June 8, 1993

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


LIB

Rey D. Pagtakhan

Liberal

Mr. Rey Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, in answer to my question on April 20 the minister of health refused to initiate a national strategy to trace all victims of AIDS tainted blood until the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children had completed its investigation.

From the years 1980 to 1985 thousands and thousands of Canadians could have been infected with the HIV virus. The answer of the minister was not adequate for several reasons. The delay is inexcusable for those who are HIV positive but who do not have the symptoms. We know they may infect others.

The doctors may be slower to recognize the diagnosis in the presence of symptoms without knowing the actual positivity of the patients with respect to HIV.

Third, we know that preventive therapy could be available whereby infected Canadians without the symptoms could be treated early and thereby prevent the onset of the true AIDS disease.

I also submit that by tracing all the victims we will extinguish their anguish and that of their families who do not know their real status. We cannot afford to leave them in limbo. The piecemeal approach that the minister was suggesting allows each of the provinces to proceed on their own. It is unacceptable and reflects an absence of national leadership.

Moreover the minister did not reply at all to my other questions. Will he compensate the victims of HIV-tainted blood as soon as they are discovered? We know that Nova Scotia and now Quebec and Ontario have considered paying the victims additional amounts. Why is the federal government refusing to come forward with an additional compensation package, knowing the seriousness of the disease and the toll that this has imposed on families?

We know that people who went for health care between 1980 and 1985 were infected because of the failure of the national blood system. They ought not to be penalized financially for such a failure of the national blood system.

The minister resisted for six months. I requested that he initiate a full-scale public inquiry into HIV-tainted blood. Thanks to our persistence and the report of the committee he finally relented and agreed to it. I hope that he will not wait another six months to act on the unanimous recommendation of our committee that a national strategy be developed immediately. I therefore ask the minister to demonstrate national leadership, to help physicians in their diagnoses, to help prevent the Canadian public from being unwittingly exposed and finally to provide peace for people who might be infected. They deserve no less.

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PC

Barbara Jane (Bobbie) Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Barbara Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to say to my colleague that AIDS has affected Canadians in many ways over the past 10 to 15 years. For those who have received blood or blood products that have been contaminated with the HIV virus the issue has become one that is very difficult for many Canadians.

I want to thank each and every one who has come forth and spoken out with regard to their difficult circumstances. It has indeed been rewarding. Not only did it help us but it helped the committee make its decisions.

The problem with the HIV tainted-blood supply in the early 1980s has prompted other actions. My colleague responded to the subcommittee's report on tainted blood which was tabled in the House probably 10 days ago. Immediately the Minister of National Health and Welfare took action. He wrote to every provincial minister of health with regard to going into this public inquiry with all the provinces and with the other players such as the Red Cross and the Haemophilia Society. They will all

June 8, 1993

play a major part. The minister gave his word. He has written and he also stated that he hoped to have this public inquiry underway by September 1. This is a result of the good work that the committee did under the leadership of the member for Delta.

In the middle of last April the Hospital for Sick Children announced a plan to notify the families of children who received large volumes of blood or a blood transfusion between 1980 and 1985. They are tracing these because those infants were quite young then and they would probably be around the age of 13, 14 or 15 now. There might be a chance of sexual activity and we do not want any transmission from any youngster who might have had contaminated blood in those days.

With regard to the-

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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

I am sorry. Your time has expired.

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IMMIGRATION

LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grace):

Mr. Speaker, on April 26 I asked the minister of immigration how Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was granted entry to Canada last fall. He attended certain meetings here. Sheikh Rahman is an Egyptian militant and the spiritual leader of the extremists who are charged with the recent bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York City.

I also asked the minister if he had conducted an investigation to determine how this individual got into the country. In his usual way the minister did not answer either question but insinuated that under the law in force last year Sheikh Rahman could not have been denied entry. In other words Bill C-86 was necessary in order to deny entry to a person of that kind.

That is completely false. This was confirmed by the minister's senior officials in committee on May 6. The minister should consult more often with his officials.

The law as it applied last fall said: "That the following persons are not admissible to Canada: persons who have engaged in or who there are reasonable grounds to believe will engage in acts of espionage or subversion against democratic government institutions or processes".

Adjournment Debate

It also says: "Persons who there are reasonable grounds to believe will engage in acts of violence that might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada and so on".

Last fall we had in force provisions in the law to prevent the entry of these individuals and the individual in question. Those have been in the law for years. As a matter of fact those provisions have been used to deny entry to persons who have been much less dangerous than that individual who got into the country last fall. I have in mind a certain British member of Parliament from Northern Ireland who was denied entry on several occasions, and there are many other examples.

The minister's answer on April 26 was total bombast and a disgrace to this House of Commons. I put a serious question to the minister and deserved a serious answer. We do not want people in our country who might be involved in any way with such terrorist activity as the bombing of the World Trade Centre. This man was also charged a few years ago in the assassination of President Sadat of Egypt.

This evening I am asking once again: How did this man get into Canada? Was there any investigation into this matter?

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Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION
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PC

Barbara Jane (Bobbie) Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Barbara Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, Immigration Canada has no information that Sheikh Rahman was granted legal entry into Canada.

Investigation into the matter confirms, mostly through anecdotal information, that Sheikh Rahman was in Canada in 1991. As was stated at the standing committee on May 6, 1993, Immigration Canada has as yet been unable to confirm if Sheikh Rahman entered Canada in

1992.

As was also stated at that committee meeting, had Sheikh Rahman come to the attention of any of the immigration authorities in 1991 he would most likely have been inadmissible. Today, thanks to Bill C-86 which the hon. member opposed, there is no doubt that Sheikh Rahman would be inadmissible.

It is not truly accurate to say, as the hon. member did on April 26, that thousands of others who are not as dangerous are denied entry every day. The hon. member knows perfectly well that, thanks to government legisla-

June 8, 1993

Adjournment Debate

tion we have put through, Canadians welcome millions of visitors and we will keep out those people who, as he says, are dangerous and inadmissible.

Over the past three or four years, with the changes to the Immigration Act, we have gone out of our way to protect Canadian society and to make sure that fair terms are legislated.

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FISHERIES

PC

William D. (Bill) Casey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland -Colchester):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to again ask a question with some more detail of the minister of fisheries or the parliamentary secretary to the minister of fisheries.

For decades the lobster fishermen along the coast of Northumberland Strait near Wallace, Pugwash and Mal-agash have been asking DFO to increase the minimum size of lobsters allowed to be caught in those waters. The purpose is simply for conservation, to protect the resource and make sure that the industry stays viable.

For years they have been denied that request. Aside from their request to DFO, about four years ago the lobster fishermen themselves agreed to accept the higher standard for lobsters and in effect today they are throwing lobsters back into the water which they could keep and sell under the law. They have established their own standards which are higher than the department of fisheries.

It seems strange to me that we cannot help these fishermen protect their industry and adopt these standards in the interest of conservation. The answer I always get from DFO is that we cannot divide an area of the fishery and in this case it is area 26. There cannot be one set of standards for lobsters on one side of the water and another set on the other side of the water. There are fishermen on the P.E.I. side who want the lower standard for lobsters.

In another case I have been dealing with oysters and have found there is a special regulation for oysters on Prince Edward Island. If we can have a special regulation for oysters on Prince Edward Island why can we not have a special regulation for lobsters on the Nova Scotia side of the Northumberland Strait?

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Subtopic:   FISHERIES
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PC

Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to again thank the member for Cumberland-Colchester

for his vigilant watch over the lobster carapace size in his riding.

A program to increase the minimum lobster carapace size to two and three-quarter inches was introduced in several lobster fishing areas, better known as LFAs, in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1990 and 1991. The program which provided for four annual increases in minimum size was suspended in 1992, as the hon. member has said, after two increases in LFAs 23 and 25 and one increase in LFA 26-A.

The suspension was in response to concerns raised by some industry representatives and the province of P.E.I. that the full biological, market and economic implications of the changes were not well understood. To address these concerns, in April 1992 the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and all Atlantic provincial fisheries ministers gave their unanimous commitment to undertake an independent study to assess the implications of increasing the minimum carapace size. This comprehensive study was intended to provide answers relevant to making a decision on carapace size before the 1993 season.

The study goes a long way toward answering questions relevant to making decisions regarding carapace size. However the minister announced in March of this year that there would be no changes in minimum legal carapace size for the 1993 season, given the depressed state of the Atlantic fishing industry, the current economic climate and the lack of time available for extensive consultation on the results of the consultant's study before the 1993 season opened.

Gulf Nova Scotia fishermen have now put forth another proposal, as the hon. member has said, to create a dividing line through LFA 26-A so the minimum legal carapace size could be frozen on the P.E.I. side of the line and scheduled carapace increases could continue on the Nova Scotia side.

There are presently four different carapace sizes throughout the southern gulf. The enforcement and management implications of the proposal to create a dividing line at LFA-

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Subtopic:   FISHERIES
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBIois):

I am sorry but your time has expired.

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Subtopic:   FISHERIES
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POVERTY

LIB

Sheila Finestone

Liberal

Mrs. Sheila Finestone (Mount Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on an issue which I brought to the attention of this House in March and bring to its attention again today. The issue is poverty which was the subject of a

June 8, 1993

report tabled today by a House committee. This issue is so serious that the United Nations has condemned Canada's inaction in this matter.

Apparently Tories in this government believe the problem is one of defining poverty and not curing it. They seem to believe that poverty can be redefined out of existence; that it will go away and masquerade under some other name. All ten recommendations deal with defining statistics. It says the purpose is to better inform Canadians and the rest of the world about the true state of poverty in this country.

We know how bad it is. Apparently this committee is convinced we do not understand the data. How can the government define away the increase in single parent families seeking food in Montreal by 71 per cent? What would be a new definition for hunger? How could we redefine a hungry person? I do not know. Maybe the government can figure it out.

Maybe it forgot that these numbers represent people who need our help. They mean one million children. The number of children who are hungry has gone up by 180 per cent. They are Canada's future and we are giving them food banks when they need literacy skills. We are giving them a bleak future. A hungry child cannot concentrate and learn to read and write properly when his or her tummy is empty.

Apparently this government sees no need to reduce the 14 per cent Montreal jobless rate, according to the May 5 Statistics Canada report. Do my friends on the opposite side realize that 20 per cent of Montrealers live below the low income line? That amounts to one out of every five people in the Montreal region. To put it another way, 20 per cent of the greater Montreal region would fill the Olympic stadium ten times, and that would be somewhat representative of the hungry and poor in Montreal.

Do my friends opposite realize that 22 per cent of the people in the Montreal region live below the poverty level? This is the highest rate of any Canadian city.

The region needs measures to put our citizens back to work. Montreal needs action which takes people off the bread lines and puts them on the employment roles. Of all the North American cities with a population of over one million, and there are over 40 cities, Montreal places dead last in terms of unemployment, income per capita

Adjournment Debate

and participation in the labour force. This is a disgrace. It is an urgent problem for Montrealers.

I ask my question from March again in June: What is this government prepared to do? Where are the concrete proposals for putting the jobless back to work instead of government recommendations to hide the human face of suffering, hunger and poverty behind redefined statistics?

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Subtopic:   POVERTY
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PC

Barbara Jane (Bobbie) Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Barbara Sparrow (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to my colleague, who is a very good member for her constituents in Montreal, that poverty is a very important issue for all of us in this House. When Canadians have to resort to food banks to feed their families and when children go to school hungry it affects all of us. It affects their health and education and the whole future of this country.

We do want to build a better future for all the children. It was a year ago May that the Minister of National Health and Welfare brought out Brighter Futures which directed $500 million specifically at those most in need, and a specific amount was allocated to the native community.

A year ago the Minister of Finance introduced the tax benefit package with regard to rolling in the refundable child tax credit, the child tax credit and the family allowance. We put an extra $2.1 billion into that. This is money going specifically to the homes of families and it is tax free.

The Minister of Employment and Immigration has set aside $3.8 billion to create jobs and train and retrain Canadians all across the country.

We work with our provincial counterparts. Welfare is a provincial jurisdiction but we are all in this together. We will do everything possible within the fiscal constraints that we have to assist all those people who are really in need.

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Subtopic:   POVERTY
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5), the motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed adopted. The House therefore stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

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Subtopic:   POVERTY
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The House adjourned at 6.18 p.m.



Wednesday, June 9,1993


June 8, 1993