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CONTENTS

Wednesday, December 13, 1995

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

MR. DWIGHT MCMILLAN

AIDS CONTROL

AIDS

    Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 17623

CHILD LABOUR

VETERANS AFFAIRS

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

TOBACCO INDUSTRY

T'WAS THE YEAR BEFORE CHRISTMAS

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATIONS

IQALUIT

REFORM PARTY

FRENCH IN AMERICA

    Mrs. Dalphond-Guiral 17626

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

    Mr. Harper (Calgary West) 17626

NATIONAL UNITY

MOUVEMENT DE LIBÉRATION NATIONALE DU QUÉBEC

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

SOCIAL PROGRAMS FINANCING

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17627
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17627
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17627
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17628
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17628

QUEBEC REFERENDUM

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17628
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17628
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17629

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

    Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 17629
    Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 17629

CANADA PENSION PLAN

    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 17629
    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 17629

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 17630
    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 17630
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 17630

PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

TOBACCO INDUSTRY

LASER WEAPON SYSTEMS

RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENTS

SATELLITE DISHES

    Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 17632
    Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 17632

INDIAN AFFAIRS

    Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 17632
    Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 17632

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

AIR TRANSPORT

CANADA CUSTOMS

PORT OF VANCOUVER

PEACE PLAN

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE STATUS OF DISABLED PERSONS

CRIMINAL CODE

    Bill C-364. Motions for introduction and firstreading deemed adopted 17635

SENATOR SELECTION ACT

    Bill C-365. Motions for introduction and firstreading deemed adopted 17635

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

    Motion for concurrence in 109th report 17636
    (Motion agreed to.) 17636
    Motion for concurrence in 110th report 17636
    (Motion agreed to.) 17636

JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS

    Motion moved and agreed to 17636

PETITIONS

HUMAN RIGHTS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTHY AND SAFETY

SRI LANKA

EAST TIMOR

PEACE TAX

IMMIGRATION

SRI LANKA

    Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 17637

NATIONAL UNITY

VIOLENT OFFENDERS

BESSBOROUGH ARMOURY

ALCOHOL

YOUNG OFFENDERS ACT

    Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 17638

HUMAN RIGHTS

    Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 17638

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ACT

    Bill C-110. Motion for third reading 17638
    Mr. Bernier (Gaspé) 17650
    Motion agreed to on division: Yeas, 150; Nays, 101 17651
    (Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.) 17652

NATIONAL HOUSING ACT

    Bill C-108. Consideration resumed of motion forthird reading 17652
    Motion agreed to on division: Yeas, 207; Nays, 47. 17652
    (Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.) 17653

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OBTAINED BYCERTAIN CORPORATIONS ACT

    Bill C-315. Consideration resumed of motion forsecond reading 17653
    Motion negatived on division: Yeas, 111; Nays 122 17653

DANGEROUS OFFENDERS

    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 17656

APPENDIX


17623


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Wednesday, December 13, 1995


The House met at 2 p.m.

_______________

Prayers

_______________

The Speaker: As is our custom, we will now sing O Canada, which will be led by the member for Halton-Peel.

[Editor's Note: Whereupon members sang the national anthem.]

_____________________________________________

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

MR. DWIGHT MCMILLAN

Mr. Bernie Collins (Souris-Moose Mountain, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Mr. Dwight McMillan, longtime coach of the Weyburn Redwings.

For 35 years, Mr. McMillan has brought the community of Weyburn, Saskatchewan a great deal of national honour and recognition in the sports arena. Both in hockey and in baseball, his contributions have brought him two national titles and he has participated in other national finals on several occasions.

As both a player on the original Redwings hockey team and later as the most successful coach in the history of the team, Mr. McMillan has shown all of Canada the expertise and fine character of Weyburn's sporting teams.

Congratulations to Mr. McMillan as he is honoured by the city of Weyburn on December 29.

* * *

[Translation]

AIDS CONTROL

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, BQ): Mr. Speaker, Tuesday, December 12, 1995 will go down in history as a day of achievement and hope in the fight against AIDS.

Yesterday, Health Canada's Drugs Directorate approved, as part of a priority review process, the use of 3TC with Retrovir in the treatment of AIDS infections.

3TC was discovered by Biochem Pharma in Montreal and developed by Glaxo Wellcome. This is a Quebec achievement of which the whole scientific community can be proud.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Biochem Pharma for its research efforts of the past few years. They have not been in vain. I hope that this breakthrough will open the door to other discoveries that will not only significantly improve the quality of life of people with AIDS but also cure them.

* * *

[English]

AIDS

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, last week the chair of the Reform family caucus tabled a dissenting opinion to the national AIDS strategy report. She says that the Liberal government's education and prevention programs actually increase the health risk of Canadian youth by promoting sexual activity.

Research conducted in the United States by the U.S. naval research laboratory revealed that the HIV virus is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium and 450 times smaller than a human sperm.

Analysing test results conducted by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, which tested leakage rates of latex condoms, doctors have discovered a 78 per cent HIV leakage rate. As one U.S. surgeon put it, the HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net.

It is the height of stupidity for the government to be spending millions of dollars to spread the lie that condoms protect Canadians from contracting AIDS. Its politically correct approach is actually aiding and abetting the spread of this deadly disease.

* * *

CHILD LABOUR

Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, today I would like to draw the attention of the House to the journey of a young man from Toronto, only 12 years of age, Craig Kielberger, who left this week for the Far East to visit India, Pakistan, Thailand and other countries that use child labour.


17624

Very often countries in the western world are appalled at human rights violations and the denial of political freedom in these backward countries.

Labour standards, and especially the abuse of young children in nearly slave-like conditions must be of serious concern for all Canadians. As a trading nation, and as consumers of products manufactured under uncivilized conditions, we must somewhere draw a line in the sand against those who profit from such practices.

Today, let us salute Craig in his crusade, Free the Children Campaign. Hopefully all of us can join with him in his venture.

* * *

[Translation]

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian soldiers who served in Burma and elsewhere in Southeast Asia in World War II have had to accept the fact that most of these conflicts have been forgotten in the annals of our war effort.

While other battles made headlines, the fighting in Burma and Malaysia went almost unnoticed. This, however, does not take anything away from the heroism of the Canadians who served in those countries. Our soldiers were brave and courageous. They had to face not only the enemy but also scourges such as malaria, dysentery and many other tropical diseases.

(1405 )

[English]

It is with great pride that I note the exploits of these brave young Canadians which are now being commemorated in ceremonies across Asia. Their heroism is an inspiration, as is their commitment and faith in Canada. They served in the hope that when they return they would be granted the liberties that other Canadians enjoyed.

Fifty years later, we know that their hopes were not misplaced. Those young Canadians contributed not only to our freedom, but to our dignity as a nation.

In a country that prides itself on equality and tolerance, there can be no better loyalty than that-

The Speaker: The hon. member for Ottawa West.

* * *

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, tomorrow members of Parliament will leave this House and return home to celebrate the season that has become around the world the symbol of peace on earth. Yet one of our NATO partners continues to plan and execute the obscenity of testing nuclear weapons.

In 1982, the award winning film called ``If You Love This Planet'' shocked the world by revealing that there were already enough nuclear weapons to destroy us all 14 times over.

This Parliament and this government face some difficult questions. Should this country be selling uranium to countries that produce and unleash nuclear weapons on the world? Should it be allowing the planes of countries doing these things to land and use our country on the way to their missions?

Seven years after the end of the cold war, the doomsday clock is in danger of again being moved forward. I ask us all to take this season of peace to consider what we can do in this House to make sure that the doomsday clock does not take that disastrous leap.

* * *

[Translation]

TOBACCO INDUSTRY

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne, BQ): Mr. Speaker, when she tabled her master plan to reduce tobacco use in Canada, the Minister of Health indicated that broad consultations would be taking place with a view to introducing legislation in the spring.

Unfortunately, before tabling her plan, the minister did not see fit to initiate serious consultations with the tobacco industry on her government's plans to severely regulate its activities.

First of all, the minister would not discuss the code of ethics to be adopted by the manufacturers or the thrust of her master plan.

She missed a great opportunity to make her intentions perfectly clear to the industry, thus avoiding another court challenge on her upcoming legislation. If that were to happen, Canada would once more find itself without a strategy to reduce tobacco use.

In the meantime, following the Supreme Court's decision, the tobacco industry would resume actively promoting its products through advertising. What a mess.

* * *

[English]

T'WAS THE YEAR BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Mr. Jake E. Hoeppner (Lisgar-Marquette, Ref.): Mr. Speaker,

T'was the year before Christmas, when all through the land,
The Liberals were shivering, their heads in the sand.
Their pockets were hung by the chimney with care,
In hope that St. Martin would not leave them bare.
The backbenchers all ready to jump into bed,
While visions of gold-plated pensions danced in their heads.
But out on the Hill there arose such a clatter,
The Reformers had arrived to deal with this matter.

17625

The Liberals threw open their red book in a flash,
We promise to hand out plenty more cash.
But what to their wondering eyes should appear,
Defeat in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario so clear.
But lo and behold, Canadians will see,
More broken promises from these Liberals MPs.
Reform is the party that will bring to this land,
Hope for the future-one that is planned.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight.

* * *

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the closing of Radio Canada International was announced in Montreal.

This means an end to the Canadian Forces Network, which brought Canadian programming to our peacekeepers around the world. It means an end to the English and French language shortwave services which kept Canadians travelling, working or living overseas in touch with Canada.

[Translation]

The end of shortwave broadcasts in eight languages, which are the voice of Canada around the world, will have an even more devastating effect.

In 1995, the foreign policy review conducted by the government concluded that RCI was in a perfect position to promote Canadian values abroad.

The Business Council on National Issues itself pointed out that the station was creating a demand for Canadian goods and services.

[English]

The Broadcasting Act requires the CBC to provide an international service. I call on the Liberals to reverse this shameful decision and ensure continued support for Radio Canada International. Canada must not be the only G-7 nation-

The Speaker: The hon. member for Lincoln.

* * *

(1410 )

PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATIONS

Mr. Tony Valeri (Lincoln, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on November 28 I had the pleasure of hosting another workshop, this one a pre-budget consultation in my riding of Lincoln. Many constituents felt that the government had taken decisive action in prior budgets but we need to stay the course. However, the reduction in government spending must not be done in the slash and burn fashion of Mike Harris.

Three major themes were developed and discussed: unemployment and job creation, concerns of small business, and debt and deficit. I am pleased to state that progress has occurred in all three areas.

The Minister of Human Resources Development introduced employment insurance programs. The Minister of Industry's Bill C-99, an act to amend the Small Business Loans Act, will continue to provide access to debt capital for small businesses that need it to expand and to create jobs.

Last week the Minister of Finance stated that the deficit for the 1997-98 fiscal year will be brought down to 2 per cent of GDP. The goal is to eliminate the deficit based on a measured and responsible strategy.

I would like to thank my constituents for participating in the workshop. It is through this type of forum that constituents views will be heard.

* * *

IQALUIT

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Nunatsiaq, Lib.):

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

Mr. Speaker, an historic vote was held in the Arctic. A plebiscite was held on Monday when residents chose Iqaluit as the capital of the new territory. Sixty per cent of Nunavut voters chose Iqaluit.

I congratulate Iqaluit. I congratulate as well the people in both communities who worked so hard throughout the capital campaign. I thank the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for giving the people of Nunavut the opportunity to democratically choose their future capital.

The people of Nunavut have spoken. I recommend Iqaluit highly to the minister and the government as the people's choice. Let us join our efforts now in our common goal of creating a new territory in 1999 in which all communities will share.

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

* * *

REFORM PARTY

Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Waterloo, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, over the past two years it has become clear that the Reform Party and the Bloc Quebecois are flip sides of the same coin on the national unity issue.

The Reform Party is at it again. The leader of the Reform Party is now promoting American style impeachment rights. Canadians are getting sick and tired of the Reform Party's shameless self-promotion at the expense of Canada. The Gingrichs of the north are more interested in scoring cheap political points than in working together to solve the problems that face the country.

The Reform Party's idea of constitutional renewal and nation building is a wrecking ball. History will judge it as such when the party joins the ashes of the Social Credit movement from which it evolved.

17626

The Reform Party should take a lesson from the over 150,000 Canadians who were at the Canada rally in Montreal on October 27 and get on side with nation building. Unless the Reform Party changes its tune it will be up Beaver Creek without a paddle.

* * *

[Translation]

FRENCH IN AMERICA

Mrs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval-Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister had the nerve to say that the French language survived in America thanks to Canada. Yet, the rate of assimilation of French speaking British Columbians exceeds 75 per cent, while that of French speaking Ontarians is close to 40 per cent. French speaking Canadians outside Quebec must constantly fight to keep control of their institutions. Their rights are still violated in several parts of the country.

How, in all decency, can anyone claim that the survival of French in America is due to anything other than the strong will of our ancestors to perpetuate their culture? French survived in America thanks to our parents, who fought so that their society could thrive in French, despite the many injustices condoned by Canada regarding the French language.

If I can address this House in French today, it is because of the vitality of Quebec, which is the cradle of our language, our culture and our identity.

* * *

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Quebec Minister of Finance made an excellent suggestion regarding social programs. She asked that the federal government transfer tax points to the provinces, instead of money, and give them greater autonomy regarding the management of these programs.

The minister would like to change a system whereby Ottawa can withdraw its financial assistance, while continuing to impose federal standards. That proposal is already included in the 20 point decentralization plan of the Reform Party, and several provinces support such changes.

(1415)

The federal government should contemplate such a reform, instead of wasting its time on symbolic measures such as recognition of the distinct society. The irresponsible refusal of the federal Minister of Finance does not mean that federalism cannot be reformed and that Quebecers must separate. On the contrary, Quebecers have allies all over the country, as regards this issue. It is the Liberals that cannot be reformed.

NATIONAL UNITY

Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome-Missisquoi, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let us take advantage of the momentum we have gained to present Canadians with a rapid overview of the greatly changed Canada of tomorrow. Let us do so in conjunction with all of the social, economic and political strata of society, focussing on only one goal: the public interest. The government has already shown its colours in relation to recognition of Quebecers, and that is one important step taken.

Members representing all parts of this country have just given recognition to Quebec as a distinct society. Let us continue to focus constructive efforts on entrenching that recognition in the Constitution of our country when the time is right. It is more important than ever for us to pool all of our talents, all of our minds, but most importantly all of our hearts to make our country, Canada, a country fashioned in the image of its peoples, into a united yet diversified country, a country characterized by generosity and equality of opportunity. Such a near-paradise is close at hand.

* * *

MOUVEMENT DE LIBéRATIONNATIONALE DU QUéBEC

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Parti Quebecois has decided not to bar membership to the president and founder of the Mouvement de libération nationale du Québec. The PQ leaders' lack of firmness in this respect points to a profound malaise within the Quebec separatist movement.

How can there be any hope that the PQ, which is currently involved in exorcising its own racism, will take any energetic measures to distance itself from the racist and pro-violence views of the MLNQ? The weak protestations of the PQ and the Bloc are insufficient, to say the least, and do nothing to help reassure the public about the intentions of Mr. Villeneuve and his group of radicals. How could it be otherwise, when we know that some of those who are soverignist members of Parliament today were signatories in the past of a petition for the release of the ex FLQ member in question?

_____________________________________________


17626

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Translation]

SOCIAL PROGRAMS FINANCING

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in a speech he made in Verdun at the very end of the referendum campaign, the Prime Minister made a formal commitment to decentralize the federal system, in response to Quebec's demands. Yesterday, his finance minister indicated this commitment was doomed when he refused to so much as discuss a proposal from his Quebec counterpart for replacing Ottawa's


17627

contribution for social programs with an equivalent transfer of tax points to Quebec.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. How can he reconcile his formal commitment to decentralize the federal system with his finance minister's refusal to discuss even the principle of the proposal made by the Government of Quebec to replace Ottawa's present contribution to social programs financing with a transfer of tax points?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, before I answer the question put by the Leader of the Opposition, I would like to say that we are sorry to see him go. We enjoyed the past two years during which he was Leader of the Opposition. In politics, there is a certain amount of confrontation, but there are also moments that we appreciate.

I wish him good luck, and if, as he said in his speech in Laval, he intends to work hard to get the economy going and put public finances on a sound footing, we will be there, ready to co-operate. So I wish him good luck in that respect. If the other agenda predominates, there will again be confrontation. As for the question put by the Leader of the Opposition concerning tax points, it is a matter of one type of transfer rather than another. The amount is exactly the same.

(1420)

However, for the purposes of public administration and to ensure that people know the money is transferred from the central government to the provincial governments, I think the Minister of Finance is right. People are aware of this in the case of a transfer payment, as opposed to tax points. In the case of tax points, people tend to forget. After a few years, they forget that no more funds are transferred, but that the federal government has withdrawn and lets the province collect taxes.

As a result, the central government's participation becomes invisible. I think the Minister of Finance wants all citizens in every province to know exactly what the federal government contributes towards the cost of administering social programs.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I must say the leader of the government took some of the wind out of my parliamentary sails.

In a word, I would like to tell him that I will leave this place, respecting its members and the opinions of those members, even if they do not coincide with ours, and with every respect for these institutions as well as a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to become more experienced in the ways of a truly exceptional parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons of Canada.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

Mr. Bouchard: I would like to ask the Prime Minister how he can dismiss out of hand the proposal made by Mrs. Marois, which in fact would respond to what Quebec has maintained since the Victoria Conference in 1971, and I am referring to Quebec's insistence on the need to control all the levers of its social programs.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, whether transfer payments are made in the form of tax points or cash, it boils down to the same thing.

As far as decentralization is concerned, we have made it clear that we will withdraw from manpower training. However, we want the money collected for that purpose to be used for our clients, in other words, for people who across Canada contributed their share, added to their employer's share, to give them some security if they lose their jobs. This money is to be used for workers who have lost their jobs.

As for decisions on the administration and nature of training programs, that is under provincial jurisdiction. The provinces can decide what kind of training they want to give, but we must be sure the money transferred is used to train people who are unemployed, because they paid their contribution to the federal government so they would receive this service if they lost their job.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, there is considerable confusion afoot, but if anyone knows what is at stake here, the Prime Minister does.

In fact, it makes all the difference in the world to have tax points that leave a government free to proceed as it wishes and will increase in value with total tax revenues, as opposed to having financial contributions which the federal government reduces at will and controls by imposing national standards. It makes all the difference in the world.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he would not agree that what we have here is an entirely odious strategy that consists in making the Quebec government pay an increasingly larger share if the cost of social programs, and meanwhile Ottawa collects more and more taxes from Quebec.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when we formed this government two years and some months ago, the federal government's transfers for social programs and equalization payments totalled more than $11 billion. Today, it is even more and next year it will still be more than $11 billion.

There have been no cuts. Some payments may be down, but equalization payments for the poorest provinces in Canada inevitably increased during this period. In fact, there were no cuts in transfers to the Government of Quebec or to other provinces that


17628

receive equalization payments according to the balancing system that exists in this country.

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, despite the Prime Minister's referendum commitments to decentralize the federal apparatus, the Minister of Finance yesterday rejected out of hand the request of the government of Quebec that it transfer the tax resources the federal government invests in health, social assistance and post-secondary education.

(1425)

Since he is reneging on his referendum commitments on decentralization, will the Prime Minister acknowledge that his government's hard-line approach to Quebec is a return to the tried and tested recipe to slow his decline in popularity with English Canada, which is to put Quebec in its place?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the recipe is a very old one. Transfer payments used to be simply cash payments. We subsequently gave a number of tax points. It is very important we continue to make visible transfers like these so that the people in all the provinces will see that the federal government helps pay for the social programs the provincial governments manage.

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in view of the Minister of Finance's attitude toward the legitimate request by the Government of Quebec, will the Prime Minister acknowledge that his referendum commitments to decentralize were nothing more than window dressing and the only decentralization he foresees involves sending the bills to the provinces?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I said very clearly that we have withdrawn from job training. As for the bills, I have to say, and I already made it quite clear earlier, that the amount of transfers the federal government makes to the provincial governments receiving equalization payments has not decreased in the past three years. Some of the cash transfers for programs were cut, but equalization payments were increased. In the case of Quebec, the amount was over $11 billion when we formed the government. It remains unchanged today and, as far as I know, it will remain unchanged next year.

* * *

[English]

QUEBEC REFERENDUM

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was unable or unwilling to answer a simple question. The question was: How does the Prime Minister propose to use the federal power of peace, order and good government to ensure a fair and clear question in the next Quebec referendum.

Now the Prime Minister has had another 24 hours to reflect. The Deputy Prime Minister has whispered in his ear. He has had a chance to consult his legal advisers and the answer is probably on the front page of his briefing notes.

In the interest of national unity, will the Prime Minister now give an answer? How does the Prime Minister propose to use the federal power of peace, order and good government to ensure a fair and clear question in the next Quebec referendum?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not have to read my notes. The leader of the third party should just read yesterday's Hansard.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, a clear answer appears to be beyond the capacity of the Prime Minister.

After the last referendum Canadians demanded change and some new ideas for national unity. Reformers responded to that call by putting forward proposals for changes in the federation and terms and conditions for dealing with separation.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, has borrowed from Brian Mulroney's distinct society clause, gone back to a 1971 veto proposal and gone back to an 1867 clause in order to deal with the referendum.

(1430 )

Where are the new ideas, the imagination and leadership needed to keep this country together? How will distinct society, constitutional vetoes and vague references to peace, order and good government ever convince Quebecers to vote for Canada in the next referendum?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the people of Quebec have voted twice to stay in Canada. We should remember that. The leader of the Reform Party seems to be very disappointed that they have chosen Canada but that is not my case. When the Leader of the Opposition tried to teach us some lessons he should know the ridiculous move he made.

I guess the party was too long yesterday. The leader of the third party does not know that 52 members of Parliament is nothing compared to 177 on this side of the House.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister is doing on the national unity front makes Brian Mulroney look good, and you have to go a long way to make Brian Mulroney look good.

The Prime Minister has cobbled together a national unity package without consulting the nation, without consulting the premiers, without consulting his own caucus and without even


17629

submitting it to parliamentary debate. He even uses closure, the most undemocratic tool of all to push parts of a national unity package through the national Parliament.

Why would anyone follow the Prime Minister's lead in the national unity area when there is no consultation, no mandate, no rationality, no democratic legitimacy behind his proposals?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): First, Mr. Speaker, we had three discussions in caucus about this matter before I went public with it. Second, I do not know if the people will follow the leader of the third party. Last week he was asking us to give a veto to the province of British Columbia and-

Miss Grey: The people of B.C., not the government.

Mr. Manning: Why do you not understand about people versus government?

Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): Yes, and after that he voted against his own proposition last night.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

An hon. member: He could not even convince his own caucus to follow him.

Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): I understand that his two neighbours to his left had the good sense not to look ridiculous like their leader and voted with us on the motion.

* * *

[Translation]

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

Mrs. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

When questioned in the House yesterday, the heritage minister suggested that the future of Radio Canada International would be determined by the Juneau report, which will be submitted to the government on January 15. However, 20 minutes later, the director of Radio Canada International told his 125 employees that RCI would shut down in March.

Can the heritage minister clearly state that, when he was eluding our questions yesterday in the House, he did not know that, 20 minutes later, the director of Radio Canada International would announce that his service was going to shut down?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that I know what goes on at the CBC. What I said yesterday, and my answer is the same today, was that Radio Canada International is the international component of the CBC. It is part of the CBC's overall mandate.

Therefore, the future of Radio Canada International will be decided when we review the CBC's mandate, along with the recommendations made by a special committee.

Mrs. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): Mr. Speaker, if the minister knows what goes on at the CBC, why did he tell us yesterday that the CBC's mandate would not be changed before the Juneau report is submitted, considering that 20 minutes later it was announced, without waiting for the Juneau report, that Radio Canada International would shut down?

(1435)

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to make it clear that no decision will be made on the CBC's mandate before the Juneau report. That is clear. Similarly, we will not know the future of the CBC's budget before the next federal budget. That is precisely what I said yesterday.

* * *

[English]

CANADA PENSION PLAN

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the federal government is trying to sell the provincial finance ministers on its freedom 67 plan, raising the age of retirement from 65 to 67.

The finance minister says that freedom 67 should be his choice. It should not be his last choice. It should not be his first choice. In fact, it should not be his choice at all. Will the minister commit right now to abandoning his freedom 67 package?

Hon. Douglas Peters (Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the question relates to the Canada pension plan. There is a study being done by the provinces and by the federal government on the Canada pension plan which has not yet been completed. There has been no decision on that. Sixty-seven is not the issue.

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I do thank the hon. member for his very clear response on that question.

The Reform Party plan to renew the Canada pension plan will allow people to choose when they wish to retire. The Liberal freedom 67 plan will break the government's contract with seniors by cutting their pensions. Six months ago, the Liberals locked in their gold plated MP pensions and now they are poised to hammer seniors by cutting pensions, raising the age of retirement and increasing CPP taxes.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. How can this government justify attacking seniors' pensions when her government just locked in its own gold plated MP pension plan?


17630

Mr. Maurizio Bevilacqua (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians ought to know what the Reform Party's plan will do. Over 800,000 disabled Canadians would have lower benefits; 600 widows would have lower benefits; and 1.8 million pensioners would have lower benefits than now. That is not the Liberal way.

* * *

[Translation]

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I believe that the people of Canada are entitled to clear answers to clear questions. Yesterday at 3:20 p.m., RDI announced the closing of Radio Canada International. It was in all of this morning's papers. Can the minister tell us, since he is so up to date about the CBC, is it open or closed?

Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Radio Canada International is open until the end of March, that much is certain. What remains to be decided is the financial future of the CBC in its entirety, and that future will be determined by the next federal budget.

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday, all of the staff of Radio Canada International got their pink slips. Everybody knows what a pink slip means: no job after March 31.

My question to the Prime Minister is therefore as follows: once again, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is shirking his responsibilities. Does the Prime Minister not consider that, this time, enough is enough?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied with the minister's reply. We will be receiving the report on CBC's mandate on January 15.

(1440)

The corporation itself decided to let Radio Canada International go. I am very pleased to hear that the Bloc Quebecois wants us to preserve national institutions such as the CBC, and I shall take careful note of this.

* * *

[English]

PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the Senate has completed its inquiry into the Pearson airport contract and there were no surprises.

The truth be damned. It was siege mentality all the way. The Tories defended writing the contract and the Liberals defended cancelling it. A glossy bound report bigger than my riding's telephone book settles nothing. It just wastes millions more taxpayer dollars.

My question is for the Minister of Transport. Will he admit that this process did nothing to bring out the truth and in fairness to all parties, will he agree to the full judicial inquiry I asked for over a year ago?

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast to coast have made up their minds on the Pearson deal. It appears that the only people who are not convinced that the Pearson deal had to be cancelled in the best interests of Canadian taxpayers and in the best interests of Canadian travellers are the Conservative members of the other place and the hon. member who raised the question.

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps saying that the Pearson deal was not in the public interest and it was not good value for the Canadian public. One cannot help but wonder if the minister has financial studies to prove this or if he is just talking through an empty hair follicle.

Will the minister agree to prove his claims by tabling a cost benefit analysis of cancelling the contract, if one exists? Failing that, will he admit that the latter alternative was true?

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should read his friends' majority report which was produced by the other side. These are the people with whom he has consorted on a regular basis. I hope not too much of it has rubbed off on him.

We understand one thing: the minority report puts out a lot of facts of which the Canadian people were already aware.

To take up the challenge of the hon. member with respect to the deal at Pearson, next week we will sign the deal in Toronto for the transfer of Pearson International Airport to a local Canadian airport authority. I guarantee him that not only will the facility which those people are going to build be far superior to what was proposed by my hon. member's friends in the rip-off that he supports, but also the bottom line return to the taxpayers of Canada will be substantially better than what was suggested in the original deal.

* * *

[Translation]

TOBACCO INDUSTRY

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

In the fight against smoking, we discover that, in the master plan tabled on Monday, the government intends to strictly regulate tobacco industry sponsorship of sporting and cultural events.

Will the Minister of Health confirm her remarks at the press conference to the effect that her objective in the plan of action is to ensure that events as the Festival Just for Laughs, the Jazz Festival and the Montreal Fireworks Festival, will no longer get a cent from tobacco companies?


17631

Hon. Diane Marleau (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we hope they will continue to sponsor all of these good works. It is absolutely not our intention to ask tobacco companies to stop supporting these events. It is, however, very definitely our intention to ensure that they do not use these events to advertise, since, after all, 40,000 Canadians die every year from smoking.

Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Since the minister has just announced she will come down hard on funding for major cultural events, what does the Minister of Canadian Heritage intend to do to ensure the survival and financial well-being of these events?

Hon. Diane Marleau (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we said no such thing.

I am very surprised, however, to see the health critic defending the tobacco companies so vigorously. Now I have seen everything.

It is time you got a new health critic.

* * *

(1445)

LASER WEAPON SYSTEMS

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

A new weapon will soon surface on the battlefield: the antipersonnel laser. These portable lasers have a scanning capability thanks to an invisible light beam with a range of several kilometres; they can irreversibly damage people's retinas and even cause blindness.

What is the Government of Canada's position on the use of laser weapon systems?

Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform this House that Canada has never produced or even used these laser weapons. Canada and other countries addressed this issue as part of the UN discussions on the use of conventional arms in order to provide clarification and ban the use of laser weapons. I can assure this House that Canada supports the measures being taken to prevent the use of these weapons.

* * *

[English]

RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENTS

Mrs. Daphne Jennings (Mission-Coquitlam, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In light of the fact that the justice committee did not ratify Bill C-232 on December 7 and thereby did not support grandparents' right to ask the court for continuous access to their grandchildren, would the Prime Minister explain what he intends to do to support and strengthen families in Canada?

Mr. Russell MacLellan (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is the principle of the government to foster family life and to preserve family values. It is for that reason the justice committee decided it was not the responsibility of the federal government to support the private members' bill she brought forward. Not that there were not a lot of good ideas in what she was trying to do, but it is primarily a provincial responsibility.

Mrs. Daphne Jennings (Mission-Coquitlam, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I must disagree, although I thank the parliamentary secretary for his answer.

I would really like an answer from the Prime Minister. Does he realize that a child's right of access to his or her family has been recognized in the convention of the child of the United Nations in 1989 and accepted by Canada in 1991? Legislation similar to this is in place now in Great Britain, the United States and Quebec.

What will the Prime Minister tell Canadian grandchildren who face yet another Christmas without their grandparents?

Mr. Russell MacLellan (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is well aware of the role of the United Nations in child care and the government's support of that role.

It is also well aware of the important need for child care. That is why the Minister of Human Resources Development brought in a multi-million dollar child care program today.

In the interest of fostering relationships with the grandparents and their grandchildren, the Minister of Justice has undertaken to look at the subject matter the hon. member brought forward to see if something can be done which would meet some of the objectives she has mentioned in the House and before committee.

* * *

[Translation]

SATELLITE DISHES

Mr. Réjean Lefebvre (Champlain, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

Thousands of consumers in Quebec and Canada are angry because their expensive satellite dishes that receive TV signals have now become obsolete as a result of inadequate regulations and technological changes.

Since the minister helplessly watched the development of an unregulated market without informing consumers of the risks involved in buying these satellite dishes, what steps will he take today to address this problem?


17632

(1450)

[English]

Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the minister has not sat by in this area. The Information Highway Advisory Council has been working on a whole host of recommendations put before the House approximately a month ago. Over the next six to eight weeks many of those recommendations we will be acting on. I am sure members opposite will be more than satisfied.

[Translation]

Mr. Réjean Lefebvre (Champlain, BQ): Mr. Speaker, since every company awaiting the CRTC's decision on the granting of licenses will have its own technology requiring a large investment by each consumer, what steps will the minister take to protect consumers in case one of these companies goes out of business?

[English]

Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, most members would agree that as a government we have probably been considered to be most sensitive toward the small business community. One thing absolutely imperative is that we do not make decisions that will not take its concerns into account.

I do not believe a six to eight week delay in order to get the proper answers is unreasonable.

* * *

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, on November 8 the Minister of Industry, with previous notice, in response to my question stated that no funds had been advanced to the Ontario Métis and Aboriginal Association since 1991.

I have since determined that since 1991 some $270,000 has been advanced to the association. This is over and above the $111,000 advanced to Henry Wetelainen, Sr. Would the minister like to take this opportunity to clear up the information he provided the House on November 8 and set the record straight?

Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the specifics on this file but I will take his question under advisement and we will report back to the House in due course.

Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the RCMP investigation of the Ontario Métis and Aboriginal Association, initiated as a result of my questioning in November, is awaiting a report from the minister's department.

Can the minister assure the House this report will be more complete than his answer of November 8?

Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, part of this file is under the jurisdiction of the RCMP and it would be inappropriate for us to deal with it any more than that.

* * *

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general. It has now been more than a month since the RCMP arrested an intruder inside the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive, which happens to be in the riding I have the honour of representing.

The solicitor general said at the time that he would try to make public as much as possible of the RCMP's reports. Can the minister tell the House the status of this report and what details, if any, will be made public on this serious matter?

Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, earlier today the report in question was released by the RCMP, pursuant to an access to information request.

I did say I would like to see as much of the report as possible made public, subject to the need not to undermine the fairness of the disciplinary proceedings under way against certain RCMP members, subject to the need not to prejudice security at 24 Sussex, and subject to the need not to prejudice the criminal court proceedings against the suspect arrested in the course of the incident.

This has meant that certain portions of the report have had to be exempted, pursuant to the access to information and privacy laws. However, I am confident the measures already put in place by the RCMP for enhanced security will help ensure this kind of incident never takes place again.

* * *

[Translation]

AIR TRANSPORT

Mr. Michel Guimond (Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, BQ): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The airline industry has this particularity in Quebec that it operates in French. Organizations such as the Association des gens de l'air du Québec and the Association québécoise des transporteurs aériens have been promoting the use of the French language in air operations for many years, yet they are not represented on the board of NAVCANADA, which is set to take over the operation of the air navigation system.


17633

(1455)

How can the minister allow the Quebec air transport industry and the place of the French language in Quebec airspace to be at the mercy of an organization that does not even have the decency to submit its instruments of incorporation in both official languages?

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think that the success we have had in our negotiations with all those involved in the air navigation system in Canada is worth noting. The composition of NAVCANADA's board of directors was determined by stakeholders from every sector. The Canadian professional pilots' association, air traffic controllers and unions are represented on the board.

I think that the hon. member should mention the fact that, in our negotiations with NAVCANADA's officials, we have made sure that all NAVCANADA operations comply with the Official Languages Act, for instance, and that, except for federal government representatives, every board member is selected from the community responsible for managing this whole system.

It is unfortunate if the particular group the hon. member referred to is not represented, but that is certainly not the Government of Canada's fault.

Mr. Michel Guimond (Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, BQ): Mr. Speaker, does the minister not think that it is totally unacceptable for the Association des gens de l'air du Québec and the Association québécoise des transporteurs aériens not to be represented on NAVCANADA's board of directors, given the particular status of the French language in Quebec airspace?

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, all NAVCANADA stakeholders, including the air traffic controllers, who, as far as I know, are still members of the national association representing this group, are involved in the negotiations. Members of the Transportation Association of Canada are represented on the board.

There is no doubt that we recognize the importance of the French language in the air navigation system. That is why, during these negotiations, the Government of Canada insisted that the Official Languages Act be complied with.

I am convinced that, had the hon. member followed the negotiations and taken a genuine interest in the outcome of an unprecedented co-operative effort in the Canadian air transport industry, he would have realized that the French language and the needs of the people who use this language at work, not only in Quebec but across Canada, are well represented on NAVCANADA'S board of directors.

[English]

CANADA CUSTOMS

Mr. Jim Silye (Calgary Centre, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, last year Mr. Callum Scott, a Canada Customs agent at the Ottawa airport, was reprimanded and subsequently left in employment limbo because he was wearing a poppy on his uniform on Remembrance Day.

The mismanagement by the minister and his department officials has cost Mr. Scott his job and his dignity over the course of this past year.

I ask the Minister of National Revenue and taxation, customs and excise how this could possibly have happened. What measures has he taken to ensure Mr. Scott receives a fair hearing from senior management, as he has been promised over the course of the year?

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I assure the House that the wearing of a poppy is no ground for any concern with Revenue Canada. The rules are clear for senior managers. Wearing a poppy by people in uniform is perfectly acceptable.

If in Mr. Scott's case there was any suggestion or concern, it was against the policy of the department. I do not have any information as to whether it was a failure of policy in this instance.

Mr. Scott has a number of opportunities to proceed with various grievance procedures. Under the circumstances it would be inappropriate for me at this time to comment any further on this case.

Mr. Jim Silye (Calgary Centre, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Scott has phoned the minister 37 times. This individual has used the procedures but has been stonewalled every time he turns around by the management of the minister's department. The poppy issue is over but what is at stake is that over the course of this year this gentleman has been put into forced unemployment.

(1500 )

The gentleman is suffering severe stress. The department has put this gentleman, who has received many commendations of good employment, under such duress and stress that he has had a medical certificate given to him. This is the kind of work this minister considers efficient and effective.

Why does he not return his phone calls? Why does he not give this gentleman what he promised and what his department has promised over the last six months?

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the gentleman in question has had his communications returned. There are procedures in place for handling the complaint that he has. I believe it would be appropriate that this take place and I certainly will not comment on his medical condition.

17634

PORT OF VANCOUVER

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

British Columbians are outraged at the suggestion that the Liberal government, supported by the Reform Party, is going to privatize Ports Canada police in the port of Vancouver.

In view of the negative impact this is going to have on smuggling and other crime control in the port of Vancouver and the overwhelming opposition to this plan from the communities affected, will the minister assure the House that he will not proceed with his shameful plan to privatize Ports Canada police in Vancouver, a plan which the Reform Party of British Columbia has supported?

Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I find the hon. member's question incredible, being from British Columbia and knowing the importance people in that province attach to being able to operate the port of Vancouver, the biggest, most important port in Canada. They have been asking for years to have the right to operate the port, to make decisions in British Columbia, in Vancouver, about the operation of that port.

It is a multimillion dollar operation with enormous potential. The hon. member now stands in the House as a member of parliament from British Columbia and says to the Government of Canada ``give up the port, develop an autonomous organization that is responsible for all the decisions related to the port'', but he would have us keep responsibility for 43 port police in an operation of that size.

I believe that if the people of British Columbia and the people of Vancouver wish to operate the port of Vancouver, they are more than competent to be able to take care of the policing responsibilities that go along with the port.

* * *

PEACE PLAN

Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay-Atikokan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

On November 21 a peace plan to end the fighting in Bosnia-Hercegovina was signed, yet many individuals are still suffering the effects of the conflict.

Can the minister tell the House how his department has responded to the crisis?

Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. It is well known and recognized in Canada and internationally the role that our peacekeepers have played in that part of the world.

In addition to the peacekeeping forces, in addition to the financial help extended by Canada, Canada has also played a role in the immigration and refugee front. Relaxed criteria have allowed people from the former Yugoslavia who were visiting to be reunited with their families. Since 1992 we have been able to land 7,000 individuals. Through private and government sponsorship, 18,000 refugees from this part of the world have been landed in Canada.

Last August when the UNHCR made an international appeal for some 5,000 settled individuals, Canada pledged 10 per cent or 500 on top of the other measures taken. It shows in a very clear and powerful way that Canada continues to lend a helping hand to those who are in need.

The Speaker: This brings question period to a close. I had notice earlier today of a question of privilege. As you know, I hear questions of privilege as soon as possible after question period.

I address myself to the member for Ottawa West. Because it was not the full time allotted, I will hear her question of privilege tomorrow.

_____________________________________________


17634

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

(1505)

[Translation]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions.

* * *

[English]

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

Mr. Bob Speller (Haldimand-Norfolk, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House a report from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the 19th Canadian regional seminar which was held in Toronto, Ontario from November 24 to 26, 1995.

* * *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 109th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the request from the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons to change the English version of the


17635

committee's name to Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 109th report later this day.

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 110th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the Treasury Board Secretariat proposal on a trial basis for revised Part III documents for the 1996-97 fiscal year for six departments; namely, the Departments of Transport, Agriculture and Agri-Food, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Fisheries and Oceans, National Revenue and Natural Resources.

The work that was done by the committee in this regard was really done by the subcommittee on estimates, chaired very ably by the hon. member for Ottawa West. I congratulate her on the good work that her subcommittee has done in this regard.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 110th report later this day.

[Translation]

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 111th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference of May 17, 1995, concerning Bill C-319, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (reimbursement of election expenses).

The committee reviewed Bill C-319 and tables its report, with one amendment.

[English]

Also, while I am on my feet, Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 112th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the selection of votable items in accordance with Standing Order 92.

[Translation]

This report is deemed adopted when laid upon the Table.

[English]

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE STATUS OF DISABLED PERSONS

Mr. Rey D. Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108, the committee conducted a study of the national strategy for the integration of persons with disabilities and now tables its report entitled ``The Grand Design: Achieving the `Open House' Vision''.

(1510 )

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report within 150 days.

A vision without a plan is romantic at best; a plan without a vision is simply adjusting the existing order of things.

* * *

CRIMINAL CODE

Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast, Ref.): moved for leave to introduce Bill C-364, an act to amend the Criminal Code (no parole when imprisoned for life).

He said: Madam Speaker, this bill amends certain provisions of the Criminal Code that relate to life imprisonment. It ensures that when a life sentence is handed down, it means imprisonment without any access to parole for the remainder of the natural life of the offender.

Currently under section 745.5 of the Criminal Code, after serving 15 years, those sentenced to life have access to judicial review to determine whether or not a reduction in sentence is warranted. This is a miscarriage of justice. Many life sentences have been given because they are the maximum penalty within the Canadian judicial system.

No matter how compliant or well behaved a prisoner is while incarcerated, a barbaric crime was committed. All the remorse and compliance in the world cannot bring the victim back to life. It is imperative that the prisoner serve the entire sentence which has been handed down. For the families, it is a sense of closure. For the Canadian public, it is service of justice. For the criminal it is paying a debt to society.

Let there be no misconception. If you take a life, you spend the rest of yours behind bars. Life means life.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

* * *

SENATOR SELECTION ACT

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East, Ref.): moved for leave to introduce Bill C-365, an act to allow the electors of a province to express an opinion on who should be summoned to the Senate to represent the province.

He said: Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce my private member's bill, an act to allow the electors of a province to express an opinion on who should be summoned to the Senate to represent the province.


17636

The Reform Party's ultimate objective always has been true Senate Reform, a triple E Senate, elected, equal and effective. We can change the method of appointing senators so that they are elected.

This bill will change the method of appointing senators through an election process without constitutional revision. It will require that the Prime Minister wait to receive the expression of opinion from any province with a senatorial selection act similar to the Alberta senatorial selection act which resulted in Senator Stan Waters being appointed to the Senate.

The current Senate has not been able to perform its role effectively because the selection process has undermined its legitimacy. There is considerable urgency for the introduction of this bill now because the Government of Canada is cramming through veto legislation which will create constitutional gridlock.

I am introducing this bill today as a result of the forced vote to be held this afternoon on Bill C-110. The long range interests of Canadian federalism will truly be served by Senate reform.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

* * *

(1515 )

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I move that the 109th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I move that the 110th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.) moved:

That, pursuant to its mandate in relation to the Comprehensive Review of the Young Offenders Act (Phase II), and specifically, to observe how the youth justice system operates in practice, the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (6 members): four (4) from the Liberal Party including the Chair, one (1) from the Bloc Quebecois and one (1) from the Reform Party, be authorized to travel to:
I. Halifax, Sydney, (N. S.), and Charlottetown (P. E. I.) from February 18 to 23, 1996;

II. To Toronto and London (Ont.) from March 3 to 8, 1996;

III. Montreal and Quebec (Que.) from March 24 to 29, 1996,

in order to hold public hearings, visit sites (young offender facilities and programs) and meet with officials and that the necessary staff do accompany the Committee.
(Motion agreed to.)

Mr. Milliken: Madam Speaker, since we are almost at the end of the session, I should like to take the unusual step of thanking my hon. colleagues opposite for their co-operation in arranging for all the routine motions that we have on a regular basis.

The hon. member for Roberval, the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie, the hon. member for Bellechasse, the hon. member for Lethbridge and the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan have spent a lot of time going over these documents in advance. I thank them for their co-operation, as well as all hon. members who patiently listen while we go through this rigmarole on a regular basis to have the motions adopted.

* * *

[Translation]

PETITIONS

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have the pleasure of submitting a petition signed by about 100 people from the Montreal region, including some of my constituents.

The petitioners ask Parliament to amend the charter of rights and freedoms so as to protect individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

[English]

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Ms. Judy Bethel (Edmonton East, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour to present a petition today signed by 359 residents of Edmonton.

It has been over one month since Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were executed. The Prime Minister condemned this atrocity at the Commonwealth summit. Reaction to these executions at the University of Alberta was strong and swift.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is reviewing the situation tomorrow morning. I ask that members consider the views of my constituents in their deliberations.

HEALTHY AND SAFETY

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Madam Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present today.

The first petition notes that employees of the House of Commons, the Senate, the Library of Parliament and the staff of members and senators have no health and safety protection under


17637

the law. The petitioners note a number of circumstances in which their health and safety have been jeopardized on the Hill.

They call upon Parliament to press the government to finally proclaim parts II and III of the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act.

SRI LANKA

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Madam Speaker, the second petition is presented on behalf of hundreds of Canadians, in particular Tamil Canadians, who express their deep concern about the continuing military offensive by the Sri Lankan armed forces against Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

(1520 )

It calls upon Parliament to ensure that Canadian neutrality in the national conflict is not jeopardized; to intervene immediately and release Mr. Manickavasagam Suresh who was arrested in Canada pursuant to a minister's certificate; to take action to lift the economic embargo and press censorship in the north and east of Sri Lanka; and to resolve the conflict between the Tamil people and the Sri Lankan government through peaceful negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, the representative of the Tamil people.

EAST TIMOR

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Madam Speaker, I have an additional petition to present dealing with the very serious situation in East Timor.

It calls upon Parliament to send a clear message to the Indonesian government from Canadians that human rights violations against the people of Indonesian, and especially East Timor, will not be tolerated; to enforce this statement by making recent trade and aid deals with Indonesia contingent on respect for human rights as set out in the petition; and to ensure that Canada lends full and vocal support to the United Nations mediated peace process, pressing for the inclusion of East Timorese representatives in the peace process and access to East Timor for the United Nations and human rights and humanitarian organizations.

PEACE TAX

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway, NDP): Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the final petition which is signed by residents of Victoria and other cities in British Columbia.

It calls upon Parliament to establish a peace tax legislation which recognizes the right of conscientious objectors not to pay for the military and within which the government would declare its commitment to apply that portion of their taxes that was to be used for military purposes toward peaceful purposes such as peace education, war relief, humanitarian and environmental aid, and housing.

IMMIGRATION

Mr. Rey D. Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have the honour, pursuant to Standing Order 36, to present some 1,000 signatures of petitioners from my riding of Winnipeg North and beyond concerning certain aspects of our immigration policy.

They pray that the landing fee be collected at the issuance of the visa and that no surety bond requirements for applicants be applied.

Knowing that the minister of immigration is sensitive and caring about immigrants and their sponsoring families, this member remains very optimistic.

SRI LANKA

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present to Parliament a petition signed by a number of people in Alberta regarding the military offensive by the Sri Lankan armed forces against the Tamil regions.

The petitioners are requesting the restoration of their rights and dignity and the release of Mr. Manickavasagam Suresh.

Therefore the petitioners humbly pray and call upon Parliament to ensure Canadian neutrality in the national conflict in Sri Lanka is not jeopardized. They request Parliament to intervene immediately and release Mr. Suresh.

NATIONAL UNITY

Mr. Clifford Lincoln (Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from 41 people in my riding and in the regions adjoining, written in both of Canada's official languages.

[Translation]

The petitioners ask the Prime Minister and the Parliament of Canada to immediately state and confirm that Canada is indivisible and that the boundaries of Canada, its provinces, territories and territorial waters may only be modified by a free vote of all Canadian citizens as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or through the amending formula stipulated in the Canadian Constitution.

[English]

It provides that Canada is indivisible and that the boundaries of Canada, its provinces, territories and territorial waters may be modified either by a free vote of all Canadian citizens as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or through the amending formula stipulated in the Canadian Constitution.

VIOLENT OFFENDERS

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.): Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to present to the House a petition containing over 500,000 signatures from the

17638

Melanie Carpenter Society. To be exact, there are 506,285 signatures in seven boxes full of petitions.

The petitioners pray that Parliament will enact legislation to keep dangerous sex offenders and pedophiles locked up for life; to eliminate statutory release; to impose stiffer sentences for violent offenders; to have violent criminals serve their full sentences and have time added for bad behaviour; to have a central registry for the names and addresses of violent offenders; to give more power to legal institutions to keep dangerous criminals, even after their sentences are served if they are still at risk to society; to give the police more authority in apprehending and interrogating violent offenders, including the ability to take blood and salvia samples; to eliminate the insanity, drunk or drugged defence; to impose stiffer laws and sentences for stalker criminals; and to reinstate capital punishment for first degree murder in which there is no doubt of guilt. They humbly pray that Parliament enact legislation.

(1525)

I present these over 500,000 signatures from Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

BESSBOROUGH ARMOURY

Ms. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I rise to present a petition on behalf of the residents of the city of Vancouver, B.C.

They call upon Parliament to endorse the Bessborough Armoury Community Services project for the use of underused defence institutions in the city of Vancouver, and to initiate appropriate action to designate the armoury facility for shared use and make it accessible to the residents of the city of Vancouver for the community services proposed.

ALCOHOL

Ms. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have another petition to present from the people of British Columbia.

The petitioners respectfully call upon Parliament to enact legislation requiring that all containers of alcohol sold in Canada bear warning labels, alerting consumers of the attendant risks of alcohol consumption.

YOUNG OFFENDERS ACT

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first group of 200 petitioners requests that Parliament pass legislation to strengthen the Young Offenders Act, including publishing the names of young offenders, lowering the age of application and transferring serious offenders to adult court.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre, Ref.): Madam Speaker, the second group of petitioners requests that the Government of Canada not amend the Human Rights Act to include the phrases sexual orientation.

The petitioners fear that such an inclusion could lead to homosexuals receiving the same benefits and societal privileges as married people.

* * *

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

* * *

[Translation]

MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

_____________________________________________


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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ACT

Hon. Sergio Marchi (for the Minister of Justice) moved that Bill C-110, an act respecting constitutional amendments, be read the third time and passed.

Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased and proud to take part in the debate in the Chamber this afternoon on third reading of Bill C-110, an act respecting constitutional amendments.

It will be very difficult for all of us in the short time allocated to each speech to capture the essence of how members feel about Canada and our shared future. However allow me to try nonetheless.

[Translation]

I listened carefully to the members opposite who told us what we cannot or should not do. I want to tell you about what we should do, can do and will do. With the support of all Canadians, we are going to unite Canada, and this is precisely what this debate will be all about.


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[English]

I have listened to the ideologues of the Bloc Quebecois who would rather tear down than build. I have listened to Reformers who, despite all their loud noises, shouts and grunts, are really the couch potatoes of national unity. They would rather second guess. They would rather criticize than encourage. They would rather watch than participate as they did during the last referendum.

Participation is one of the two issues I should like to talk about for a moment. We have all heard the word participaction. Perhaps it is now time to talk about citizaction. Just as participaction is about exercising the body, citizaction should be about exercising our responsibilities and obligations as citizens of this great country. Good citizenship is not only about sitting on your hands and criticizing, like the third party, but it is also about getting out and doing something.

(1530)

Good citizenship also means making a difference. At the end of the referendum we witnessed in a very moving and a very powerful way how average Canadians across this land answered that call and defined what citizenship is and should be all about.

I am talking about the unity rally in Montreal. I am talking about the candlelight vigils on the Pacific coast. I am talking about the march by tens of thousands of Canadians across the bridges between Hull and Ottawa. I am talking about the raising of the Canadian flag on Signal Hill in Newfoundland; all of these and many of the other demonstrations where people came together in the sense of collectivity, in the defence of a sense of community and demonstrated their affection not only for their country but for the kind of deep rooted commitment they have to good citizenship from coast to coast to coast.

This is a country of doers and not whiners. This is a nation of home builders and not home wreckers. The October 27 rally in Montreal for me and many others was a day like very few. We shall never forget that day for those who either watched it or participated in it. It was a day when the Canadian family showed what it was all about, considering the jammed buses and trains and planes that created that incredible movement to Montreal.

The Toronto caucus in metropolitan Toronto and area was able to facilitate on two days notice 100 buses of committed Canadians who wanted to do something about this country, about the inability to facilitate any other coach in the Ontario system because they were all gone.

We had to rent buses from Pennsylvania because of the lack of buses in the Ontario system. The Finch West Bakery in my riding, because people were getting up and lining up at 4.00 in the morning to get on one of these coaches, provided croissants and muffins and orange juice as its contribution to this movement.

We have to consider people like John Campion who said: ``We cannot go but we would like to fundraise for those who want to go but may not be able to afford to go on their own''. We had an outpouring of Canadians coming forward with financial contributions.

We had strangers who could not get on the bus and who car pooled with other strangers. All of a sudden, through that exercise we had instant friendship and instant family that tied us together quite naturally.

It sounds simple, and maybe it was, but it really was about ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things. Farmers from Quebec shook hands with those farmers who travelled from western Canada. It was about a schoolgirl who sang the national anthem next to me, who was beside a gentleman who was born thousands of miles away in southeast Asia but who now proudly calls his home Canada.

It is the kind of thanks and appreciation, without being patronizing, we received from our fellow family Quebecers on the streets of Montreal who said thank you for coming down in solidarity, thank you for not abandoning the concept of community and of family, despite the attempts of some in the media to portray things clearly that were not the reality on that day.

One of the lessons that rally taught all of us, particularly the political class on both government and opposition benches, is that unity requires inclusion. That was the strong message of the rally. It showed Canadians also need to get involved and be part of the solution. Canadians must be able to sing the song and not only hold the song sheet in order for the country to continue to be the kind of society that is recognized not only by us but, more important, by those across the globe.

(1535 )

On that day in Montreal there were thousands of individual acts by ordinary Canadians that epitomized what good citizenship is all about. Sometimes as the minister of citizenship I am called to define citizenship, what active and engaged citizenship means. Sometimes we have these speeches that try to articulate that. Yet how powerful and eloquent instead of those speeches was the act on that day that gave expression to what active and engaged citizenship should be and is all about.

We have also heard from our friends in the Bloc mutter about the federalist plots and the discount fares which were the real reasons people came together in Montreal. Does the leader really think a cabal of schemers and plotters as well organized as it may be could have produced such spectacular events without the willing, enthusiastic participation of those Canadians? I think not.

Does he subscribe to the politics of exclusion, to the politics of marginalizing people on the sidelines of our country? That is the


17640

second issue I would like to touch on this afternoon, the attempt by some to marginalize segments and people in Canadian society.

Canada cannot and will not survive in a climate of tribalism or of attempting to push certain groups to those dark corners, to those margins. This initiative today is not and cannot be only about history. It cannot be restricted or limited in debating only the English and French reality in the country.

This debate has also to be about our present and about our tomorrows. We must be inclusive and talk about today and a future that includes the French and the English facts that gave rise to the country. We must also embrace without reservation, without qualification the reality of the aboriginal people in Canada and the millions of Canadians whose origins span the globe.

It is only when we speak of these four pillars, the French, the English, the aboriginals and the Canadians who have adopted this country as theirs, does it give full expression to Canada. Only then will it be inclusive and only then can Canada be entirely whole.

Let me be very clear to those across the way who would want to dance neatly through the politics of exclusion by attempting to shrug off too many statements that were nothing more than veiled ethnic slurs, slurs that really try to appeal to people's darker sides and lowest instincts. It was not only a case of pure campaign gimmickry to alienate and marginalize individuals in the province of Quebec; it continues today, after the referendum was fought and won by Canada.

It continued this week when elements of that separatist movement suggested ethnic communities in Quebec were enemies of Quebec. It was articulated by Pierre Bourgault, who had the audacity and the courage to suggest that those Greeks, Italians and Jews were racist because they voted for Canada.

The separatists across the way and those beside them who participate in the politics of division would want to stratify our province of Quebec, our nation of Canada into different classes of people. They would want us to talk about them and us.

(1540 )

I find it exceedingly ironic that the separatists would try to chide, castigate and humiliate those communities which in large numbers have always supported the quest for the French Canadian identity in Quebec and across the country, those which largely have always supported the quest for that French Canadian language not only to be preserved and protected but to be enhanced, those which in the late sixties and early seventies supported the battle for bilingualism which Mr. Trudeau and the current Prime Minister fought tooth and nail for.

They did so willingly. They did so because they believed in that, because it defined what Quebec in Canada is and should be about. They also did so because they identified with that kind of quest for themselves, which is also part of Quebec and part of Canada.

We have the maturity and the foresight in this country such that when immigrants come through our airports we do not ask them to check their cultural baggage at Revenue Canada, Canada Customs and Immigration Canada. We say they are no less Canadian for believing in who they had been for the past 30 years or in the forces that shaped them in Europe, in Africa, in South America.

Now because those ethnic communities, as they are referred to, have the temerity to choose Canada, they are ridiculed. It is the separatists who are wrong because there does not have to be a choice. Those members in the Canadian family labelled ethnic want both and can have both because the two concepts are compatible. One can be fiercely loyal to Canada and our flag while at the same time aggressively promoting that which is the very essence of Quebec or our other provinces and territories.

That is their mistake, that they push for that either/or, when in fact those members of the Canadian family labelled as ethnic have always supported both, the search for the French Canadian identity and the eloquence of being a member of the Canadian family, the best membership the world knows.

When we cast our minds back to October 27 on the streets of Montreal, there were also immigrants at that rally. There were ethics at that rally. There were people whose skin tone was different from ours and there were people whose mother tongue was different from ours. However, we should never forget, let alone castigate them, that they were there because they too love Canada and Quebec, because they too helped build Canada and Quebec and because this is not just our home; this is also Quebec and Canada, their home.

The government will never play that ugly game of exclusion because that is a game that quite frankly breeds racism, hate and division. If we were to go down that dark ally which some want us to travel it truly would be the beginning of the end, without exaggerating.

All we have to do is notice on our television screens every night the kinds of wars and division this so-called world of ours is engaged in. If we think of the root causes which regrettably give life to the kinds of acts of one against the other, it is always found in the very divisions these statements would have us propelled into, the game of exclusion that does breed racism, hate and division between brothers and sisters.

We also know or should know in our souls that unity is certainly not exclusively built around constitutional amendments, constitutional discussions or constitutional conferences. I think Canadians know this very well. It is much more than that. Constitutions do not necessarily build countries. Constitutions do not necessarily give


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countries greatness. Constitutions do not necessarily provide countries with momentum. People do.

(1545)

Unity is bound by how we treat each other. On this score, Canadians and the very essence of Canada as I define it have always valued generosity, inclusion and a sense of compassion for one another. That is one of the reasons our country has been able to prosper over the years. This is not the time to abandon those values because those same values are needed the most at this time.

[Translation]

We must make these values part of our daily lives, perhaps even celebrate them in special events such as National Citizenship Week and Flag Day. This coming year, the two events will be combined into a week of celebrations around the theme Canada: take it to heart.

We have recently begun to note in Canadians throughout the country a growing desire to show their great love of Canada and their concern for the state of the nation in some concrete way.

[English]

It was with this in mind that the Canada take it to heart initiative was developed by the citizenship and immigration department working with the Canadian heritage department. Together we created a special week of activities where Canadians can come together to celebrate their commitments as fellow citizens and their pride in being Canadian and the remarkable heritage and future we all share.

This is just one very modest way of expressing that sense of Canadian community. For that concept of community to survive and indeed thrive, it will need the help and co-operation of the entire Canadian family, of all Canadians in all regions of all ages and of all backgrounds. We should never forget that it is only through the participation of Canadians and the inclusion of all of her people that we can make Canada grow, thrive and flower.

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf, BQ): Madam Speaker, Bill C-110 is a big mistake. It not only fails to respond to Quebec's expectations but even makes future constitutional amendments impossible, for all practical purposes. When everyone has a veto, the obvious and inevitable conclusion is that on any given proposal for a constitutional amendment, there will always be one holder of a veto who will use it to block such proposals.

Although the Prime Minister hinted to the House that recognition of the distinct society concept would eventually be included in the Constitution, the veto powers he is now distributing left and right will make it impossible to make any further amendments to the Constitution. It would be a joke, if it were not so tragic. However, this is symptomatic of a far more fundamental problem.

(1550)

When provinces and First Nations insist on each having a veto on any constitutional amendment, this can mean either that all parties are so pleased with the Constitution as it stands that they want to give each other assurances they will never change it, or they are showing a considerable distrust of the federal system. I am afraid the answer is obvious.

The present Constitution of Canada does not fit the economic, social and cultural realities of Canada today. The profound constitutional malaise in our societies today has many consequences for our daily lives, because of the combined impact of the federal government's legislative and spending powers.

That is why we are now saddled with an incredible deficit, why employment policies always were and still are formulated from the top down without any real regard for the provinces and why the spectre of national standards irrelevant to regional situations can only mean institutionalized chaos.

In this respect, the Quebec government's desire to establish a new partnership with the rest of Canada was and still is a unique way to start the 21st century with a process that would make for a new relationship and a new solidarity between the populations residing in the Canadian economic space. Unfortunately, traditionally federalist forces have stubbornly distorted Quebec's blueprint and made it out to be the opposite of what it really is.

[English]

Even the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration a few moments ago could not resist doing exactly that. The minister and this government must realize that when a majority of Quebecois voted no in the last referendum, it was in the hope that the Prime Minister would deliver on his promises.

The bill now before the House is not what was expected and is not what is needed. Therefore, no one should be surprised if in due time those who voted no shall want to reconsider through another democratic referendum.

In view of this, it is most unfortunate that the Reform Party proposes using legal force to oppose the legitimate will of the people of Quebec to reconsider democratically their future. Furthermore, it is also most unfortunate that the Reform Party has stated that shall the people of Quebec decide in favour of sovereignty, it should be denied this outcome using armed forces. Even the Prime Minister let it be known that he would object to the unfolding of this democratic process. This is intolerance and it is unacceptable in any democratic country.


17642

[Translation]

Nor do we need the kind of statements that are spread around by the Liberal Party of Canada and repeated by the anglophone media, that Quebec is living on handouts from the rest of Canada and is not capable of taking full control of its tax system, legislation and international relations.

The exact opposite is true. In fact, Quebec contributes one quarter of federal revenues and also carries one-quarter of the federal debt, but unfortunately, it receives significantly less than its share of federal spending that creates jobs.

(1555)

This unfortunately, but unavoidably, leads to proportionately greater unemployment insurance and social security expenditures. So that each federal transfer reduction measure wreaks even greater devastation on Quebec. This is exactly what has been happening in recent years. Per capita federal transfers in constant dollars have dropped significantly in the past few years.

This is why Quebec must take back control of its economic and tax levers at the earliest opportunity. To this end, serious and doubtless difficult negotiations will be required for the needed modernization of the constitutional framework. In the meantime, however, the very last thing we need is a bill that is both a bogus overture to Quebec and a straitjacket that will preclude any constitutional change in the future.

Traditionally, Quebec has always demanded a constitutional veto, and I repeat, constitutional, as protection against amendments to the Constitution which are contrary to its interests.

Let us take a quick look at history and remember that, in the early 1960s, the Fulton-Favreau formula arose out of a constitutional conference. It provided for a veto for the provinces on any constitutional amendment affecting their rights, powers and privileges. In 1971, the Victoria conference proposed a constitutional veto for Quebec, Ontario, two of the maritime provinces and at least two of the western provinces whose combined populations constituted a majority.

The mechanics of Bill C-110 are oddly similar to the Victoria formula, with one exception. In 1971, fourteen years ago, they were talking about a constitutional veto and not a simple legislative measure. It was the former Liberal premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, who turned down the Victoria accord, because it did not satisfy Quebecers.

Then, in 1979, the Pepin-Robarts report proposed four regional vetoes, including one for Quebec. In 1982, then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, with the help of the current Prime Minister, tore up the 1867 Constitution, replacing it with another one, without Quebec's consent. Ever since that time, there has been a crying need for a constitutional veto allowing Quebec to protect itself against amendments that would hurt its interests.

The famous Meech Lake accord, which was supposed to achieve reconciliation between Quebec and the rest of Canada after the 1982 patriation episode, would have given Quebec a veto. We know what happened next. The current Prime Minister torpedoed the accord with the help of Clyde Wells and his associates.

In 1991, Beaudoin-Edwards recommended four regional constitutional vetoes, including one for Quebec; in 1992, Beaudoin-Dobbie also recommended a constitutional veto for Quebec.

Even the Charlottetown accord, which was found clearly lacking by the vast majority of Quebecers in a referendum, would have given Quebec a veto.

(1600)

As we can see, the constitutional veto demanded by Quebec is a constant political aspiration that has always been at the heart of its minimum requirements. That is why, when the Prime Minister portrayed the Constitution as a path to change and promised a veto, as he did in Montreal, Quebecers were clearly expecting a constitutional veto, since Quebec always talks about this as a minimum.

As we know, giving Quebec a constitutional veto would require the consent of the federal government and the 10 provinces. Yet, according to a recent poll, barely 10 per cent of people in the rest of Canada support a veto for Quebec. The Prime Minister must know that he is in no position to give Quebec a constitutional veto. He also knows that, as he keeps telling everyone in the rest of Canada, a legislative veto is not worth much.

That is why the government performed mental gymnastics to create the illusion that it is offering Quebec a real veto. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. What the Minister of Justice is proposing to this House is not a real veto. In fact, his bill would give Quebec no constitutional protection against constitutional amendments.

Bill C-110 is not a constitutional guarantee that would ensure that Quebec will be protected in the future. You and I know that the government in place could repeal this bill at will. In fact, that is exactly what the Reform Party said it would do upon taking office. This goes to show how tenuous the protection offered by Bill C-110 would be.

The federal government has some gall to talk about a veto when in fact what it is offering Quebec is all wind, an illusion. Worse yet, it actually guarantees that no constitutional change benefiting Quebec will ever be approved, since all it will take is for another veto right holder to object to nip any reform attempt in the bud. With Bill C-110, we can be sure that the federal system will be even more impossible to change than ever before, until such time as the government grows tired of resisting and finally decides to repeal the miserable act.

What this government has come up with is at best a sort of self-censorship that is only binding on this government, if at all. In fact, with this stroke of inspiration, the Prime Minister will have managed, if only briefly, to make the Canadian federal system even more inflexible by taking the dangerous step of protecting the status quo at his own risk.


17643

(1605)

In reality, Bill C-110 is intended solely to convince Quebecers that the Prime Minister is making good on his referendum promises. No one in Quebec will be taken in, as recent surveys prove quite well.

Half of Quebecers opted for sovereignty-partnership and the rest, the majority, pinned their hopes for renewed federalism, but the bogus veto proposed by the Minister of Justice will not satisfy even his erstwhile referendum allies who, let us keep in mind, have always called for a constitutional veto for Quebec.

[English]

The federal government ``knows best'' attitude has been, is and will remain totally counter productive in this country.

[Translation]

During the debates on this bill this House has had a chance to appreciate the Prime Minister's talent for improvisation-I have chosen that term deliberately-in para-constitutional matters, by granting the province of British Columbia its own veto. But we must be well aware that adding to the number of vetoes ends up watering down their value, by diminishing the concept and thus its effect as well.

It must be realized that, although having a veto reassures each veto holder that Canada could not go against its interests constitutionally, this does not in any way make it possible for a province to go where its interests dictate. In short, it is our feeling that not only does the formula proposed by the Minister of Justice run contrary to the higher interests of Quebec, it is also contrary to the higher interests of Canada. For this reason, I and the Bloc Quebecois will be opposing passage of this bill, in accordance with the convictions of the large majority of Quebecers.

[English]

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I would like to commence my speech today on behalf of the Reform Party with regard to Bill C-110 by speaking about the attitude there seems to be on the part of people in the government.

This attitude is led by none other than the Prime Minister. People in the House have learned, they have listened and understand well. The attitude is that if there is vacuousness, in other words, nothing to talk about and nothing to offer, then attack the other person's motive.

I was deeply dismayed yesterday and I quote the Prime Minister when he said: ``There has not been one day since we have been talking about this problem that he''-referring to the leader of the Reform Party-``has not been in bed with the Quebec separatists. There has not been one day he does not want to try to make life difficult for a government that is trying to save Canada. There has not been one day that he is not causing some disturbance in Canada because he has no interest in keeping the country together''.

I find that kind of personal attack beneath the dignity of the person who has the title of Prime Minister of Canada. It is exceptionally unfortunate that he is setting that kind of a tone for the people in his party when he has absolutely no content, no idea of what he is doing. He is running this country from the back of an envelope. He attacks the motives of the leader of this party or anyone else who does not go along with his flavour of the day.

(1610 )

His flavour of the day apparently has now changed and we are going to have a veto for the province of B.C. While there are few things said by the Block Quebecois I agree with, I agree with the last speaker that this veto for the province of B.C. is nothing more than an additional piece of chewing gum to add to the chewing gum and baling wire that has been used to put together this concocted Bill C-110 in the first place.

How did we get there? Contrary to the remarks of the Deputy Prime Minister who apparently has taken the comments and the direction of the Prime Minister to heart to the point of ending up in tears here in the House of Commons, contrary to her point of view and the way in which she chooses to express it, there are people in Canada, including members of the Reform Party, who are avowed federalists and believe in the concept of keeping this great nation together. The chewing gum and baling wire effort at this point is so absolutely and abjectly inadequate as to make my stomach turn.

Why do we have this bill? It is, first, because the Prime Minister panicked. Obviously the ``don't worry, be happy'' attitude he had when he came to British Columbia saying everything is fine, did not work. ``I am really pleased that nobody in British Columbia, nobody in the west, has been panicking over the fact that we have not really been running in this referendum debate. It is really nice that you have not been running and creating any problems, therefore don't worry, be happy''.

That was approximately two weeks before October 30 when the first string quarterback, Jacques Parizeau, decided to replace himself with a backup quarterback, the leader of Her Majesty's official loyal opposition as the person who was going to lead the province of Quebec out of Canada.


17644

When that happened, the people of Quebec started to listen to the siren songs and the abject lies of the separatists. They listened to them and actually believed that by voting yes, this group to my right were talking about making a better place for Quebec in Canada. What the people of Quebec did not know at that time was that the leader, the vice-premier of Quebec, was actually at that time circulating to four embassies saying that on October 31 you will recognize us as an independent state. The people of Quebec did not know that.

The leader of Her Majesty's official loyal opposition that the Liberals want in the position of Her Majesty's official loyal opposition decided that he would continue with those lies. He obviously got away with it to the extent that 38 per cent of the people who voted yes in the referendum actually believed those lies and that they were going to be a part of Canada.

What did the Prime Minister do? He absolutely panicked. He turned around and said: ``Let's see, what do I have in my grab bag of tricks? What have we tried before? Why do we not take a whack at distinct society? Hey, that is a good idea. Let's do distinct society. What about veto? Yeah, crumb, let's do veto too. That's a good idea''.

That is how we are in this House today with the government having rammed distinct society down Canadians' throats and tonight ramming veto down Canadians' throats.

Why did we get here? Some of the responses from my province are indicative of the kind of rage there is not only in British Columbia but around the nation. I will read a paragraph from a letter from Jack Weisgerber who is the leader of the third party in British Columbia. It is dated November 28 and addressed to the Prime Minister. He says:

If your aim is to truly keep Canada united from coast to coast, as I certainly hope it is-
I might parenthesize that there are some people in Canada who would question the Prime Minister's motives. Because I find that act reprehensible on the part of the Prime Minister and the Liberals, I will not do it. Then he says:

-you must have the courage to articulate a vision of Canada that is consistent with the views of most Canadians in every province. From British Columbia's perspective, the only vision of Canada that is acceptable is one where all provinces and all Canadians are equal, with special status for none. Surely that should have been the lesson learned from the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord, which is being entirely ignored by your government.
(1615)

It is really telling the way in which this government has chosen to bring this legislation forward with a complete ignorance of the fact that the people of Canada rejected these provisions in the Charlottetown accord. Yet it is jamming it down their throats in spite of what the people have said.

The Reform Party is very clear and unequivocal. If there is to be any change to the Constitution, the Constitution must be approved by the people of Canada, not the provincial legislatures, not this assembly, but by the people of Canada because the Canadian Constitution belongs to Canadians.

We currently have an amending formula in our constitutional law. It is called the seven and fifty formula. That is the formula where seven provinces representing a total in excess of 50 per cent of the population of Canada would be able to ratify most changes to the Constitution. For the sake of time I will not go into the detail of the exceptions to that. That is a broad enough statement.

An interesting comment was written in the column ``The write stuff'' by constitutional experts David Bercuson and Barry Cooper. They say in part:

First, remember that we do have a Constitution in Canada; it contains an amending formula. Mr. Chrétien surely knows that. Given his pivotal role in its adoption back in the early 1980s, he must have once believed that the current amending formula is a good thing. But now, with Saint Lucien about to become the great helmsman of the separatist cause in Quebec, the Constitution is no longer convenient.
What then, can Chrétien do except to pretend the Constitution doesn't exist? Hence his proposal of wholesale change to the structure of government without following the rules. It is a plan that, if successful, will allow Chrétien to avoid the minor inconvenience suffered by Brian Mulroney of having his proposals for constitutional change thrown back in his face.
Chrétien's proposals are, in our view, more dishonest, more divisive, and far more repellent than anything the Mulroney gang ever dreamed up.
They go on to say:

There is no such thing as a ``region'' in the Constitution, or anyplace else in Canadian law. So, giving a constitutional veto to a ``region'' isn't much different than giving a veto to all red-headed, left-handed, green-eyed women in Canada. Both entities are equally recognized in the Constitution and both have the same status as constitutional players, namely none.
These experts, in looking at these things, are very incisive in their comments. They reveal the fact that the government and indeed the whole country of Canada are currently being run by a Prime Minister and his cabinet from scribblings on the backs of used envelopes.

In a column by Joan Bryden, entitled ``Veto for B.C. fuels constitutional uproar'' I read:

Although B.C. will now be recognized as a fifth region with its own veto-along with Ontario, Quebec, the prairies and the Atlantic region-Premier Mike Harcourt complained the move will make it even harder to amend the Constitution in the future.

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It means, effectively, that seven provinces representing at least 92 per cent of the population must approve any constitutional change before the federal government will consider giving its own stamp of approval.
That's a stiffer requirement than the seven provinces with 50 per cent of the population currently needed for most constitutional changes.
Forest Minister Andrew Petter, B.C.'s point man on the unity package, said Chrétien is putting a ``straitjacket on Confederation'' and accused him of making up his unity strategy ``on the back of an envelope''.
Truly that is exactly what the Prime Minister is doing. Yet the Liberal members, like sheep, will come to this House tonight, fall in line and vote for this straitjacket on the Canadian Constitution.

We have a situation where we are giving a veto. Perhaps I should stop for a second here and just detail my concept of what a veto is. Simply, if someone being one of many has a veto power and that person's vote was negative then that person would be able to stop the process in spite of the fact that the majority of the vote was positive. That is my understanding of the word veto.

(1620)

What this Prime Minister has done is to give Canada's federal government constitutional veto over Canada's Constitution to the separatist government in Quebec. It is absolutely unbelievable. It is so unbelievable I have to repeat it: The Prime Minister is giving Canada's federal government constitutional veto over changes to Canada's Constitution to the separatist government in Quebec.

It goes beyond exasperation to think that those people would come back into this House tonight and actually vote that way simply because their Prime Minister says so. I should explain that there is a lot of embarrassment on the part of Liberals in the province of British Columbia because they have the misfortune of having the name Liberal. I will read from a column by an MLA candidate:

The federal government has made its spectacular move. In an effort to appease the disgruntled Quebec separatists, the Prime Minister is putting the true union of Canadian provinces at risk.
The thinly disguised `veto to all' will leave Quebec in the position of stopping any constitutional changes, no matter how logical they may be. British Columbia, the fastest growing and third largest province has been pushed aside once more.
I say in parenthesis that this was written immediately prior to the extra inclusion of the veto for British Columbia, but the sentiments are exactly the same. This B.C. Liberal is trying to distance himself from the crazy federal Liberals. He goes on to say:

The unity committee, as designed by the Prime Minister, has one western Canadian representative-and she is from Edmonton. This committee now should be disbanded because Chrétien's latest move has made it redundant.
The `distinct society' clause will enshrine a special status for a small section of our society and will inflame relations with Quebec for years to come.
Liberals, this is a Liberal speaking.

The Prime Minister has no inkling as to what makes Canada tick! He is completely out of touch!
The Charlottetown accord of 1992 was defeated because of the inclusion of this type of special treatment.
I wonder who the minister of western alienation is? This individual is doing a commendable job!
This was said by a B.C. Liberal candidate. But what does the B.C. Liberal leader say? When he was interviewed on December 6 the questioner asked: ``You have no embarrassment though that they are Liberals and you are a Liberal in name?'' The B.C. Liberal leader wanted to distance himself from these people over here because he said: ``Our party is totally separate from the federal party. I am embarrassed for British Columbia that they are not standing up in Parliament and speaking up for the interests of British Columbia, which is what I believe their task is''.

Mr. Hermanson: It is a different story if you are trying to get elected.

Mr. Abbott: It is absolutely amazing. I think it would be even more instructive if we were to take the words of the self-declared constitutional expert, the man from Vancouver Quadra. I will quote from an article dated November 30 where he acknowledges the regional veto system was resurrected from a constitutional conference in 1971. It may have come about for no other reason than because ``someone in the Prime Minister's office mentioned it and nobody happened to point out that what worked in 1971 would not work now. I think it is as simple as that''. That is what the member for Vancouver Quadra said to a reporter in Vancouver on November 30. It will be very instructive to visualize how this member will end up voting later in the day.

Why do we get there? Because the Prime Minister panicked because he had a totally worthless plan for trying to fight the referendum. That is the only reason we get there. We have a Prime Minister who has no vision and is out of touch. Quite frankly, it is my judgment and apparently the judgment of all of my colleagues in the House that the Prime Minister should seriously reconsider his future in the role of Prime Minister of Canada. He has no vision.

(1625 )

I will quote from another authority. I consider this person to be an authority because as the former premier of Newfoundland from 1979 to 1989, Brian Peckford went through a tremendous number of constitutional wars. He points out something very subtle here:

Furthermore there are other problems with what is being proposed. In a ruling in September 1981, the Supreme Court of Canada said about a federal unilateral initiative to patriate and change the Constitution that it was inconsistent with the

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conventions of the Constitution which required the substantial consent of the provinces. This ruling is significant for at least two reasons:
I will give one:

The concept of ``conventions'' of the Constitution. It can be argued that the present federal proposals involve a process that is really backdoor constitution making, given that it is possible in the future for the high court to rule that these proposals form part of the conventions of the Constitution. Therefore you actually have the likelihood that these will be viewed in a constitutional way even if they are not specifically put into the written Constitution.
He summarizes and submits that ``the present federal proposals use a process which is contrary to what Canadians wish to see as the process for constitutional change''. As a matter of fact, I would parenthesize again and say that this process is totally outside constitutional law. The Prime Minister is tinkering with the Constitution outside of constitutional law.

The Supreme Court ruling of '81 casts serious doubt on the legitimacy of the process being used, in as much as what is being effectively done is tantamount to a constitutional change disregarding the convention of first obtaining substantial consent.
That raises a whole host of questions. Where is the substantial consent to these changes? Nowhere, except with 177 sheep. That is where the substantial consent is.

These federal proposals if passed could be viewed by the supreme court in the future as part of a convention of the Constitution and hence carrying more weight than is currently being ascribed to them.
It is scary stuff. Very scary stuff. What is going on is that we have a fundamental subversion of the constitutional process, of the very document on which Canada and the relationships not only between the provinces, but between us as Canadians are founded. These are the rules under which we live together. These are the rules under which our various jurisdictions function.

The Prime Minister, out of a sense of panic, has gone ahead and made these changes. He is oblivious to the fact that according to the expert I just quoted, because these changes will form part of a convention and a part of the way things are done, they could be viewed by the Supreme Court of Canada as being substantive changes to the Constitution.

Who has the Prime Minister consulted? No one. That is who. Let us briefly look at the consultation process. Did the Prime Minister go to members of his Liberal cabinet? If he did go to those members, what did the Minister of National Revenue say to him? Or did he totally disregard the fact that the Minister of National Revenue is supposedly touted as being the minister representing the viewpoint of the province of British Columbia?

He cannot have it both ways. Either he did not go to the revenue minister and the rest of his cabinet and did this thing on the back of an envelope with chewing gum and baling wire, or he did go to the Minister of National Revenue and chose to disregard the advice of the Minister of National Revenue. I suppose one could even ask if the Minister of National Revenue was awake that day and realized what a major problem we are stumbling into in Canada.

(1630 )

The second question: Did he go to his caucus? He said today in the House that he went to his caucus. I would suggest that he probably went to his caucus well after the fact, well after it was etched in stone, and caucus members were too embarrassed to stand up and be counted, as they should stand up and be counted on behalf of Canadians.

Did he go to provincial officials? Clearly not. We have received copies of letters from the premiers to the Prime Minister. I read part of a letter from the premier of British Columbia: ``I am writing in regard to the bill currently before the House of Commons entitled an act respecting constitutional amendments. The Government of British Columbia strongly objects to the fact-'', and it goes on and on. Where was the consultation?

We are led to believe by the news media that the Prime Minister, just by happenstance, may be calling some of the premiers to say: ``Guess what we are doing today?''

In the Calgary Herald today the premier of Alberta is quoted going on about the fact that the Prime Minister was completely out of touch and had not contacted him. In fact, the premiers are still being told, probably by an aide to the Prime Minister, what is going on. Where is the consultation?

That is the crux of it. The blatant disregard which the Prime Minister and his party have for the people of Canada is appalling. He has not gone to the people of Canada at any point and he is talking about substantive changes to their Constitution. It is their Constitution and he ignores them. He does not consult them in any way.

Why would the Liberals vote for this egregious piece of legislation? I suppose it is because they like being parliamentary secretaries or chairmen of standing committees. Maybe they like the privilege of being able to travel around the countryside or on international junkets. I believe this is where the whip comes in.

When the hon. member for Mississauga West was on television a few weeks ago she said: ``Look at the number of free votes we have had in the House of Commons''. Sure, there have been free votes in the House of Commons for Liberal members, but every single, solitary one of those free votes was on private members' business. There was no exception. The whip has been on when it came to


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government business. Any member who voted against the government whip, against the wishes of the Prime Minister, has been banished, chastised and disciplined. It is absolutely and totally contrary to what the red book told Canadians. It said that this government would be different and there would be free votes.

Why vote? It almost leaves me to ask: Why have a House of Commons? Why do we come here, as we have today, realizing that the debate which started at approximately 3.30 this afternoon will be terminated by the Liberals at 5.15 p.m.? The bill will substantively change the Constitution of Canada. I say: Shame on the Liberals. There is no excuse for this kind of pile-driving and ramrodding of legislation.

I suspect that my words have fallen on deaf ears on the Liberal side. They just do not understand. They do not even show up for the debates. I cannot comprehend where their head space might be.

What can I say? When the Reform Party is elected to government in 1997 it will repeal this bunch of legislation, which is so divisive, so discredited, so damaging and, I suggest, so deceitful. The Reform Party will ensure that any future changes to constitutional law will include the provision that the people of Canada will have a say over their Constitution by way of one person, one vote. That is democracy. That is the Reform way.

(1635 )

Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am honoured to participate in the final moments of debate prior to what is, in my opinion, an historic vote.

What a difference almost four weeks makes. It is very easy to speak here today knowing the result of the vote on October 30. I would first like to thank the hundreds and thousands of Canadians who came from all corners of Canada on October 27. In my opinion, this bill is their bill. It responds to the wishes of Canadians as does the distinct society recognition that we voted on earlier this week. It is a response to Canadians who on October 27 demonstrated clearly their love and affection for Canada.

I am appalled that the member for Kootenay East insinuated that the only reason we Liberals are going to vote in favour of the bill is because of junkets, of freebies. It shows a lack of respect for Canadians when he denigrates the bill and the vote to that degree. It also slows a lack of understanding. If the member for Kootenay East would only listen to us and read the red book for a change instead of just referring to it, he would know that the Liberal Party has always respected the right of veto for Quebec and has for over 30 years recognized its distinct character.

The member for Kootenay East and others have criticized the Prime Minister for not having consulted Canadians. On the contrary, the people of Canada spoke on October 27, and when he saw the testimony by all Canadians, the Prime Minister read the people correctly. That was true democracy.

He promised the people of Canada and on their behalf promised Quebec prior to October 30 to recognize Quebec for what it is. If Canadians cannot accept the fact that Quebec has a unique culture, unique language, a unique civil code and other institutions, then we are truly in serious trouble.

Reform Party members are falling into the trap that has been laid for them by the current Leader of the Opposition by saying that they will repeal the legislation. I can say that hindsight is 50:50. Imagine if the result had been different on October 30. I wonder if the members who have spoken on the bill would speak the same way.

The Prime Minister could not consult Canadians. He could not telephone Premier Harris or Premier Harcourt or even Premier Klein. But these same premiers spoke to Quebecers.

I remember the appeal by Mr. Klein to Quebecers saying: ``We love you Quebec. Stay in Canada''. I remember the appeal by Mr. Harris who said to Quebecers: ``Your demands for the revision of the decentralization devolution of responsibilities are our demands. We will work hand in hand with you in Quebec because your aspirations for a renewed federation are our aspirations''. The Prime Minister could not take the time to consult the premiers. He had to make a decision. He relied on his experience, on his knowledge and understanding of the country and of the great province of Quebec and made three promises which tonight we will uphold. Those promises were the recognition of the distinct society, the regional veto and decentralization.

(1640 )

If we recognize, as it seems to have been generally accepted across Canada, Quebec's distinctiveness, then we must also recognize that Quebec needs all the tools to protect and promote its language and its culture.

An Albertan, a British Columbian or anyone else living in the rest of Canada is not threatened with the loss of culture or the English language. On the contrary, it is in use worldwide. However, as a co-founding people of this great country it has to be recognized that the French language and the French culture that exists in Quebec must be protected. The only way to protect that is to give the people of Quebec the veto. That veto is of utmost importance.

The current Constitution says that seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population can amend the Constitution. That means seven provinces could gang up on British Columbia, seven provinces could gang up on Quebec, as happened in 1980, seven provinces could gang up on another province. That is why the veto is so important for Quebec.

[Translation]

I do not agree with what the member for Portneuf says about these three promises being far from sufficient and not what Quebecers wanted before the referendum. The veto proposed by our Prime Minister protects Quebec even more; from now on the


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Constitution cannot be changed without the consent of the province of Quebec, as was the case in the past.

I totally agree, the cornerstone of a country is its constitution. I also agree with the member for Kootenay East when he says that the Constitution is the property of the people who live in a country. However, the fact that Quebec has gone without signing the Constitution since 1982 has not prevented us Quebecers from developing and flourishing along with other parts of Canada.

I would also like to point out that Great Britain does not even have a constitution.

[English]

Think of the great powers and influence Great Britain has had over centuries. The fact that it does not have a Constitution has not prevented that country from developing. Quebec and Canada have evolved together and we can continue to evolve together.

The member for Portneuf said that the veto is a watering down, but that is false. The veto protects Quebec right now. If his leader, the current Leader of the Opposition and future premier of Quebec, would agree to enshrining it in the Constitution we would be the first to embark on that process. However, his own chef de l'opposition has already gone on record saying that he does not want constitutional change. We all know what the Bloc Quebecois want. It will settle for nothing short of a separate Quebec.

I defy the current Leader of the Opposition. When he occupies his new position in Quebec City as the premier of that province he should remember the words he spoke today in the House. He espoused that Canada is one of the most democratic countries in the world. He above all should know that in the position he occupies.

Therefore, when I hear the Bloc Quebecois members speak of democracy and criticize the government for not respecting democracy I find it a bit strange. Their version of democracy is-

[Translation]

If the vote is yes, they accept it as a yes. If it is no, they will accept it democratically, but the very night of the no victory, the Leader of the Opposition was threatening us with yet another referendum. A funny way of accepting democracy.

Our Prime Minister has made a commitment on behalf of all Canadians to keep his promises.

(1645)

[English]

A promise made by the Prime Minister is a promise kept. Tonight we will vote on that final step of his three promises. Yes, they must eventually be enshrined through the constitutional process, hopefully as early as April 1997.

The Prime Minister made a promise on behalf of Canadians and I am proud to be able to vote on it today, contrary to the statements of the member for Kootenay East who said that I should be ashamed to vote for this process.

I have sat in the House this week and seen three different members of the Reform Party rise on points of order to indicate that certain members of the House were or were not absent. It shows the level to which Reformers will stoop for political gain.

When it counted, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, the hon. member of Parliament for Sherbrooke, was there. Madam Speaker, he was in the trenches with you and me in Quebec defending Canada during the delicate moments. I find it despicable that Reform Party members stand day after day to question the participation of the member of Parliament for Sherbrooke.

Where were they on October 27? Where were they during the referendum? Today they have the audacity to stand here and again criticize the government for its initiatives. The Prime Minister responded to initiatives after listening to representations from caucus members and other people on B.C.'s regional veto. It is very important for British Columbia. It is also very important for Ontario to have its veto.

When we talk about the distribution of population we have to respect regional differences in Canada. The member for Kootenay East has the audacity to criticize the way I vote when 50 per cent of his members yesterday voted against recognition of the veto for British Columbia.

It is very easy to criticize. It is very easy to get involved in the debate of always giving into Quebec's demands. However I ask hon. members what it is Quebec has demanded over the past 30 years that it has received.

We have made sacrifices. We have made concessions in the past. I remind members from British Columbia that when British Columbia entered Confederation we made a concession uniquely for British Columbia. We honoured the concession to build a national railway from coast to coast. Otherwise British Columbia would not have entered Confederation.

I remind colleagues from Prince Edward Island that we made a concession for Prince Edward Island. The concession was to recognize that island by granting it four members of Parliament and four senators.

In terms of making a concession to Quebec, Quebecers do not want any more or any less than the rest of the provinces. They want to be recognized for what they are. They want to be given the tools


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to develop and protect their language and culture. If that means making a concession, it is well worth making it in order to keep our country united and strong.

I will conclude to give another member a chance before we vote at five o'clock by saying it is easy to criticize. It is much harder to be constructive. It is easy, as some members have already stated in the House, to demolish. It is a lot more difficult to build.

It is much easier to criticize, but it takes a lot of the leadership and courage for the Prime Minister to deliver on his commitment to Canadians of October 27.

(1650 )

We could have consulted all the premiers of the provinces but we have seen what consulting the premiers does. The Mike Harrises and the Ralph Kleins of the world who loved Quebecers prior to the referendum will fall into the trap that the future premier of the province of Quebec will set for us. The Reform Party is falling hook, line and sinker into that trap. I appeal to all the premiers of the provinces to work hand in hand with the Prime Minister who has only taken the first very important step.

The Chinese have a saying: the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. We have to take the first step. The Prime Minister has shown leadership today. I ask the future premier of the province of Quebec to respect his commitment and the democratic will expressed by all Quebecers, not only the 51 per cent that voted not but also the 15 or 30 per cent of those who voted yes, expecting to remain a province of Canada and work with us to build a better and stronger Canada.

I appeal to the premiers of the provinces to work with the Prime Minister over the next 18 months or whatever time is allotted to respect the will and desire expressed by Canadians on October 27. I appeal to the premiers of all provinces not to let that tremendous show of affection go to waste. That is what will happen if we cannot come together and work hand in hand. Whether Reformers, members of the Bloc Quebecois or NDPers, all of us owe it to Canada to work hand in hand to make sure our country remains united and strong.

Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster, Ref.): Madam Speaker, I thought the member for Vaudreuil had a lot of nerve when he indicated that somehow Reformers should be castigated because they were not involved enough in the referendum campaign, when he and his colleagues in the House and outside the House told us we should not get involved at all, that we should stay out of the referendum.

It so happens that we got involved as much as the legislation would allow us to become involved. In fact many pollsters indicate that the Reform played a positive role in the outcome of the vote, in determining a no vote.

Then the member and his colleagues have the nerve to say afterward that we should have been more involved. That is not right. It is beneath the dignity of this place to play those types of political games.

I was expecting to ask the member a question. I hope he will be in his seat to respond during this question and comment period. I noticed in Doug Fisher's column in the Ottawa Sun today that he commented on the Liberal caucus meeting where the whole issue of peace, order and good government was raised. He said it sent shock waves through the Liberal caucus meeting on December 5.

He mentioned a couple of members' names and of course I cannot do that. Canadians can guess who these members are. He wrote:

A senior member of the cabinet, so far successful as a minister and neither given to public philosophizing nor a publicity hound-stunned the gathering with the argument that the time had come for the government to unveil Plan B.
Of course the plan has to do with the peace, order and good government proposal. He went on to write that it would be a dose of tough love for the province of Quebec and that a lot of the proposals put forward in the Liberal caucus were similar to the proposals put forward by the leader of the Reform Party in the answers to the 20 questions.

Then he wrote that a jock would call this playing hardball. He continued: ``The first doubt about such hardball begins in appraising'' the Prime Minister as he seems.

And that is ``bushed''. Tired out after 32 years of hustling and partisan hassling. As an example, take one his lines on Monday: ``I have a very good cabinet''. Tripe!
This pretty accurately reflects what a lot of Canadians are thinking about the Prime Minister's approach on these constitutional issues: ram Bill C-110 through the House as though it is a national emergency, ram the distinct society concept through the House even though it has been rejected in the past by Canadians in a referendum. They have no regard for Canadians, the provinces or the failed concepts of the past.

(1655)

Given the lack of support for the Prime Minister's proposals and given his suggestion that he would ensure a fairly worded question in a future Quebec referendum through the powers afforded him under peace, order and good government, how will the Prime Minister use the powers under his jurisdiction with regard to peace, order and good government to ensure the next referendum question, should there be one, will be fair and not subject to the criticism of the last question?

Mr. Discepola: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the member I respond to a comment he made before about our invoking closure and this not being a national emergency.


17650

The member does not live in Quebec as I do. He has not lived in Quebec as I have. If ever he visits Quebec, I invite him to come to my riding. If he had lived in Quebec he would understand clearly that there is an urgency.

A commitment was made by the Prime Minister to make the necessary changes. He had to respond, not with a sense of urgency but with clear leadership, and this is what the Prime Minister has done.

If we take a look at what is happening on the island of Montreal, sadly we see a large number of unemployed and one of the highest rates of poverty. Constitutional bickering since 1976 has put our region in a very sad state.

The Prime Minister had to respond by giving leadership to ensure, as he said in Toronto, a certain amount of political stability not only for Canada but, more important, for Quebec.

An awful lot of colleagues from Quebec have horror stories about small businesses by the twenties or thirties or even larger corporations establishing plants, not as they did in 1976 in other areas of Canada such as Toronto but unfortunately in places like Plattsburg and Florida. I recently spoke to a VP of Northern Telecom who is now opening up a plant in Southeast Asia because of the uncertainty. The Prime Minister had to react.

On the question of veto, we are lending our veto. In all constitutional amendments the federal government has a right of veto on all aspects, whether there are three or four amending formulas. All we have done is simply lend our veto to each of the five regions. Therefore we were able to bypass the delicate process of constitutional reform doomed to failure in the past.

I hope Reformers put aside their partisan politics. After the new year when, after you have had time to celebrate with your families in peace and love, as Canadians always do, I hope you will come back in February and work hand in hand with the government and the premiers to achieve the unity we deserve.

The Speaker: I remind hon. members to address the Chair rather than one another.

[Translation]

Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I believe we have only five minutes left in the debate this afternoon, and I will try to be brief. It may be the last time we have a chance to speak this year. I listened carefully to the hon. member for Vaudreuil, who raised quite a few points. He is also aware of the position of the Bloc Quebecois on the veto.

I may recall that from what I read and what I heard from the Minister of Justice, this is not a constitutional veto but a veto for the guidance of the Parliament of Canada. That is why Quebecers realized this was not what they wanted. I may also recall that what we say in this House reflects the views of the Quebec people.

I may remind the hon. member-

Mr. Discepola: So we are not Quebecers?

Mr. Bernier (Gaspé): No, but I would like to remind the hon. member that if he still reads Quebec newspapers, he will realize that hardly 24 per cent of the population of Quebec believes that the Prime Minister's proposals are a response to their expectations.

So if we are talking about barely 24 per cent, I think we still have the right to rise in the House to say: ``Listen, this is an empty shell''. And we must not forget the 94 per cent of Quebecers voted in the last referendum. I will conclude with this. This means that in Quebec, 9.4 out of 10 understood the question. And I do not understand why the Quebecer from Saint-Maurice did not.

The Speaker: Thirty seconds for a short reply.

Mr. Discepola: Thirty seconds. Very well, Mr. Speaker.

We are prepared to entrench the veto in the Constitution, but his own leader is preventing us. It is his fault.

If he ever changes his mind, which he has done several times before, we would be willing to discuss entrenching the veto in the Constitution. However, with the means at our disposal, we decided to recognize their veto in this House, in the decisions made by the various departments. We lend our veto, as a government, to the various regions, including the province of Quebec.

However, if your leader decides to change his mind, come and see us.

An hon. member: A nice little trinket for Christmas.

The Speaker: No, dear colleagues, but I have good news.

[English]

Yesterday afternoon we welcomed to the Table of the House of Commons a new table officer. It does not occur often in Parliament that we have new table officers but we have a new one today, Carol Chafe.

Carol, in the name of my colleagues I welcome you.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

An hon. member: A Christmas present.

The Speaker: Yes, a Christmas present for the House.

[English]

Pursuant to an order made Tuesday, December 12, 1995, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.


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Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

The Speaker: Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

(Division No. 400)

YEAS

Members
Adams
Alcock
Allmand
Anderson
Arseneault
Assadourian
Augustine
Bakopanos
Barnes
Beaumier
Bélair
Bélanger
Bellemare
Bernier (Beauce)
Bertrand
Bodnar
Bonin
Boudria
Brown (Oakville-Milton)
Brushett
Bryden
Calder
Catterall
Cauchon
Chamberlain
Chan
Chrétien (Saint-Maurice)
Clancy
Cohen
Collenette
Collins
Comuzzi
Cowling
DeVillers
Dhaliwal
Dingwall
Discepola
Dromisky
Duhamel
Dupuy
Easter
Eggleton
English
Fewchuk
Finlay
Flis
Fontana
Fry
Gaffney
Gagliano
Gagnon (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Gallaway
Gerrard
Godfrey
Goodale
Graham
Gray (Windsor West/Ouest)
Grose
Guarnieri
Harb
Harvard
Hickey
Hopkins
Hubbard
Ianno
Irwin
Jackson
Jordan
Keyes
Kilger (Stormont-Dundas)
Kirkby
Knutson
Kraft Sloan
Lastewka
Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul)
Lee
Lincoln
Loney
Maclaren
MacLellan (Cape/Cap-Breton-The Sydneys)
Malhi
Maloney
Manley
Marchi
Marleau
Martin (LaSalle-Émard)
Massé
McCormick
McGuire
McKinnon
McLellan (Edmonton Northwest/Nord-Ouest)
McTeague
McWhinney
Mifflin
Milliken
Mills (Broadview-Greenwood)
Minna
Mitchell
Murphy
Nault
Nunziata
O'Brien
O'Reilly
Ouellet
Pagtakhan
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Payne
Peric
Peters
Peterson

Phinney
Pickard (Essex-Kent)
Pillitteri
Proud
Reed
Regan
Richardson
Rideout
Ringuette-Maltais
Robichaud
Robillard
Rock
Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury)
Serré
Shepherd
Sheridan
Simmons
Speller
Steckle
Stewart (Brant)
Stewart (Northumberland)
Telegdi
Terrana
Thalheimer
Tobin
Torsney
Ur
Valeri
Vanclief
Verran
Volpe
Walker
Wappel
Wells
Whelan
Wood
Young
Zed -150

NAYS

Members
Abbott
Ablonczy
Althouse
Asselin
Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing)
Bachand
Bélisle
Benoit
Bergeron
Bernier (Gaspé)
Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead)
Blaikie
Bouchard
Breitkreuz (Yellowhead)
Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville)
Bridgman
Brien
Brown (Calgary Southeast/Sud-Est)
Caron
Chatters
Chrétien (Frontenac)
Crête
Cummins
Dalphond-Guiral
Daviault
de Jong
de Savoye
Debien
Deshaies
Dubé
Duceppe
Dumas
Duncan
Epp
Fillion
Forseth
Gagnon (Québec)
Gauthier
Gilmour
Godin
Gouk
Grey (Beaver River)
Grubel
Guay
Guimond
Hanger
Hanrahan
Harper (Calgary West/Ouest)
Harper (Simcoe Centre)
Hart
Hayes
Hermanson
Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George-Peace River)
Hoeppner
Jacob
Jennings
Johnston
Kerpan
Lalonde
Landry
Laurin
Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)
Lebel
Leblanc (Longueuil)
Lefebvre
Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe)
Leroux (Shefford)
Loubier
Manning
Marchand
Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)
Mayfield
McClelland (Edmonton Southwest/Sud-Ouest)
McLaughlin
Ménard
Mercier
Meredith
Morrison
Nunez
Penson
Picard (Drummond)
Ramsay
Ringma
Robinson
Rocheleau
Sauvageau
Schmidt
Scott (Skeena)
Silye
Solberg
Speaker
St-Laurent
Stinson
Taylor
Thompson
Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata)
Tremblay (Rosemont)
Venne
White (Fraser Valley West/Ouest)
Williams -101


17652

PAIRED MEMBERS

Bellehumeur
Canuel
Culbert
LeBlanc (Cape/Cap-Breton Highlands-Canso)
Paré
Pomerleau
St. Denis
Szabo

(1730 )

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

Mr. Stinson: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On a vote as important as this I wonder if I could beg the Speaker to give a few minutes for the Tory leader-

The Speaker: That is not a point of order.

Mrs. Finestone: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, unfortunately a truck got in my way and so I was delayed. If I had been here I would have voted with my party.

Mr. Bevilacqua: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I was detained. As always I will be voting on behalf of the-

[Translation]

Mr. Plamondon: Mr. Speaker, if the Standing Orders so permit, I have just arrived and I would like to be included in the vote, as I am entitled to be.

[English]

The Speaker: Pursuant to an order made Tuesday, December 12, 1995, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division at the third reading stage of Bill C-108, an act to amend the National Housing Act.

* * *

NATIONAL HOUSING ACT

The House resumed from December 12 consideration of the motion that Bill C-108, an act to amend the National Housing Act, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of the festive season I take this opportunity to salute my colleagues, the whips across the way, and thank them for their co-operation.

I ask the House if there would be unanimous consent that the members who voted on the motion previously before the House, plus the hon. Secretary of State for the Status of Women and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources, be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House, with the Liberal side voting yea. I am sure the whips of the other parties will add, if needed, members of their parties with their ranks.

[Translation]

Mr. Duceppe: Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Quebecois will vote in favour of this motion.

[English]

Mr. Ringma: Mr. Speaker, Reform members will voting nay on this motion, except for those who might wish to vote otherwise.

Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, New Democrats in the House vote yea on this motion.

(1735)

[Translation]

Mr. Bernier (Beauce): Mr. Speaker, I am voting in support of this motion.

[English]

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division.)

(Division No. 401)

YEAS

Members
Adams
Alcock
Allmand
Althouse
Anderson
Arseneault
Assadourian
Asselin
Augustine
Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing)
Bachand
Bakopanos
Barnes
Beaumier
Bélair
Bélanger
Bélisle
Bellemare
Bergeron
Bernier (Beauce)
Bernier (Gaspé)
Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead)
Bertrand
Bevilacqua
Blaikie
Bodnar
Bonin
Bouchard
Boudria
Brien
Brown (Oakville-Milton)
Brushett
Bryden
Calder
Caron
Catterall
Cauchon
Chamberlain
Chan
Chrétien (Frontenac)
Chrétien (Saint-Maurice)
Clancy
Cohen
Collenette
Collins
Comuzzi
Cowling
Crête
Dalphond-Guiral
Daviault
de Jong
de Savoye
Debien
Deshaies
DeVillers
Dhaliwal
Dingwall
Discepola
Dromisky
Dubé
Duceppe
Duhamel
Dumas
Dupuy
Easter
Eggleton
English
Fewchuk
Fillion
Finestone
Finlay
Flis
Fontana
Fry
Gaffney
Gagliano
Gagnon (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Gagnon (Québec)
Gallaway
Gauthier
Gerrard
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Gray (Windsor West/Ouest)
Grose
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond
Harb
Harvard
Hickey
Hopkins
Hubbard
Ianno
Irwin
Jackson
Jacob
Jordan
Keyes
Kilger (Stormont-Dundas)
Kirkby
Knutson
Kraft Sloan
Lalonde
Landry
Lastewka
Laurin
Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)
Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul)
Lebel
Leblanc (Longueuil)
Lee

17653

Lefebvre
Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe)
Leroux (Shefford)
Lincoln
Loney
Loubier
Maclaren
MacLellan (Cape/Cap-Breton-The Sydneys)
Malhi
Maloney
Manley
Marchand
Marchi
Marleau
Martin (LaSalle-Émard)
Massé
McCormick
McGuire
McKinnon
McLaughlin
McLellan (Edmonton Northwest/Nord-Ouest)
McTeague
McWhinney
Ménard
Mercier
Mifflin
Milliken
Mills (Broadview-Greenwood)
Minna
Mitchell
Murphy
Nault
Nunez
Nunziata
O'Brien
O'Reilly
Ouellet
Pagtakhan
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Payne
Peric
Peters
Peterson
Phinney
Picard (Drummond)
Pickard (Essex-Kent)
Pillitteri
Plamondon
Proud
Reed
Regan
Richardson
Rideout
Ringuette-Maltais
Robichaud
Robillard
Robinson
Rocheleau
Rock
Sauvageau
Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury)
Serré
Shepherd
Sheridan
Simmons
Speller
St-Laurent
Steckle
Stewart (Brant)
Stewart (Northumberland)
Taylor
Telegdi
Terrana
Thalheimer
Tobin
Torsney
Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata)
Tremblay (Rosemont)
Ur
Valeri
Vanclief
Venne
Verran
Volpe
Walker
Wappel
Wells
Whelan
Wood
Young
Zed-207

NAYS

Members
Abbott
Ablonczy
Benoit
Breitkreuz (Yellowhead)
Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville)
Bridgman
Brown (Calgary Southeast/Sud-Est)
Chatters
Cummins
Duncan
Epp
Forseth
Gilmour
Gouk
Grey (Beaver River)
Grubel
Hanger
Hanrahan
Harper (Calgary West/Ouest)
Harper (Simcoe Centre)
Hart
Hayes
Hermanson
Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George-Peace River)
Hoeppner
Jennings
Johnston
Kerpan
Manning
Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)
Mayfield
McClelland (Edmonton Southwest/Sud-Ouest)
Meredith
Morrison
Penson
Ramsay
Ringma
Schmidt
Scott (Skeena)
Silye
Solberg
Speaker
Stinson
Thompson
White (Fraser Valley West/Ouest)
Williams-47

PAIRED MEMBERS

Bellehumeur
Canuel
Culbert
LeBlanc (Cape/Cap-Breton Highlands-Canso)
Paré
Pomerleau
St. Denis
Szabo

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

The Speaker: Pursuant to an order made Tuesday, December 12, 1995, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on the motion of the hon. member for Cariboo-Chilcotin at second reading stage of Bill C-315.

_____________________________________________


17653

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[English]

PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OBTAINED BY CERTAIN CORPORATIONS ACT

The House resumed from December 12, consideration of the motion that Bill C-315, an act to complement the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves obtained by certain corporations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

The Speaker: As is the practice, the division will be taken row by row, starting with the mover and then proceeding with those in favour of the motion sitting on the same side of the House as the mover. Then those in favour of the motion sitting on the other side of the House will be called.

[Translation]

Those opposed to the motion will be called in the same order.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

(Division No. 402)

YEAS

Members
Abbott
Ablonczy
Adams
Allmand
Althouse
Arseneault
Asselin
Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing)
Bachand
Bélisle
Benoit
Bergeron
Bernier (Beauce)
Bernier (Gaspé)
Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead)
Blaikie
Bouchard
Breitkreuz (Yellowhead)
Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville)
Bridgman
Brien
Brown (Calgary Southeast/Sud-Est)
Caron
Chatters
Chrétien (Frontenac)
Crête
Cummins
Dalphond-Guiral
Daviault
de Jong
de Savoye
Debien
Deshaies
Dubé
Duceppe
Dumas
Duncan
Epp
Fillion
Forseth
Gagnon (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Gagnon (Québec)
Gauthier
Gilmour
Godin
Gouk


17654

Grey (Beaver River)
Grubel
Guay
Guimond
Hanger
Hanrahan
Harper (Calgary West/Ouest)
Harper (Simcoe Centre)
Hart
Hayes
Hermanson
Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George-Peace River)
Hoeppner
Jacob
Jennings
Johnston
Kerpan
Landry
Laurin
Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)
Lebel
Leblanc (Longueuil)
Lefebvre
Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe)
Leroux (Shefford)
Loubier
Manning
Marchand
Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)
Mayfield
McClelland (Edmonton Southwest/Sud-Ouest)
McLaughlin
McTeague
McWhinney
Ménard
Mercier
Meredith
Morrison
Nunez
Nunziata
Penson
Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon
Ramsay
Ringma
Robinson
Rocheleau
Sauvageau
Schmidt
Scott (Skeena)
Silye
Solberg
Speaker
St-Laurent
Stinson
Taylor
Telegdi
Terrana
Thompson
Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata)
Tremblay (Rosemont)
Venne
White (Fraser Valley West/Ouest)
Williams -111

NAYS

Members
Alcock
Anderson
Assadourian
Augustine
Bakopanos
Barnes
Beaumier
Bélair
Bélanger
Bellemare
Bertrand
Bevilacqua
Bodnar
Bonin
Boudria
Brown (Oakville-Milton)
Brushett
Bryden
Calder
Catterall
Cauchon
Chamberlain
Chan
Clancy
Cohen
Collenette
Collins
Comuzzi
Cowling
DeVillers
Dhaliwal
Discepola
Dromisky
Duhamel
Dupuy
Easter
Eggleton
Fewchuk
Finestone
Finlay
Flis
Fry
Gaffney
Gallaway
Gerrard
Godfrey
Goodale
Graham
Grose
Guarnieri
Harb
Harvard
Hickey
Hopkins
Hubbard
Ianno
Irwin
Jackson
Jordan
Kilger (Stormont-Dundas)
Kirkby
Kraft Sloan
Lastewka
Lee
Loney
Maclaren
MacLellan (Cape/Cap-Breton-The Sydneys)
Malhi
Maloney
Manley
Marchi
Marleau
Martin (LaSalle-Émard)
Massé
McCormick
McGuire
McKinnon
Milliken
Minna
Mitchell
Murphy
Nault
O'Brien
O'Reilly

Ouellet
Pagtakhan
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Payne
Peters
Peterson
Phinney
Pickard (Essex-Kent)
Pillitteri
Proud
Reed
Richardson
Rideout
Ringuette-Maltais
Robichaud
Robillard
Rock
Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury)
Serré
Shepherd
Sheridan
Speller
Steckle
Stewart (Northumberland)
Thalheimer
Tobin
Ur
Valeri
Vanclief
Verran
Volpe
Walker
Wappel
Wells
Whelan
Young-122

PAIRED MEMBERS

Bellehumeur
Canuel
Culbert
LeBlanc (Cape/Cap-Breton Highlands-Canso)
Paré
Pomerleau
St. Denis
Szabo

(1745 )

[English]

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

* * *

DANGEROUS OFFENDERS

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Ref.) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should amend Part XXIV of the Criminal Code-Dangerous Offenders-to provide:
1. that where an offender is convicted of
(a) a sexual offence involving a child, or
(b) an offence set out in
(i) section 271 (sexual assault) that has been proceeded with by way of indictment,

(ii) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm), or

(iii) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault),

or an attempt to commit any of these offences, the offender shall, before being sentenced, be examined by two psychiatrists to determine
(c) in the case of sexual offence involving a child, whether the offender is likely to commit or attempt to commit such an offence in the future, and
(d) in the case of an offence referred to in section 271 that has been proceeded with by way of indictment, or section 272 or 273, whether the offender is likely to cause or attempt to cause death, injury or serious psychological harm to another person through a failure in the future to control his or her sexual impulses; and
2. that where the psychiatrists conclude

17655

(a) in the case of a sexual offence involving a child, that the offender is likely to commit or attempt to commit such an offence in the future, or
(b) in the case of an offence mentioned in section 271 that has been proceeded with by way of indictment, or section 272 or 273, that the offender is likely to cause or attempt to cause death, injury or serious psychological harm to another person through a failure in the future to control his or her sexual impulses,
the Attorney General of the province in which the offender was tried shall direct that an application be brought to have the offender declared a dangerous offender.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to split my time with my colleague from Calgary Southeast.

The Deputy Speaker: That would require unanimous consent. Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Ms. Meredith: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to begin debate on Motion No. 461. I believe it is especially appropriate to speak to this motion today.

Earlier this afternoon I introduced to the House a petition that had been collected by the Melanie Carpenter Society. The petition had over half a million signatures, to be exact, 506,285 names. The petitioners ask Parliament to enact legislation that would keep dangerous offenders, especially dangerous sex offenders, off the streets of our country. The first of the nine items on the petition states: That dangerous offenders and pedophiles should be locked up for life.

(1750)

As fate would have it, that is what we are debating today. The motion that I introduced jointly seconded by my colleague from Calgary Southeast, is targeted against sexual predators. It is an effort to get these offenders off the streets after their first conviction, not the second or third conviction which is often the case now.

The motion asks that once an individual has been convicted of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon or sexual assault that has been proceeded with by way of indictment or any sexual offence where the victim is a child, the convicted offender must be examined by two psychiatrists.

If the two psychiatrists conclude that the offender is likely to commit a similar crime in the future, the attorney general shall direct that a dangerous offender application be initiated. The convicted offender would then have a dangerous offender hearing where the crown would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender was likely to reoffend.

This motion carefully balances the rights of the offender and the protection of society. The motion only applies to convicted offenders. Two psychiatrists have to conclude that the offender is likely to reoffend. Then the crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt before a court that the offender is likely to reoffend.

Society is protected by having early identification of dangerous sex offenders. Some may ask if this is possible. Not only is it possible but science is moving quickly in this regard.

While I was conducting research on my private member's bill, Bill C-240, I came across the work of Professor Robert Hare of the University of British Columbia. Professor Hare teaches in the psychology department and is the leading authority in the subject of psychopathy. Professor Hare and his colleagues have developed tests to identify psychopaths for Correctional Service Canada as well as the prison systems in Washington and California states.

It is generally accepted that these tests have an 85 per cent accuracy in identifying psychopaths. Some may argue that not all psychopaths are sex offenders and that is true. With this motion we would only be concerned with those psychopaths who were convicted of a serious sexual assault or pedophilia.

If two psychiatrists conclude that someone who has just been convicted of one of these offences is a psychopath, then if our society values its protection he must be found to be a dangerous offender.

In this instance we are talking about people like Clifford Olson, Paul Bernardo and Fernand Auger. I would like to use Auger as an example. We all know Auger as the man who kidnapped Melanie Carpenter from her place of work in Surrey, B.C., drove her out to the Fraser canyon where he sexually assaulted and murdered her. Auger was on parole at the time of this crime not for a sexual offence, but for robbery.

However 10 years earlier Auger was convicted of sexual assault or more precisely, two instances where he committed extremely violent sexual assaults. One instance involved a 17-year-old prostitute, the other involved a 14-year-old prostitute. In both cases Auger picked up these girls, drove to a secluded location, put a gun to their heads, threatened to kill them and the raped and sodomized them.

Arrested and convicted for both crimes, Auger received the remarkably lenient sentence of two years less a day and served his time in Ontario's provincial system. Why such a light sentence? As a Correctional Service Canada spokesman stated to a CBC reporter last March, Auger's crimes were not viewed as being violent because the victims were prostitutes and this implied a level of consent.

However, after a subsequent conviction for robbery Auger ended up receiving a sentence in a federal institution. He submitted himself to a psychological review as part of a parole application. It was at this time that the true nature of Auger's personality came to light. Auger's psychological assessment reads as follows: ``Appears to employ defence mechanisms, such as minimization,


17656

rationalization and displacement to justify his criminal activity. He has a fairly advanced anti-social personality disorder''.

(1755 )

In August 1994 the National Parole Board denied Auger parole, stating he was a high risk to reoffend. Unfortunately, because of the way the Corrections and Conditional Release Act is written, Auger was required to be released a few months later and because of this Melanie Carpenter is no longer with us.

I am confident that had Auger been examined by two psychiatrists for his assaults on the two teenage prostitutes in Toronto, his anti-social personality would have been uncovered at that time. Had he been found to be a dangerous offender, he would have received an indefinite sentence.

Contrary to what some may think, an indefinite sentence does not mean to lock them up and throw away the key. What it does mean, however, is that the offender is kept in custody until the parole board is convinced that the offender does not pose a serious risk to society.

It is mainly up to the offender to determine how long the sentence will be. If the required treatment is taken and shows real progress, it need not be a long incarceration. Parole eligibility is after three years and then every two years thereafter.

The greatest value of the indefinite sentence is twofold. First, for those offenders who show no inclination of rehabilitation, there is no pressure on the correctional system to get them ready for release, whether they are prepared or not.

Second, for those who are released, the justice system can closely monitor their activities in the community. If this had happened in Auger's case, maybe two people would still be alive, Melanie Carpenter and Fernand Auger.

I believe this motion is sound. It satisfies not only the Reform Party's objectives for public safety, but the red book objectives of the Liberals to protect women and children.

Similarly, the justice critic for the Bloc Quebecois has frequently expressed her concern for the safety of women and children. I only hope that she is equally concerned about protecting them from sexual assault, sexual predators, as she is from protecting them from firearms.

This motion targets only a small percentage of the Canadian population, sexual predators. I fully agree with the over half a million individuals who signed the Melanie Carpenter Society petition, who believe that dangerous sex offenders and pedophiles belong behind bars, not on our streets.

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today in support of the motion of my colleague from Surrey-White Rock-South Langley. It is unfortunate, in fact an abysmal comment on Canadian society, that we require this kind of legislation. However, I am heartened by it and am honoured to second the motion.

Under current law, a sex offender cannot be detained beyond a jail sentence. We may ensure their stay beyond their statutory release date only if a psychiatrist signs a certificate saying that the inmate suffers from a mental disorder that would likely result in serious injury to others.

The motion before us today provides the point of difference that Reform brings to the debate. Rather than attempt analysis at the end of a sentence, an offender should be subject to analysis by a psychiatrist before sentencing and then, if need be, deemed a dangerous offender. This supports reasoned argument to keep incarcerated those who pose a threat to society.

This is exactly the kind of legislation that this country needs. This issue should be non-partisan. I believe all of us in this House want to safeguard the rights of victims and, in this instance, the rights of victims of sex offences.

Let us not forget that the law of the land should not only safeguard those who already have been victimized, but the law should also endeavour to protect us from further victimization by those who demonstrate a dangerous propensity to commit sex offences.

Currently, we sit in the House listening to a great deal, possibly too much debate on national unity, when under our noses other important problems need to be addressed. We can do something positive here. Instead of splitting apart, instead of limiting debate on issues of importance, we can join together today on an issue that concerns us all. I urge all of my colleagues in the House to support this important motion.

The motion we are debating today specifically addresses the issue of protecting society from sexual predators, people who are driven to inflict harm on women and children in our society. Sexual predators are people like Clifford Olson, like Paul Bernardo. They prey on the weak and vulnerable and they enjoy it. They have been psychologically profiled as deviants who repeat their crimes and even enjoy them. These are the people who will be affected by this motion.

(1800)

By passing this motion we will be saying that yes, we believe that we have a moral obligation as parliamentarians to protect society from those who seek to prey on its weak and vulnerable; yes, we believe that for the safety of society certain offenders should be required to undergo psychological evaluation and under certain circumstances should be deemed to be dangerous offenders.


17657

This allows us the freedom and opportunity to keep those individuals in prison, those who pose an unacceptable threat to society.

In this instance, to some extent we are talking about locking the door and throwing away the key. That statement unto itself may sound unduly harsh; however, when it is rephrased it may become more palatable and perhaps better understood. Does anyone here believe that someone like Clifford Olson or Paul Bernardo should ever be allowed to walk the streets again? I do not think so. It would take a tremendous amount of convincing to dissuade me of this opinion.

The criminal must have served many years in prison. Treatment must have been completed and demonstrated to have had a positive effect. Remorse must be clearly demonstrated. Compensation of some kind would have to have been made to the victims of the crime by the criminal. Then and only then would I even entertain the notion of allowing the individual the opportunity to undergo further psychological assessment to determine the possibility of recidivism. This is not an issue of being harsh; this is a basic human issue about protecting the most vulnerable.

Protection of society will not be accomplished solely by the provision in the motion under debate today, but it does go a long way. Clearly, the preference would be to treat sexual offenders and to cure them of their illness. However, when this effort has failed we have a moral obligation to protect society. What we are debating today is whether the House sees this moral obligation; whether the House feels this moral obligation so strongly that it will make the moral obligation a legal obligation.

Some may ask why we need this legislation. Allow me through the use of an anecdote to demonstrate why this kind of legislation is necessary. There are times when my colleagues opposite are critical when we cite real life stories. However, unfortunately, they abound. They do represent a body of anecdotal evidence which cannot be ignored. If we can introduce legislation at little or no cost which will inconvenience few in society and by doing so save lives or prevent the commission of crimes, then we must commit to that effort. On that note, allow me to share with the House a sad story.

On November 18, 1984 Wray Budreo became a free man and every parent's nightmare. For days his face had been plastered on newspapers throughout southern Ontario. Budreo had a 32-year history of child molesting, including 22 convictions for sex offences. However, because he had served his full six-year term, there would be no parole or probation, no restrictions on his movements, no conditions for mandatory treatment. He was bundled into the trunk of a police car and spirited past the protesters who awaited him outside Kingston Penitentiary. I do not know if this man has reoffended. I pray that he has not. What concerns me greatly is that a known sex offender who was expected to reoffend was released from one of our jails.

I hear a familiar refrain all too often from people who doubt their own ability to shield their children from sexual abuse, especially without being overly paranoid or obsessive. We must first know some of the facts.

Not every child is equally at risk. Offenders target especially vulnerable children: lonely kids, those with disabilities or who have difficulty communicating, youngsters with absent dads who may be looking for a father figure, and those whose behavioural problems make it unlikely they will ever be believed if they do speak up.

Of course, the biggest risk factor is contact with a potential abuser. Here the facts contrast with the headlines. The dangerous stranger is the exception rather than the rule. A 1992 Statistics Canada survey found that in cases of child sexual assault, 48 per cent of the abusers were a parent or family member. Another 43 per cent astoundingly were friends or acquaintances. Only 5 per cent were strangers.

(1805)

Whoever the offender, the offence is clear. It is always illegal for an adult to engage in sexual contact with a child under the age of 14. It is also illegal for an adult who is in a position of trust or autonomy to engage in sexual contact with a young person under the age of 18. The law recognizes what adults know. Children can be manipulated especially by the people they trust. Whether they say yes does not matter because the adult is the one who must say no.

There are no national statistics on the number of children molested every year but whatever the figure, it is too high. It can only be reduced one child at a time. That means we must make an effort to deal with potential abusers by ensuring that dangerous, repeat sexual offenders remain in a place where they cannot threaten our children or society as a whole.

Even the term ``potential abusers'' is quite misleading in this context because we are referring to people who have already been convicted of a criminal offence but who we strongly suspect will have the potential to reoffend. Suggesting that dangerous offenders of this kind are only potential abusers gives them too much credit.

An important component of this debate revolves around the issue of our ability to rehabilitate the convicted sex offender. One of the reasons for this legislation is the widespread disagreement about the success or even the possibility of rehabilitating a sexual offender.

Two centuries after the birth of modern psychiatry there are numerous treatments for sex offenders but as yet no consensus on the results of such treatments. A forensic psychologist at the Oak Ridge Facility for the Criminally Insane in Penetanguishene,


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Ontario states: ``We do not seem to be having much of an impact on sex offenders''.

What are the costs to society? An argument is made that the annual cost to supervise an offender while on parole is only $9,400 whereas the cost of incarceration for a year is reported to be close to $70,000. Simply put, I believe there are times when social protection is worth the price. This may just be an instance where we have to swallow the costs. If it means saving 22 people from being victimized by a man like Wray Budreo then $70,000 a year is worth it.

Canada spends about $11 million per year on dozens of programs for sex offenders. About 5,000 of the 23,000 convicts in the federal corrections system have sex crimes on their record. The government proudly points to the statistics that only 6 per cent of sex offenders repeat their crimes within three years of their release. However, researchers who study sex offenders say that the recidivism rate jumps to about 50 per cent when the criminals are tracked over a decade. It is always the part that is left out that is the most startling.

There is little evidence, or at least there is lots of contradictory evidence, that therapy reduces recidivism. I am concerned by this contradiction. Until we are more certain of treatments that will reduce recidivism, I am uncomfortable in allowing potential predators back on the streets.

Belatedly, it is important that those who commit sexual offences be categorized as to whether or not they are psychopaths. Experts agree that the recidivism rate for psychopaths is triple that of non-psychopaths.

In conclusion, let me reaffirm my very strong support for this motion. I believe that if we could encourage the justice minister and the government to pass this motion, we would go a giant step toward making our country a safer one in which to live.

Mr. Russell MacLellan (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the two hon. members who contributed to this debate.

The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley has introduced a motion at the same time as her private member's bill is before the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for further consideration. Admittedly, Bill C-240 pursues a somewhat different angle on the subject. I want to commend her for her dogged determination to change the dangerous offender legislation. It is obviously a subject with which she feels very deeply. She has done a lot of work in making her presentation both on the present motion and in respect of the private member's bill.

Does the dangerous offender procedure need improvement? Quite possibly it could be improved. I will start by addressing one proposed change with which I disagree, a proposal that is central to this motion.

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The motion provides that every time two psychiatrists determine that in effect an offender poses a high risk of reoffending, the attorney general of the province in which the offender was convicted shall direct that the dangerous offender application be brought. I do not believe it is appropriate to eliminate the discretion of prosecutors in bringing dangerous offender applications.

The criteria for a dangerous offender finding are contained within the Criminal Code. That is a concept created by criminal law and supported by criminal procedure. It is certainly true these criteria rely heavily on psychiatric prediction of risk, but medical standards are not the only ones that have to be met.

Section 753 of the Criminal Code requires that the likelihood of an offender causing further harm must be established to the satisfaction of the court. This is not entirely or even primarily a matter of medical or statistical prediction. Indeed it is a legal decision made according to criteria legislated by Parliament. The crown should possess the discretion considering all of the evidence available to it to estimate whether an application will be strong enough to meet this legal standard. I will return to the subject of the role of prosecutors in this process.

I would like to review the history of part XXIV of the Criminal Code in order to understand why the law is structured the way it is. I am not saying that part XXIV should never be changed, but the evolution of the dangerous offender concept and the restrictions the charter of rights imposes on that concept indicate that we should proceed cautiously in broadening it or oversimplifying it.

The dangerous offender provisions have their origins in the habitual criminal provisions added to the Criminal Code by Parliament in 1947. A person found to be such a habitual criminal could be sentenced to preventive detention for life. The state had to prove the offender on three separate occasions had been convicted of an indictable offence for which he was liable for imprisonment for five years or more and was persistently leading a criminal life.

If this sounds vague and ripe for abuse, it was. In 1969 a report by the Canadian Committee on Corrections, the Ouimet committee, found that a substantial number of these habitual offenders constituted a social nuisance but were not really dangerous. In 1948 Canada tried out the concept of a criminal sexual psychopath law. In 1958 it was thrown in with the habitual offender provisions under the name of dangerous sexual offender. Once again the Ouimet committee found in 1969 that the dangerous sexual offender legislation was capturing many non-dangerous sexual offenders and was missing the dangerous ones.


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These provisions were repealed in 1977 and replaced with the dangerous offender provisions we see now in the Criminal Code. These amendments were designed to be more precise, to target the most dangerous serious offenders and similarly to avoid widening the net too much. In essence Parliament was saying: ``Let us target the worst offenders without sweeping in the low risk or nuisance cases''.

The dangerous offender legislation contained in part XXI, now part XXIV, passed a major hurdle in the Supreme Court of Canada's decision of R. v. Lyons in 1987. The court ruled that the dangerous offender provisions did not violate the protections in the charter of rights and freedoms.

(1815)

I mention this case not so much for its support of the current law as for the firm indication by the Supreme Court that any law that seeks to sentence one of its citizens to an indefinite term in a penitentiary must be well tailored and confined to the most serious circumstances.

I offer one example from the judgment upholding the dangerous offender legislation:

The legislation narrowly defines a class of offenders with respect to whom it may properly be invoked, and prescribes quite specifically the conditions under which an offender may be designated dangerous. The criteria in Part XXI are anything but arbitrary in relation to the objective sought to be attained; they are clearly designed to segregate a small group of highly dangerous criminals posing threats to the physical or mental well-being of their victims.
The existing dangerous offender system contains three components: a focus on the most serious offences, a focus on the pattern of the offender's conduct, and an assessment of the likelihood of the offender's continuing his serious offending. These criteria have to be met if they are to justify locking up individuals indefinitely.

In broadening the target group so much, the motion before us runs a serious risk of conflicting with the decision of R. v. Lyons. It would broaden Part XXIV to capture any sex offence against a child. This would include cases of sexual interference under section 151 and an invitation to sexual touching under section 152 of the Criminal Code. While these crimes carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, individual offences usually do not receive such lengthy sentences, nor do they typically involve the degree of violence envisioned by Part XXIV.

I doubt the Supreme Court would tolerate this net widening, particularly when, given the new rules prescribed elsewhere in this motion, crown attorneys would be forced to launch so many more applications. The court, as in the Lyons case, is vigilant to the potential for abuse in the overall structure of the procedure.

Returning to the issue of prosecutorial discretion, the Supreme Court in the Lyons case also stated it was important for the crown to have some discretion in bringing dangerous offender applications and that the absence of any such discretion could lead to a conclusion that the law was arbitrary.

I have raised several objections to the concept in this draft. In the interest of perspective, I point out how successful Part XXIV of the Criminal Code has proven. Between 1977 and 1995 approximately 143 offenders were found to be dangerous offenders and sentenced indeterminately to Canadian penitentiaries. Of that number, 134 remain incarcerated.

There are signs now that the provinces are using the procedure more often. Successful applications usually average eight or nine a year. In 1993 there were 15 successful cases; in 1994 there were 13, and we will all remember the recent designation of Paul Bernardo as a dangerous offender.

We can improve the dangerous offender legislation but not with the elements in this motion. I look forward to the review of the hon. member's private member's bill the standing committee, to which this motion is quite similar.

I would like to deal with this private members' bill and I am hopeful this motion will not be successful to allow us the opportunity to deal with these things one at a time.

(1820 )

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I simply want to express my support for the private members' bill from the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley. It is timely, the right bill at the right place at the right time. I cannot imagine that anyone would not accept that.

Mr. Milliken: It is not a bill, it is a motion.

Mr. Hill (Macleod): A heckler across the way.

In my life I dealt with sexual predators. This motion is exactly what we need and I express my support for it.

Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I speak to the motion as someone who is not a lawyer, someone not involved in police work and never has been. Perhaps I can offer a slightly different viewpoint and hopefully a constructive one.

The member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley tended to mix together two types of offenders, the sex offender, a paedophile and so on, and the psychopath. These are two very different types of people with different problems.

In the cases of the sex offender and the psychopath it is acknowledged that both know right from wrong. However, some sex offenders, no matter how horrendous their crimes, feel remorse. They may be driven by a form of compulsion. The difference between that type of person and a psychopath is there is no remorse. Sometimes there is no compulsion either.


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I cannot accept that a Paul Bernardo necessarily will offend again. I cannot accept that he is necessarily driven by compulsion. There are instances of people driven by compulsion who know remorse and are a danger in the sense that they will repeat the crime. However, it may not be a crime as horrendous as we saw in the Bernardo case.

The motion is deficient and does not serve as an adequate deterrent factor. We run the risk by giving so much power to psychiatrists of incarcerating some sex offenders indefinitely. However, we still will not stop the Paul Bernardos of this world. These people commit those crimes because they lack any basic human compassion. Whatever the crime, it may be for fun, not compulsion.

Passing a law which increases the probability of putting people away indefinitely is not the way to deal with the Paul Bernardos of the world.

My Reform colleagues may be surprised when I suggest that in the case of the genuine psychopath, the serial killer and the person who stalks and kills children deliberately for games, for fun, the only deterrent is a capital punishment deterrent.

These are the people who must be defined very carefully. I do not want to see capital punishment come galloping back into the the House as an issue. However, This type of legislation does not get at the type of person I believe the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley is really after.

(1825)

The genuine serial killer, the person who does it for fun, is not worried about going to jail indefinitely. This will not stop the person at all, whereas capital punishment very narrowly defined for this type of person would fit the bill perfectly.

When we look at it that way we have to question whether to bring in legislation that addresses the type of sex offender who does know remorse but can reoffend. As we heard from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, the current legislation does not address that type of person. He is required to be judged by the courts about whether he reoffends.

It is very dangerous when one starts to look at people who have a genuine sense of wrongdoing, a genuine sense of remorse. We run the risk of giving them no hope whatsoever of coming back to society. The motion goes too far in one way and not far enough in the other.

If it were possible to define capital punishment that narrowly, as in the Paul Bernardos of the world, I do not think the member's motion would be sufficiently constructive at this time.

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this motion is typical of the Reform Party and the nonsense we have had to put up with from this group and its obsession with law and order issues. It is obsessed with the notion that if we lock people we will solve the crime problem of the country; lock them all up and we will not have any crime.

Unfortunately we have lots of experience in world affairs in the last 300 or 400 years, and probably a good deal longer, indicating that policy does not work.

The Reform Party, however, sticks its head in the sand, goes back to the middle ages and takes the view that if we lock people up, whip them, chain them and beat them to death, somehow we will solve the crime problem.

Crime has been a problem throughout human experience. It is not something that just happened in 1995. It is not something that just happened in 1993 or whenever it was the Reform Party formed itself. It has been a problem with human existence since Cain and Abel.

Hon. members opposite might have forgotten the story of Cain and Abel, but I will not recite it for them tonight. There was a murder then. There was no death penalty. I do not recall that Cain got the death penalty. He got punished but he did not get the death penalty.

Hon. members opposite rant and rave about locking people up and throwing away the key. The hon. member for Wild Rose stood up this morning to introduce a private member's bill that would take away the right of parole, the right of statutory release and all kinds of things that are what we call carrots to try to get people to improve their behaviour while in prison. He wants to take that away, lock them up for the maximum time we can lock them up and hope that when we spring them on society after 12 or 25 years in prison somehow they will be reformed and that society will not suffer.

Some of us happen to know better than the hon. member for Wild Rose. If he would listen to some reason once in a while instead of spouting the constant nonsense he does from his seat he might learn something from the experience others have had with the criminal system.

Mr. Thompson: Not from the likes of you.

Mr. Milliken: He says he will not learn it from me. All right. Never mind taking it from me. Take it from the experts, the people who work in the system. If the hon. member would listen to them he would not be spouting the nonsense he is spouting now and that he was spouting earlier.

He has obviously convinced the very gullible member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley who has swallowed his line, hook, line and sinker. The poor soul has been totally distracted by the hon. member for Wild Rose and his silly nonsense on locking people up and throwing away the key. That is all we ever get from


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the Reform Party. We had it earlier today. Now we have got it in this motion.

(1830 )

Let me turn to the motion before the House. What we have now is a system where under the Criminal Code if a person has committed a particularly serious offence and is known to be a dangerous offender or there is some risk that the person may be a dangerous offender, we give a discretion to the attorney general of the province in which the prosecution is taking place to bring an application to have the offender declared a dangerous offender.

That discretion is given to the attorney general of each province who is an elected official, a member of the cabinet in the province. Presumably, he or she is a person who has won the trust and confidence of the people, and a lot more trust and confidence than has been earned by the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley. The hon. member's party has not been elected as a majority party anywhere and is not likely to be, so she may not have the advantage of being elected attorney general. I must say I would pity the people in the province in which she ever became an attorney general.

Nevertheless, the discretion is now given to the attorney general of the province to decide whether to bring this application. The hon. member wants to take away that discretion. She wants to put the discretion in the hands of a group of psychiatrists and if the psychiatrists say the person cannot be cured or has a particular kind of problem, bango, you lock him up and throw away the key.

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast wags her head. I am correct in what I am saying. The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley is not wagging her head. She knows I am right. She knows I have accurately described the motion she has put to the House. Frankly, it is a very sad commentary in this day and age, considering that the age of enlightenment which took place 200 or 300 years ago came upon mankind and gave us some notion of justice and fairness, that members of Parliament are now giving this idea that locking up people solves the problem.

I know the Minister of Justice will likely come out with some of these figures in his speech a little later. However, I want to point out to the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley that the United States take the policy that she advocates fairly seriously. They lock people up and they throw away the key.

The hon. member will find, if she looks at the figures and I know she does not like to do this because facts are always a problem for the Reform Party. Mr. Speaker, you know that as well as I do. There is nothing worse than a set of facts to face some of the hon. members opposite. It makes them quail and shake because facts are something they do not want to know about.

In the United States the imprisonment rate for persons convicted of criminal offences is four times what the rate is in Canada.

Ms. Meredith: Do you mean like Carpenter and Dailey and Cameron?

Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast): Clifford Olson. Paul Bernardo. Think about what you are saying, Peter.

Mr. Milliken: If the hon. members opposite would stay quiet for a minute and listen to some facts, they might learn. Instead, when they are confronted with facts they yell and shout and try to pretend that they cannot hear them because it hurts them to hear facts.

Let me reiterate what I said. I said that in the United States the imprisonment rate is four times what it is in this country. Their crime rate is significantly higher and is rising. Our crime rate has gone down in the last few years, thanks in part to the magnificent efforts of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.

Mr. Abbott: Oh, oh. And we have got gun control now too.

Mr. Milliken: Hon. members opposite oh and ah. I know they would love to see the crime rates go up to bolster their arguments that people should be locked up. The fact is the crime rate has gone down.

We have had people locked up for longer periods, it is true. You can ask the solicitor general about the fact that our prisons are overcrowded, but I am saying to the hon. members opposite-

Mr. Hermanson: We are not talking about parking ticket violations. We are talking about violent sexual offenders.

Mr. Milliken: I wish the hon. member for Kindersley-Lloydminster would listen to what I say. If he would listen to the facts instead of yelling all the time, he might learn something. By constantly yelling he does not gain anything.

Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast): It is not worth listening to.

Mr. Milliken: The hon. member for Calgary Southeast is exactly the same. How can I continue with this constant yelling? Could you please call for some order, Mr. Speaker. I leave it to you.

As I am trying to say with all this yelling that is going on, the fact is the crime rate of the United States is higher than ours in spite of the lock up policy and it is rising. In other words, any reasonable person who approaches these facts would conclude that the policy of locking people up and throwing away the key, as is advocated by the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, would result in an increased crime rate and more recidivism. That is exactly the American experience.

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The hon. member wags her head now. Confronted with facts, she says no, that cannot be right. But the fact is it is right. All she has to do is look at the figures. Why does she not read these figures? I have never heard her cite these figures in one of her speeches. I have never heard the hon. member for Wild Rose talk about this. I also do not hear the hon. member for Calgary Southeast bother herself with facts in her speeches either. All we hear are these opinions made up out of the air.

(1835)

What I am convinced the Reform Party members-

Mr. Abbott: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In a filibuster, does the member not have to use some reasoned argument at some point?

The Deputy Speaker: This is not a point of order, but I would ask the hon. parliamentary secretary, who is an experienced member, not to associate the Chair with his remarks as he did earlier. The Chair neither agrees nor disagrees with remarks of any member.

Mr. Milliken: Mr. Speaker, I have to address the Chair. I cannot address hon. members opposite. I would not want to break the rules by referring to hon. members and asking them if they agree. I can only assume, Sir, that you have the good sense to agree with my arguments because I have to put my arguments to you and not to them. I cannot expect much on the other side.

Mr. Abbott: What arguments?

Mr. Milliken: The hon. member says he is troubled because I am not dealing with facts in my speech. If he had only listened he would have heard facts. However, he did not listen. He was busy yelling at me.

The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley in her remarks has blatantly ignored all the facts that deal with the incarceration of inmates.

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member's time has expired.

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I first want to acknowledge the very significant interest shown by the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley. For many months she has expressed a great deal of interest here in the House and generally in finding a way to protect society from the very highest risk offenders. Her private member's bill is cogent evidence of her commitment to that cause. She is to be congratulated on that commitment.

May I also say that the hon. member for Calgary Southeast who spoke to today's motion has also demonstrated that she is most committed to finding ways of dealing with this risk to society.

I hope it is apparent from the speeches made on this side of the House in this debate that the members of the government share that commitment.

My colleague, the hon. parliamentary secretary, has developed at some length the rationale behind present part XXIV of the Criminal Code and its purpose. Part XXIV of the Criminal Code, the dangerous offender provisions, is a unique advantage which we enjoy in Canada and which sets us apart from many states in the United States.

The question is what about the bill? Would the bill be an effective way of improving public safety when it comes to high risk offenders? Much as the government is in agreement with the objectives stated by the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, the government is not able to support this motion. We have concluded that the means contemplated by the hon. member's bill and by this motion would not be valid constitutional legislation.

What efforts is the government taking to try to meet the perceived need in a fashion that we believe would be valid or effective? Let me spend a few moments in the sense of reporting to the House what steps we have been taking in that regard.

The solicitor general and I have been working for some months to develop proposals that will both improve part XXIV and add other provisions to the criminal law which will equip our system to deal more effectively with the highest risk offender.

In May of this year the solicitor general and I convened a meeting here in Ottawa to which we invited officials of the Correctional Service of Canada, high ranking police officers, both from the RCMP and provincial forces, and psychologists who are trained and experienced in dealing with the psychopathic personality referred to by the hon. member. We also invited representatives of the Ontario provincial attorney general's office, police officers, defence lawyers and crown prosecutors. Involved in the meeting as well was an attorney from Washington state who has experience dealing with the sexual predator law in place in that jurisdiction. We spent much of the weekend looking at the present facts in Canada, the state of the law and the American experience in trying to identify specific steps we would take by statutory amendment or changes in practice to make society safer when it comes to high risk offenders.

(1840)

We came to a number of conclusions. I hope that many of them will come forward in the near future in the form of statutory proposals.

I would like to explain the general direction which we plotted at that time and in the months since in order to assure the House that we are both aware of the problem and working in good faith toward solutions.

First, we concluded that part XXIV can be improved, for example, by removing the requirement for the testimony of two psychiatrists in these cases. Part XXIV can be improved by

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removing the prospect of a definite term of incarceration, leaving only indefinite imprisonment as an option available to the court.

We felt that the whole process of identifying and assessing accused persons to determine whether they might be the subject of a dangerous offender application could be improved with better protocols or assessment. We are developing specific proposals in that regard.

Furthermore, it was felt that if part XXIV or the dangerous offender provisions were to be effective, a flagging system should be put in place throughout Canada so that police officers who are investigating or charging and crown attorneys who are preparing for trial and determining whether to ask the attorney general's consent to bring a part XXIV application could identify on the facts of any given case whether a specific suspect or accused is appropriate for such a disposition.

The solicitor general introduced a national flagging system which became effective in September of this year, which is intended to achieve that purpose. So far the flagging system has been well received. It seems to be working smoothly and effectively. No doubt it will be improved operationally as time passes, but I believe it is a significant improvement in the system.

Other proposals were discussed on that occasion which have been under review since that time. I hope and expect they will form part of the legislation which the government will put before the House at an appropriate time. For example, earlier this year there was a report delivered by a federal-provincial-territorial task force on high risk offenders which made a proposal that we find very attractive.

As the House knows, for a crown prosecutor, with the consent of the attorney general, to bring a dangerous offender application and for a court to declare someone a dangerous offender, with the consequence that they face indefinite incarceration, requires that a certain evidentiary threshold be crossed. Obviously, it is an exacting one because the consequence is very significant.

However, there are those cases in which the public safety is at risk because of the high likelihood of an offender re-offending and yet the prosecution does not feel that it can meet the high threshold now provided for in part XXIV. The federal-provincial-territorial task force proposed that in circumstances such as those, there should be a second category to which crown attorneys and courts can resort to protect society, but which involve a threshold of proof which is less exacting than part XXIV. They describe this as the long term offender category.

In circumstances that were appropriate for such applications, the crown might ask the court, when dealing with someone who has some risk of re-offending, not only to impose a term of incarceration for the original offence, but also to impose at the end of that term a mandatory period of supervision for a duration as long as 10 years after they are out of prison, during which time the person would be obligated to comply with stated conditions, whether they be complying with the reporting requirements, taking treatment as specified, wearing electronic bracelets or whatever the case may be. There would be some reasonable measure of continuing knowledge and control of people after they are out of prison when there is a real risk they will reoffend.

That suggestion from the FPT task force strikes the government as constructive and practical. I hope to put legislation before the House at the appropriate time which would codify that kind of provision.

We have examined provisions already in the Criminal Code such as sections 161 and 810.1 which empower the court to make either restraining orders-

Mr. Epp: How come these guys keep getting out? How come they keep getting out to reoffend?

Mr. Rock: The hon. member asks why people get out and reoffend. Right now the orders provided for in sections 161 and 810.1 of the Criminal Code are very narrow in scope. They provide, for example, that where someone has been convicted of a crime involving sexual violence or interference with a young person, the court can make an order prohibiting the person from going near a playground or a school yard or some other such place. That is very narrow and circumscribed.

We are examining the prospect of taking that jurisdiction and broadening it so that if someone is released from prison where there is a demonstrated high risk of reoffending, the court will be empowered to make orders of more general application.

Ms. Meredith: I have a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member on a point of order, but I indicate to her that the debate ends in 35 seconds.

Ms. Meredith: Mr. Speaker, the minister has already spoken for 10 minutes and there is still a minute left in the debate, from my calculations.

The Deputy Speaker: I always appreciate it when members tell me the time is faster than it was otherwise. According to my clock the time expires in 10 seconds. If the minister wants to get up for another nine seconds, he is welcome to do so.

Mr. Rock: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will conclude because obviously the time has run out.

The Deputy Speaker: The time provided for consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

It being 6.45 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.

(The House adjourned at 6.45 p.m.)