April 21, 1997

REF

Ted White

Reform

Mr. White (North Vancouver)

We are against the confiscation of lawfully held property by the government without compensation.

Now the government is falling over itself to pass anti-gang legislation for Quebec before the Prime Minister calls the election this Sunday.

Could the Minister of Justice explain why the victims bill of rights has languished in his office for more than a year when it could benefit all Canadians? Why has that bill not received the same high priority he is giving to the anti-gang legislation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Rights Of Victims
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member heard the

peals of laughter extending across the country from sea to sea to sea as he tried to change the lamentable position of his party at the last minute. His party is against gun control and always has been.

The hon. member asked about victims. I can do no better than to point to the record of the government time after time, whether it is through amendments to the code on sentencing or the gun control bill. I well remember the day when the victims came to this building, having lost loved ones to crimes of violence committed by firearms, guns in the hands of people who should not have had them. They asked us to pass Bill C-68 to provide for the registration of all firearms, a bill and a plea to which his party turned a deaf ear.

I say to him, his colleagues in the Reform Party, the Conservatives and the NDP that they will have to answer to the Canadian people in coming months why they did not listen to the pleas of victims and join with us to adopt meaningful gun control.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Rights Of Victims
Permalink
REF

Ted White

Reform

Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing wrong with asking the government to compensate people for confiscated property that was lawfully obtained. The minister can stand there and say people are laughing about that. People are upset the government would take their property without compensation.

In terms of the anti-gang legislation, if the minister would give the same priority to the victims bill of rights it would have much greater impact not just on gangs but on everybody across the country.

Why will the minister not admit he is playing election politics prior to the election and has no intention of ever passing the victims rights bill?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Rights Of Victims
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, what draws laughter is the pretence by members of the Reform Party that they are not against gun control. We all know they are and they are going to pay the price for it, as are the Tories and the NDP.

As for the hon. member's question, he talks about victims rights as though they are something that can be achieved by writing out something on a piece of paper and calling it a bill of rights.

Let me tell him something about victims and their rights. Last week I was in Montreal and I met a woman whose 11-year old son was killed by a bomb explosion on the streets of Montreal. The Reform Party does not like to hear this because it is truth and reality as opposed to rhetoric and superficiality.

That woman whose 11-year old son had been killed in the gang war asked me as the Minister of Justice to do everything I could to get Bill C-95, the anti-organized crime bill, through Parliament so that the police would have more tools to try to find the people who killed her son.

That is what we should do to achieve victims rights and that is what the government has done to achieve victims right. We have passed meaningful legislation that makes a difference instead of just talking a good game.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Rights Of Victims
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

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

On December 3 of last year, the Minister of Human Resources Development made the following statement: "I would like to reassure the House that, if the former Singer employees take their case to court, our department will proceed with all due speed. I have asked my colleague, the Minister of Justice, to act accordingly, in order to facilitate matters". Notification of the lawsuit was given on December 13, and these pensioners continue to suffer from inhumane delays.

What has the Minister of Justice done, in concrete terms, to settle the situation of the former Singer employees?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Singer
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that matter is in the hands of the Minister of Human Resources Development. I am sure everything possible is being done to carry the matter forward as quickly as possible.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Singer
Permalink
BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, judging by the minister's response, it is perfectly clear that he is not up to date with the case in the least. Yet, four months ago, he said: "I will proceed with all due speed, as will my colleague". This is not the case at the moment. The average age of these people is 80 years.

When does the Minister of Justice intend to produce his defence? Normally, a defence takes a while to produce, and the federal government's lawyers have not yet produced one. When does the Minister of Justice intend to come up with it? How, once and for all, is he going to settle the case of the former Singer employees?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Singer
Permalink
LIB

Bob Nault

Liberal

Mr. Robert D. Nault (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as is normal in this place when former employees are in front of the courts presenting a lawsuit, it would be inappropriate for us to get into the lawsuit per se.

We can say we are willing and we are aware. We are trying to minimize delays. Once we deal with the delays and the court case is through, we would certainly be willing to look at the results of the court case.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Singer
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REF

Elwin Hermanson

Reform

Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have bungled their responsibility for grain transportation. Grain shipment delays have cost prairie farmers almost $100 million this year alone due to demurrage charges and lost sales. The Liberals have created a cash crunch on the prairies.

Tragically the best the minister can do is announce he will merely start to probe the problem sooner rather than later, knowing that we are on the verge of an election call.

In light of his failure to create a more efficient and accountable grain transportation system, and given current world prices for wheat, does the minister intend to increase the interim prices paid by the Canadian Wheat Board?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Grain
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph E. Goodale (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the Canadian Wheat Board indicated a short time ago, it has made certain recommendations with respect to initial payments. Those recommendations are in the normal course under consideration at the present time.

The hon. gentleman will know that under this government we have dramatically shortened the response time to that kind of recommendation from the Canadian Wheat Board. Under our predecessors recommendations sometimes took several months to be acted upon. In the case of this government we have shortened the time to a matter of a few days when the consideration is completed.

The Canadian Wheat Board will announce the result in the ordinary course taking into account the very important consideration that one would not want to put the guarantees in jeopardy, which is a matter of very significant concern to the Minister of Finance.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Grain
Permalink
REF

Elwin Hermanson

Reform

Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact the Liberal government is currently attempting to paper over 3.5 years of failures in a frantic pre-election flurry of deal making and vote buying the minister of agriculture has the cloak of secrecy around which the Canadian Wheat Board operates, allowing him to use the timing of increases and interim prices for political purposes.

The crop year is nearly three-quarters complete. Will the minister of agriculture announce any increases in interim prices prior to the pending election, probably this week? Or, is he saving his announcement as yet another Liberal election goodie for during the campaign?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Grain
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph E. Goodale (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know-he may have missed it in his dramatic search for hyperbole and overblown rhetoric-that I do not make these announcements. The Canadian Wheat Board makes these announcements in the ordinary course of events. As rapidly as the Canadian Wheat Board is in a position to do so and taking into account all relevant circumstances the announcement will be made, election or no election.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Grain
Permalink
LIB

Sarkis Assadourian

Liberal

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Don Valley North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of immigration.

Considering the fact that we are approaching the 11th anniversary of the imposition of the visa requirement for Portuguese persons wishing to travel to Canada, considering the fact that the Portugal alone among European Union countries is subject to the restrictive visa requirement policy, and considering the policy's negative impact on business between our two nations, could the minister indicate to the House the government's position of visa requirements for Portuguese persons wishing to travel to Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Lucienne Robillard

Liberal

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that on May 1 citizens of Portugal will no longer be required to obtain a visitor's visas to visit Canada.

We all know the Portuguese community has contributed enormously to the social and economic development of the country. We hope the decision of visa free access will improve business, economic and cultural exchanges, as well as promote tourism between the two countries.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink
BQ

René Laurin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. René Laurin (Joliette, BQ)

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

Only a few months before Hong Kong is returned to China, the latter has announced that it intends to tighten up the regulations for public demonstrations, in addition to banning all contacts abroad in the case of political parties. The situation is disturbing, to say the least, as regards the freedoms the Hong Kong Chinese will enjoy after China takes over.

Could the minister tell us whether Canada intends to take action against China to prevent the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese living in Hong Kong after the changeover?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   China
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have made consistent representations. As late as today at lunch the secretary of state for Asia and myself met with Mr. Lu Ping, the Chinese minister responsible for the transition in Hong Kong. We brought to his attention our concern about the proposed changes. Those changes have not been made yet. They are still being considered by the Hong Kong legislature.

We have certainly made our views known. We think a maximum amount of consistency must be maintained in terms of freedom of the press, the right to demonstration and the right of political parties to maintain their autonomy.

We are making all efforts to ensure that both the Chinese authority and the Hong Kong authority know exactly where Canada stands.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   China
Permalink
REF

Bill Gilmour

Reform

Mr. Bill Gilmour (Comox-Alberni, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised to scrap and abolish the GST.

Instead of scrapping the GST as it promised, the government has not only expanded the GST into the harmonized sales tax in the Atlantic provinces but is now charging Canadians outside Atlantic Canada the expanded tax as well.

Effective April 1 the new Liberal postal tax grab means that Canadians across the nation will now pay Atlantic Canada's harmonized sales tax, an additional 15 per cent surcharge, on parcels and courier mail sent to the three Atlantic provinces with the harmonized sales tax.

My question is for the minister responsible for Canada Post. Why are all Canadians being forced to pay the 15 per cent HST on parcels and courier mail sent to Atlantic Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member ought to know, a sales tax has always been paid by recipients in provinces where the tax is imposed. There is no change in this.

What change has been brought in is that Atlantic Canada has been given a tremendous opportunity to lower its costs so that its small and medium size business can create jobs. At the same time Atlantic Canadians have been given a lower consumer cost on a vast range of goods from refrigerators to automobiles. It is very clearly an important part of the rebuilding of the Atlantic Canadian economy.

That is why Atlantic Canadian premiers are going across the country. It is something Atlantic Canada and its premiers can be proud of.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
NDP

Simon de Jong

New Democratic Party

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Later today I will be introducing a petition signed by over 1,700 people. This is part of a larger petition signed by over-

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Permalink
?

The Speaker

No props, please.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Permalink

April 21, 1997