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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parents.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, I am sure, hardly needs reminding that he must address his questions to the Chair. He is fully conversant with that rule.

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue. It is one where we are seeking the best we can to get as much information as we can into the hands of those who can help them to reconstruct what happened a long time ago.

These were herbicides that were used widely by other authorities throughout the province. They were herbicides that were used in accordance with industrial and commercial standards at the time and there was no belief there was any risk to humans.

We are now doing our best to make sure that all those who were exposed can get the best information and work with Veterans Affairs Canada for any disability pensions they are entitled to. We will continue to do that. It is laborious, it is time consuming, but we are committed to getting to the bottom of this so people can be--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Conservative Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian veterans have served this country proudly through two world wars, Korea, and in peacekeeping roles throughout the world. They put their lives on the line for us and then have to defend themselves against their own government.

The chemical testing program in Suffield and Ottawa is a prime example of this. Now we have the spraying of CFB Gagetown with agent orange.

Are we going to have another long, drawn out process where elderly and sick veterans are put through the wringer in order to be awarded compensation?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga East—Cooksville Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at Veterans Affairs Canada we have an agenda of care, as the hon. member well knows. We have established a review committee to ensure that our programs deliver for our veterans.

The member knows that there is a longstanding policy of assisting our veterans in terms of getting their--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

What's the deadline?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one is ever denied a pension at veterans affairs for being late. No information is ever denied for a veteran to advance his or her case--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Conservative Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, routinely veterans have been turned down for benefits because they could not prove their disability was related to their service in the armed forces. Retired Brigadier General Gordon Sellar and his wife, Gloria, are a prime example. It took a pitched battle with veterans affairs that lasted 15 years before he won his award.

Would the veterans affairs minister commit to a review of all applications from veterans who are suffering from illnesses known to be related to agent orange and agent purple and ensure that they are compensated properly and without delay?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Mississauga East—Cooksville Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the veteran member knows that I cannot talk about individual cases. The veteran member obviously did not listen to my answer when I stated that we have in fact established a review committee to review cases related to agent orange and agent purple.

No amount of irresponsible rhetoric from the other side will advance the cases. I invite the member to work with me to advance veterans' cases.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister suggests there is a compensation plan for our military personnel exposed to agent orange.

However, the minister has never once mentioned the non-military personnel exposed to the same chemicals, the private contractors, civilian employees and the residents of the towns and villages bordering the base. What compensation plan do these people fall under?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, clearly, what we are trying to do at this time is to get as much information as we possible can.

If the hon. member has been reading the press from his own province, it is clear that these same herbicides were being sprayed by provincial governments all over their own provinces.

What we have to ascertain first is who came into contact with these herbicides and under what conditions. Then we can move forward with figuring out how we can compensate them. Let us get the facts first. Let us work with the facts instead of a lot of rumours under which the hon. member wants to operate.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is code language for doing nothing. The Liberals did the same thing on the hepatitis C file. The opposition had to pound the government for 12 years simply for it to recognize all victims of hepatitis C. That is the same language the government used on this file.

The government knows the facts. When is it going to act and compensate all victims, not just some?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that question comes from a party that was in power for eight years 12 years ago, closer to the time of the Vietnam war, closer to the events that took place, and which did absolutely nothing to find out about it, did nothing to compensate anybody, did nothing to find any facts. To say now 45 years later, “You guys figure it all out”, the Conservatives should have fixed it up 15 years ago when they were in power and could have done it. That is my answer.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learn that, in the 1960s, Canada invited the American army here to test a very toxic defoliant, agent orange. It was used in the Vietnam war and continues to have terrible effects on the health of generations of Vietnamese. The tests were secret.

I ask the Minister of National Defence how he justifies the government of the day allowing the American army to use a site in Canada to test poisons.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said to the other member, all the herbicides used at the time were commercial and industrial products used by many. As the press has said recently, the Government of New Brunswick used the same type of thing.

What we are trying to do today is uncover the facts and look at the type of compensation we could offer those affected. I promise the members of the House that this is just what the government will do.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada also tested a number of defoliants, including agent purple, three times as toxic as agent orange. Members of the military were exposed to it, along with their families and local residents.

Why is the government not, first, acknowledging its responsibility, second, assessing the consequences of the use of these products and, finally, helping the victims, both military and civilian?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that all these products were used by various governments, individuals and commercial agents throughout Canada. At the time, the products were accepted by industry.

We are trying today to reconstruct the facts. We will find the causal relations and will offer compensation to those affected. But first we have to uncover the facts. That is what we are doing.

Medicinal MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government-run marijuana grow op in a base metal mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba has been a bust. The government has spent millions on pot; however, the pot crop has little medicinal value and may be corrupted by mine contaminants.

Will the minister shut down the operation, or will taxpayers continue to be shafted?

Medicinal MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the medicinal marijuana program is being constantly monitored. This program was started based on compassionate need for those who are in pain. We continue to monitor the program and we believe it is working well.

Medicinal MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, just like tobacco, marijuana has serious health effects. Ironically, the government fights tobacco smoking, yet encourages marijuana smoking.

There is a new safe alternative for medical marijuana users. It is a cannabis spray called Sativex. With the introduction of Sativex, will the government reconsider its marijuana policy?

Medicinal MarijuanaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the medicinal marijuana program has been brought into effect because it meets the medicinal needs for patients under the care of qualified doctors and medical practitioners in the country. This program is well run. Obviously, always there are growing pains, as we may have had with the marijuana program, and I understand that we continue to monitor it.

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

I must admit that I was surprised when the Quebec minister of economic development, innovation and export trade said at Le Bourget that the Government of Canada was not necessarily concerned about aerospace policy and that Quebec should even develop its own policy.

Can the Minister of Industry set the record straight and give us proof that the government is indeed concerned about the aerospace industry and that, as minister, he intends to take very concrete action to prove that we have an aerospace policy in Canada?

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question because I too was very puzzled when I read the comments in a media clipping. After all, it was this government under this Prime Minister that established the Canadian aerospace council.

We are planning, developing and working hard. All of the members of the industry from across the country are developing an aerospace strategy for all of Canada. We have made major investments in the province of Quebec in aerospace. My hon. colleague from Quebec is a member of the Canadian aerospace council and he chose not to attend the last meeting.

National DefenceOral Question Period

June 14th, 2005 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently a military couple, after first being denied service, were extra billed by the Ontario government to treat their born in Canada infant daughter. They were told they would have to make special arrangements to register their child for Ontario health insurance.

Why does the Minister of Health refuse to defend the Canada Health Act on behalf of Canada's armed forces?