House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Technological Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important question, which demonstrates the importance this government attaches to the greater Montreal region.

Since February 1996, we have developed a five-point response strategy which has enabled us to take action in one of the fundamental areas, science and technology. In this connection, I take pride in saying that this government has invested in excess of $650 million in the greater Montreal region, for a total of over $2 billion in investments. As a result, we have been able to create or maintain 9,500 jobs at Behaviour Communications, the Biotechnology Research Institute, and Bombardier, to name but a few.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, the APEC commission has turned into an expensive joke.

Yesterday lawyers for the RCMP announced that they are going to ask a judge to remove the commission's chairman because he is biased.

The RCMP believes the commission is biased. The students believe it is biased. The public believes it is biased. The Prime Minister and his government are the only people happy with the commission because it is covering the Prime Minister's tracks.

Why will the Prime Minister not appoint an independent judicial inquiry to look into his involvement at APEC?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, to interfere with this process once it has commenced by virtue of a complaint issued by a complainant would be political interference of the worst kind. We will not do it.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister directed police involvement at APEC. Then he refused to answer any questions about it. He set up a toothless commission without real court powers to look into it. The solicitor general allegedly prejudges the commission and the Prime Minister refuses to release any key evidence. He refuses to pay the students' lawyers. Finally, the commission chair may have jeopardized the outcome of the inquiry.

When are we going to get an independent judicial inquiry from this government?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think the real question is: When will we allow the commission to get to the truth and past all of this political rhetoric?

Canadian Farmers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. This morning in Regina his colleague, the minister of agriculture, speaking to a UGG convention, said that the net farm income of Saskatchewan farmers has dropped 70% in 1998 and will probably get worse in 1999.

This is a real crisis that demands immediate action. I do not believe farmers can wait until the February budget.

Instead of waiting for the February budget, can the minister tell us when we can expect an announcement from the government of a national disaster relief program for prairie farmers?

Canadian Farmers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon the minister of agriculture convened a meeting with his counterparts in the provinces and with farm leaders to discuss the very serious question of the downturn in farm incomes.

Today the deputy ministers are meeting. The next steps will be taken. We are addressing the problem of farm incomes.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Poverty and homelessness in the Shamattawa First Nation have led to a suicide and solvent abuse crisis. There have been over 100 suicide attempts since 1992. Eighty per cent of the community's youths, children as young as four, are addicted to solvents.

On September 10 Chief Paddy Massen urgently appealed to Indian affairs for treatment beds and a healing centre to address these urgent health needs. It has been two months and he has heard nothing.

Why has this government ignored this first nation's appeal? When will it take direct measures to address these problems in Shamattawa and in other first nations?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Liberal

David Iftody Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

The Government of Canada is concerned about the level of poverty, in particular in the community of Shamattawa. We are very aware of the problems in this first nation. They have been going on for many years. We are working closely with the first nation's community to resolve these issues, as we are in a number of other communities.

I share the member's concern about the children and the gas sniffing. I can assure all members of this House that we are working diligently on these problems and we will address them.

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, in September the auditor general reported that our social insurance number system was in total disarray.

According to the auditor general there are approximately 311,000 valid social insurance numbers for persons over 100 years of age, even though most of these individuals are deceased.

Related fraud cases are costing Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars. Not one department is willing to take responsibility for SIN reform. Not one department has given the taxpayers a timetable for the completion of this project.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development step forward, take responsibility and act now?

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thought I was very clear yesterday when I said that my department was the lead ministry on this file.

We have already begun to address the situation by setting up five working groups. One will be involved in cleaning up the registries. It involves working with the provinces, as they are responsible for births and deaths. They keep those registries. We need that information.

We are already working very hard at improving the security features of the card.

I also hope the standing committee of the House will help us.

We are making major improvements in this area. To do a better job we need the assistance of our colleagues in the House.

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government says it has no money for the victims of hepatitis C, it has no money for the unemployed, it has no money for farmers, it has no money for health care.

Could the Minister of Human Resources Development explain why his government can afford to pay out millions of dollars to people making fraudulent use of social insurance numbers?

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I think I made it quite clear that we have begun to work very hard to eliminate this fraud. We have considerably stepped up our efforts in this regard.

I would however like to return to the premise of the question asked by the opposition member: that we have no money for workers and for the unemployed. We have considerably increased funding for active measures to help them return to the labour market—up to $2 billion annually.

In the next two years, we will increase the tax credit by $1.7 billion in order to improve the situation of children living in poor families. We have invested $300 million in the transitional jobs fund. These are achievements—

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bourassa.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

November 5th, 1998 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

All Canadians share the pain of the people of Honduras and Nicaragua. We are pleased, moreover, that the Canadian government has contributed $1 million in aid.

But I would like to know what the minister's intentions are with respect to future permanent residence or visitor visa applications by people from these countries.