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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. I do not know what unnamed military official the hon. member is referring to. I am referring to the chief of defence staff who has total command over the Canadian Forces. He also mentioned to me a recent conversation he had with the chief of the air staff who is directly responsible for this. The chief of the air staff was quoted by the chief of defence staff as agreeing that the statement of requirements was “totally intact”.

If the member does not have any named officials with contrary information, I suggest he defer to the two heads of our Canadian Forces.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government eliminated the two week waiting period for employment insurance during the SARS outbreak in Toronto, which was the right decision.

Is the fishery crisis in the Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands, along the North Shore and in the eastern provinces not as serious for the economy of these regions to warrant the government making a decision like the one made for Toronto, and modifying the employment insurance rules to help the fishery?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure the member of the Bloc Quebecois that we are working very closely with the communities and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the matter of unemployment insurance for fishers and plant workers.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's minister of employment has done his part to help fishery workers, but the federal government has refused to change the EI rules to do its share.

How can a government that is fully responsible for the current mess in the fisheries, following 30 years of bad decision-making, sit back and let Quebec take exceptional measures to solve the fisheries problem, and do nothing to help? It was the federal government that created the problem; they should fix it.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member must recognize that when we announced the closure of this fishery, we also announced funding to create short-term employment to help these communities. We also began discussions on long-term economic development objectives. Thanks to federal-provincial agreements with Human Resources Development Canada, we have the money available to do this, under part II of the Employment Insurance Act.

JusticeOral Question Period

May 12th, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, a recent Ipsos-Reid poll stated that two out of three Canadians thought the Supreme Court of Canada was influenced by partisan politics. This conclusion is not surprising given the absolute right of the Prime Minister to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.

Why is the Prime Minister satisfied with seeing the court increasingly become an arm of the Prime Minister's Office because of this partisan appointment process?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report that we have a fantastic Supreme Court in Canada. I am proud to say that when talking to people all over the world and asking them what they think about the Canadian legal system, they believe that it is an outstanding legal system.

I am also proud that a lot of judges are going all over the world to tell people about the way we do things here, the way we are acting, and about the fantastic legal system we have in place. The member should be ashamed to start that discussion.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is telling the Canadian people that they have no reason to be concerned and yet they have legitimate reason to be concerned. The public's growing dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court undermines its necessary role as an independent, non-partisan institution.

The Prime Minister has the power to reverse this disturbing trend. Will the Prime Minister leave as his legacy by acting quickly and implementing a non-partisan appointment process to restore confidence in the judiciary?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that is a very unacceptable and disgraceful approach. For example, to talk about partisanship, the first woman chief justice in Canada was named to the Supreme Court by a Conservative government. When he talks about partisanship he has an example of how objective we can be. She is doing a great job and she was named to the Supreme Court by my predecessor.

We always go for the best and we do not want any political debate about it. We are judged on the quality of the appointments and when they are there they are secure until 75 years of age.

Montfort HospitalOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

This morning the minister announced a new partnership between his department and the Montfort Hospital, an important institution in the riding I represent.

Could the minister please describe the nature of that partnership to this House, our hon. colleagues and those listening?

Montfort HospitalOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to thank the hon. member for his excellent work on this issue.

This is a superb agreement for both parties. For the members of the Canadian Forces, it will provide top-notch medical care in their preferred language. For the hospital, the agreement will ensure its long-term viability.

Thus, it is an excellent agreement for everyone.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Jekyll and Hyde of arms control treaties.

When he is Dr. Jekyll, he expresses concern over the possibility of Iran violating an arms control treaty, but as Mr. Hyde, he wants star wars, the weapons system that Bush tore up an arms control treaty to develop.

Before cabinet discusses star wars tomorrow, could the minister tell us when it is okay for a country to ignore arms control treaties and when it is not?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure about the Jekyll and Hyde accusation considering it comes from the party opposite that has managed to change its position on some of these matters in an extraordinary way.

I would say, however, that cabinet will be examining this. The Prime Minister has clearly indicated in the House what we will do in terms of this issue. Like all others, we will examine it in light of the best interests of Canada to ensure security for Canada and for Canadians, and to advance the interests of Canada in the international domain of which we are so proud.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has stated that New Brunswick got $90 million and Quebec got $600 million from the federal government for workers affected by crises such as that in the crab fishery.

According to New Brunswick's Minister of Labour, under the federal department's regulations, the provinces cannot use these funds for emergencies but rather for training.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Since these funds are not available under federal regulations, will the Prime Minister provide new funding to help New Brunswick and Quebec with the crab fishery crisis?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member that I met with the crabbers' associations yesterday in Fredericton. I discussed when the fishery would resume. I heard that they held a press conference. The two crabbers' associations in New Brunswick said that they were going to resume fishing. So, the problem has been resolved.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence claimed last week that the helicopter requirements had not been reduced “one iota”, yet Colonel Akitt confirms that the procurement process has been an abject failure, riddled with political interference that has left Canada with watered down safety and operational requirements.

Why is the minister proceeding to acquire helicopters that will not even match the capabilities of our 40 year old Sea Kings? Will he commit to eliminating political interference rather than helicopter requirements so that Canada can receive the best possible helicopter?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the colonel's academic paper, I am all in favour of academic freedom but I am also aware of the freedom of academics to make mistakes.

I have read every page of that paper and I can say, from having read every page--and I will willingly make copies available to the opposition and to the media--that he does not deny at all the truth of the matter which is that the statement of requirements was approved by the military leadership of the time, nor does he detract from the second truth, which is that this statement of requirements was not changed one iota for political reasons.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, again last week the Minister of National Defence responded to allegations about political meddling on behalf of Eurocopter's helicopter bid as “largely untrue”, yet Canada's ambassador to France did write to the Prime Minister's Office, he did outline changes Eurocopter wanted and the process was changed.

Now senior defence officials, including Colonel Akitt, have emerged to support these types of allegations.

Will the minister confirm that the decision to rebundle the two contracts into one permitted Eurocopter to stay in the competition?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the decision to rebundle the contract, which was my decision, has been universally praised by the industry as the right way to go, partly because it makes the helicopter come faster and partly because it reduces risk.

I have absolutely nothing to apologize for on that. I have already quoted the chief of defence staff as saying that the statement of requirements, first, had the full blessing of the military leadership of the day, and second, has not been tinkered with one iota since that time for any political reason.

I have nothing to apologize to the member for.

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, Ontario says that Ottawa has ignored public safety by not appealing the striking down of parts of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The attorney general wrote:

Your failure to take a stand continues this dismal legacy to youth justice in Canada, and will further weaken an already inadequate piece of legislation.

The provisions affected have been law since 1995 and this decision could result in new trials for cases involving murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault. Why did the minister not appeal given these considerations?

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we decided not to appeal. That decision, first, said that the Canadian government has indeed the jurisdiction with regard to youth criminal justice. Second, it struck down the section of the bill regarding the question of the presumption in place.

The fact that we decided not to appeal does not water down the bill at all. We will be able to meet the same objectives while respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights. This is important. As I said, we will go ahead this fall with something in order to clarify the legislation.

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should be talking to victims or their families about the impact of new trials. Maybe he should go to Victoria and talk with Reena Virk's family.

The minister says that he intends to consult with the provinces in response to this recent court decision. Ontario's attorney general said that Ottawa has ignored provincial concerns over youth justice. Other provinces have said the same thing.

Ontario proposed more than 100 amendments before the new act was passed into law and not one was adopted. Why has the minister reneged on his political commitment to crack down on violent youth crime?

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I just do not know what he is talking about. When we look at the existing legislation, it is still possible for a youth to face an adult sentence under some circumstances.

Having said that, the court of appeal decided that the two presumptions were against the charter. We decided not to appeal because we believe there is a way to meet the objective of the legislation without appealing. As I have said, this fall we will proceed with amendments to the act in order to clarify the situation. In that way we will meet the objective while respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights because we believe in the Canadian Charter of Rights and--

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a $45 billion surplus in the employment insurance fund, to which everyone has contributed. Exceptional measures are required in both the softwood lumber and fisheries industries, yet all the minister can think to tell us is that there are regular programs and they are working very well.

Could the minister not change his tune, show some initiative and announce specific measures for the softwood lumber and fisheries workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. I would like to say to the hon. member that we are there and through the employment insurance system we are assisting workers who find themselves, through no fault of their own, without employment.

When it comes to the fisheries, as the hon. member knows, and my colleague made clear, we contribute to the provinces every year a significant amount of money for active measures. In the case of the Province of Quebec, the government receives well over half a billion dollars every year to deal with active measures in this regard.