House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deputy.

Topics

Department Of National Revenue Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex—Windsor, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-2, an act to amend the Department of National Revenue Act and to amend certain other acts in consequence thereof.

This bill would enable the Minister of National Revenue to consolidate two distinct departments under his responsibility since 1926 into one and thus eliminate unnecessary duplication and overlap within government.

It will also bring distinct benefits to taxpayers and it will enhance the Department of National Revenue's ability to provide more efficient and effective services and programs. It will not compromise the integrity of programs in the area of responsible enforcement, Canadian sovereignty and laws at the border, revenue generation or trade administration, the lines of business that make the department an essential national institution.

My remarks will focus today on how the important enforcement and compliance roles of Revenue Canada will be recognized and reinforced, not undermined, through the administrative consolidation which Bill C-2 will permit.

I will also speak specifically about customs activities, non- compliance measures which consolidation will strengthen.

Revenue Canada customs is highly regarded and highly respected as one of the finest services of its kind in the world. This respect has been well earned and Canadians can rest assured that this will continue to be the case within a unified Revenue Canada. Not only due to its enforcement role but also because of programs such as International Project Return, a program to find missing children, Revenue Canada customs has become internationally recognized.

To all of those who work for the safe return of missing children to their families, the minister has assured me that Revenue Canada customs remains committed to International Project Return. Revenue Canada is firmly committed to maintaining and strenghthening all its customs functions.

As national revenue minister, the hon. minister has said the role of customs is essential to the social and economic well- being of the country. Canadians have a right to safe communities and safe environments and protection from unfair economic competition.

For that reason the government is committed to a strong and visible customs program and presence at the border.

Revenue Canada customs will continue also to have a clear mandate to enforce Canadian law and sovereignty at the border by preventing the entry of criminals, illegal immigrants, pornographic material, prohibited goods and weapons. As well, a mandate to protect Canadian business and industry by administering international trade agreements. Further, a mandate to protect local economies by collecting taxes at the border as well as to provide service to other government departments at border facilities. This mandate will be carried out by competent, experienced managers and employees.

As well the customs and excise unions, some organizations and border communities have expressed concerns about the integration of customs within the Department of National Revenue. Their concerns are unwarranted and unsupported. Enforcement activities at Canada's border crossings are important to this government and to Revenue Canada and will remain so.

In fact administrative consolidation will enhance and strengthen customs programs by allowing first, greater accessibility to a broader range of information, second, increased use of technology, and third, a redeployment of additional resources to better attack the underground economy and to combat smuggling.

So far, from savings realized through the administrative consolidation of headquarters, almost $13 million has been reinvested in key customs initiatives such as enhanced technology at airports and border points to speed up the processing of travellers and goods and to facilitate the detection of contraband-

Department Of National Revenue Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

The Speaker

I apologize for interrupting right in the middle of a sentence. It being 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to statements by members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Nordion International Inc.
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House a dispute between Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and Nordion International Inc. This problem has important public policy implications that affect Canada's reputation internationally.

Nordion is a high-tech success story. The company employs 400 of my constituents in Lanark-Carleton. Internationally over 300 million medical procedures that are dependent on Nordion products are performed each year.

The dispute between AECL and Nordion is threatening the future of Nordion and hurting Canada's reputation as a world leader in nuclear technology.

I urge the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Health to intervene to resolve this unfortunate and critical dispute.

Lifting Of The Embargo Against Vietnam
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

André Caron Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton, announced that he was lifting the trade embargo against Vietnam. That embargo was imposed in 1975, at the end of the war between the two countries. The American President stated that this was done in an effort to clarify the fate of American soldiers still reported missing after the war between the United States and Vietnam.

We hope that this initiative will be successful and that a normal relationship can be established between the United States and Vietnam in the interest of those two countries and global peace.

Let The People Speak
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party's Let the People Speak fax and voice mail is a growing success. We have received approximately 400 faxes since the beginning of January. Between 10 and 40 faxes and voice messages come into our research and communications office daily.

Canadians with a wide variety of concerns fax us every day to ensure their views are heard by members of Parliament.

Each day we ask and will continue to ask the government questions which come directly from citizens across the country.

Reformers hope that these lines will help in a small way to ensure Canadians' views are heard. They serve as a political barometer of Canadians' opinions on a wide variety of subjects.

Right now, our barometer tells us Canadians are concerned with high taxes, government overspending, and the need for parliamentary recall.

Fax us at 947-7777 or call us at 947-8888 to express your views.

Taxation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, as budget time approaches I would like to remind the finance minister that the previous government increased taxes to individuals 34 times, while the level of corporate income taxes have remained virtually the same over the past 10 years.

It is time that the hard-working people of this nation, Canada's workers, farmers and small business people received a break.

I hope the finance minister will at least retain if not improve programs such as home ownership and agricultural income maintenance programs such as GRIP and NISA.

By closing the corporate loopholes that have cost the treasury billions of dollars each year in lost revenues more equity and fairness can be established in our tax system and Canadians can continue to rely on programs which have given them at least a fighting chance in improving their lives.

Canada Employment Centres
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my concerns about the current restructuring the Department of Human Resources Development is proposing for Erie riding with respect to Canada employment centres.

It is my understanding that staffing at these centres in my riding is to be reduced by approximately 50 per cent, with this personnel to be relocated to larger urban centres in neighbouring ridings. This void is to be filled by the use of computers to be used by a basically computer illiterate clientele. This is not a realistic or practical trade-off.

I respect and compliment the department in its efforts to streamline and reduce costs overall. However with an unemployment rate in the Niagara region at approximately 15 per cent, such cutbacks in our area are inappropriate and unacceptable at this time. The blind slash of the pen must be reviewed.

The problem is further complicated by the lack of a regular public transportation system between the respective communities and the incidence of long distance phone calls at a time when the financial resources of the unemployed are greatly diminished. At a time when our riding needs more support the bureaucrats are dictating less. Bigger is not necessarily better.

Northern Micro
Statements By Members

February 4th, 1994 / 11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a Nepean based firm, Northern Micro, an innovative computer manufacturer. This company is a model of what small business can accomplish.

As a Canadian manufacturer and network integrator, Northern Micro began supplying its extraordinary combination of performance and service in 1985. In 1993 business demands required that Northern Micro triple its office space. Now it is positioning itself for even greater success in 1994, doubling its plant capacity and hiring 28 new staff.

At a time when the economy was at a standstill Northern Micro used a creative mix of marketing moxy and aggressive client services to boost sales to over $20 million, selling 10,000 computers and getting international recognition.

The federal government must work with Canadian business to provide the proper supports and to create a positive climate for economic growth and entrepreneurial spirit.

I put forth Northern Micro as both a model and a challenge for all Canadians to reach for the stars and strive for that success. We need that in this country.

International Development
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Péloquin Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the House and all Quebecers that next week will be the third International Development Week. Its purpose is to increase our awareness of the living conditions of people in Third World countries.

All across Canada, various activities will show Canadians the economic and social situation of Third World countries and what kind of work our non-governmental organizations are doing all over the world, particularly in Africa.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the volunteer workers from Quebec and Canada who remind us of the needs of the underprivileged. They accomplish a commendable task and deserve our gratitude.

Beaver River Constituency
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make reference to the recent proposal by the federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of Alberta. It was released last Monday and suggests adding one new riding to Calgary. To facilitate this it proposes enlarging the Vegreville, Crowfoot, Athabasca and Elk Island ridings and totally eliminating the riding of Beaver River, which has only been in existence since the 1988 election.

What were its population projections? The numbers show our population has increased by some 4,000 people since then so why would it be eliminated so soon? Are we drawing lines between urban and rural Canada again? Are we going to demand that MPs travel even farther than they are now if Beaver River is dismantled and segmented out to other ridings?

I encourage all my constituents to attend the public hearings to be held in St. Paul, Lac la Biche and Redwater later this spring. Phone 1-800-522-4125 for dates and times.

Beaver River lives.

The International Year Of The Family
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as an MP and the mother of two daughters, Athena and Vasilike, who are here today, I would like to draw the House's attention, as many members have done already, to the International Year of the Family.

It is a very significant event and I would encourage all members to organize events in their ridings to promote the UN efforts in favour of the family unit. Contrary to a commonly held belief, regardless of its make-up, the family is alive and well. It remains the corner-stone of society.

If we are here today, it is thanks to our families' efforts and sacrifices. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for its support: my father Ioannis, my mother Vasilike, my sister Anastasia, my brother Bill, and last but not least, my husband, Constantinos Geropapas.

I call upon my colleagues to do their part in organizing events like single parent family support groups, family picnics and other activities to ensure that the International Year of the Family is celebrated throughout our country.

Home Buyers Plan
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise again in this House the subject of the RRSP home buyers plan in order to emphasize its importance to many in my riding and the Canadian economy as a whole.

The extension of the RRSP home buyers plan benefits will allow thousands of Canadians to withdraw existing funds of up to $20,000 from their registered retirement savings plans to finance the purchase of their principal residence without having to pay tax on the withdrawal.

The program also recognizes the importance of the housing market to economic growth. Its extension will stimulate residential real estate and job creation. The program also recognizes that a paid off principal residence is for many the cornerstone of their retirement plan.

I encourage all members of this House to support the extension of the RRSP home buyers plan which will allow additional time to re-evaluate the program and continue its important contribution to economic recovery.

Railways
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the House today about an important concern in Simcoe North that is indeed a major problem across the country. I am referring to the closure of railway lines and rail spurs which are critical to industry and economic development.

At a time when we should be investing in railways because they make good economic and environmental sense, Canada is allowing its railway system to be dismantled.

I implore the government to review Canada's transportation policy to ensure that railway spurs feeding into main lines are preserved. This will be good for industry, good for the environment and will assist the government in creating new jobs for Canadians.

Immigration
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the position on immigration put forward by the Reform Party earlier this week in response to the speech by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on immigration levels, we wish to emphasize in this House that the Bloc Quebecois is open to immigration. We recognize the major contribution made by immigrants to Quebec and Canadian society. In fact, we have been welcoming people from every part of the world and from every socio-economic background for over 300 years; they have contributed greatly to our collective wealth and helped make our country what it is.

However, we want to make it clear that we will keep an eye on the government to make sure that it does not weaken the principles of the 1978 Couture-Cullen agreement, which were reinforced by the 1990 Gagnon-Tremblay-McDougall agreement-

Immigration
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry, but I must interrupt the hon. member.