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House of Commons Hansard #180 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.

Topics

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, whenever there has been a case to be referred to the police it has been done, since we formed the government, but I see this person who tried to raise money himself, and he probably failed badly in his own leadership, and he has never given the names of the people who gave him money a few months ago.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence may play on words like he did yesterday, the new bill on public safety will deprive citizens of their right to undertake civil action.

The bill is clear: it is the government, not the courts, that will determine the amount of compensation that plaintiffs will receive if damages, losses or injuries result from the creation of a military zone.

Since his minister is unable to tell us, will the Prime Minister agree that his government is in fact violating a foundation of our democratic society, which is the possibility for any citizen to assert his or her rights before a civil court?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to raise these issues, that is fine with me.

At this point, we have a bill before parliament. This legislation will go through second reading and then be referred to a committee. The hon. member will have the opportunity to raise all these issues before the committee. It goes without saying that if he is right, adjustments will be made. Bills are reviewed in the House and then referred to a committee precisely to be improved if necessary.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not sit on the committee.

Yesterday, the Minister of National Defence told us that it would be possible to take civil action.

The government is responsible for the legislation that it proposes, and the Prime Minister must know it. He is telling us that it is better because it is better.

If it is so much better, could the Prime Minister tell us now why clause 74 prevents someone from taking civil action? It is written in black and white in the bill. Could we get an explanation on this act that is supposedly so much better?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that if the hon. member is not pleased with any measure contained in the bill, he can go before the committee and explain why. The deputy minister and public officials will answer his questions.

But why make a big fuss now, considering that he will have the opportunity to raise all the issues that he wants before the committee in the coming weeks?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the privacy commissioner is justifiably concerned about the powers conferred upon the RCMP and CSIS by Bill C-55, which gives them unrestricted access to personal information relating to people travelling within Canada or to other countries.

Is the Prime Minister going to take steps to ensure that the government respects the rights of citizens, as requested by the privacy commissioner and demanded by the Bloc Quebecois?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member can go before the committee.

This information is, I am told, made available to the U.S. authorities for security reasons. Thought is being given to this being required within Canada as well, as it is in the United States. We are prepared to discuss this at the committee.

Therefore, let him go before the committee, where he will hear the views of the ministers responsible and their departmental staff. Eventually, it will be up to the House to decide.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, never have we seen a Prime Minister of Canada so incapable of responding to questions in the House of Commons that he passes his responsibility on to his MPs.

In committee, we all know that the Prime Minister is not there and the Minister of National Defence will not answer questions. The MPs are the ones who will.

Instead of patting himself on the back about his Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as he has been doing for the past two weeks, I call upon the Prime Minister to require his government to respect the rights of citizens. Bill C-55 violates those rights.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for the past nine years, I have realized that the louder the hon. member speaks, the less sure he is of his argument.

I would simply respond that he has just indicated that the law will be illegal. If we enact illegal legislation, the courts will say it is illegal. There is a justice system in place. So if the law is not valid, he need not worry; the courts will dismiss it.

Workplace SafetyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last year 882 Canadians were killed on the job. Hundreds of thousands more suffered workplace injuries or illnesses. It has been 10 years since the Westray explosion in Nova Scotia that cost 26 miners their lives. A public inquiry documented that those deaths were preventable and called on the federal government to amend the criminal code to hold corporations and their executives criminally responsible for knowingly endangering the lives of their workers.

Ten years after Westray, why has the government not enacted the necessary legal changes?

Workplace SafetyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is indeed referring to a very serious issue and we are pleased to see that the standing committee will be proceeding with some hearings about that subject.

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the fact that the Department of Justice has prepared a corporate criminal liability discussion paper to help the committee. Of course the department will get involved in the process and will be of assistance.

Workplace SafetyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it should go beyond discussion to action. The government's failure to prevent the tragedy of workplace deaths is absolutely incomprehensible. The Westray inquiry began its work in May of 1992. Since then 8,000 more Canadian workers have been killed on the job.

Those who have lost their loved ones do not want to dwell on the past. They want prevention. They want to know that the government will enact and proclaim the criminal code changes holding corporations and their principals criminally accountable before the end of 2002. Will the Prime Minister make that clear commitment today?

Workplace SafetyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will say again that I am glad the member is raising a very serious issue and a very important question. There are many other questions to be asked with regard to liability within the criminal code. As I said, I am glad to report that we have prepared a discussion paper for the committee. Of course we will assist the members of the committee and will get involved with the process if requested.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

May 1st, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 lets the Minister of National Defence establish martial law wherever he puts something that belongs to the military. It could be a tank. It could be a staff car. That martial law applies to the air above and any water or land surrounding the military vehicle. This is drive-by martial law.

Moreover, the minister may choose not to tell anyone the order has been issued. Yet he can fine or imprison any person found in the area surrounding the vehicle. How will a citizen know when the car he is beside makes him subject to martial law and a fine and imprisonment?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that nonsense from the drive-by leader of the Conservative Party is clearly untrue. There is no such thing as martial law. We are simply talking about the protection of military equipment or personnel.

If a visiting ship is in a civilian harbour, such as when the USS Cole was anchored in a civilian harbour while visiting Yemen and was attacked by terrorists, we will have military police to help protect the immediate area, just as civilian police frequently cordon off areas for similar kinds of protections in the civilian world.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 allows the Minister of National Defence to promulgate martial law, even within the precinct of the National Assembly, should he decide to park one of the military vehicles there, and parliament will have no say on this.

The present Emergency Measures Act gives parliament the power to revoke or modify any order issued in an emergency situation.

Could we have an explanation of why these powers are not included in Bill C-55?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member has it all wrong. We are trying to protect military equipment, not protect international conference centres or people from demonstrators. None of that is in here. It only talks about the protection of military equipment that might be off a base site. That is simply all it is. It needs only to cover a reasonable area around that equipment. It could be tested in the courts if someone thinks it is not reasonable.

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us get back to the many under the radar leadership campaigns that are going on over there. Unfortunately, it seems they are starting to smell.

Last November the Minister of Industry's right-hand man, Mr. Satpreet Thiara, travelled to Winnipeg five times supposedly on government business. Yet the government will not release his expense accounts even though they have been requested through access to information and even though the Prime Minister has directed that all expense accounts be released.

Is the fact that these trips coincided with a crucial Liberal Party organizational meeting in Manitoba the reason we cannot get the truth?

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in fact my office has made full disclosure. Its disclosure complied with the treasury board guidelines, complied with the Prime Minister's directive and complied with the Access to Information Act. I think the member's problem is he does not like the information he got. However, that is the truth.

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, he is right we did not like the information from the credit card statement, but we still do not have the expense accounts submitted.

We know that Mr. Thiara bought five tickets to Winnipeg for $5,200. We also know that he reimbursed the taxpayers for one ticket three days after the Winnipeg Free Press filed an access to information request. What a coincidence.

Since the minister will not reveal what the meetings were that Mr. Thiara had, or what government business he was doing or what he was doing on behalf of the minister there, will he just tell us that he was electioneering on behalf of the minister?

Leadership CampaignsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I will tell the member and the House is that I take very seriously my responsibility to account for public funds. I can tell the member and the House that any expenses that were submitted or reimbursed at public expense were expenses incurred on public business. No expenses that were incurred otherwise were claimed. That again is the truth.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Immigration said, and I quote:

Everybody seeking to become a refugee has the right to due process.

He added that he intended to fulfill this commitment.

How can the minister make such statements with a straight face, given that he decided to suspend refugees' initial right of appeal?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. Obviously, we are in an implementation stage. We are in transition between two systems, the old system and the new one. I think that this should be done on solid ground.

For this reason, I said that we would not suspend, but delay the implementation of this appeal division to ensure that we do it properly. However, in the meantime, there are other courses of action open to refugees.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, for those who work in the field, this right of appeal was a necessary compromise in order to reduce the number of members from two to one. However, by suspending the right of appeal, the minister—who is claiming to be the defender of the rule of law—is arbitrarily amending a statute enacted by parliament.

Is the minister aware of the contempt he has shown parliament? When does he plan to re-establish the appeal section?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is not contempt I am showing. I am being honest and trying to ensure that the system works so that we respect the rule of law.

I am giving myself a year to finalize the plans. In the meantime, it is clear that refugees have rights. We respect these rights and we are in favour of refugees here in this country.