House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the business community in British Columbia that said not one more nickel of investment in that province until this issue is resolved.

The track record of the government is zero in seven; seven years of negotiating, not one agreement, over one hundred bands that qualify to be in negotiations.

The people of British Columbia deserve to know. How long will they have to wait to see this uncertainty cleared up and the question of land ownership in British Columbia resolved once and for all?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, let us clarify another thing. If we want to talk about the B.C. business community, let us look at what Milton Wong, a prominent B.C. business person, said about the treaty process.

He said that through the treaty framework we can establish a social, political and economic certainty that will encourage investment in British Columbia and therefore be of enormous help to business communities across the province.

We have made progress. When we took office there was one table in action, now there are over 50. There are 30 that have frameworks of action in place and we are proceeding to agreements in principle.

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Government of Quebec announced that it would replace the QST with a specific tax collected at the source by manufacturers and wholesalers, which would go a long way toward solving the cigarette contraband problem on native reserves and would allow the Quebec government to recover lost revenues from uncollected taxes.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Does the federal government intend to harmonize its policy what that of Quebec by replacing the GST with a specific tax collected at the source on tobacco products?

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly the federal government is concerned about illegal activities and continues to work closely with the provinces and law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband goods.

However, we are not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We feel that only goods essential to the well-being of Canadians should be exempt from sales tax such as basic food items, prescription drugs and medical devices. Clearly tobacco products do not fall into this category.

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in five years this government has done nothing to fight contraband, to eliminate this black market estimated at $6 billion a year according to the auditor general.

It is a lot easier to take money from the employment insurance fund, to take money from the unemployed and the sick, than to fight contraband.

There is a simple solution to that problem. Will the minister apply this intelligent solution proposed by Quebec, a practical solution that would allow the government to recover millions of dollars in uncollected taxes on contraband cigarettes?

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the federal government is concerned about illegal activities. I said quite clearly that we will continue to work closely with the provinces and also with law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband products.

Quite clearly I stated earlier and I will restate that this government is not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We will remove the GST on those products which we feel are essential to the well-being of Canadians. Again, tobacco does not fall into that category.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have now learned that the RCMP used money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance its Montreal based money laundering sting operation because of a lack of government funding. This lack of resources also contributed to the overall failure of this important undercover operation.

Why has the government denied the RCMP the resources to do its job? What has the government to say about the use of money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance portions of this operation?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, as the solicitor general indicated yesterday, he has asked the RCMP commissioner to make a complete review of this case. He will then make the appropriate decisions based on the full report that will be provided to him.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, RCMP informant John McKay was an agent working on a smuggling investigation in Manitoba called operation decode.

After receiving death threats, including a sympathy card sent to his mother, McKay asked for protection and was denied. He was murdered within months.

I would like to ask this government why the RCMP did not protect the life of John MacKay. Something is very wrong.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the solicitor general I will take note of the facts that were brought forth by my hon. colleague and ask the office of the solicitor general to answer in writing as soon as possible.

Scrapie
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, 8,000 sheep have been slaughtered in Quebec in an effort to eradicate the sheep disease called scrapie. This measure was taken without a full report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and for a disease that does not affect human health. Producers are desperate for help.

The industry is still waiting for an answer from the Minister of Agriculture. What does the government intend to do to help the sheep industry, and when will it act?

Scrapie
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet
Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand Secretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food)(Fisheries and Oceans)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her interest in this issue.

Scrapie is indeed a problem that greatly concerns the Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Between 7,000 and 8,000 sheep were slaughtered, and we are currently conducting an economic analysis with the industry to change certain criteria and see if any compensation is possible.

Breeders currently receive $150 for ordinary sheep and $300 for purebred sheep. However, this is not a crop insurance, but an incentive to report sick animals.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Kosovo is rapidly deteriorating with thousands of refugees fleeing their homes. The international community has an obligation to act and to act quickly. Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs report to the House on what precise actions this government is taking to help stabilize the situation in that troubled region of the world?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the level of violence and the plight of refugees in that region. At this moment the foreign minister is meeting with the G-8 foreign ministers and we are agreeing on collective measures. These include security enhancement in neighbouring countries and an immediate increase in humanitarian aid.

At the national level we have frozen all Serbian Yugoslav assets in Canada and we have banned all export of funds to Serbia Yugoslavia but we will act in concert. It is a grave problem for one of the most delicate areas of the world.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we see on the front page of the Globe and Mail that the minister of fisheries is going to throw more money at the fishing industry. We agree that money is necessary but there must be a plan on how to spend it.

The all-party fisheries committee tabled a plan for the west coast over two months ago but we still have no direction from the minister. Now we are only two weeks away from the start of the salmon season. Why is the minister so reluctant to address the particular problems of the industry?