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House of Commons Hansard #166 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member for Selkirk--Interlake very intensely. He came up with a couple of questions in regard to the legislation and maybe I can help him.

He said that he could not understand why the government would do this to the farmers and ranchers. If we go back and look at what has happened, most farmers and ranchers are independent people. The government just hates independent people. If they are not dependent upon the government, they probably will probably vote for it. Therefore, it will do everything possible to hinder the independent people of the country in order to include them in the system it wants to create, and that is a system of dependency upon the government. That way it will get more votes in the next election. That is my read on that. I hope that will help the member to some extent. I would also like him to comment on that.

The member is an ex-police officer who dealt quite extensively with the criminal element, particularly in the areas of drug dealing and prostitution, with many chances of running into people with firearms. How many people who go out with the intention to shoot someone or to hold up a bank actually register their firearms? Has he ever run into a case such as that?

He used the figure of $700 million as the cost of the registration of firearms up to this point. The word that I have had is that only one-third of the program has been implemented, which means there is still two-thirds to be implemented. Therefore, if it has cost us $700 million for one-third, what will the other two-thirds cost us or will we ever get there? That is another question that goes through my mind.

However, this is one thing that Canadians should know about the firearms legislation. The legislation has to do with more than just firearms. For those people who do not own a firearm or have grave concerns with this act, particularly Bill C-68 and firearms registration, it goes outside the bounds.

What we have done is set a precedent with this legislation which gives the minister the right to deem whatever he or she thinks is a danger without it coming before the House of Commons to be debated. If we allow one minister to do that, we set a precedent for other ministers to do that. This is happening in a country which we have all been led to believe is a democracy, where all things should come before the people. Through orders in council and through this side door type of thing that has been put into this policy, most people out there do not understand that. It becomes much larger than just a firearms piece of legislation.

This could pertain to everything that we have in the country. It could pertain to the Health Act. What is to stop the government of the day, sitting over there in its arrogance, from giving this right to every other minister in the House? I would like the member to comment on that.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

An hon. member

They do it all the time.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Yes, it does it all the time. That is right.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, those were pretty precise comments in regard to the whole issue of ministers, but I would like to speak briefly on the concept and the question of the independence of the individual.

Canadians are individuals. We have individual rights under the charter of rights. What we do not have are property rights to own property. That is something that was missed in the days of Mr. Trudeau and it should have been done. It does not mean that just because people are independent thinkers that they do not have concern for their neighbours, or that they do not want them to be safe and secure or that they do not want their neighbours to practise whatever religion they may want. That concern for neighbours is carried by people who think independently as well as those who want to think in a more collective way.

It is wrong to label firearm owners as those who do not have any concern for their neighbours. I pointed out that the Canadian Alliance will have firearm legislation. It will have control of criminals. It will punish criminals and do it in a way that is cost-efficient. That $700 million at the present time, and as my learned friend said that is only two-thirds of the way which could be another $400 million or $500 million yet to be spent, could go to health care and social services to help prevent many of the crimes that the Liberals will just watch happen. In five years they will wring their hands and say that they do not understand why the gun legislation did not prevent spousal abuse. It is because they did not use the $700 million to help those people. This is a compassionate, Liberal government? I see no compassion.

My learned friend talked about firearms and the tracking of them by the RCMP. If my firearms were stolen from my house, I would have given the serial numbers to the RCMP. It has computer systems. The serial numbers and firearm descriptions are entered in the computer system. Every policeman has access to that. If policemen seize or find firearms in vehicles, for example, they can check the serial numbers in the computer system. This is all in place. It could use some refinement and some enhancement from the days I was there, but we did not have to go to where we are now.

The member also asked about seizing firearms which I personally had an opportunity to do, especially while I was doing drug work. Every firearm that either I or my partner seized were handguns or sawed off shotguns. The sawed off shotguns were prohibited weapons anyway so they were pretty easy to seize and get a conviction on. The registration system for the handguns that was in place and which Canadians had to obey. The drug dealers did not obey it. In my whole life I never saw a registered handgun seized from a drug. I swear to God that right in downtown Ottawa today, if we could mysteriously see which drug dealers were carrying firearms, we would not find any of them registered. They are bloody criminals. I cannot believe the government does not understand crime when we look at what it does with our tax dollars.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what would happen in his neck of the woods, in Selkirk--Interlake, if he was to ask his constituents how they would spend that $700 million. Would they rather see a twinning of highways or irrigation projects or would they rather see that money put toward the confiscation of firearms?

I was also going to touch on section 745 and the million dollar appeals it cost for Clifford Olson to appeal under a sure bet clause with regard to the criminal code and court challenges programs that allow prisoners to contest how many choices of toothpaste they have. However I will leave my question with the member.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are limited amounts of money and resources in any given country. The government has clearly said that it does not have any more money to help agriculture and farmers with drought conditions. It has denied Saskatchewan $5 million and has told the other provinces that there is no money available for them.

This shows me that the resources are limited and that they should be used in the highest priority areas. Using them for registering the rifles and shotguns of law-abiding citizens should not be a priority area. The priority areas should be against criminals and for health care.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before I resume debate, I want to report to the House that the subamendment proposed by the member for Selkirk--Interlake is in order. Debate will continue on the subamendment.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today to Bill C-15B.

Before I begin my speech, I would like to say how deeply saddened we in the opposition were that the government chose to originally bring in Bill C-15 with completely disparate issues attached to it.

The new bill, Bill C-15B, also has two disparate issues, one dealing with the Firearms Act and the other dealing with cruelty to animals. These issues should be two separate bills so members could vote for or against them.

Those of us who have strong feelings for or against one issue and a different view on the other issue should not have to vote a certain way. When the government connects two disparate issues it compromises our ability as members of parliament to do what our constituents want us to do.

It reminds me of the situation in the U.S. congress where a particularly good bill will move forward but suddenly have an attachment to it with a completely different issue that has nothing to do with the intent of the original bill and as a result the whole bill is bombarded, destroyed and cannot move forward.

It is actually a way of kiboshing a particular issue and compromising our ability to work and the ability and concerns of Canadians to move forward. The government should never do this again. If it were truly interested in dealing with issues, such as animal cruelty and firearms registration, which are both important issues, it should do so in two separate bills and not one.

Having said that, I will deal with the two issues separately, the first one being cruelty to animals. There is not a person in the House who does not want to see legislation toughened up to deal with those miserable, disgusting, bottom feeding creatures who would take out their frustrations in life upon defenceless, innocent animals. Worse than that, we see a disturbing pattern of behaviour in people who do this, particularly when they are young.

Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell us that there is a strong link between the abusive and violent actions of an adult against persons or animals and the actions of the same adult as a child. In fact, a child who displays the systematic desire to harm animals is showing a big warning flag that he or she may grow up to commit violent abuses as an adult. We are very cognizant of that.

As a party we have certainly fought for and would support good legislation that would strengthen the penalties to ensure that individuals who commit those atrocious acts will be brought before the full force of the law.

Sadly, however, that does not happen today. We have heard of cases where dogs have been roasted, boiled and tortured, as have other domestic animals, and the individuals who committed those acts receive slaps on the wrist . The Canadian public and indeed everyone in the House wants to see things toughened up. The question is whether Bill C-15B is the way to go.

We have heard in the House from members on all sides that there is a vast number of individuals who work with animals who are deeply concerned and do want to ensure that animals are not abused but who will not support Bill C-15B and the elements within the bill that deal with animal cruelty.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is one of the groups. Surely if there is one group above all others that has the best interest of animals at heart, it is the men and women in the veterinary sciences who work day in and day out to relieve the suffering endured by animals. Obviously these individuals would in no way, shape or form want to see these animals suffer and yet they are opposed to Bill C-15B because it leaves such loopholes that it opens up individuals in their profession to litigation.

How could the government not have seen that the bill would leave veterinary doctors open to criminal prosecution for cruelty to animals?

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association wants those people who work in the veterinary field to be exempted from the code regarding cruelty to animals. It does not want veterinarians being penalized so it has asked that they be excluded from the bill. In the interests of veterinarians, the association is absolutely right.

If we use the same logic, it can be applied to other groups, such as farmers and other people who work in the agricultural field. These individuals work with animals. They work with animals to feed us every single day. We cannot have a bill that enables individuals to prosecute people who are doing their job and treating animals humanely within the context of Canadian law.

Unfortunately, people with extreme views on the issue would like to see animals treated in exactly the same way as human beings. While on a certain level there is some sympathy for that, the fact is that we own animals, we kill animals and we eat animals in order to survive. Those are the facts of life.

As Bill C-15B is written it would enable extremist groups to prosecute individuals who are doing their job to feed us.

If the government wants to do anything on this issue it ought to look at whether or not animals are treated humanely in agricultural practices. It should applaud and support those individuals who are treating animals fairly, those who work in animal husbandry, while prosecuting those individuals who treat animals with disrespect and with cruelty in the field of animal husbandry. That is what the government should be pursuing if it truly wants to have animals treated in a fair fashion.

Canadians for Medical Progress is another group I want to talk about. This group advocates for individuals involved in the biomedical field. Bill C-15B would allow individuals who work with animals in the field of biomedical research to be prosecuted by again those extremist groups who are opposed to animal testing. They dispute the necessity of animal testing.

I must say that those of us who have family members who suffer from cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological disorders and a vast array of other medical problems, it is absolutely essential that we test our new medical treatments not only on people but also on animals. It is a fact of life and we cannot get away from it.

When I was doing some biomedical research as a student we worked on larger mammals. We were always cognizant and fearful of groups that would go into the University of Toronto to try to free the animals. Bill C-15B would enable those types of groups to not only shut down research that is essential for our health but it would also enable them to prosecute researchers who are engaging in lifesaving research for all of us.

We had a code of conduct when we worked in those labs. We had a stern set of regulations that told us what we could and could not do for the humane and ethical treatment of those animals. I can tell members that while those animals were euthanized at the end because they were from the pound and were going to die any way, they were treated with the most utmost respect. They were treated so that they would not have any pain in the course of the research and experiments that we did.

The fear these scientists have is that they believe, and I think with a great deal of legitimacy, that they could be prosecuted if the bill is passed. I will give the House some examples of why they feel this is so. They feel that the definition of animal is too vague and that it should be applied to warm blooded vertebrates only.

Also, as my party has said, the bill at a minimum should reinstate animals as property. That is essential. This does not preclude our ability to implement and institute good, strong, tougher laws that will protect animals against cruelty. Researchers make this point. Many of us own animals and some of us breed them. Some animals are used to feed us. They are property. Increased penalties can easily be incorporated under the property section to protect animals from cruelty. That is what should be done. That is what biomedical researchers would like to have done. As they have said before, if the bill passes and if it gives individuals the power to prosecute them, which it does, then we are killing biomedical science research in Canada.

The second half of the bill deals with the firearms legislation or Bill C-68, which was passed in the House some time ago. Bill C-68, the firearms registration act, was labelled as a bill for the protection of the Canadian public. When it came out, my colleagues and I were appalled. We were appalled but not because we were against public safety: Bill C-68 did the exact opposite.

It seems almost counterintuitive. Who would not be in favour of legislation that would prohibit criminals from acquiring guns and ensure public safety? Everybody in the House is in favour of this. We were labelled as a party that was against gun control, but I will dispel all of that today as I did in front of the justice committee when Bill C-68 was put together. At that time I took apart the then justice minister's comments piece by piece based on the facts.

Fact number one is that this party is in favour of protecting civilians and in favour of gun control, but we are not in favour of stupid gun control that will make Canadians less safe. I will explain why. Bill C-68 is chewing up $600 million. The question is, can that money be better used somewhere else? That is the question at hand.

One of my Liberal colleagues said that he could not believe I was against this bill because he claimed it would save lives. I asked him how much he thought a life was worth. In reply he said that no amount of money could be placed on the value of a life. He said the government would spend any amount of money to save one life. I told him that in economics there is something called an opportunity cost. If people put money into A versus B they had better get more bang for their buck in A than in B. That is the problem. The sum of $600 million will not give someone more benefit in A than in B. That amount will not save more lives as it is currently used. It will actually decrease the number of lives saved. That money ought to be used to put police on the ground. We should have money for our customs officers. We should have money in our courts to prosecute those individuals who are using guns as weapons for illegal purposes.

One of the arguments used by the government was that the bill would make our streets safer. Based on police facts, a criminal does not purchase a gun, take a course, wait a period of time, apply to the government and then commit an act. The criminal gets the gun illegally from the United States, often a smuggled gun, and then commits an act of violence. That is where criminals' guns come from. Criminals do not get a firearms acquisition licence from the government. They do not take courses. They acquire their guns illegally.

If the government were truly interested in public safety, it would do the following. First, it would toughen up our borders and provide more customs officers there. Second, it would ensure heavier penalties for the use of a gun in the commission of an offence. Third, the government should ensure that the law is enforced. The public would be shocked to know that in regard to violent offences a weapons offence is often plea bargained away to get an expeditious conviction on another offence. Or if the person is convicted on the weapons offence, the weapons offence penalty runs concurrently, not consecutively. What kind of a penalty is that?

There is something I used to be disgusted about when I worked as a jail guard. I used to see people committing multiple acts of violence. The penalties for their criminal acts and weapons offences were added to their sentences concurrently. The criminals would laugh about it. They would laugh and say there was no penalty for using weapons.

The government's second argument is that there would be fewer suicides if we had gun control. My party supports gun control. We support firearms acquisition certificates and courses. We support waiting periods so that people who are violent, have psychiatric problems or are a threat to society would be able to take the courses.

My time has partially run out. I assume I will be able to continue--

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals and Firearms) and the Firearms ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca will have the opportunity to continue his intervention after question period. He has approximately four minutes remaining.

Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House of the considerable contribution being made by the federal government in the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, through the Canada—Quebec Infrastructure Works Program.

More than $740,000 will be invested in infrastructure in this riding by the Government of Canada. Among the projects that have been approved is the replacement of the water treatment facilities and improvements to security in different areas.

This program was set up under an agreement between the federal government and the Quebec government. Approximately one third of the costs are covered by the federal government, the rest being provided by the provincial and municipal levels. Some projects also require investment by the private sector.

This is good news. The quality of life of the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles will be improved through these projects.

I am proud of this government. It is sensitive to the needs of all of the regions of Quebec.

WhistleblowingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, Corporal Robert Read, a 26 year RCMP veteran, is being fired from his job tomorrow for blowing the whistle after he found evidence of suspected wrongdoing related to serious security breaches, infiltration of the immigration computer system, corruption, fraud, bribes, abuse and cover-up in Canada's foreign office in Hong Kong.

He reported it to his superiors who shut down the investigation and attempted to cover it up. Then he reported it to the RCMP ethics commissioner, the public complaints commission and the auditor general. After five years the issue was still not addressed so he reported it to the media.

The auditor general's 2000 report confirmed that proper security controls do not exist at Canada's foreign posts.

The Liberals have not only failed to keep their election promises of legislating a mechanism for whistleblowers and offering impartial hearings but they have punished whistleblowers one after the other.

We know the solicitor general will not award a medal to Corporal Robert Read but will he at least ensure that this whistleblower will not be fired so that the wrong message will not be sent to potential whistleblowers?

Tourist IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 9 I had the pleasure of announcing on behalf of my colleague, the Secretary of State responsible for Canada Economic Development, the renewal of a three year agreement which will enable Montreal to enhances its international profile even more.

The funding agreement between Economic Development Canada and Tourisme Montréal totals over $5.2 million. It will be used to raise the profile of Montreal on the international market, via publicity and promotional activities, greater use of the new information technologies, to attract more business tourism and to continue the development of pleasure tourism.

Tourism is an industry with indisputable effects on the economy of Quebec and of Canada.

This is just one more example of our government's actions to make Canada and Montreal top tourist attractions.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I draw the attention of members of the House to a special event taking place in which young people all across Canada can participate. I am speaking of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Name The Foal contest which is currently underway this year for a batch of new RCMP foals.

The RCMP and the musical ride horses are a source of immense pride for Canadians, and Canada's national police force is asking for help from children across Canada to name six foals that will be born this spring at the RCMP breeding farm in Pakenham, Ontario. Some of these young horses may one day be part of the world famous RCMP musical ride, and this is a special opportunity for young Canadians to play a part in naming them. Entries must be received before May 31, and online entry forms and other information can be found at the RCMP's website.

I ask that all members join with me in encouraging young people across our country to enter the contest and take great pride in one of our important national symbols, the RCMP, and its famous musical ride.

International Criminal CourtStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the atrocities and human rights abuses I witnessed in Sierra Leone have led me to the firm conclusion that there can be no peace without justice.

Consequently, I am very pleased and honoured to inform the House that earlier today the cause of justice and human rights took a major step forward with the 60th ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This means the ICC will enter into force on July 1 of this year, Canada Day. The date is perhaps very fitting since Canada was the first country to pass comprehensive legislation to implement our obligations under the Rome Statute and we have long been a world leader on the ICC.

Most importantly, the ICC will end impunity for unspeakable evils such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Therein lies the profound significance of today's ratification.

I invite the House to join me in congratulating all those who have worked so hard toward making the ICC a reality.

DentistryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the generosity and compassion of the University of Alberta Faculty of Dentistry and students from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

On April 6 I had the privilege to attend “Open Wide”, a one day dental clinic supplying free basic dental care to those unable to afford it. The treatment took place in the dental clinic in the department of dentistry at the University of Alberta. In order to target those most in need of care, patients were booked by public health clinics and aid giving agencies especially those working with new immigrants.

Between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. dental services were provided to nearly 500 people by approximately 300 volunteers. That is over $65,000 worth of dental care provided free through the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

I ask all members of the House to join me and the people of Edmonton in thanking Dr. Raborn, the Dean of Dentistry, along with the faculty, staff, students and professionals who donated their time and resources for their neighbours in need.

Honneur au Mérite CompetitionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, in March the Beauport--Côte-de-Beaupré Chamber of Commerce gave out awards to the winners of their “Honneur au mérite” competition.

The main purpose of this competition is to honour the spirit of entrepreneurship among the business people of Beauport and Côte-de-Beaupré .

There were awards in six categories: retail, industrial, startup business, service, tourism and job creation.

I felt it was important to mention this excellent demonstration of the dynamism of the business people of Beauport--Côte-de-Beaupré.

Catherine BergeronStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 1, a 28 year old woman from Jonquière, Catherine Bergeron, did the best deed that can be done: she saved a life.

Brothers Frédérick and Karl Jobin were driving on Université boulevard in Chicoutimi, when their car dove 150 feet into the Langevin River. Catherine Bergeron happened to be walking along the banks of the river and helped Frédérick Jobin, who was trapped in his car, which was quickly sinking into the river. In the end, she was able to free him.

Catherine Bergeron demonstrated great courage that cold spring afternoon, and did not hesitate to put her life in danger to save another.

Catherine Bergeron deserves official recognition from the different levels of government, who must commend her act of bravery and her selflessness.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, Canada, Prince Edward Island and the House of Commons are extremely proud of our Canadian Junior Ladies Curling champions, the Suzanne Gaudet rink of Summerside, P.E.I.

Twice Canadian champions, once gold medallists and now bronze medallists at the worlds, the Gaudet rink is one of the most successful junior curling rinks in the history of Canadian curling.

I want to congratulate once again the rink members, skip Suzanne Gaudet, third Robyn MacPhee, second Carol Webb, lead Kelly Higgins, alternate Shelley Nichols and coach Paul Power. I and all Islanders are very proud of their accomplishments.

The rink members will be honoured this Sunday afternoon, April 21, by the city of Summerside where they will accept their much deserved tributes for their athletic prowess, their exemplary conduct whether they won or lost, and for being superb ambassadors for Canada and for P.E.I.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's Kyoto campaign continues today in Calgary where the environment minister is delivering his well rehearsed chicken little, sky is falling speech.

It appears however that he does not want to risk any true dialogue with Albertans on the issue. He is speaking in a room so small that it will only hold 40 people and only invited guests may attend. One has to wonder how the government will arrange the upcoming public consultations and whether it will be the same sort of sham.

Also, the government has not made clear to the public that clean air is not the purpose of Kyoto. There are many much less expensive ways to clean our air, reduce smog and cut back on acid rain than a flawed greenhouse gas treaty.

As has happened with the minister's ridiculous cross Canada tour, the government continues to suppress information and dialogue which could easily yield far better solutions to our environmental problems than the Kyoto accord.

Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 17 we will celebrate the 20th birthday of the charter of rights and freedoms. The Globe and Mail reports that since coming into force the charter has had a profound effect on Canadian lives and ranks as former Prime Minister Trudeau's greatest legacy.

A public opinion survey shows the charter is popular in all parts of Canada including Quebec, and with all age groups. The charter protects individuals as well as groups of citizens. Former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer said it is there to protect the innocent. Groups such as aboriginals have benefited in many ways. In addition, governments now have to respect charter rights when they write legislation as in the case of the Anti-terrorism Act.

The charter is an evolving document described by Justice Iacobucci as a work in progress. As such, the charter will be useful as we write new laws regulating new technologies and the human condition.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian HIV-AIDS Legal Network released a significant report on establishing safe injection facilities in Canada.

I applaud the report because it powerfully outlines the ongoing public health crisis in injection drug use and the need to follow the successful models developed in Europe and Australia to make safe injection sites part of a comprehensive approach to improving the health of drug users and the community as a whole.

In the downtown east side the death toll continues to rise because simple, effective life saving measures like safe injection sites have not been allowed. This landmark report calls on the federal government to create a regulatory framework to govern safe injection facilities. It also calls on the Minister of Health to grant ministerial exemptions to allow facilities on a trial basis.

This Sunday at First United Church, right at the epicentre of this health epidemic, a demonstration site will be set up for a week. I implore the Minister of Health to show leadership and support the report and the community advocates who are displaying such courage in working for these critically needed health measures.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last federal election campaign, Liberal candidates made promise after promise to assist development in the region of the Gaspé Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands.

A year and half later, people in the region are still waiting. The Liberal member from Bonaventure--Gaspé--Îles-de-la-Madeleine--Pabok has a bad record and, like his government's record, it borders on the ridiculous.

The socioeconomic situation in the region is worsening. People are leaving in droves and time is ticking away without any action on the part of the Liberal government. To put it simply, because of the federal government, Forillon is expanding, as the Gaspé saying goes.

According to the group l'Action des patriotes gaspésiens on its website, the Liberal member from the Gaspé peninsula has done nothing for the region, that is right, zero. He ran as a hero; 18 months later, he has gone to zero.

This Gaspé organization's website also makes reference to the former minister responsible for Quebec. The fast-track promised at election time quickly became a slow-track. That is what Liberal promises add up to.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to the excellent work done in Bosnia-Herzegovina by the members of the battle group from the 3rd Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment during rotation 9 of Operation Palladium.

Supported by a reconnaissance squadron from the 12th Armoured Regiment of Canada, a battery from the 5th Regiment Light Artillery of Canada, the 52nd squadron of the 5 Combat Engineer Regiment, a helicopter detachment and an electronic warfare troop, the battle group's mission was to maintain a climate of security and stability for the local population by ensuring that the belligerent armies respected the military provisions of the Dayton accords.

Our troops helped to create a safe environment for the development of peace and stability in an area of operation 30% larger than Prince Edward Island. Other members of the 22nd Regiment, the battle group of the 2nd battalion, are already at work in Bosnia as part of rotation 10.

The professionalism, courage and dedication of our troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina is a credit to their units, the Canadian Forces—

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester.

Middle EastStatements By Members

April 11th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is action that Canada can take to help stop the violence in the Middle East. One of the things we can do is press to have the United Nations Refugee Working Group reinstated to deal with the hopelessness of the Palestinian refugees. If we are to stop the suicide bombers and the terrorist acts we must address the frustration and hopelessness in the camps.

As chair of the United Nations Refugee Working Group, Canada is in a unique position to lead an international group of representatives which could provide some relief. We must do everything we can to convince the countries involved to reinstate the United Nations Refugee Working Group as one tool to stop the violence in the Middle East.