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House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

March 13th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary for heritage scooped the industry minister yesterday by announcing an expert panel to look into the growing problem of corporate concentration in the media.

Another panel is about to be announced to plot the future of Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications. It is rumoured that cable lobbyist Janet Yale and senior Bell Canada executive Sheridan Scott will chair this panel, arousing deep concern about whether we will have a regulatory regime at all in Canada or just a free-for-all among corporations. Which will it be?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that in fact the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act for a number of years have been shared responsibility. As late as last year we began the process of looking at some analysis for dealing with the issues facing us over the next five years.

I think it is a proactive approach. We know that we are living in a modern world. The Telecommunications Act and the Broadcasting Act will obviously be included in this review.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have two committees here: one a dog and pony show designed to distract from the real and growing problem of corporate concentration in the media and the other designed to advance the real agenda: further concentration of power in the hands of fewer corporate giants.

We want to know: Is Captain Canada about to adopt a new persona and emerge from his telephone booth as Captain Concentration?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think it is hardly appropriate to characterize as a dog and pony show a review which has not even been announced yet, but I can assure the hon. member that in the course of the last couple of years we have had a number of concerns expressed about the issue of diversity of Canadian voices, both on television and through the Internet.

We want to make sure in our review of CRTC policies that we make more space for more Canadian voices. That is the objective that we are underscoring, which I hope is supported by all political parties.

Corporate ConcentrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Prime Minister is about the panel of experts the government decided to set up to investigate corporate concentration after the Asper affair.

The leader of the government in the Senate stated yesterday that she would be partial to a Senate committee study of this issue instead of a panel. I wonder if she was speaking for the government.

In any event, will the Prime Minister bring the proposed terms of reference of any review to the House for advice and full debate prior to deciding the mandate or the membership of any review or panel?

Corporate ConcentrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the original discussion of the panel predates the hon. member's question by about 12 months, so we can hardly be accused of creating this process to meet a problem that he claims occurred this week.

The fact is that as a result of our concerns we undertook to have a number of reviews done by a number of experts. They have been taking the course over the last number of months. There have been seven studies sought by independent experts. Six have been completed and we are awaiting the seventh. When that study is in, we will move forthwith with the panel which can focus on these very important issues for the country.

Corporate ConcentrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, so much for parliament. The Prime Minister claims that he sold his golf club shares to Jonas Prince in 1993, yet the 1994 declaration of registration of 161341 Canada Inc. with the government of Quebec does not show Jonas Prince or any of his companies as a shareholder. Nor do six subsequent annual declarations. Why not?

Will the Prime Minister now table a copy of the agreement respecting the golf club shares so Canadians can know if this was about a sale or simply about an option to purchase?

Corporate ConcentrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the facts of the matter are clear. This is a question which has been looked into by the RCMP. The RCMP has closed the file. It is a matter which has been looked at by the ethics counsellor. The ethics counsellor has very clearly pronounced himself on the file.

The member may ask questions again and again and again. It does not change the fact the Prime Minister has complied fully and completely with the requirements of the ethics counsellor.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us go through this again. In April 1999 the RCMP took photos, commonly called evidence, of Gaetano Amodeo meeting with Nick Rizutto, a Montreal mob boss.

The RCMP knew he was considered armed and dangerous. In fact it had an arrest warrant. I would like to ask the person who really should know, the solicitor general, why he was not arrested at the time.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the important thing to remember is that we had a fugitive fleeing the law. Because of the RCMP gathering the evidence and with the co-operation of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the man is now arrested, in jail and going before a deportation hearing.

Surely my hon. colleague does not want me personally to handle RCMP investigations.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are getting somewhere. We have a fugitive who was fleeing the law. That is right. We have evidence. We have photos of his meeting with a Montreal mob boss. We have a warrant that the police had for two long years.

Could the solicitor general explain how it is that an organized crime hitman who had a Canadian arrest warrant out for him for two years, who was wanted in Italy and wanted in Germany, is not only not arrested but fully expects to become a Canadian citizen?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hypothesis of the question is complete nonsense. The individual is not an immigrant to Canada. He was refused status.

Further, what the member opposite is suggesting, if I hear correctly, is that without any evidence, without any warrant, we should pick up people off the streets and deport them. That is a police state and that is not what Canada is all about.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Amodeo affair, the solicitor general claims not to have been informed. He did not notify the minister because he himself had not been informed. Yes, but the Minister of Justice had been informed. In fact, the Italian government had sent a request for extradition to the Canadian Department of Justice as long ago as 1999.

Why did the Minister of Justice, who had been informed, not have the professional conscience to notify her colleague in immigration?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should be aware, any extradition request is in the form of a state to state communication. Those communications are confidential and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on them.

However let me say that we do know, because the Italian embassy has reported to the media, that an extradition request was made. I also want to inform the House that at no time was any court file opened in this country in relation to the extradition of Mr. Amodeo.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we not up to our necks here in government irresponsibility? We have a solicitor general the RCMP does not talk to, a Minister of Justice who knows but does not tell her Cabinet colleague. As far as I know, they are all supposed to have taken the same oath.

What kind of people do we have governing us? Who is responsible for international criminals seeing Canada as a kind of Club Med, a country with revolving doors as far as immigration is concerned?

Is it the minister responsible for the police who is not doing his job, the Minister of Justice who is refusing to talk to her colleague, or the Minister of Immigration who does not know what she is doing?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague wishes for me to get involved in RCMP investigations and relay information from investigations to other government departments, I am sorry but that is not the way the system works in this country. Politicians do not get involved in law enforcement.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

That is pretty clear, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister said the reason his government did not deport suspected terrorist Ahmed Ressam years ago was because Canada does not deport to his homeland of Algeria. It is part of its tolerance for terrorists policy.

Instead we let him roam free in our country, take out a phoney Canadian passport and travel back and forth to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan where he learned to make bombs.

My question is simple. How could our security be so lax that people with this kind of background are allowed to enter undetected and roam around free within our borders?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, once again the member opposite speaks to a case that is before the courts.

This is an individual who was arrested. Surely he would not expect us to give a play by play of what is happening in a court in the United States and would not want to jeopardize the outcome of that trial.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is completely irrelevant. We are looking for an explanation of how our security can be so lax at the borders that these sorts of people can come in undetected and jeopardize the lives of Canadians and the reputation of this country.

Former CSIS director, Reid Morden, has said that as a result of this incident Canada has been exposed as a haven for terrorists. There are anti-terrorism laws in other countries like the U.S. and the U.K. which make this kind of activity completely illegal. Why is Canada refused to bring in that kind of legislation?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in fact our frontline officers are experienced. Last year 65,000 people were stopped. Some 7,200 of them were stopped because of criminal concerns.

When we have evidence, our frontline people can refuse admission to Canada to those who are inadmissible. That is the way it works. They have to have evidence before they can stop them.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice tells us that she could not inform her colleague at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration about the extradition request because it was part of a confidential state to state communication.

Am I to understand that Mr. Amodeo could thus have become a Canadian citizen with the assistance of Immigration Canada because the minister and the department were apparently not told of the extradition request from Italy?

Is that in fact what she is now telling us? Would the confidentiality behind which she is taking cover have allowed this gentleman to become a Canadian citizen?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

No, Mr. Speaker. This individual was not granted permanent residence status. He was refused permanent residence status.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Government of Canada receive an extradition request and the Minister of Justice not inform the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration?

During this time, court proceedings may have been under way because, up until June 1999—and the RCMP knew this because the extradition request was made in September 1999—Mr. Amodeo was still on the list of those applying for citizenship or permanent residence.

How is it that the minister did not know? One knew and the other claims she did not.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let make it absolutely clear. As I indicated, what we are dealing with in an extradition request is a state to state communication. The confidentiality imposed upon that communication prevents me from making the contents of those communications known publicly.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, economic warning signs continue to come in both here and abroad. In February Canadian employment posted its weakest record in four months with a reduction of over 23,000 positions. Equity markets continue to take a tail dive here and among our second largest trading partner, Japan.

When will the finance minister finally take action that reflects these troubling economic developments by tabling a pro growth, tax cutting budget?