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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

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson has said to the press that he is considering whether guidelines should be recommended to the Prime Minister. I am sure in due course he will decide whether or not to make that a recommendation and the Prime Minister will take it under consideration when he receives it.

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this issue raises the point that the ethics counsellor is not sufficient. The Liberals promised, as they well know, an ethics commissioner reporting to parliament, not to the Prime Minister.

This question is for the industry minister whose responsibility this is. Will we have an ethics commissioner reporting to parliament so that these guidelines will be public, not a secret to the Prime Minister?

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, cabinet conduct is the responsibility of the Prime Minister. That is where it rests in the British parliamentary system and that is where it should be.

As for reporting to parliament, I am sure the hon. member knows that Mr. Wilson has frequently appeared before parliamentary committees. If the hon. member wishes to see him before a committee, I am sure he will be happy to attend and answer all his questions.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that the exodus of young people to large urban centres is a significant damper on the economic development of regions.

Can the Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec tell us what he plans on doing to help the regions of Quebec?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin LiberalSecretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Pontiac--Gatineau--Labelle for his question.

In 1997, Economic Development Canada was already addressing the issue, setting up the EDC strategy in co-operation with the CFDC.

Since then, the agency has invested almost $26 million, benefiting more than 1,500 young entrepreneurs. Some 4,580 jobs have been created or maintained in various communities throughout Quebec.

All told, there has been $102 million in investments created thanks to co-operation by the Government of Canada.

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

April 11th, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Ontario's tourism minister, Tim Hudak, announced that Ontario will study the impact of the Liberal air tax because the tax could cost the province 200,000 tourists this year. WestJet's vice-president, Mark Hill, mentioned nine Ontario cities that are going to be hit hard by this tax.

The transport minister is from Toronto and he has failed Ontario. Why does the Government of Ontario have to step up to the plate and do the transport minister's job?

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member has been otherwise engaged in the past few weeks, but he has to pay attention to the answers given by the Minister of Finance and the secretary of state for finance on the air security charge.

The hon. member has not, as usual, read the release that was put out on April 1. He does not recognize the fact that the government has tightened up regulations and has spent $100 million since September 11. The new authority has assumed liabilities of another $128 million. We will be putting $220 million into new equipment. This has to be paid for. It cannot be paid for out of thin air. Even the Alliance should understand that.

Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage spoke out against the wage discrimination between men and women at Radio-Canada.

Will the minister send the corporation an equally clear political message that she finds the salary discrimination which exists between Quebec and Moncton employees and those in the rest of Canada just as unacceptable?

Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I will follow the advice I received yesterday from the member or from one of her colleagues not to meddle in the negotiations.

Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the present time, the entire francophone and francophile population of Quebec, New Brunswick and the rest of Canada is being deprived of essential information, both on culture and on sports, because of the lockout imposed in March by the management of Radio-Canada.

Yesterday, francophone news employees met with us and the corporation management broke off negotiations.

Since when are citizens punished for going to speak with their elected representatives?

Does the minister find this behaviour by Radio-Canada's management acceptable?

Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, this is a critical time for all those concerned, and any speculation as to the solution to this dispute could be harmful to future negotiations.

It must be understood that our mediators are in the process of talking with both parties, and I am asking both parties to return to the table and reach a good collective agreement.

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Transport to restore confidence in the airline industry. But, with the new tax, he is destroying it in many communities of this country.

Why must the provinces do the work of the government, by deciding to do a study of the impact of this new tax? Why are they doing the work of the Minister of Transport?

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained on several occasions, we decided to implement a $2.2 billion tax. However, in the budget, the total cost of security was $7.7 billion.

As the minister has said repeatedly in the House, if we find in the fall that revenues are higher than required, we will reduce the tax.

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, last January 14, the privacy commissioner notified Canada Post that it was in contravention of the Privacy Act by selling to direct mailing companies the new addresses of Canadians who pay for a mail redirection.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether he intends to intervene with Canada Post Corporation in order to get it to cease this illegal practice?

Canada Post CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, privacy issues are of great importance to us. I am certain that Canada Post and the privacy commissioner will soon reach agreement on an appropriate solution.

National RevenueOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

One of the most despicable acts this government has ever portrayed is upon our senior citizens with the changes to the disability tax credit.

This morning at the veterans affairs committee we heard that thousands upon thousands of veterans who fought for this country will now lose their ability to collect on their disability tax credit because of the changes made by this government.

My question is quite clear: Why does the minister not get rid of that most offensive form which will steal money from the most vulnerable in our society, cancel the Challenger jets and give the money back to those people who fought for this damn country?

National RevenueOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the government and I are determined to see that the people who are entitled to this tax credit receive it. We have a responsibility to make sure that those anyone who are eligible receive it and those who are not do not. That is why we do periodic audits of all these programs.

I can tell the member that we are reviewing the form and consulting to see if there are ways we can improve the administration of the program.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today being Thursday it is my duty at this time to ask the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons what business he has for the remainder of today, tomorrow and the following week.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I first want to congratulate the member for Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar, a fellow Saskatchewanian, upon her appointment as deputy House leader for the official opposition.

This afternoon we will be continuing with the debate on Bill C-15B, the legislation relating to cruelty to animals. When that is completed, I expect to move on to Bill C-15A, the legislation relating to pornography. If there is time after that, we will go on to Bill C-53, the pest control bill, followed by Bill S-40 respecting financial clearinghouses.

Tomorrow the business will be Bill C-43, the miscellaneous technical amendments legislation, followed by the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-33, the Nunavut legislation.

On Monday I would expect to begin the day with Bill C-53 but after 3 p.m. we will turn to Bill C-54 which relates to sports in Canada.

Commencing on Tuesday we will return to the report stage debate of Bill C-5 respecting species at risk.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, if you would check today's Hansard during question period I believe you would find that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in response to a question I asked, stated that I knew the statement I was making was untrue.

I feel that response was unparliamentary. I also know it certainly was not untrue and the minister knows it was not untrue. When I raised a similar point last week the minister also thought it was untrue until he found out differently, as he will find tomorrow that this statement is very true.

Mr. Speaker, I ask you to look at Hansard and I am sure you will agree that the minister should repeal the statement he made.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It is clear the minister is not here. He will no doubt have the hon. member's statement drawn to his attention and perhaps we will hear from him later today or tomorrow. When we do we can perhaps deal with the matter.

It strikes me that the hon. member is raising a grievance rather than a point of order at the present time and, accordingly, we will leave it until we hear back.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-15B, an act to amend the criminal code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act be read the third time and passed, and of the amendent and of the amendment to the amendment.

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

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think it is telling that the House leader from the government referred to Bill C-15B as an act to deal with animal cruelty. It speaks to the subterfuge taking place on the part of the government.

Yes, the bill does have something to do with animal cruelty but it also has a lot to do with the firearms legislation. Some 22 pages and hundreds of clauses are going to be changed.

In the first part of my speech I dealt with animal cruelty. In this part of my speech I will deal with firearms.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Canadian Alliance is firmly in favour of public safety and good, sensible gun control. However we oppose Bill C-15B because of the amendments to the current Firearms Act, Bill C-68, which is a sham. The bill is unworkable. Rather than increasing public security it actually decreases it. I will tell the House why.

As I mentioned before, the bill is costing some $600 million, and the money would have been better spent on increasing public safety. It could have been better spent on putting more police officers on the street and on our judicial system. We need to ensure that individuals who commit crimes will receive the penalties they deserve. We also need to ensure that individuals who commit firearms offences or violent acts against others will be put in jail for a long time.

When people commit an act with a firearm a number of things happen. First, if they are convicted their penalty runs concurrently not consecutively to their other offence. Therefore there is no real penalty for committing an offence with a firearm.

Second, in order to get an expeditious conviction on the original offence, the firearms weapons offence is often plea bargained away to get a quick conviction on the other offence. The person who has actually put a gun to someone's head is assured of no penalty for using the weapon in that manner.

Third, the bill does nothing to address the influx of weapons into this country by criminals. Criminals do not take a course to get a firearms acquisition certificate. They engage in the waiting time to get a firearm. The firearms they get are smuggled in and then used to commit a crime.

We support a firearms acquisition certificate. We support courses and lead time. Thankfully we are not like the United States which has liberal gun controls that enable individuals to use guns and enable weapons to get into the hands of those who should not have them. We are thankful that in this country we have historically had good gun control laws that prevent that from happening.

However, the problem we have is that Bill C-68 and the son of Bill C-68, Bill C-15B, do not do that. We importune the government to change the bill and do what we ask in the name of public security.

One of the arguments the Minister of Justice had used was that the bill would decrease the number of suicides. People who want to commit suicide will not get a firearms acquisition certificate just to blow their head off. The gun is often acquired illegally through other means or stolen. All too often a person commits suicide through another means.

Similarly, if we look at the murders in the country, some 700 to 800 murders are committed every year. One-third of those murders are committed through the use of a firearm.

I encourage questions on the issue since there is a lot of debate from both side. We do not support the bill because we in the Alliance are in favour of tough laws against animal cruelty. We are in favour of good sensible gun control laws but we will not support a bill that will do the opposite for the Canadian public.

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

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last participant in this discussion is a medical doctor. He is certainly well respected in his field. He would have some expertise to offer the House on the whole issue of what the animal rights organizations are saying in terms of their refusal to in any way give medical researchers, scientists and doctors protection in respect of the important work that they do in the area of health research.

My concern with the bill is that in moving these subsections out of the property rights sections we have moved them into a separate section where only the general defences under subsection 8(3) apply, sections that have always applied to all of the various offences in the criminal code. We have removed those specific defences that were particularly focused on these kinds of offences. Where we do not have in many provinces specific authorization to conduct work on animals in furtherance of health care and medical research we are leaving these researchers vulnerable. Indeed, we are then leaving health care vulnerable.

Would the hon. member agree with a letter written by Pierre Berton, who is the senior patron of Canadians for Medical Progress? He gave that letter to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. He took the position that the radical animal rights activists were misguided in their support of Bill C-15B. He stated:

One glaring example of a Canadian private prosecution undertaken by the Life-Force component of the animal-rights movement against Dr. William Rapley and Dr. Bernard Wolfe of the University of Western Ontario, ground through the courts in London, Ontario in 1985, and was finally thrown out of the courts because of its frivolous and malicious nature. The private prosecution was undertaken because the public prosecutor had refused to lay charges. There have also been many such cases in different U.S. jurisdictions over the year.

He goes on to say that the decision to move animals from the property section in Bill C-15B would most surely open the door to an abundance of similar, frivolous private prosecution from the animal rights movement against the research enterprise in the future.

Does the hon. member have any comments to add to what I consider remarks made by a distinguished Canadian?

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

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the question that the public may want to ask is why does Pierre Berton, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the Coalition for Biomedical and Health Research stand shoulder to shoulder with the Canadian Alliance in opposition to Bill C-15B? Is it because we are in favour of animal cruelty? Absolutely not. The reason why we stand shoulder to shoulder with Pierre Berton, the veterinarians and those engaged in biomedical research is because we are opposed to animal cruelty, but we are also opposed to a bill that would curtail, hamstring and prevent biomedical research, adequate animal husbandry and the actions that vets have to take in the treatment and care of animals in distress.

We are in favour of good laws that will prevent cruelty to animals or laws that will prosecute aggressively with heavy penalties those individuals who commit cruelty to animals. We are in favour of good laws that will ensure that animals are treated humanely in animal husbandry, in the veterinary sciences and in biomedical research. In fact those laws exist already. We are not in favour of a situation that leaves the law wide open to the prosecution of researchers, vets and people engaged in animal husbandry who are treating animals humanely. We want to ensure that the bill will not become a political tool for radical organizations like Lifeforce that would adhere to a warped sense and misguided sense of humanity toward animals and human beings.