June 10, 1993

PC

Michel Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forestry)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Michel Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and Minister of Forestry):

Mr. Speaker, a terrible tragedy took place on June 23, eight years ago, when Air India flight 182 crashed in the Irish sea, killing 329 passengers.

On the premise that the explosion was caused by a bomb placed in the aircraft by terrorists. Canada embarked on the most extensive and costliest criminal investigation in its history.

Three times, under difficult conditions, the RCMP initiated operations at sea in an attempt to recover evidence. This particular incident and other acts of terrorism in Canada and abroad have caused the government to undertake a thorough review of our national security and anti-terrorist system, including anti-terrorist measures in the civil aviation sector.

As hon. members are probably aware, when he appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Sollicitor General on April 29, 1993, the Commissioner of the RCMP gave the assurance that the investigation was ongoing. The government feels it is extremely important the the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice. The government makes no apology for spending whatever money is necessary to find the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

The government sees no purpose in holding a public inquiry, however, because this exercise, in dealing with the circumstances of the tragedy, might prejudice the progress of the current police investigation and jeopardize court cases.

The government has certainly not forgotten the innocent families that have been through so much and wants to give them the assurance that it is doing everything to ensure that justice is done.

June 10, 1993

Adjournment Debate

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AIR INDIA
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ARMED FORCES

LIB

Fred J. Mifflin

Liberal

Mr. Fred J. Mifflin (Bonavista-TVinity-Conception):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question I asked the Minister of National Defence on April 2.

The question and subsequent events cause me to want to follow this up more than I have on any other occasion on the late show.

The question was to the Minister of Defence which in her absence was answered by the House leader of the government. It was: Why did it take from the March 16 to the end of March, a period of two and a half weeks for information about a major incident that happened in Somalia, namely the death of a Somalian at the hands of peacekeepers, to reach the Canadian public? Why was it made known the way it was: essentially accidentally from a member of the media? And more precisely, why did the Minister of National Defence not inform this House or at least the Canadian public what had happened?

The House leader's response to me was that everything happened the way it should have happened. It was done the way it was done because investigations were going on and attributed the motivation for my question to the fact that the Minister of National Defence was running for the Conservative leadership. Normally I might have had a point of privilege on that, but because of the gravity of the events I did not want to get involved in any action of that nature. I avoided mixing up the issues with an issue of personal privilege.

You may recall that after April 2 we had an Easter break and we came back to the House again. On April 19, two weeks later, I then asked the Minister of National Defence who was in the House, the same question as to why she did not tell the public of the event in Somalia the day after or within a reasonable period of time after it happened. The minister got up and said to me that it was all the mistake of national defence. It was an incredible thing. She said it was a regrettable mistake and that national defence had the information but instead of releasing the information in Canada it released it in theatre.

That just does not wash because to begin with there were members of the media in Belet Huen where this

incident occurred. A press release was issued but it was issued in Mogadishu, 260 kilometres away. There were members of the media there when it happened and not only were they not told about it, they were diverted from any knowledge of the incident.

I followed up the question the next day on April 20 and asked the Minister of National Defence, answered by the government House leader, why the minister did not tell the House. The answer I got was very much obfusca-tory and very confusing.

Subsequent events have shown that this incident occurred on March 16. The Minister of National Defence was briefed on March 17. A member involved in this was incarcerated on March 18 and the minister subsequently said that she did not know anything had involved murder or homicide until March 31.

To begin with, if the minister was briefed on this she would have been briefed on the total issue. She would have known that the Canadian media did not carry the stories the next day. Therefore I find it absolutely preposterous that the minister would not cause-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ARMED FORCES
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I regret the hon. member's time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ARMED FORCES
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PC

William Henry (Bill) Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Science)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal of uninformed comment on recent events.

It contrasts with the remarkable praise Canadian forces personnel have received elsewhere. They have received praise from a Canadian surgeon working with an American NGO who wants people to know that Canadian troops really did a good job and praise from Somalis who said that Canadians had shown them respect and did not want them to leave.

Yes, there have also been disturbing events. They are being dealt with so let us review what we know of these events and make up our own minds. Each of the four Somali events has been or is being investigated.

In each case the Canadian forces gave public notice of the incident. The details are on public record and were summarized in the minister's statement in the House on April 26, 1993.

June 10, 1993

I would also like to comment on the board of inquiry of the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group which was convened by the chief of defence staff at the minister's request.

As the Minister of National Defence has said, she was confronted by the dual imperative of her responsibility for the management and direction of the Canadian forces on the one hand and on the other her quasi-judicial responsibilities in the military system of justice.

In those roles she has balanced the need to inform the public and Parliament with the need to ensure that the military justice system is not prejudiced. Mindful of her responsibility she sought advice on how best to address a variety of concerns and directed the chief of the defence staff to convene a board of inquiry.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ARMED FORCES
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NATIONAL DEFENCE

LIB

Mary Catherine Clancy

Liberal

Ms. Mary Clancy (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, on March 17 of this year I asked the Prime Minister why the current policies prohibiting sexual harassment in the military were not working.

The Minister of National Defence, occupied elsewhere today, replied by stating that a report was issued outlining the actual policy dealing with sexual harassment. While the minister maintained that the report emphasized the policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the Canadian forces the report failed, abysmally I might add, to mention any means of effectively enforcing that policy.

Currently, many cases of sexual harassment are not reported for fear of retaliation. The victims of such abuse must have some form of recourse without fear of reprisal. However this report from the minister offers no such guarantees. It offers no encouragement to those who have suffered harassment to report such incidents.

Therefore the harassment continues as the perpetrators realize they will not be reported. This is not zero tolerance and it is not acceptable.

More than one-quarter of the women in the Canadian military say they have been sexually harassed over the past year. However only one in five women lodged a formal complaint. Those who did feared it hurt then-careers.

In addition, it was revealed that there are serious problems in the way the military handles harassment complaints. Of those who complained 68.7 per cent were

Adjournment Debate

not happy with the results. It is very clear from the report released by the minister that the government has not addressed this issue sufficiently.

The victims of sexual harassment did not deserve to be further victimized. The people of Canada are worth more than that which the government has offered. They deserve protection from the offenders and peace of mind through the knowledge that reporting these matters will not result in further problems.

What does the minister propose to do to reconcile this matter and to protect these victims?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

William Henry (Bill) Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Science)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

Mr. Speaker, on March 17, 1993 the Minister of National Defence tabled Canadian forces harassment policy.

This formal policy, aligned with Treasury Board policy, has been in place since 1988. The policy is that harassment in any form, whether personal, sexual or abuse of power, is unacceptable conduct and will not be condoned in the Canadian forces in any way. Our ultimate goal is zero incidents, that is we hope to eliminate harassment entirely.

In follow-up to a commitment made on March 17, 1993 to make available further information regarding the CF and its harassment policy review, the Minister of National Defence tabled a package of documents in the House of Commons. The package tabled on May 5 included a report of the findings of a survey of 5,800 members administered confidentially regarding issues related to harassment policy and its implementation in the CF, and a more general report on the Canadian Forces approach to harassment in the work place.

We are launching an aggressive communication, education and training program to stop harassment before it starts. The CF proposes the creation of a CF harassment program co-ordination office at NDHQ to monitor and track any incidents of harassment, consult with harassment advisers and co-ordinate harassment, education and training programs and materials.

Further, the revisions in the plan are actively being pursued. These initiatives are strong evidence that the CF takes this issue very seriously and is providing leadership and guidance through concrete measures to improve its approach to personal harassment.

June 10, 1993

Adjournment Debate EMPLOYMENT

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Ron J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (St. Boniface):

Mr. Speaker, on March 22,1 raised two questions in the House. I want to make sure I am not unfair here. I will read the first question. I want you to be the judge, Mr. Speaker, because I know you to be a fair member.

I said there were almost 50,000 unemployed men and women in Manitoba and that roughly one-quarter of them were young people aged 15 to 24. Manitoba has the country's highest and unfortunately fastest growing rate of child poverty. Manitobans are tired of this despair. They want action. I asked the government what specific measures it was prepared to take to get these people back to work.

To be fair, this is the answer I received from the hon. Minister of State for Finance and Privatization:

Mr. Speaker, time would not allow me to list the number of

endeavours this government has undertaken, but we could start with

the $3.8 billion we are spending in training and retraining.

That is the point and he missed it. I asked what specific measures were being undertaken to address the question of poverty and the question of youth unemployment. He tells me how much the government is spending. I appreciate that. I knew that.

However, in spite of the fact that they are spending $3.8 billion, the question they have to ask is: Why is it that there are 1.6 million Canadians unemployed-some say it is twice that much because so many people have given up-2.2 million Canadians who will be fed in food banks this year, and 2.7 million Canadians receiving social assistance? I am told there are in fact 300,000 jobs available today but we do not have the trained people to fill them.

When they are spending that much money and they still has all these social problems, they ought to be doing something about it.

I want to quote my second question to make sure that I do not mislead anyone.

The minister tells us that his policies will deal with the situation. That is false. Why is there so much unemployment-25 per cent of young people in Manitoba-so much poverty in Manitoba-the highest poverty rate among young people in Canada and unfortunately the highest rate of poverty among the whole population? Why do so many people rely on food banks in Manitoba? What will the government do to put these people back to work?

This is what I receive as a response. The hon. Minister of State for Finance and Privatization says that I minimize the importance of training and retraining. He did not answer my question. Of course, Mr. Speaker, you know that is why I am here this evening.

The adjournment proceedings are precisely for this purpose. When we ask the minister a question and the minister does not answer the question adequately, appropriately and precisely, we have an opportunity to come here to seek redress, to try to get a specific answer.

That is what I want this evening, answers to my questions. What is the government prepared to do to put these young people back to work, to lower the poverty rate in Manitoba? Is it ready to act with specific policies? I do not want statistics. Statistics do not take care of people, do not take care of Manitobans and do not take care of other Canadians either.

All I want is this. Is the government prepared to do something specific for Manitobans? Yes or no. If it is yes, what is it prepared to do? That is it.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

William Henry (Bill) Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Science)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to answer a question from the Official Opposition when it wants specifics. I wonder how specific it will be in its commitments in the upcoming election.

The government has always made training one of its highest priorities and is committed to helping every Canadian participate in and meet the skill requirements of the labour market both now and in the future.

I know that the Official Opposition does not like statistics but I think if we are going to answer for what we are doing, we need to give specifics.

June 10, 1993

In support of the government I am proud to say that in 1993 for the province of Manitoba alone, almost $130 million has been made available through EIC's programs and services. This will help to ensure that Manitobans can and will gain the training and work experience they need to find lasting and rewarding employment.

In Manitoba, as part of our ongoing priorities for 1993-94, EIC will continue to help laid-off workers through significant labour adjustment measures. We will look to improving access to our funding for aboriginal peoples, through Pathways. We will continue on with the reselection of Community Futures communities.

We recognize that youth unemployment in Manitoba and across this country is at an unacceptable level now. Accordingly this government has a number of programs

Adjournment Debate

available that will help our youth receive the best service possible. Some of EIC's youth initiatives include the Summer Employment/Experience Development, the SEED program; the Stay-in-School, SIS initiative; and the Co-operative Education Program.

In 1993 this government will spend approximately $6 million in Manitoba on the Stay-in-School initiative and SEED which is an increase of approximately $250 million from 1992.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

It being 5.52 o'clock p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, June 7, 1993, the House stands adjourned until Monday, June 14, 1993 at eleven o'clock a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink

The House adjourned at 5.52 p.m.



Monday, June 14, 1993


June 10, 1993