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House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, even the Liberal appointed privacy commissioner strongly condemns Bill C-55, calling it totalitarian. It is also disturbing and draconian in nature, yet another example of a Liberal power grab. Once again parliament is becoming a clearing house for prime ministerial decrees. The concentration of unchecked arbitrary power will increase under Bill C-55.

Why does the Prime Minister feel it necessary to infringe on the rights of Canadians? Why is he so intent on having his legislation and his government avoid parliamentary scrutiny?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the bill just makes common sense. It gives law enforcement agencies and police forces the tools they need to do the job. This government has provided that and will continue to provide that.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

More tools, Mr. Speaker.

Unrest over Liberal bills such as species at risk, cruelty to animals and now Bill C-55 indicate that not all is well in the Liberal kingdom. Leadership candidates are beating the bushes. Backbenchers are restless and sabre rattling. The loyal subjects are not happy. They figured out their emperor has no clothes. Liberal colleagues relegated to the hinterland of the sultan of Shawinigan's caucus feel Bill C-55 in its entirety does not belong at the transport committee.

We know the Prime Minister will not listen to the opposition or his compliant watchdogs, but will he heed his caucus, divide up Bill C-55 and send it to the appropriate committees?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 is the product of debate and deliberation in this House. It was because of the very salient points put forward by members on all sides of the House on Bill C-42 that we withdrew the bill and brought forward Bill C-55. This is an example of democracy working. This is an example of a government that listens.

I recommend that hon. members read and study the bill. If they have concerns, bring them forward at committee. This is a first class piece of legislation.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not answer the question posed by the Leader of the Opposition. I am going to give him another chance to take a run at it.

When he heard of the decision at 11 o'clock this morning that was going to devastate the country's softwood lumber industry, what did the Prime Minister do? Did he call President Bush, yes or no, and what is he demanding of him?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we knew the decision was coming. Every time I had the opportunity I raised it with the president. Grandstanding today will not change that reality.

This is a decision of the court that is not fair and does not respect the agreement we have with the Americans. I do not have to repeat that every hour of every day. The president knows very well this government's position and the position of all provincial governments in Canada. The Americans should respect the treaty that we have with them for free trade and that wood qualifies as much as natural gas or oil or electricity.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not even called the president of the United States. We are not asking him to grandstand. We are asking him to do his job and show some leadership. People are out of work and it is the Prime Minister's job to show them that he is going to lead them out of this crisis.

The minister for trade said the minister of human resources is going to have a package for thousands of people who are out of work because of this.The minister has not tabled her plan. What is the plan? Where are the details? When is she going to table it?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will be glad to know that the employment insurance system is there and is working well as we speak.

The hon. member will be glad to know that, working with the province of British Columbia, the province has identified $13 million from its labour market agreement that will be directly focused on the softwood lumber industry. The hon. member will be interested to know that our work sharing programs are there. We are working directly with individual companies to apply that program wherever we can. The hon. member will be glad to know that we are monitoring the circumstances on a daily basis and where it is required, we will take action.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister made a statement that was as unexpected as it was inappropriate, in connection with Bill C-55 on public safety.

He indicated that, should Bill C-55 be bad legislation, the courts will say so and it will be corrected.

Does the Prime Minister realize that it is totally irresponsible for the leader of a government to slough off his responsibilities right from the get go onto the courts?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the Bloc Quebecois member said was that the law was illegal, and that what parliament was doing made no sense.

We know that this will be a good law. If they have recommendations to make, they can do so. But they are claiming right from the start that the law is illegal. So, if something is illegal, what are we to do? We take it before the courts.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister realize that, while he remains unfazed by the highly negative comments from the privacy commissioner on Bill C-55, and passes on to the courts the responsibility for resolving this, certain of the rights of citizens involved in these military zones will remain suspended, in particular the right to institute civil proceedings?

Is this acceptable in a country where rights and freedoms are supposed to be properly protected?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first the law has to be passed. The hon. member has just said that citizens are going to lose rights, yet the law is not even passed yet.

It is going to be looked at in committee. He is entitled to his opinion, but I am convinced that this bill respects the law of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms we hold so dear.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have seen with today's softwood disaster that the government's ability to make deals with the U.S. is non-existent. Why then do we have to wait for another theoretical deal on refugee claimants?

The government could begin today by declaring the U.S. as a safe third country. This would help stop asylum shopping, something the Liberal chair of the immigration committee is concerned about. It would open the way for many more legitimate refugee claims, something the Alliance is concerned about.

Why do we have to wait? Why will the government not act right now?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I think that what is the most important to point out is that we have legal obligations. As a result of the Singh case in 1985, we have an obligation to have this process in place for refugees. If we immediately send claimants back to the United States, we would have to be answerable before the courts on our obligations.

We must therefore ensure that, not only is article 33 complied with, but that we used due diligence to ensure that the safe third country agreement is in place.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, why does the minister not want to help true legitimate refugees?

Seventy two per cent of our refugee claimants come through the United States. By declaring the U.S. as a safe third country and following the United Nations guidelines on refugees, we could make it easier for those in camps and dire straits to get into Canada. Why is the minister so opposed to helping these people in dire straits?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. I am in favour of having more resources and more refugees coming from camps. At the same time, we have a duty to be respectful of the law. The supreme court made it clear that anyone coming as a refugee claimant has the same rights under the charter of rights and freedoms.

To do so, the only way to be respectful of article 33 of the Geneva convention is to make sure that we sign a deal with the Americans as a safe third country. If we have that, we will be able to do so.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 allows the Minister of National Defence to create military zones without having to reveal their location to anyone. This means that, based on the wording of the bill, some citizens could find themselves inside a military zone without knowing it.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us exactly what will happen to people who find themselves in such zones without knowing it, since they could be expelled by force without knowing why? Is this not interfering with people's freedoms?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, if people were staring a jet fighter in the face, they would be politely asked to leave the area.

These authorities in the case of military zones are the same that exist in the civilian realm. They have existed for hundreds of years under the common law, except in that case it is for police. It provides the same kind of authority for the military in protecting military equipment and personnel as the police have in other crowd control instances.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the minister is reserving the right to determine the period of designation of a military zone, and its dimensions, is it not worrisome for the public to know that such a zone may be designated by the Minister of National Defence alone, for a period of one year, with the possibility of renewing it for an additional one year period?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not read the legislation. It requires the military to make a recommendation to start with. The Minister of National Defence does not just go off and do this on his or her own. It also requires that the Minister of National Defence do what is reasonably necessary. If something is beyond the realm of the legislation to protect equipment in a reasonably necessary way, it can certainly be challenged in the courts.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, when people buy something at a fire sale, they check it out very carefully. The government bought the subs at a fire sale price. One would have thought it would have checked the subs out very carefully.

I ask the minister, when the government bought the subs, did it know they had been condemned by the British House of Commons and refused by the Australians?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. It is absolutely not true at all. The Royal Navy, one of the finest navies and expert navies in the world, has certified them. The kind of items that were in disrepair when the Australians looked at them have long since been repaired.

The Australians took 15 years from start to finish to get their submarines into operation. We will be doing it in a lot less than half of that.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, we make do with 40 year old Sea Kings. We make do with too few soldiers. We make do with leaky subs. We make do with the minister. We cannot continue to make do with the minister.

Respected military experts are warning Canadians today that we are only 15 years away from mass extinction. How many more reports does the minister have to hear before he will do something to prevent this mass extinction of our military?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately we also have to make do with the opposition critic who knows nothing about the military, who has the worst research of any opposition critic in the history of the House.

Facing extinction if we did absolutely nothing, one never knows, that is quite possible. However the government is investing in new equipment. It has increased the budget of the defence department 20% in the last four years. It is increasing it by $1 billion over the next five years.

The government is committed to ensuring that the Canadian forces get the tools, get the education, get the equipment and the people to be able to do their job.

South AfricaOral Question Period

May 2nd, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent trip to Africa. The Prime Minister was questioned on the South African government HIV-AIDS policy. I understand there are recent developments on this issue in South Africa. Could the Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa and la Francophonie give us an update?