March 17, 1997

BQ

Jean H. Leroux

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the minister has shown his ignorance in this respect.

Is the minister prepared to make a commitment, as of today or at least as soon as possible, to do what is necessary to remedy the situation and provide equal treatment to 20,000 members of the reserve by removing this unfair and inequitable exclusion?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Douglas Young

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that a question such as this which is rather technical and concerns a group of people who are very important to us at the Department of National Defence, should be asked without prior notice, because otherwise we could have checked all aspects of the legislation.

As members know, very few members or ministers in this House are in a position to know every detail of every act, however complex it may be.

I can assure the hon. member that the government is doing what it can to encourage people in the public service to participate, if they so wish, in the activities of the reserve or the militia. We want to do everything we can to encourage Canadians who are interested, because we are increasing the membership from 20,000 to 30,000.

I can assure the hon. member, as the Minister of Resources Development just did, that we are doing everything we can to be fair and equitable to everyone who needs employment insurance.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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REF

Garry Breitkreuz

Reform

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, a week ago today the hon. member for Saskatoon-Dundurn said in this House: "Everybody knows Clifford Olson will not be granted parole".

I would like to ask the Minister of Justice if he agrees with this former chair of the justice committee. If so, why is he allowing Clifford Olson to terrorize his victims over and over again?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the application brought by Clifford Olson will be determined by a jury in a courtroom in British Columbia in the months ahead.

In the last three and a half years that it has been my privilege to be Minister of Justice, I have made it my business to meet as often as I can with those who survive and grieve the loss of victims of crime. One thing I have learned about that process and the victims of crime is that it is terribly important not only to sympathize with them and their terrible grief but to be honest with them. I know the hon. member would want to be honest with the victims of crime.

It should be remembered that it is not the present government that created section 745. Section 745 has been part of the criminal law of this country since 1976. It is this government that introduced

important changes to section 745 so that multiple murderers will never be able to apply in the future, so that juries will have to be unanimous, so that judges will first screen even those applications that can be brought.

My point is let us be honest about what is going on. There was no easy way to roll back Clifford Olson's right to apply under section 745. We have taken care of the section for the future. When we introduced those changes the hon. member and his party voted against them.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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REF

Garry Breitkreuz

Reform

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I remind this House that it was Liberals who brought in section 745.

Are the Liberals trying to rehabilitate Clifford Olson by allowing him telephones, fax machines, word processors and early parole? Are you trying to rehabilitate-

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
Permalink
?

The Speaker

Colleagues, please be sure to address your questions to the Speaker.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the fate of Clifford Olson and his application, as I have already said, will be determined by a jury in the courtroom. That is where such matters should be dealt with.

I want to be clear in response to the hon. member's more general inquiry. This government has on many justice issues stood four square with victims of crime. Victims of crime were in this very building the day that Bill C-68 came up for a vote in the House of Commons, the gun control bill. My hon. colleague and his fellow members of the Reform Party voted against the gun control bill.

Victims of crime were one floor away in tears as they recalled their tragedies. They implored the members of the Reform Party to vote for gun control, and the members of the Reform Party voted against it. This government stood with the victims. The government stood with the victims when it amended the Young Offenders Act to provide for victim impact statements at sentencing, and the Reform Party voted against it.

Let me close by saying that at times there have been differences with victims on matters of principle, but victims know the government stands with them in strengthening the criminal law of the country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Jesse Flis

Liberal

Mr. Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will meet in Madrid this summer to decide on the entry of new members to the alliance. Could the minister tell the House how the Canadian government will decide its position on NATO enlargement and how he sees NATO enlargement reinforcing European security?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question and take the opportunity, in light of his recent statement about voluntary retirement, to pay special tribute and to say thanks for the major contribution he has made to Canadian foreign policy over the years.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg-South-Centre)

As parliamentary secretary and chairman of the defence board he has played a major role, particularly in his concern about applying standards of security and democracy in central and eastern Europe.

On the specific question, the Prime Minister has taken a very strong position in relation to the broadest and widest application of membership. That is now being discussed in certain circles.

We have also supported the notion of a special arrangement with Russia. Just a week ago in a meeting with the Prime Minister the Ukrainian foreign minister was given the assurance of a special relationship with Ukraine.

All these initiatives support the initiatives the member has taken over the years to ensure that Canada has an important role to play in the expansion of democracy in eastern Europe.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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NDP

Vic Althouse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie, NDP)

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

In moving grain to the west coast it is obvious the railways have failed to perform. Yet they bear no responsibility. The $65 million of losses due to demurrage and non-performance of contract are borne by farmers. Non-performance is not the fault of farmers, of grain companies or of grain handlers. Only the railways were responsible.

Does the government now realize this and is it prepared to amend the Transport Act to rebalance the relationship between shippers and railways by including the right of shippers to performance guarantees with appropriate penalties for poor rail performance?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that there have been very dramatic improvements in the shipment of grain to the coast. Rail car unloads for the last week for which I have figures were at 4,500 cars as compared to under 4,000 for the previous week.

Things are improving and I hope we will soon have the backlog dealt with. There is a reduction in the ships waiting on the west coast from 39 to 30.

However I have been requested by the ministers of transportation of three of the four western provinces to look into the issue by way of an inquiry. I am in discussion with them on whether that is

the best approach. Our objective in government is to make sure we come up with new approaches which will prevent the types of delays we had this winter.

This will take the co-operation of all parties. I reject out of hand the suggestion of the New Democratic Party of simply pointing the finger of blame at one of the various parties. We have done that for 110 years and the result is the problem we had this winter.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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The Speaker

I bring to the attention of the House the presence in our gallery of His Excellency Ahmed Attaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Presence In Gallery
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Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Presence In Gallery
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The Speaker

I also bring to the attention of members the presence in the gallery of Dr. John H. Gibbons, Science and Technology Adviser to the President of the United States.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Presence In Gallery
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Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Presence In Gallery
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

During question period a Reform member alleged that Clifford Olson had a fax machine, word processor and telephone. I want to inform the House that the hon. member's information, like most of what the Reform members say in this regard, is totally incorrect.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points Of Order
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REF

Lee Morrison

Reform

Mr. Lee Morrison (Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would request that the Prime Minister be required to withdraw his slanderous inference that the Reform Party would do away with old age pensions.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points Of Order
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, if every time the Reform Party says something about me that is not the way I like it, I would be up on my feet quite often.

I will let the people of Canada decide within 18 months. Get ready.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points Of Order
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March 17, 1997