October 10, 1997

LIB

Nick Discepola

Liberal

Mr. Nick Discepola (Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am shocked. This member has already prejudged the warden of the Edmonton institution before she had a fair hearing.

I would like to quote a member of the prison advisory committee in the Edmonton Journal this morning: “It feels to me like there is a witch hunt going on”. I would also like to quote from the president of that same advisory committee who said: “Why are we looking for one person to blame? It seems to me that the member of the committee has agreed to work with him”. I am wondering who is really on the witch hunt here. Let the investigation take its course. Let the RCMP do their job.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Edmonton Institution For Women
Permalink
BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

The government is planning to buy 15 search and rescue helicopters. We have learned that Augusta Westland's Cormorant model has apparently been selected by the government.

How can the government justify choosing the same type of helicopter as the one in the contract it cancelled at great expense in 1993?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search And Rescue Helicopters
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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have made no decision as to which helicopter we are going to purchase. There are four finalists in the bidding process.

We still have the matter in process. Absolutely no decision has been made. But I expect that it will soon be made because we need to get good equipment, new equipment for our search and rescue operations because they are saving a great many Canadian lives. They provide a very valuable service.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search And Rescue Helicopters
Permalink
BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in view of the very negative impact of the government's 1993 decision on the Montreal area, does the minister not agree that the government should seriously look at the offer that would result in the greatest spinoffs for Montreal and surrounding areas?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search And Rescue Helicopters
Permalink
LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, whatever decision is made it is going to create jobs here in Canada. I hope that they will be distributed as widely as possible so that the maximum number of Canadians can benefit, but again I reiterate that we have made no decision.

The decision to cancel that previous contract was made because it was not an affordable product. It was far too much money, far too much equipment that was not necessary. What we are doing here is we are looking to get good value for the taxpayers and good operational equipment. But we have not, I reiterate, decided on which helicopters to purchase.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search And Rescue Helicopters
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REF

Myron Thompson

Reform

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, can you imagine a cop killer in the Kingston Penitentiary with a meat cleaver? I find that like a fairy tale but it is indeed a fact. Not only that, the authorities are issuing this killer a cleaver or a knife to go to work in the kitchen along with 20 other inmates who all work together with one guard. And I might add that the guard is a tad bit nervous. I talked to him personally.

Does the solicitor general condone such ridiculous situations that exist in the penitentiaries?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kingston Penitentiary
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LIB

Nick Discepola

Liberal

Mr. Nick Discepola (Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general's office and the correctional service staff are constantly monitoring inmates. We often have searches where we do find such weapons made by hand. Fortunately we deal with them at that time.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kingston Penitentiary
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REF

Myron Thompson

Reform

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, these weapons are not made by hand. They are issued by the authorities to these guys. They take the guns away from the guards and they issue knives to the killers in Kingston Penitentiary.

The guards have a number of problems that are happening. They are afraid they are going to be dragging bodies out of that penitentiary if something is not done quickly and now.

The guards have proposed some very cost effective solutions to the problems that exist in Kingston Penitentiary. The minister and his office has the authority to make the immediate changes necessary to protect people in that penitentiary. Will he do it now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kingston Penitentiary
Permalink
LIB

Nick Discepola

Liberal

Mr. Nick Discepola (Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of doing it now, it is a question of an ongoing commitment to the employees who work diligently. We will take a look at each incident.

We have advisory committees that work with the inmate committees. We look at the individual situations and we take the necessary measures.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Kingston Penitentiary
Permalink
BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Again yesterday, the minister did not respond to my question concerning the Auditor General's severe criticism of the way the government is managing the employment insurance fund.

Today I would like to have a clear answer. Can the minister tell us what amount of employment insurance fund reserve is reasonable, according to his department's analysis?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, what the Auditor General's report was suggesting is that certain information might not be clear.

What I am saying, as I told the hon. member yesterday, is that the information on the employment insurance fund is, in my view, perfectly appropriate. It is already published with the federal budget. It is also published in the estimates and in the documentation provided each year when contribution rates are announced.

The information, therefore, seems to me to be crystal clear, and transparent. Technical analyses show us that attention must be paid to the results.

The hon. member ought to note also that the Auditor General had praise for—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
?

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. minister. The hon. member for Brampton Centre.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
LIB

Sarkis Assadourian

Liberal

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

After several months of a continued drop in the unemployment rate, today's job figures show that unemployment stayed the same in September. How does the minister explain these figures and especially what is the situation on job creation for our young people in Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question very much.

The numbers that we saw yesterday are quite interesting. It is true that Canadians across the land do have a feeling of optimism. There is an optimism out there precisely when they look at the numbers.

Indeed 230,000 real jobs have been created in the last six months, many of them for young Canadians. Just this month we lost three-tenths of a point in youth unemployment.

We have created a number of jobs. We are on the right track but more needs to be done.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment
Permalink
REF

Derrek Konrad

Reform

Mr. Derrek Konrad (Prince Albert, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general reported this week that aboriginal youth are killing themselves. Their suicide rate is five to eight times higher than that of the general population.

Will anyone in the government, as the minister is not in the House, admit to failing our aboriginal youth and begin—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink
?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink
?

The Speaker

I know we are a new parliament but we never mention whether or not a person is absent in either our questions or our answers.

Would you go directly to the question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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REF

Derrek Konrad

Reform

Mr. Derrek Konrad

Will the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development admit to failing our aboriginal youth in this regard in its programs and begin developing some kind of a plan to end this human tragedy right now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Bernard Patry

Liberal

Mr. Bernard Patry (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in response to the question asked by the hon. member from the Reform Party.

I would just like to tell him that, as regards the RCAP, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the government will soon release its response on all issues, particularly the ones we take most to heart: youth and the suicide rates among aboriginal people.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink
REF

Derrek Konrad

Reform

Mr. Derrek Konrad (Prince Albert, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, chapter 13 of the auditor general's report reveals that the health department has known for 10 years that aboriginal people have been suffering prescription drug abuse that leads to death.

The department's veil of secrecy has been torn away and the minister cannot hide behind it any longer.

What specific action will the minister take to discipline those in his department who caused untold suffering to Canada's aboriginals?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink

October 10, 1997