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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the Deputy Prime Minister was Minister of Justice she said, “I share your concern about a conditional sentence being used in relation to serious, violent crimes. In fact, that was never the purpose”.

Despite the Deputy Prime Minister's stated concern, the bill tabled by the justice minister today continues to allow house arrest for serious, violent crimes, including sexual assaults and drug trafficking.

Why has the minister not absolutely closed the door to the use of house arrest for serious, violent crimes?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is simply mischaracterizing the nature of the legislation. We have adopted the unanimous recommendation of all federal-provincial-territorial ministers of justice to the effect that there will be a presumptive exclusion of conditional sentences with respect to all serious and violent offences. That is the legislation we tabled today.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice knows the difference between excluding and a presumption. It is another legal fiction by the minister. The streets of Toronto are filled with gunfire directly tied to the violent struggle for control of the drug trade, yet the minister's bill makes no mention of drug trafficking or grow ops.

Why has the minister turned a blind eye to the significant cause of violent crime in our large urban cities by allowing drug traffickers to qualify for house arrest? Why has he not closed the door? Enough presumptions. We want the door closed.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the member opposite would respect what was a unanimous recommendation of all provincial and territorial ministers of justice

I would hope that he realizes that where we have more mandatory minimums for gun related crimes than any other crime in the Criminal Code, there is no conditional sentence possible. He ought to read the Criminal Code.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has been leading the fight in the House against crystal meth. Over a year ago we called on the government to increase penalties for the possession of key crystal meth ingredients, but the changes still are not in place in spite of the government's phony announcement.

Today Health Canada told me that all it is waiting for is the minister's signature. Meth continues to destroy lives while this incompetent government delays.

When will the minister act? When will he sign off on the new rules to get tough on crystal meth? Why not today?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the hon. member has been smoking or taking.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind hon. members that it is question period. We do need to have some order, so we can hear the questions and the answers. It seems unusually tumultuous today. Perhaps everyone should just relax a little while the Minister of Health completes his answer.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess it is difficult for some people to take it and they can only dish it out.

The fact is that we have acted on this issue. We are acting on this issue. We are actually training counsellors right across the country in the aboriginal community. I made that announcement in Saskatchewan. We provided several hundred thousand dollars for the next three or four months to train all the counsellors and those laws will be in place.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a sad mockery of a response to a very serious question and a shameful denial of responsibility. The Prime Minister is trying to blame American gun smuggling for our lethal gun violence.

I remind the Prime Minister that it is the criminals right here in Canada who are committing these crimes. The present laws are simply not a deterrent. Canadians have a right to live without fear for their safety.

There is a bill before the justice committee right now, Bill C-215, that would strengthen minimum mandatory sentences for violent gun crimes. With all due respect, I ask the Prime Minister, will he or will he not support the bill?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have more stringent penalties for gun-related crimes than in almost any other country. At the same time we have said that we will initiate legislative reforms. This is a matter that is on the FPT agenda. We are meeting in 10 days time and as I said, we will move to enhance penalties after that meeting comes to the consensus as to how to do so.

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has issued permits to more than 13 cigarette manufacturing plants on the Kahnawake aboriginal territory. But the taxes on each pack sold would not go to the federal government.

What is the Minister of National Revenue waiting for before assuming his responsibilities and collecting the taxes due to him?

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency is assuming its responsibilities. If there are problems, or if Canadians are not following the rules, action will be taken.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the federal government is increasing the number of anti-smoking campaigns, packs of cigarettes sold on the Kahnawake reserve do not have any of the warning labels required by health regulations.

Instead of interfering in the jurisdictions and responsibilities of others, why does the federal government not worry about ensuring its own laws are enforced and requiring warning labels to be put on these packs just like any others?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will have a discussion with the hon. member and take a look into it. If there is anything that needs to be changed, we will change it.

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

October 27th, 2005 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal and provincial governments voted to tax cigarettes in order to discourage consumption of this poison. Because of the illegal trafficking out of Kahnawake, Quebec is losing over $200 million a year.

When will this government do something to ensure its own laws are enforced?

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the CRA issues a permit to applicants who satisfy the requirements, particularly a security deposit. If a permit holder does not comply with his obligations, the CRA takes appropriate measures in a fair and equitable manner, including revocation of the permit.

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the governments are trying to reduce the number of smokers, the Kahnawake plants are flooding the black market with cigarettes and are thereby encouraging consumption.

Why did this government issue 13 cigarette manufacturing permits to companies that do not obey the law?

Cigarette TaxesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has just given me some good news. Since the government increased taxes on cigarettes, fewer Canadians are smoking. In seven years, the percentage of smokers has dropped from 30% to 20%. Therefore, considerable progress has been made.

LiteracyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, overall Canada performs well internationally on measures of education and skills. Nonetheless, many Canadian adults lack the literacy and other essential skill capacities such as communication and teamwork needed to fully participate in and benefit from current Canadian society.

In a lifelong learning culture, strong literacy and other essential skills are key. Literacy and essential skills are central to the social and economic development of Canada. In the context of Literacy Action Day, what is the Government of Canada's commitment to literacy and other essential skills?

LiteracyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of State (Human Resources Development)

Mr. Speaker, today being Literacy Action Day, I would first like to congratulate the community groups, and the provinces and territories for all the work they do on behalf of the people who have problems reading and writing.

I also want to congratulate everyone who is taking steps to learn how to read and write.

In the last budget the Minister of Finance has given $30 million to the national literacy secretariat. I am pleased to announce today that 19 groups from across Canada will meet next week for two days for a comprehensive strategy on literacy.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is 2005 and unbelievably the grain price prairie farmers receive from the Canadian Wheat Board is still set for us by the federal government. This year the cabinet set the price so low that it is killing farmers. Farmers are getting as little as 18¢ a bushel.

This minister is incompetent. He has done nothing. Farmers, the opposition and the Canadian Wheat Board have begged cabinet to raise those prices.

When will the government raise the initial price to a level that will give farmers a fair price for their wheat and barley?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government and certainly the Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board waits for and tries to adhere very closely to the recommendations that come from the producer elected board of directors. I believe the Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board has that issue before him at this very moment.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The government has come up with rules that do not allow food processors to use the term “no sugar added”. That would be fine, except for the fact that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not have the resources to monitor foreign products coming into this country, so we have the beautiful situation where foreign processors get to use the label “no sugar added” and Canadians cannot. This has already caused a 30% drop in the sale of Canadian canned fruit.

Why would the Liberal government set up a system that penalizes Canadians and helps their competitors? Does that not bother the minister?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, that is not accurate.

I would suggest to the party opposite that its members support the legislation that was before the House and went to committee. When the legislation has an opportunity to come back before the House and we engage in the appropriate debate, we hope to see the bill move forward.