This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, there is an ongoing investigation. We are looking into all elements of this. It is important. We want transparency and accountability in our government. We intend to pursue that, at the same time respecting the legal and HR obligations that we owe as a government.

MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the report of the special committee that recommended that the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana be decriminalized, the Minister of Justice announced his intention to amend the act.

However, it is urgent to take action, because Crown prosecutors are on their own and they are wondering whether they should initiate proceedings, or wait for the changes announced by the minister.

Does the minister realize that any delay in amending the act maintains a legal vacuum that is incompatible with the sound administration of justice?

MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a number of discussions have taken place in recent months regarding the use of cannabis in Canada.

The Senate report, which was tabled in August or September, favoured legalizing the drug.

Then, the report tabled before Christmas by the House committee advocated decriminalization, which is not to be confused with legalization.

At the time, I made it clear that the government would examine both reports and table, at the earliest opportunity, a balanced policy reflecting the values of all Canadians.

MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the signal sent by the minister is so confusing that, on September 13, 2002, the Supreme Court itself postponed the hearing of three criminal cases involving marijuana.

Will the minister take his responsibilities and introduce a bill very soon, so as to clarify the applicable law? When will he do it? People are waiting, and that includes defence counsel and Crown prosecutors.

MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I fully understand the hon. member's eagerness, but I simply want to point out that the current legislation is essentially the one that is applicable.

As for the decision made by the Supreme Court before the holiday season, hon. members realize of course that I cannot comment on it.

However, I already said on a number of occasions that the government will very soon go ahead with a policy that reflects all Canadian values. We will also move forward with a policy that will allow us to achieve a balanced approach based on these Canadian values.

Child PornographyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, on February 8 the Toronto police chief, Julian Fantino, said that he has repeatedly called on the federal government to install laws that would speed up investigation into Canada's sadistic plague of child pornography. Bureaucracy is bringing investigators to their knees. Some 40 pages of document must be completed, plus a signature of the justice of the peace must be obtained before a raid can take place. In the United States and Great Britain, only one page is required for a senior cop to sign.

When is the Solicitor General going to stop protecting child predators and start protecting children?

Child PornographyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, maybe the member has not been paying attention. Because of the efforts of this caucus and this government, the government has been taking on child predators and child pornography since 1993.

In fact, with respect to the specific incident that the member talks about, I did in this House say two weeks ago that we have created a joint steering committee to implement a national strategy to combat Internet based child pornography. There will be another meeting with all the police chiefs on February 19, and we will continue to move ahead on that issue.

Child PornographyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister should not try to convince me. He should try to convince the chief of police in Toronto.

Is the justice minister satisfied with the ever increasing number of house arrests, community service sentences that are being handed down by our courts for child abusers, child pornographers, child cripplers? If his answer is yes that he is satisfied, he should say so. If it is no, will he bring in tough new legislation today?

Child PornographyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first the hon. member should have a look at Bill C-20.

Let us start with Bill C-15A, which now of course actually is the legislation in Canada that we have been using. We are talking about Internet luring. The hon. member as well should recognize that in this country we have one of the toughest laws in the world. With Bill C-20, we are going to be even more effective and more efficient.

What the hon. member should do first is read the bill and, second, support the bill so it can become law in Canada as quickly as we can do it.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are concerned about apparent increases in racism and anti-Semitism in their communities.

Could the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women tell the House what the Government of Canada is doing to combat racism and anti-Semitism?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, expressions of intolerance have no place in Canadian society. Racist and anti-Semitic activities destroy the fabric of our society, destroy and undermine our fundamental values of respect, of equality and security.

Canada and Canadians will not tolerate expressions of hate. Canada's strong anti-hate legislation, the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, makes it a crime to incite hate and to incite hate against an identifiable group.

Just this morning I met with members of the Jewish community. We will work together to make sure that we build the society that we all want.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government talks about controlling provincial government health care spending, yet over half of the federal health department's budget goes to aboriginal agencies with too few strings attached to it.

According to senior band members, the executive of the health centre at Sandy Bay reserve had a wonderful Christmas vacation in Jamaica. Then, tired after their week of work in January, they took a week in Vegas. Now they are at the West Edmonton Mall.

Would the tough talking minister like to tell us what percentage of Health Canada's budget is used for vacations?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the specific situation that the hon. member raises, but let me assure him that if he has facts that he wants to bring to my attention I will have my department follow up.

I know the hon. member is aware that aboriginal people in this country suffer from the poorest health of any Canadians, generally speaking. In fact my department, along with others, is redoubling our efforts to work with aboriginal people in partnership to try to improve their health status. I would ask the hon. member and others to assist us in that.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, we cannot really blame people for doubting the minister on this one. Band members have asked for an audit in Sandy Bay and it has been ignored. The government does nothing.

It has been two full years since the Virginia Fontaine situation. The minister claims that she is interested in doing something. It has been two years: nothing done there.

The former assistant deputy minister billed Health Canada for 137 trips in a three year period. He took his girlfriend on over 100 of them, but nothing.

What does it take to get the government to take its responsibility seriously and direct money to aboriginal health, not vacations?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to the situation of the Virginia Fontaine addiction centre. I can reassure the hon. member that as soon as it came to the attention of my predecessor that there was alleged wrongdoing, he in fact instituted a forensic audit. We have gone to court twice to ensure that the audit is completed properly. In fact, we are still awaiting the outcome of that forensic audit.

It is unfair of this hon. member to suggest that when wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing is brought to our attention we do not follow it up. We do.

Ivory CoastOral Question Period

February 10th, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a press release issued by the Canadian government on January 27 about the Ivory Coast peace accords signed in France by the major political parties and the rebels, Canada reiterated its support for an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Ivory Coast.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain what the Government of Canada intends to do within the international community to bring to light all of the facts, including what happened in the rebel-controlled northern part of the country, and to ensure that those responsible are brought before international justice?

Ivory CoastOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are following the situation in Ivory Coast closely. It is a concern to us. We are providing assistance to Canadians who are there. We are prepared to work together with the international community, first to restore peace, and then to lay the foundations of civil society in this important African country.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have been informed that the government has promised to provide benefits to spouses of members of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. However, to this date the government has not fulfilled that promise.

Will the Minister of Veterans Affairs deliver on the promise to provide benefits to the spouses of members of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, we have always listened and applied the laws that exist today. Every eligible applicant, based on disability under the Pension Act when related to military service, will be given the benefits due to them.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has invoked land use bans on some elk farms.

Cervid producers worry it will be expanded even though the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lacks the scientific proof to do so. Therefore, they may not report suspected chronic wasting disease because of the government not having a contingency plan.

What will the minister do to ensure that the reporting system is not compromised from fear of the CFIA?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that for reportable diseases such as chronic wasting disease, if anyone, whether a producer, a veterinarian, or whoever is aware of that or suspects that, does not report that, they are breaking the law. If they do not report it and it becomes known, they will be treated according to the laws that are in place.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, a domestic from Morocco has been exploited, and literally sequestered, by her employer for close to ten years. She decided to hand herself over to immigration officers in order to escape from the untenable conditions in which she was living. Ms. Marhfoul has exhausted all avenues of recourse and now faces deportation.

Considering her past experiences, is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration prepared to take the humanitarian approach and to stay her deportation, as well as sending a clear message to unscrupulous employers who abuse their domestic employees, by instituting legal proceedings?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, first, I think that those who are contemplating hiring illegal immigrants need to be made aware of the law. They are subject to a $50,000 fine and six months in jail. That is the first thing. Second, I do not think that this is the place to negotiate specific cases. Often, we do not have all the facts, but we will try to enforce the law so that the integrity of the program is maintained.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, Human Resources Development Canada set up a pilot project to process applications for employment insurance benefits by telephone in Moncton, New Brunswick, called Teledec. Teledec was then transferred to Bathurst to serve claimants in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, without hiring new employees. The result is that people wait for up to two days before the line is free and they can talk to an officer.

Will the minister finally provide quality service to the EI recipients of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and hire people to do the work?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, our intention is to provide quality service to Canadians no matter where they live. I would be glad to look into this particular incident and talk to the member about it.

Our department works at ensuring that the efforts of providing good service, whether it be by telephone, directly over the Internet, or by personal attention, are clear. It must be a priority because these programs are so very important to us.