November 9, 2006

BQ

Nicole Demers

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Nicole Demers

Mr. Speaker, I wish the minister had had the courage to answer himself. It is his choice to answer through his parliamentary secretary, but I will carry on just the same.

An American patient was fitted with Mentor silicone gel implants during a breast augmentation surgery in 2000. We are not talking about the 1960s, the 1970s or the 1980s; we are talking about the year 2000. Sometime during the year, the patient developed a Staphylococcus aureus infection. The same year, the implants had to be removed, and a few weeks later, the patient died from septic shock and multiple organ failure.

How can the minister have allowed the reintroduction of breast implants instead of making the regulations governing the special access program stricter and waiting until sufficient data had—

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Royal Galipeau

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau)

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Steven Fletcher

Conservative

Mr. Steven Fletcher

Mr. Speaker, Canada remains only one of two major industrial countries where silicon gel implants have not been available. Now they are and that puts us in accord with international standards.

It is interesting to note that Health Canada has taken four years to review over 65,000 pages of manufacturers' information and test results submitted to meet the safety and effectiveness requirements of the medical device regulations.

Health Canada has convened an expert advisory panel to consider the information and questions raised during the review process. This panel has also heard from members of the public, health care professionals and other scientists on the issue of silicon filled breast implants. Health Canada has received and considered the advice of the panel in its review.

Canadians can rest assured that Health Canada is doing everything in its power to ensure the safety, health and well-being of Canadians. I would also like to stress that Health Canada has taken strong measures to ensure Canadians are protected through every step of the process.

It is evident from the hon. member's question that she does not believe that the safety and effectiveness of silicon gel breast implants have been established. However, in the past 15 years silicon breast implants have become the most intensely studied medical device in the world. There have been a number of strong, well controlled studies undertaken by independent researchers. There have been more than 2,500 scientific articles published in the scientific literature. More than 100 million patients in 78 countries have received breast implants over the--

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Royal Galipeau

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau)

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Jean Crowder

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today on a question that I raised with the Minister of Public Safety on October 17. In that question I talked about the fact that while aboriginal peoples form only 3% of the population in Canada, they are 18% of the prison population. I also talked about the poverty that contributes to higher incarceration rates.

In his response, the Minister of Public Safety indicated that it was not a matter of discrimination in the prison system but a matter of personal responsibility being taken. The Office of the Correctional Investigator's annual report was a damning document outlining the problems with the corrections system in Canada and how it discriminates against aboriginal peoples. The problems are with the system, not the people.

There are a number of areas where discrimination occurs. For example, more native people than non-native people fail to get parole. There is discrimination before they even get into the system. First nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are more likely to plead guilty and to not receive legal advice. They are more likely to receive longer sentences. The statistics are incontrovertible.

The 2001 Speech from the Throne stated:

Canada must take the measures needed to significantly reduce the percentage of Aboriginal people entering the criminal justice system, so that within a generation it is no higher than the Canadian average.

We have seen the Liberals and the Conservatives back away from that promise.

The prisons are full of aboriginal people, not because they are crime prone but because they are much younger and much poorer than Canadians in general. Statistics show that poverty and youth very often lead to problems with the law.

There is also discrimination because many of the people who make the decisions, the guards, parole officers and wardens, use standards and approaches that are culturally inappropriate. This leads to misunderstandings and a breakdown in communication.

Canada cannot afford to neglect this problem. It will fester and worsen for generations to come. The jails and remand centres will become the residential schools of this generation and we know what they cost the aboriginal peoples and Canada.

The minister refused to commit to any program to end this discrimination. Will the parliamentary secretary tell us what plans the minister has to honour the promise made to reduce the number of aboriginal people in prisons to the Canadian average?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government is committed to ensuring an effective and fair federal corrections system that protects Canadians as the overarching priority.

Correctional Service Canada is committed to partnering with communities in the development of innovative community based approaches for offender healing and reintegration. There are many factors that may have contributed to the overrepresentation of aboriginals in the prison system and our government acknowledges the challenges many aboriginals have in addressing poverty, education and substance abuse.

CSC is dealing with changing inmate populations. This includes an increasing percentage of aboriginal offenders which research has shown to be younger, more likely to commit violent crimes, have lower levels of education, and are less likely than the general population to be employed when admitted to custody. This leads them to be classified as higher risk and higher need inmates.

Higher risk and higher need inmates are placed in high security levels, are kept in jails longer, and are less likely to be released on some form of conditional release. It is for this reason that Canada's new government is committed to preventing crime from taking place. The 2006 budget allocated $20 million over two years for communities to prevent youth crimes with a focus on guns, gangs and drugs. By supporting our citizens, and youth in particular, we will hopefully prevent incarceration from taking place.

At the same time, the issue of aboriginal overrepresentation is a concern of CSC and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

That is why in 2006 CSC launched its five year strategic plan for aboriginal corrections with commitment to action in three key areas. First, there would be program and service delivery through further development of the continuum of care model in consultation with aboriginal leaders and communities. Second, there would be enhanced collaboration with other stakeholders, and third, systematic barriers would be addressed through an enhanced organizational capacity to work effectively with aboriginal offenders and their communities.

Aboriginal offenders attend programs under the guidance of elders, aboriginal liaison officers and elders helpers. These programs are a means to promote and encourage traditional, cultural and spiritual healing that increases positive reintegration into the community recognizing the hurdles that have prevented aboriginal people from full participation in Canadian society and making commitments toward healing and renewal.

CSC is also working in areas such as aboriginal liaison services in spiritual services. An aboriginal specific substance abuse treatment program and sex offender treatment initiatives are under development. Healing lodges developed in collaboration with aboriginal communities provide supportive healing and reintegration environments. As well, the National Parole Board utilizes elder and other forms of assisted hearings in all regions of Canada. These hearings allow the Parole Board to make more thorough assessments about an inmate's likelihood of successful release.

The Government of Canada has a major role in ensuring strong and safe aboriginal communities. That commitment is taken very seriously.

The department's first nations policing program, with agreements in some 300 first nation communities, helps foster better relationships with first nations by providing culturally appropriate professional police services. These services meet local needs and are leaders in crime prevention.

The aboriginal community corrections initiative has proven to be a successful program. It is designed to treat offenders, victims and their families, and has produced other community wide benefits.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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NDP

Jean Crowder

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jean Crowder

Mr. Speaker, the Correctional Investigator laid out a series of recommendations to deal with the situation. For example, we should build capacity for and increase the use of section 84 and section 81 agreements with aboriginal communities; implement a security classification process that ends the overclassification of aboriginal offenders; significantly increase the number of aboriginal offenders housed at minimum security institutions, and significantly increase the number of aboriginal offenders appearing before the National Parole Board at their earliest eligibility dates.

I would like to add one of my own. Correctional Service Canada should set up a senior management committee to meet with first nations, Métis and Inuit leadership intensively for a six month period with a mandate to develop an implementation plan for the recommendations of the Correctional Investigator.

Which one of these recommendations is the minister going to act on, and when?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski

Mr. Speaker, CSC and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will continue to enhance its aboriginal continuum of care for aboriginal offenders that strives to provide aboriginal responses and alternatives at every critical step along the correctional path to ensure that they have every opportunity to address the issues that brought them into conflict with the law.

CSC will continue to expand involvement in aboriginal corrections by recruiting, retaining, and developing aboriginal and non-aboriginal correctional staff at all levels.

To improve the safety of aboriginal communities and for all Canadians, the department and CSC are working with other government departments, provinces and territories, as well as aboriginal people to address the larger social, cultural and economic problems facing aboriginal people.

Let me conclude by saying that Canada's new government is committed to ensuring an effective and fair correction system that protects Canadians as the overarching priority.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Royal Galipeau

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:42 p.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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November 9, 2006