts are. Last week Health Canada officials were acting on my direction to accumulate Cipro. They called Bayer on two occasions on Wednesday and were told there was no Cipro available.

I think we all heard for ourselves yesterday the weasel words used when Bayer was confronted with those facts. I can tell the House that is what happened. We were refused when we asked. Our objective, as always, is to protect the health security of Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, we just heard some weasel words right now from the minister. That is for sure.

Bayer has purchase orders from Health Canada proving that 400,000 pills were ordered on October 9. It has proof that another 400,000 were ordered on October 15 and delivered on October 16. The other 400,000 were asked to be warehoused by Health Canada.

The minister insists on his version. Where is his proof?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, when Sherlock Holmes over there goes back to his work maybe he will find out that last Wednesday we wanted to buy another million pills from Bayer, and Bayer said they were not available, not once but twice.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Health told us that his responsibility was to protect the health and security of Canadians.

Yet, this responsible minister did not obtain approval from cabinet, from the Prime Minister's Office, or from the patent commissioner before his officials, supposedly of their own accord, placed an order with Apotex.

What makes the Minister of Health, who claims to be a responsible individual, think that he can get us to believe that his officials took such a decision without anyone consulting him first?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the officials received a personal request from me to stockpile the necessary drugs. And they reacted in a responsible manner.

Clearly, it was a mistake not to respect the details in the Patent Act, but the officials acted in good faith.

I have a certain latitude in emergency situations, and I acted to protect Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he talks about his officials, he talks about his own latitude, and he talks about respecting the law being a detail. He says that, in good faith, they failed to comply with the legislation.

The Minister of Health's version does not hold up.

I ask him this: Did he consult the crisis cabinet set up by the Prime Minister for the very purpose of examining crisis situations and their details, as the Minister of Health calls them?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is my responsibility to take action in matters concerning the health of Canadians and the protection of their health.

This is my responsibility, and I acted in a responsible manner. Health Canada officials acted in good faith to protect the health of the public, and that is our responsibility.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, decisions of great importance were taken, and the minister says that he consulted neither the cabinet, nor his colleague responsible for the Patent Act. He consulted no one.

How does the minister explain that, in a situation such as this, a decision of such importance was made without the involvement of any political level of the government, except for the minister himself, who lacked judgment?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, if something urgent had come up during the weekend, if the need for drugs had become evident during the weekend, would the hon. member rather that the Minister of Health be in a committee meeting? I think not.

It is important to have access to the needed drugs, and this is why we acted, and we acted appropriately.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Prime Minister will be pleased to hear that his Minister of Health considers it a waste of time to consult the Prime Minister's Office or the crisis cabinet, which the Prime Minister established precisely to deal with emergency situations.

Such a lack of judgment deserves a reproof from the Prime Minister, not congratulations in order to save face.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, not one month, not one week has gone by for many years now, without people saying that the Prime Minister decides everything.

Today, in an emergency situation, the Prime Minister delegated the responsibility to deal with this problem, which is important for the health of Canadians, to the Minister of Health, and now, it seems I should have been the one to take the decision, instead of the Minister of Health.

The minister acted within his responsibilities, he acted promptly, and that is why I congratulated him.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is finally doing his job, and high time it is too.

After the events of September 11, his economic forecasts no longer reflect reality. Bank interest rates are at their lowest, but that is not enough to stop job losses.

Is the minister considering increasing investments in his budget, in order to counteract the recession?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance did not understand that he was complimented by the leader of the NDP, because we have the lowest interest rates in a long time in Canada and that will stimulate the Canadian economy.

It was the nature of the question.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as usual the Prime Minister ignores the concern about this not being sufficient to deal with job losses.

People do welcome the fact that there is a budget forthcoming but they want a major commitment to environmental infrastructure. The finance minister pretends that he is pro green, yet yesterday the government abandoned its $3 billion public transit promise.

Will the finance minister assure Canadians today that the government stimulus package will target water treatment, public transit and energy efficiency?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all the leader of the NDP ought to know that is exactly what we did in the October statement and that plan is ongoing.

She also ought to know, and I am sure she does, that the Governor of the Bank of Canada would never have been able to proceed with a very large cut in interest rates had the government and the Canadian people not cleaned up their balance sheets. That was the condition precedent.

I must say I apologize for not having understood that the leader of the NDP was complimenting the government. I am glad she has seen the light.

HealthOral Question Period

October 24th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health claims the company Bayer told Health Canada it could not supply the additional Cipro.

Will the minister table any documentation that might prove that Bayer was approached prior to his department going to Apotex in breach of the patent law? Will the minister agree to have any official or officials who might have had conversations with Bayer testify publicly before a committee of parliament? This is a simple question. Will the minister produce the evidence, written or oral?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have already confirmed those facts.

The member should also be aware that Bayer has apparently entered into negotiations with the United States government in relation to the cost of its Cipro tablets there.

I have written to Bayer and told them that Canada expects the same deal with respect to pricing. If the United States government negotiates a lower price for Cipro I want Canadians to have those savings, just as Canadians will not pay a cent more than they should for any of this medication.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the minister has no proof to provide. If he had he would be straightforward with an answer.

The Apotex deal keeps changing. Monday the company had a clear claim for breach of contract. Yesterday in the dark of the night Apotex gave up its clear right to $1.5 million in compensation. The minister expects us to believe that was just out of the goodness of its heart.

What promises were made regarding this deal or any future considerations? What side deal did the minister make?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member has been back there in the dark corners too long. He is seeing shadows where they do not exist.

The member probably also recognizes that what this Minister of Health is doing, among other things, is standing by his officials, standing behind them. That is something he would not recognize. We saw what he believes about ministerial responsibility when he was in government. We saw how he cut loose his officials in the Al-Mashat affair.

This minister will not behave that way.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada has been singled out by the auditor general in terms of the hundreds of millions of dollars of waste in it and other departments.

We have a Minister of Finance who pared down a deficit by slashing health care payments to provinces. We have no idea if we are spending our way into a deficit.

Will the Minister of Finance simply tell us today, will he abandon his record of going without a budget longer than any other finance minister and simply announce that he will table a budget? Will he announce that today, to table a budget before the end of the year?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, just so the hon. member understands, oui, monsieur le Président. Yes, Mr. Speaker.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, back to the Cipro blunder, the minister says that he needed an extra million doses for the weekend in case of infection over the weekend. He has hidden from the Canadian public that he had 800,000 doses available to him legally through Bayer.

Could the minister explain why those 800,000 doses were so quietly kept secret?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that I directed Health Canada officials to obtain medication sufficient to protect 100,000 people and to include in that the appropriate amount of Cipro. We purchased some. When we went back to purchase more last week, Bayer said they had no more and we acted as the House knows we did.

Will the member explain to the House why he is more interested in the profits of a giant pharmaceutical company than he is in protecting the health of Canadians? Where are his priorities?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Apotex manufactures a drug that has never received Health Canada approval.

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, Oh.