House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pesticide.


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

1:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the previous speaker for his remarks.

In going through Bill C-15B, it is important to keep in context how the legislation came about. It originally was before the House in the form of what is called an omnibus bill. There were a number of very complex and unrelated subjects that found themselves in the bill which caused a great deal of consternation I think for many members of parliament. It is a usual tactic that the government has employed to have its way, that is to essentially include a number of issues with which most if not all members agree and couple them with other pieces of legislation that the government would like to slide in, putting members of parliament in the uncomfortable position of voting against things of which they actually are in favour.

The strategical tactics unfortunately have blurred much of the merit of this particular bill. However the former minister of justice did climb down from her lofty position and agreed to some extent to split off parts of the bill to allow members to vote more freely and more in line with the wishes of their constituents and their own comfort levels.

We have before us a bill with a number of important amendments, which I would hope the government would consider, that would improve and in fact very much ameliorate the ability of the legislation to address the principle issue, and that is: helping to eradicate and give our law enforcement officials greater ability to enforce laws which are meant to curtail cruelty to animals.

We in the coalition are very supportive of any initiative that will bring about legislation dealing with crimes against animals. This legislation very much puts forward the spirit that we need to punish those who intentionally abuse or neglect animals. Cruelty to animals is an issue that has received significant public attention of late. In recent years psychologists have drawn clear parallels between a child's cruelty to animals and subsequent cruelty toward human beings in his or her adult life as one element to take into consideration.

We support as well the government's decision to put forward an ability for judges to remove barriers, to heighten the sentences and heighten the degree of deterrence that should emerge from cases where there is clear-cut, proven on evidence cases of animal abuse.

We do not, I hasten to add, adhere to the government's position in the legislation that to achieve the deterrents and to achieve the heightened degree of accountability, the government must remove the criminal code provisions dealing with animals from the property section of the code.

The proprietary aspects of animal abuse have always been very important in the prosecution of animal cruelty cases. Moving the animal cruelty provisions out of part XI of the criminal code removes the protection of legitimate based businesses that relate to animals and animal husbandry. By virtue of taking that section out of section 429(2) of the criminal code, this important ability to protect oneself by virtue of the law is removed. Let us be very clear about that.

The current section in the property law allows for legal justification, or excuse or colour of right to be claimed by a person who might be charged. Therefore it affords legal protection for acts which have always been seen as legitimate and outside the gamut of animal cruelty and always based upon the evidence. It is inappropriate and misleading in a malicious way to suggest that somehow removing these sections will protect animals any further than it currently does.

It currently is illegal to perpetrate any sort of cruelty against animals. The problem has been in the prosecution of these offences and further in the ability of the police to lay charges. That also ties very much into the resource allocation currently available for police in the country. Removing the cruelty to animals provisions from this section is of particular concern to hunters, trappers, farmers and to researchers. There is an important element in the use of animals for genetic research. People like John and Jessie Davidson would be the first to say that genetic research is something that has to be given a higher priority by the Parliament of Canada and the people of Canada.

These legitimate individuals who work and depend on animals for their livelihood have expressed very clearly to the government their concerns. They came before a committee. There was extensive study of this issue. Everything the bill seeks to achieve could be achieved by bringing about the amendments but leaving the current sections in the property section of the criminal code. Everything that is sought to be accomplished could be done so in that fashion.

We share the concerns of many Canadians, though, who have spoken about the definition of an animal. Any animal that has the capacity to feel pain does encompass in a large way any sort of cruelty that might be perpetrated. Yet through this definition, the government is putting at risk many activities that currently occur. We have heard examples of those. A farmer who puts a noose around an animal's neck to lead it to pasture or to pull it out of danger could potentially be charged.

We have heard ludicrous examples, such as putting a worm on a hook or boiling a live lobster. Potentially, if taken to the extreme, these types of activities could result in prosecutions. The sad reality of that is that the cost that would be expended and the delay in following through with these types of prosecutions, whether they be brought about by the crown or private prosecutions which currently can occur, would bankrupt and put out of business a lot of individuals who currently rely on animals for their livelihood.

Even the intentional act of stepping on a spider was one example that was given as cruelty to an animal.

My comments are in no way an attempt to make light of a serious situation but to point out that this type of law is very dangerous and should not be proceeded with in this fashion. This law could place fishermen, farmers, hunters, trappers, furriers or any individual that associates with animals at risk of frivolous prosecution and those who espouse radical views about animal protection.

The ensuing lawsuits could paralyze and bankrupt some businesses. It is well intended and there are many individuals who are well intended in their efforts to protect animals, but the reality is the horrific cases of animal abuse are currently illegal. It is a matter of enabling our system further to resource and through attention and priorizing the prosecutions for these types of offences. We support strengthening the criminal code and provisions dealing with animals and many of the improvements that are envisioned by the bill. This punishment and resource question is where the problem lies.

The minister did at least realize the carelessness that occurred in the drafting of the original bill, Bill C-17, and she was careful to now inject the word “wilful” with respect to cruelty and unnecessary pain being perpetrated in the drafting of this new bill.

Regrettably, the former minister did not see the need to keep the animal cruelty sections within the property sections of the criminal code. Thus, this improved legislation would not provide the adequate protection with which the majority of animal business people would be concerned. For that reason, sadly we are unable to support the bill.

We believe the legislation is needed and that further legislation is needed to prevent needless animal pain and suffering. An example that comes to mind is the case that many of us were transfixed on a few years ago when we heard about a Rottweiler dog that was dragged on a chain behind a pick-up truck. There was a case very recently in Kingston that was reported in the Kingston Whig-Standard of horrible abuse to a cat named Solitaire that was bloodied and battered. These type of cases are extremely offensive to the sensibilities of most Canadians.

The traditional practices of hunting, fishing and farming do not fit into the category of mean spirited violence, yet they could very much be caught up by virtue of these changes.

It is imperative that animal cruelty legislation be clearly designated to target those who would engage in brutal, deliberate acts against animals. Just as the other parts of this legislation which deal with firearms legislation, it is fine to try to redefine what the legislation does, yet we know it has been a complete and utter failure. The cost is prohibitive. The intent is such that individuals will not voluntarily participate.

For those reasons, and for reasons which I would like to elaborate on but due to limitations of time I cannot, our coalition cannot support the bill. We would be hopeful that the government would be willing to accept the amendments which would take away those sections which very much undermine the spirit and intent of the bill.

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

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to again participate in the debate on Bill C-15B at report stage. I believe I addressed the bill at second reading but in view of the government's position on the bill I do not think one can revisit one's concerns often enough.

If the evidence I have seen is any indication of the reasons for bringing the bill forward by the former justice minister, it is for all the wrong reasons. I have a fundraising letter in my office from an animal rights group suggesting that the bringing forward of the bill to the House of Commons by the former justice minister was a payoff for supporting her in a very close election race in the last election. I am really concerned that the bill was brought forward for that reason.

I really think this whole recognition of animals in a Walt Disney sort of animated way leaves the wrong impression and creates these kind of extreme animal rights groups that want to elevate the status of animals to the status of humans with human rights. It is quite ridiculous.

As a person who has been involved in animal husbandry all of my life and who grew up in a family that was sustained through hunting, fishing and the traditional practices that many people today, particularly our aboriginal people in Canada, still maintain is a necessary part of our culture and our very existence, I feel the bill could threaten those ways of life and for reasons that are not necessary.

I think everyone here would agree that we need to enforce the law. Although I am not certain, we may even need to put in place more severe penalties or more severe procedures to punish real cruelty to animals which does exist and does happen. I think the member who spoke previously pointed out some examples which I certainly would not deny. However, life sometimes requires acts that would not be considered kind to animals, whether that be in the slaughter of animals for food, in the husbandry of livestock when someone is ranching or the harvesting of wildlife for sustenance.

If people ever lived in a rural setting and been part of that life they would recognize that it would not be a kind world if domesticated animals were left to fend on their own. I still support the concept of ownership of animals but part of the whole aspect of having animals in the property rights section is a responsibility to look after one's animals in a humane and decent way. I have always taken great pride in the way I looked after my animals and took care of them. If we do that animals are quite content, quite happy and life is as it should be. In those instances where it is necessary to neuter animals or to dehorn cattle, for example, these are not pleasant jobs but they are necessary and part of that culture and lifestyle.

Anyone who has ever been out in the wild or for that matter has watched films showing the taking of animals by wolves, by coyotes and by predators has observed cruelty to the extreme.

There really is nothing more cruel than a wolf taking down a deer or a moose and eating it alive. It is not a pleasant sight. Reality is that life is not always kind and nature is not always kind.

The problem here is that we are going to the extreme. Anybody, whether a person who owns pets or is involved in animal husbandry, who is not terrified when they look at the bill and terrified at the prospect of being maliciously prosecuted by some organizations with very deep pockets is foolish. While someone may or may not eventually find justice, and I would hope they would, our justice system process is extremely expensive and one most of us cannot afford, particularly when we are seeking justice through court action brought on by a group of animal rights people or by the Government of Canada with extremely deep pockets. One could certainly face bankruptcy and destruction of their family. We have seen all kinds of examples of that. As members of parliament, every day we hear from people involved in those kinds of situations and who are trying to defend themselves against a corporation or a government entity with deep pockets. It is a frightening procedure and totally unnecessary.

I myself have seen incidents of unnecessary animal cruelty by those who keep animals for pets or for sustenance. My observation is that we are not enforcing the existing law as we should be. We could do a lot more.

I have watched people in my neighbourhood who I do not think intended any cruelty or intended to be unkind to their animals. They were raised in an urban environment and lived in the country and thought it would be a wonderful thing to raise their own wheat and produce meat raised without pesticides and all the rest of it. That is the kind of mentality of people who move to the country because they do have that right and it is maybe a good thing to do.

In this particular instance these people did not have any idea what those animals needed in the way of being looked after properly with the intention of being turned into food at some point. Those animals were terribly abused. My wife phoned the local animal cruelty authorities on a number of occasions. It was not until one animal was dead and the other very close to death that the authorities were willing to do anything.

Before we go down the road we are going down and make a real mistake, we could do a lot more by simply tightening up existing laws and leaving animal cruelty under the property section in the legislation. I think the minister could accomplish what he is attempting to accomplish without endangering an entire way of life and an entire culture of many Canadians.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, because of the Liberal government's failure to successfully negotiate an end to the softwood lumber dispute with the United States, Canada's forest products industry is preparing to withstand the impact of punitive tariffs on $9 billion worth of our lumber exports while the Americans are going to get a multibillion dollar windfall.

Late last year, while watching the international trade minister bungle negotiations, the official opposition began calling for arrangements to support the softwood industry workers. So far the Liberals have no plan to see these Canadians through this crisis.

Entire communities rely on the softwood industry and something must be done about the loss of thousands of these jobs caused by this government. This industry is Canada's largest single exporter.

Even though the Liberal government is raising the employment insurance surplus to $42 billion on the backs of our workers, it changed the Employment Insurance Act and is now denying benefits to many lumber workers.

The government continues to seriously fail Canada's softwood lumber industry.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


André Harvey Liberal Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to indicate that our government will continue to provide important support to the Roberval region, as it has in the past, in areas such as research and tourism, with the Centre de conservation de la biodiversité boréale de Saint-Félicien, as well as in lumber processing through support of such businesses as Pan-O-Star and Produits Forestiers Lamco.

I would also point out that we are going to continue our collaborative efforts with the municipalities in essential infrastructure projects, as we have recently demonstrated at Lac Bouchette and Saint-André.

There are several other projects slated for the Roberval region, which we intend to support.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, recently the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, the Council of Women of Winnipeg and other community activists have expressed great concern with Canada's age of consent for sexual activity. All involved express that which we have known for a long time: The age of consent must be raised from 14 to 16.

All too often we hear of very young girls and boys falling victim to sexual predators. Sadly this fate is most often suffered by young girls who are two or three times more likely to be a victim. In fact 54% of girls under 16 have been the targets of unwanted sexual advance.

It is the responsibility of this government to help the nation's parents protect our children. We need to see tough consequences for the people who prey upon the sexual naivety of our young. We need laws that reinforce our commitment to stopping these sexual predators before they strike. This starts with the prohibition of adults engaging in sexual contact with persons under the age of 16.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, representatives of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations met our caucus on post-secondary education. Since then the member for Fredericton and I have met with representatives of CASA universities in the maritimes. The focus of the presentations was access to higher education. Topics covered included strengthening of the Canada student loans program, parental contributions, loan limits and capital cost items, living allowances, in-study income and needs of low income and potential students.

With regard to the last item, CASA recommends additional funding of Canada study grants and improved debt relief initiatives.

I commend these students for their real interest in these matters and for the care and time they put into researching their positions. They are an example to other groups who lobby the federal government.

The House should realize that full access to higher education is the key to the future of a happy, healthy and prosperous Canada.

Daffodil MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, April is Daffodil Month. The daffodil is the symbol of the Canadian Cancer Society's fundraising campaign. Today I would like to pay tribute to the Quebec division of the society, which has been under the direction of Yvan Naud since November 2000.

Quebec's first Daffodil Day was held in 1961, and ever since then, this has been a high point in the organization's fundraising activities. Over the years, another fine tradition has developed, the Daffodil Ball, the 9th edition of which will take place on Thursday April 25, at Montreal's Windsor Station.

This community organization is wholly supported by funding from the public, and so it needs our generous support to be able to fund its services to those with cancer, its education projects and its promotion of research that is yielding results.

While in the 1940s, only one person in five diagnosed with cancer could expect to survive, now, one in two can beat this disease.

In closing, I would just like to remind hon. members that the daffodil is a symbol of the hope that we will one day conquer cancer.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, “What is being done for ‘newborn’ mothers?”

This is the title of a letter which appeared in the April 7, 2002 edition of La Presse . It was written by Céline Lemay, a midwife from Boucherville, and deserves the attention of all MPs and MLAs in Canada.

She writes:

The move away from hospital care has highlighted not just a failing in our health care system, but also a failing in our safety net: support for new mothers, new parents.

The rest that women get in a hospital is not really physical in nature: one is not in one's own bed; it is too hot; there is constant noise, etc.; in addition to the potential medical problems for the mother or her baby; staying in the hospital, being exposed to numerous germs, and exposing one's newborn to them.

Visiting homemakers would be quite capable of providing services in the home for a few days.

In the Netherlands, specially trained postnatal assistants help out mothers at home for several hours a day during the first ten days after they give birth.

Albert RichardsonStatements By Members

April 8th, 2002 / 2 p.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week we learned of the death of Mr. J. Albert Richardson. Mr. Richardson was the province's first NDP leader. He worked for many years in the labour movement where I have personally known him when we were fighting side by side for the rights of workers.

Mr. Richardson was an old time socialist who really believed in the working people. Social causes were always near to his heart. This is probably why he got involved in the New Brunswick NDP. His devotion and beliefs helped him in many battles.

Mr. Richardson will never be forgotten for all the work he has done for the labour movement and as leader of the NDP. The New Brunswick NDP lost a wonderful member last week. The death of Mr. J. Albert Richardson will have an impact on the party forever.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my sincere congratulations to David Hamblin and his rink from Manitoba on winning the World Junior Men's Curling Championship. The world curling title has been won by teams from Canada for the past five years.

David Hamblin and his rink of Ross Doerksen, brother Kevin Hamblin and Ross McCannell defeated Sweden in a 3-2 thriller in Kelowna, British Columbia. David needed to throw a cold draw to the 8 foot to secure the victory for Canada. David is not only an outstanding shot maker but his abilities in his role as skip and leader of the team show a maturity well beyond his age of 20 years.

I extend congratulations to David's father, Lorne Hamblin, who served as the team's coach, as well as wife and mother Chris Hamblin whose support of the young curling champions was invaluable.

I am honoured to recognize these fine young curlers. All Canadians are very proud of them.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government failed to reach a deal with the United States on softwood lumber. The U.S. will impose a 29% duty on Canadian lumber yet the government has no plan in place to assist the 30,000 workers in B.C. alone whose jobs have been threatened or already lost because of the government's failure to reach an agreement.

The government failed to protect Canada's scarce fish stocks and allowed a Russian trawler to head home with 49 tonnes of illegally caught cod, cod that Canadian fishermen have not been able to catch for years because of a moratorium. The same government failed to help western farmers. The country is in an agricultural crisis.

Instead, what is the government doing? It is paying $101 million to buy new Challenger jets for the Prime Minister when the government's own report has said that “fleet modernization or replacement is not warranted at this time”. This is at a time when our Canadian troops must hitchhike to battle and rely on 40 year old Sea Kings when they get there. Surely the government could do more.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend the Canadian Alliance held a successful convention in the beautiful city of Edmonton. With our new leader Stephen Harper at the helm it is clear to all Canadians that our party is strong and here to stay.

Unlike the Liberal government and the Liberal Party, the Alliance is tackling its debt. Unlike the Liberal government and the Liberal Party, the Canadian Alliance is talking about issues that Canadians care about. Unlike the Liberal Party, our membership is open to all who support our principles, and our party is growing.

On behalf of the Canadian Alliance caucus I thank our supporters and our delegates for taking time out of their busy lives to make our convention a huge success.

Let me remind all that the Canadian Alliance is strong and here to stay.

Queen MotherStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous sadness that Canadians received the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Canadians share a profound admiration and respect for the Queen Mother, whose courage and self-sacrifice impressed the whole world during the last global conflict.

Her Majesty visited Canada 10 times beginning in 1939 when as Queen Consort of Canada she accompanied King George VI on the first visit by a reigning monarch to Canadian soil. She retained a particular fondness for Canada which she often called her second home.

The Queen Mother was made an Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada on August 3, 2000, on the eve of her 100th birthday.

I wish to join with all members of the House in offering our sincerest condolences on behalf of all Canadians to Her Majesty the Queen and to the Royal Family.

Convent in RobervalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday March 23, a major fire reduced a large part of the Roberval convent to ashes.

Two residents lost their lives in the blaze, which destroyed this historic building and a key piece of Roberval's heritage. I offer my deepest condolence to their families and to the Ursuline sisters.

Many generations of girls in Roberval received excellent instruction at the convent, both at the primary and secondary levels as well as at the Institut familial or the École normale de Roberval, which accepted both boys and girls.

The Ursuline sisters have taught and run this academic establishment with love, skill and generosity. As a graduate of the École normale de Roberval, I will never forget the years I spent there.

We thank the Ursuline sisters for all they have done for us. I wish them all the best in what the future holds. Like thousands of other inhabitants of Roberval, I sincerely hope that they will decide to continue on in our community, which is their community too.

Automobile IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the Futaba Industrial Company Limited for making a new investment in the city of Stratford. With the recent signing of a land purchase deal the stage has been set for the manufacture of Toyota automobile parts and a newly constructed Stratford factory next year.

Located in Wright Business Park, this new facility amounts to a total investment of $31 million. At the onset of production 70 new employees will be hired to begin producing 33 different components of the top of the line Toyota Lexus RX300. These parts will be slated to supply the entire North American market.

This will be a new employer for the city of Stratford and expansions are planned for the future. The facility will amount to a win-win situation for the constituents of Perth--Middlesex. Initial production is expected to begin September 2003.

I congratulate the Futaba Industrial Company Limited on the proposed new facility.

Private Members' BillsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, an unprecedented attack by the government upon Canadian democracy began last month. It did this by introducing a poison pill amendment to effectively prevent a free vote on a votable private member's bill.

The substance of the bill is not important. What is important is that the government is prepared to kill the last vestiges of innovation and independence that MPs have in a House that has otherwise been turned into an effective dictatorship. The use of the poison pill amendment is unheard of in Canadian parliamentary history. Even you, Mr. Speaker, suggested that it was hijacking the bill.

On April 11 MPs will have a choice. Will they vote in favour of the government's poison pill amendment that would kill a votable private member's bill and allow the Prime Minister's Office to strip the last vestiges of individuality MPs have or will they vote against it and preserve our ability to represent our constituents and preserve our dignity? The choice will be ours, dictatorship or democracy.

I urge my colleagues to choose democracy and vote against the poison pill amendment next week.

Child PornographyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the PC/DR coalition calls on the Minister of Justice to act today. The recent decision of the B.C. supreme court in the Robin Sharpe case has outraged Canadians and children's rights groups across the country.

According to child advocates and sexual abuse investigators this decision makes sexually explicit stories about children legal in Canada and will only encourage and protect sexual predators.

We live in an information age where pornographic material which is offensive and harmful to people in society is increasingly finding its way into the general public. It is incumbent upon parliament to assure the protection of children. The government must clearly define the strict legal parameters of child pornography. The Minister of Justice should begin hearings immediately.

I call on the government to implement an Internet safety education program for children, increase funding for training of frontline police officers in tracking pornography and revamp the anti-porn laws to protect our most valuable asset, our children.

Extension of Highway 35Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the extension of highway 35 is receiving a lot of press coverage. Some citizens formed a pressure group so that this project can become a reality. The Mayor of Saint-Jean, Gilles Dolbec, is actively involved in this priority issue for the Haut-Richelieu region.

It is important to give these people our support. My colleague, the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi, has been giving his support to Mayor Dolbec for several months.

In fact, last fall he organized a working session for a delegation from the Haut-Richelieu, during which the extension of highway 35 was discussed.

These people care about the economic development and prosperity of their region, but also of Quebec.

Like the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi, let us support them, so that they are finally rewarded for their valiant efforts.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was a pretty busy guy this last weekend because we had the big Canadian Alliance convention in Edmonton. My riding is right next door to it.

At the same time we had the largest trade fair in rural Alberta in Sherwood Park in my riding. It was a bit of busyness to jump back and forth between the two functions. I had a lot of fun at that trade fair because literally hundreds of people stopped by. All day Friday I listened to people. By the end of the day I was hoarse from listening so much. It was an intriguing experience.

Over and over people said that we needed to replace that tired, mismanaging Liberal government and they believed we could do it. People came to the booth asking to buy memberships in our party. It was a lot of fun and very exhilarating.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians need to know that the government is doing its part to help bring real peace and security to the Middle East.

U.S. President Bush has called on Israel to withdraw from the territories. The United Nations has also called for Israel to take similar action.

I would like to ask a question of the Deputy Prime Minister. Has the Government of Canada voiced its support for the position put forward by President Bush and the Untied Nations, or do Canadians count on more fog and confusion from the government when it comes to the pressing problems of the Middle East?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario


Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question because I know all members of the House are extremely anxiously following what is taking place in the Middle East. I do not accept the qualification that the government's position is one of fog and confusion.

We have been very clear. We are supporting in every instance, whether it is in Geneva at the Human Rights Commission, in Canada or in discussions with our colleagues, whether they are Arab, Israeli, European or American, that the way toward peace is to stop the violence and bring us back to the political solution which is set out in the Mitchell plan and in the Tenet plan. That is what we need. That is where we will go and that is where we will stay with our policy.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a little foggy anyway. We deplore the loss of life on both sides. We believe that Canada must play a positive role in negotiating a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. In order to reach a settlement both sides have to be committed to that objective. That is why the president of the United States has been so tough on this issue.

Has the government been provided with information showing that Yasser Arafat is linked to the suicide attacks and if so, does the government agree that Yasser Arafat is now in fact the problem rather than the solution?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario


Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have not been provided with any direct information along the lines suggested by the hon. member. However I would like to remind the hon. member that Mr. Arafat is recognized by the president of the United States, by the United Nations and by all other parties as the representative of the Palestinian people.

As Mr. Powell said to me some time ago, “When you negotiate for peace you must negotiate with your enemy”. I do not think it is helpful at this time to be setting out conditions in a way which will render any negotiations impossible because that is where we must go if goodwill people will reap the chance of peace that we all so much wish for.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if we recall the government's activity we would have no peace on either side. Both sides are wrong. We all know that. We must ensure they know we feel that way.

My next question is for the solicitor general. In the last several days we witnessed a spate of violent acts against synagogues and other sites in Canada, including a horrible attack against an institution at the heart of Saskatoon's Jewish community.

Could the solicitor general explain to Canadians what specific actions are being taken to find those responsible for these crimes and to ensure we have no further attacks?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.


Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is well aware of the horrible and unacceptable acts. We have a very efficient police force which will be investigating to ensure that the people who are responsible are brought to justice. Canadians will not accept this.