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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was religious.

Topics

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week I challenged the government on its plans to close five single-person RCMP detachments along a 100 mile stretch of the Canada-U.S. border. The government said it was a provincial issue. It is not anymore. Last weekend, someone ran the border near Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Because of chronic understaffing, the RCMP could not respond. Instead, they resorted to phoning the Val Marie bar and local residents to see if they had seen him.

Will the government admit that these closures are leaving our borders unprotected?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, no, I do not admit that--

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has asked a question and he is going to get an answer from none other than the Deputy Prime Minister. We cannot hear a word she is saying. How can the member ask an intelligent supplementary if he cannot hear the answer from the Deputy Prime Minister? We will have some order. The Deputy Prime Minister has the floor.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anne McLellan Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are 71 million crossings in this country every year. Virtually every one of them stops legally at the border, either on our side or on the American side. In fact, these closings of single detachments are redeployments. They take place after consultation with the provinces involved. These redeployments ultimately lead to more effective policing.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, let us get this straight. The government is going to allow the closure of these detachments. There will be no permanent RCMP presence along a 100 mile stretch of the border, with no officers stationed within 50 miles of the border. Is the government serious? Is it telling us that its new border security plan is to phone the local bar and ask if anyone has seen a stranger?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, redeployment of RCMP officers and closures of detachments are operational matters for the RCMP and they are done in consultation with the provinces involved. It is my understanding from the RCMP that the Attorney General for Saskatchewan has been consulted on these closures.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the families of servicemen and civilians living on or near CFB Gagetown have been exposed to the so-called rainbow herbicides, agents orange, purple and white, and a variety of other toxic chemicals. There is also the likelihood of exposure at other bases.

If the government denies responsibility for all victims of chemical warfare testing, why does the government refuse to recognize all victims, including non-military, of chemical warfare experiments?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is deliberately, and I say again, deliberately, seeking to mix up the question of chemical warfare experiments and the use of defoliants on bases, which are entirely different propositions.

It is an irresponsible suggestion on her part. She represents the military in her riding. It is a disgraceful attempt to sow fear in the military. It is not true. There never was chemical warfare related testing on our forces in connection with the defoliants agent orange or others. We will get to the bottom of this. We are working on it. Let us work together to help the Canadian public, not sow discord of this kind.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, the controversial spray program at CFB Gagetown ran from 1956 to 1984 with casualties all over the place.

Last week DND confirmed an in-house investigation would take place, but it would be restricted to a small scale test area in 1966-67. Would the public interest not be best served with an independent public inquiry, removed from the influence of senior politicians in Ottawa, an inquiry that would focus on the entire spray period program?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what the public interest would be best served by is hon. members in the House restricting their comments to the facts. The hon. member knows very well that agent orange and agent purple were tested in Gagetown over a small acreage during two years.

The member suggested to the public and others that it expanded over another period of time. In fact, there were only seven days involved over two years during a limited time.

We in the department will be looking at that. We will be doing soil tests. I will be working with other members of the government to ensure that we find the facts. We will work with the Canadian public to ensure that all people get proper treatment of--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's attitude in its fight to eliminate pesticides is puzzling to say the least. While, as a signatory to the Montreal protocol, it undertook to reduce the use of pesticides that are harmful to the ozone layer, Canada requested an exemption in 2004 for the use of methyl bromide and made a similar request for 2006, although it knows full well that this substance is one of the causes of the depletion of the ozone layer.

How does the government justify this increased use of methyl bromide?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is nevertheless true to say that the Government of Canada and Canada as a whole have made huge progress, in connection with the ozone layer, in fact. We have succeeded in reducing substances enormously. It takes longer, but, despite everything, Canada is well ahead of most of its partners in this matter. We will certainly succeed in reducing this substance, as we have all the others.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as methyl bromide is a potential risk to public health, how can the government agree to import products from the United States that have been grown with the use of this pesticide?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have answered the question, but permit me, in this heat wave, to point out Canada's determination to reduce smog and climate change. Just yesterday, my provincial counterparts and I reached an agreement in principle to reduce mercury emissions by at least 60% to 90%, which we will confirm in the fall.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-13, the DNA bill, was a high priority of this Parliament and received royal assent before Karla Homolka's release. She could now be required to provide a DNA sample. Unfortunately, Bill C-13 is sitting on the desk of the Prime Minister. While he waits to enact the legislation, other sex offenders, murderers and terrorists will escape the requirement to provide DNA.

What is he waiting for? How many other dangerous sex offenders will escape DNA sampling while the Prime Minister dithers?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-13 was legislation that everybody came together on in the House. Bill C-13 speaks to the fact that when people actually focus on the real problems confronting Canadians in the House, we can work together. That legislation will be in full force and effect and will help us in our pursuit of dangerous criminals. It also will help us to achieve a higher degree of safety and protection for all Canadians.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it looks like it is going to be a happy anniversary for André Ouellet. It has been almost a full year since the Deloitte & Touche report told the Prime Minister that the former porkmaster general had violated tendering and hiring rules and turned Canada Post basically into a friends and family program.

The Prime Minister's tepid response has been to dither. This is a Prime Minister after all who can buy a billionaire over dinner, make one-night stand deals with the NDP and lately, regularly resorts to closure to get his way.

Perhaps he could tell Canadian taxpayers this. When will they get some closure on André Ouellet's file?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the audit is proceeding normally and without political intervention.

I see that the hon. member is not pleased to hear me respond in French. There is a simple solution. Since he questioned the right of a witness to speak French before a parliamentary committee, he needs to apologize to French Canadians. We have a saying in the other official language.

It is never too late to say sorry.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

June 28th, 2005 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. For nearly a year Syria kept my constituent Maher Arar in prison and subjected him to terrible treatment, in total violation of Mr. Arar's rights as a Canadian citizen. Now the daughter-in-law of the former head of Syria's internal intelligence force, involved in denying Mr. Arar his rights, has a visitor's visa so her child can be born a Canadian citizen.

This is outrageous. I demand that the minister exercise his discretion and immediately revoke this visa.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to make a connection between the former unfortunate situation and this one. I will not comment on a specific case except to say what I have done already.

I have instructed my department to examine the procedures that are in place in such similar situations so as to avoid any perceptions like the ones that have been raised.

Copyright LegislationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a world-class Internet infrastructure in our schools, but the heritage minister's new copyright legislation makes it restrictive, onerous and possibly more costly for schools, teachers and students to download online educational material.

The legislation will make routine classroom activities illegal. Why do the government and the minister want to make our students and teachers pay more for materials they are using now or make them criminals under a new copyright law?

Copyright LegislationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the hon. opposition member knows very well that we promised to table the copyright law in June, which we did. We also said that as far as the education matter was concerned, we would study it and focus on it solely after second reading of the bill. We will study the education matter because it does not have consensus.

Children can be in school, but once they become researchers and authors, they also need to have their copyrights reserved and paid for.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On June 20 the Minister of National Defence, in responding to a question from the member for Acadie—Bathurst, said the following, I quote from

Hansard:

We are, of course, concerned with the case of agent orange which, as I have said, was sprayed seven days a week for two years over Gagetown land. We will continue all our investigations on all our bases to determine whether other agents have been used.

On Tuesday, June 21 the assistant deputy minister for infrastructure and environment in the Department of National Defence, Karen Ellis, during sworn testimony before the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, contradicted the minister when she stated that in the case of agent orange and agent purple, three days in June 1966 and four days in July 1967 were the only days and, to the best of the department's knowledge, were the only times cooperative defoliant testing was to have occurred.

This statement directly contradicts the information the minister gave the House on June 20 when the minister told the member for Acadie—Bathurst that agent orange was sprayed seven days a week for two years at CFB Gagetown and that the use of the rainbow herbicides, such as agents orange and purple, was being investigated on all military bases.

As a consequence of the conflicting statements coming from the Department of National Defence regarding chemical weapons testing, I invite the Minister of National Defence to either correct the record in the House of Commons or correct the comments of his public servant regarding the use of chemical defoliants and desiccants on or near Canadian military bases.