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House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

While I appreciate the points of order that have been raised in the intervention of the right hon. member for Calgary Centre and the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona and the government House leader, hon. members know that all kinds of things can get smuggled into question period, whether it is in the answers or whether it is in the questions. Perhaps I should say the responses and the questions. I do not want to cause offence.

For this to happen is not an unusual occurrence. While members may have preferred to have a statement instead so there was an opportunity to respond or to suggest that it be done during debates so that there could be a more lengthy presentation of questions and comments and so on, these things are all possibilities, and I am glad they have been mentioned, but unfortunately I do not think they constitute a point of order or a question of privilege at this point in time. Accordingly, we will move on.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Mississauga West on February 25, 2003, concerning a letter sent to him by the hon. member for Calgary West.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Mississauga West for having raised this issue as well as the hon. opposition House leader and the hon. member for Calgary West for their comments on the matter.

The hon. member for Mississauga West, in presenting his case, stated that he had received a request from the hon. member for Calgary West to write to the Prime Minister concerning the Falun Gong. The request was accompanied by a draft letter addressed to the Prime Minister from the hon. member for Mississauga West, ready to be signed by him should he decide to do so.

The objection raised by the hon. member for Mississauga West focuses on the fact that this letter was written on House of Commons letterhead. He has expressed disagreement with this approach because, among other things, it seems to give an official seal of approval to what is really only an MP's personal initiative.

The hon. member for Mississauga West protested that the draft letter, printed as it was on House letterhead, made it more likely that his own position might be misrepresented or taken out of context. All hon. members are acutely aware of the difficulties that may arise when this happens and the Chair agrees that every member of this House has an obligation to ensure that they are not the source of such a misrepresentation, even if done unintentionally or inadvertently.

In the present case, however, I fail to see that any such misrepresentation has occurred, let alone that any aspect of parliamentary privilege is involved. The use of generic House of Commons letterhead on a document submitted to another member for his or her consideration and possible signature hardly seems to involve misrepresentation or an attempt to interfere with the right of hon. members to conduct the business of Parliament without obstruction.

In past rulings, the Chair has tried to assist hon. members by indicating the limits of parliamentary privilege as it applies to them as individuals. Members who have an interest in this aspect of our rules will find it discussed in House of Commons Procedure and Practice at pages 71 to 95, and I invite hon. members to revisit those pages for a comprehensive explanation of this issue.

Meanwhile, I can see no infraction of any of our rules in the case now before us and I therefore find that no prima facie breach of privilege or of contempt has occurred in this situation.

Report of the Electoral Boundaries CommissionRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to section 21 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to lay upon the table a certified copy of the report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia.

This report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 21 petitions.

Parliament of Canada ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-408, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (oath or solemn affirmation).

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce a bill that would modify the oath of allegiance sworn by members of Parliament when they are elected.

At the present time, we swear allegiance to the Queen. I have no intention whatsoever of calling for the reference to the Queen to be taken out. What I am asking instead is for an addition, a proof of our pride and responsibility toward our constituents, the people of Canada. I therefore wish to add loyalty to Canada to the oath.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-409, an act to establish the Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce in the House an act to establish the Canadian foreign intelligence agency. As the only G-8 country without a foreign intelligence agency, Canada has been a net consumer of intelligence rather than a net producer. Today's strategic environment demands that we have our own sources of foreign intelligence to safeguard our own interests and to assist our allies in the war against terrorism.

The introduction of this bill would not have been possible without the hard work of Miss Clare McIntyre, a parliamentary intern in my office, and Mr. Alistair Hensler, a constituent and a former assistant director of CSIS.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present. The first one has to do with the matter of sexual orientation. The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House the fact that the current provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada can be effective in preventing true threats against individuals or groups without changes to sections 318 and 319 of the code. The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of prosecution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with regard to the issue of the definition of marriage. The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House the fact that the majority of Canadians believe that the fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament, not by the unelected judiciary. The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invoking of section 33 of the charter, the notwithstanding clause, if necessary to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the final petition is with regard to stem cells. This petition is signed by a number of Canadians, including a number from my own riding of Mississauga South, who understand, as I do, that life begins at conception. They would like to draw to the attention of the House the fact that they support ethical stem cell research, which has already shown encouraging potential to provide cures and therapies for Canadians. They also point out that non-embryonic stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells. They therefore call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary for what ails Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions, both dealing with the potential war in Iraq. My constituents point out their concerns about this war and ask Parliament to support a negotiated peaceful resolution to the crisis, to ensure that the crisis is resolved under the auspices of the United Nations organization, to work for an end to the current sanctions against the people of Iraq, and to pursue the establishment of a comprehensive disarmament regime for the region, under strict international control.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the honour to present a petition with over 500 signatures from constituents in my riding of Cambridge and from citizens of the riding of Brant. The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House the fact that the majority of Canadians condemns the creation and use of child pornography and that the courts have not applied current law in a swift and decisive manner. Therefore, the petitioners call on Parliament to take the necessary steps to outlaw all materials that promote or glorify child pornography.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of the people of eastern Ontario and people on the Quebec side requesting that Parliament recognize that the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College is essential to training Canadians for emergency situations, especially now, more than ever, that the facility should stay in Arnprior, and that the government should upgrade the facilities in order to provide the necessary training to Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as foreign affairs critic and peace advocacy team leader for the New Democratic Party, I am pleased to table a petition signed by many of my constituents and thousands of other Canadians urging Parliament to uphold international law and say no to any Canadian participation in Bush's illegal war. I think today's welcome announcement shows the importance of citizens mobilizing around something as fundamental as the government making a decision to enter a war.

I hope the government will respect this petition and allow Parliament to strengthen its hands and its voice and allow the government to play an even more important role in yet preventing an illegal, avoidable war against Iraq in the days and months ahead.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 104, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, 120, 121, 123, 124, 127 and 141.

Question No. 104Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

With regard to the health impacts on Canadians of breast implants: ( a ) will the government offer financial compensation for victims of faulty breast implants and, if yes, when will this be available; ( b ) when will Health Canada release the results of its breast implant cohort study launched in 1996 and promised by the end of 2000; ( c ) why has this study not yet been released; ( d ) will the government consider establishing a national registry to track the health status, including adverse effects, of recipients of breast implants; ( e ) will the government consider establishing a national breast implant user registry to tally the health care costs associated with breast implant users; ( f ) is Health Canada in possession of information estimating the health care costs associated with breast implant recipients; ( g ) what is Health Canada currently doing to ensure the safety and efficacy of both silicone and saline implants; ( h ) is Health Canada assured that women receiving silicone implants through the special access program are properly apprised of the associated risks; and ( i ) what was Health Canada's reaction to warnings over the years from its Health Protection Branch that breast implants were potentially dangerous?

Question No. 104Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

(a) The government is not offering financial compensation to victims of alleged faulty breast implants.

(b) Results from this study will be released as soon as possible following the analysis of the data.

(c) The study in question was very large and complicated, involving many different organizations. It took approximately four years to reach the stage where the provinces, Ontario and Quebec, had collected the data and assembled the cohort required. This data was submitted to Statistics Canada for approval of the cohort/mortality/cancer incidence linkage process. In August 2002, Statistics Canada released the linked data to Ontario and Quebec so that the cancer staging information could be added to the linked records.

The analysis team, involving representatives from Ontario, Quebec and Health Canada, met on February 17, 2003. An analysis plan was drawn up and agreed to by all parties. A report will be prepared for public release following the completion of the data analysis.

(d) Health Canada is assessing the feasibility of a national breast implant registry.

(e) Health care costs are tracked by the provincial ministries.

(f) No.

(g) Breast implants are medical devices and must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the medical devices regulations before being offered for sale. Under this act and the regulations, the responsibility of selling safe and effective medical devices resides with the manufacturer. Breast implants have been placed in the highest risk class of medical devices. These devices undergo the highest degree of premarket review prior to sale.

No medical device sold in Canada is without risk. The degree of remaining risk for any medical device must be balanced with potential benefit for the patient. The discussion of risk and benefit for any medical treatment is held between patients and their health care provider. The decision is made by the patient in consultation with her physician. Physicians are urged by their professional associations to obtain a signed informed consent before treatment.

(h) The sale of a medical device under part 2 of the regulations, i.e. special access, requires health care professionals to sign a declaration that they have provided the patient with details of the risks and potential benefits of the device. Physicians must also inform patients that the device is being obtained under the special access program.

For each patient receiving a saline or silicone gel-filled breast implant or tissue expander through the special access program, Health Canada has a signed attestation from surgeons involved, as required by section 71(1) of the Medical Devices Regulations, that they have informed the patient of the risks and benefits associated with the device to be used.

Health Canada has requested, obtained and reviewed basic safety data from manufacturers whose breast implants are requested by health care professionals through the special access program.

(i) The department has investigated the potential risks brought to its attention, requesting and evaluating additional information regarding breast implants from their manufacturers. Independent studies and research were conducted into these potential risks and several internal and external advisory committees were struck to investigate the concerns.

A voluntary moratorium on the sale of silicone gel-filled breast implants was put in place in 1992. In 1993 the then Minister of Health announced that these devices could not be sold in Canada until manufacturers were able to address the outstanding safety and effectiveness concerns.

Health Canada has increased the amount of information provided by the manufacturers, through their product monographs, to women considering breast surgery. Additional information has also been provided to Canadian women via the “It’s Your Health” publications discussing breast implants and medical devices in general.

Question No. 107Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

How many federal government departments have access to the firearms registry and what level of personnel within the departments are allowed this direct access or are allowed to request specific information as to whether or not individuals have ownership of firearms listed on the registry?

Question No. 107Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Only two federal government departments/entities have direct access to the Canadian Firearms Registration System, CFRS, the Department of Justice and the RCMP, which is an agency of the Solicitor General.

In addition, police agencies and a number of investigative and enforcement branches of federal and provincial government departments have access to Canadian Firearms Registry Online, CFRO, through the Canadian Police Information Centre, CPIC. CPIC is a national police service administered by the RCMP where restricted access is maintained.

The level of personnel with access varies from data entry clerks to the operational managerial level. All personnel with direct access are cleared to a minimum of enhanced reliability. They are governed by federal or provincial privacy legislation. Their ability to enter, change or view data is governed by the system access accorded to them in keeping with their respective duties.

Question No. 108Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

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

What costs has the government incurred for the strategic sea and airlift involved in deploying Canadian Forces personnel and equipment to operations in Kosovo, including the air campaign, to United Nations operations in East Timor, and to Operation APOLLO and other activities in Afghanistan, specifically: ( a ) what were the sealift charter costs for all three operations; ( b ) what were the costs incurred in rental of airlift resources for the three operations; ( c ) what were the costs for the interception and return of equipment caused by the MV Katie’s refusal to return to Canada until payments were received; ( d ) how much money was spent acquiring precision-guided munitions from Australia for the Kosovo bombing campaign in terms of transportation and what will the return costs be once the weapons are replaced; ( e ) how much money was spent on strategic air-to-air refuelling to deploy the CF-18 fleet to Aviano, Italy, and to return it to Canada; and ( f ) how do the costs of leasing or purchasing C-17 or C-130J aircraft compare to the costs of maintaining the CC-130 fleet and of renting United States Air Force, Ukrainian air force and other airlift resources?

Question No. 108Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

(a) The total cost of chartering strategic sealift incurred by the Department of National Defence in the following missions were: (a) Kosovo, $5,140,000.00; (b) East Timor, $643,500.00; and (c) Op Apollo, $1,437,015.00.

(b) The total cost of chartering strategic airlift incurred by the Department of National Defence in the following missions were: (a) Kosovo, $9,481,236.00; (b) East Timor, $3,645,600.00; and (c) Op Apollo, $53,474,006.00.

(c) The total incremental cost was $2,660,367 and the full cost* was $6,956,086.

(d) The Department of National Defence did not acquire precision guided munitions from Australia.

(e) The total incremental cost of strategic air-to-air refueling to deploy the CF-18 fleet to Aviano, Italy, was $61,923.52. The incremental cost to return the aircraft to Canada was $52,674.79.

(f) A direct comparative cost analysis cannot be made. For fiscal year 2002-03, the incremental cost of maintaining the C-130 fleet is $4,656 per hour, while the full cost to maintain and operate the aircraft is $14,478 per hour. In the past the costs to charter the Antonov 124 and the Ilyushin 76 have been $23,000 per hour and $10,700 per hour, respectively. The Canadian Forces have had access to C-17s and C-5s under a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Defense. In these instances the Department of National Defence is charged a rate of $7,283 per hour to utilize the C-17 Globemaster, and $16,000 per hour to utilize the C-5 Galaxy.

  • Incremental DND cost is the cost to DND, which is over and above the amount that would have been spent for personnel and equipment if they had not been deployed on the task. It is derived from “Full DND Cost” by subtracting wages, equipment depreciation and attrition, and other costs that otherwise would have been spent on exercises or absorbed as part of normal activities.

** Full DND cost is the cost to DND for the operation. Included in this cost are civilian and military wages/overtime/allowances, full costs for petrol, oil and lubricants, spares, contracted repair and overhaul as well as depreciation and attrition for all equipment involved.

Question No. 109Routine Proceedings

March 17th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.

NDP

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

Of the approximately 7000 individuals who have been refused gun licenses: ( a ) how many are due to errors in license form processing; ( b ) how many are due to multiple, failed attempts by the same person; ( c ) how many are due to the false flagging of individuals through mistaken identity or improper entry in the Firearms Interest Police database; ( d ) how many refusals subsequently resulted in the issue of a license; ( e ) how many individuals have been legitimately refused and how many of these lied on their application in order to apply; and ( f ) how many of those who have been denied a license have been prosecuted for making false statements on their applications?

Question No. 109Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

With extensive and continuous background checks on applicants and licence holders, about 9,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by public safety officials. That is over 70 times more revocations from potentially dangerous individuals since December 1, 1998, compared to the total for the last five years under the old program.

(a) There are no statistics available for this type of scenario;

(b) This would constitute an administrative rejection which is not included in the 9,000 refusals or revocations;

(c) There are no statistics available for this type of inquiry;

(d) 177 firearms applications within the refusal process subsequently resulted in the issuance of a licence;

(e) 9,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked. There are no statistics available that indicate how many people have lied on their application form;

(f) The Canadian firearms centre does not have any statistics available on false declarations.

Even though there are no statistics compiled on the accusations or situations of false declarations, it is clearly stipulated in section 106(1) of the Firearms Act :

It is an offence to knowingly make a false or misleading statement, either orally or in writing, or to knowingly fail to disclose relevant information, for the purpose of obtaining a permit, a registration certificate or an authorization.

Every person who commits an offence under Section 106:

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction

Question No. 112Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

With respect to the May, 1976 Peace and Security paper distributed by Justice Minister Ron Basford and with reference to the statement on page 41: “At the same time, there has been a steady increase in the number of firearms in Canada. Estimates place the number at over ten million in 1974, with almost one-quarter million added to the stock every year. Most of these firearms are long guns (rifles and shotguns)”, what evidence did the department use to produce these estimates, and based on this evidence, how many firearms are there in Canada today?

Question No. 112Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

The estimate of the number of firearms in Canada referred to in the department’s 1976 peace and security paper was produced by Statistics Canada.

With respect to current estimates, the Canadian firearms centre commissioned a third party organization to conduct a survey into this issue and obtained an updated estimate of the number of firearms in Canada in August 2002. A respected market research firm, GPC Research, conducted this survey and the non-partisan public policy forum oversaw and rigorously reviewed its methodology.

In the fall of 2001, GPC Research contacted 21,650 Canadians, achieving a sample size of over 3,000 firearm owners. Based on the results of this study, the number of firearms in Canada was estimated at 7.9 million. The study also confirms that there has been a consolidation in firearm ownership. It shows that the top 3% of firearm owners hold more than one third of all handguns in the country and approximately 15% of all firearms or, on average, 15.5 firearms per owner. For the remainder of the firearm-owning population, the mean number of firearms owned is 2.74.

This survey has a margin of error of ±2.06% at the national level, with a 95% confidence level.

Question No. 113Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

With respect to a Statistics Canada survey published in May of 1977 that questioned approximately 65,000 Canadians over the age of 14, living in 31,000 different households, about their ownership and use of firearms and considering the number of firearms manufactured in Canada and firearms import and export records since that date, how many firearms does Statistics Canada estimate are in Canada today?