House of Commons Hansard #197 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, it came out during oral question period that the defence budget included some $600 million in additional unexpected funds.

In the minister's response, he claimed that this was for use in disaster relief operations. Yet the land forces have received $184 million in additional funding.

Was this additional amount meant to be used to meet the land force's operating budget deficit? Is that why National Defence was unable to pay its bills on time, because it had no more money?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the defence department pays for its bills. Its procedures have improved over the years to make sure that they are paid on time.

What additional money we do have in the budget this year will go to pay for improvements to the quality of life of our troops. Our troops have given fine dedicated service to the country and they deserve our support in that regard.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, there seems to have been an increase of approximately $337 million in the air force budget for this year, without any announcement of this by the minister.

Can the minister confirm whether any of this $337 million, which came from provincial transfer payments or military pensions funds, will be used to replace the Sea King helicopter fleet, especially since another one experienced problems this very morning at Shearwater?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there are no funds relevant to the replacement of the Sea King fleet in this budget, but the government has had a long commitment, going back to the 1994 white paper, to proceed with a change in aircraft from the Sea King to a new helicopter.

A procurement strategy is now in the stages of being finalized and will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile we will make sure that our Sea King helicopters are safe to fly.

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are growing labour unrest and work disruptions among federal correctional officers which may put Canadians at risk.

Could the solicitor general assure Canadians that their safety and security will be protected during these labour disruptions?

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his concern. I can assure my colleague and Canadians that public safety is a number one issue.

Because of public safety, Correctional Service Canada has contingency plans in place but these contingency plans are quite expensive.

Grain
Oral Question Period

March 16th, 1999 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has done its very best to convince us that changes made to part 1 of the Canada Labour Code would ensure the unimpeded flow of Canadian grain to port on time. We have had people come before the committee. The Reform Party has said that this will not happen. Now we have a case where we have the grain stopped at port.

What exactly does the Minister of Labour have in mind to do about this problem and when will she fix it?

Grain
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is more a problem of the picket lines that have been established by the blue collar workers. We are monitoring the effects of their strikes. We want the movement of grain to be unimpeded because it is in the interest of our farmers in the west.

At present we are taking all the possible measures. We will look at all the options in front of us to settle these strikes.

Internship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Department of Industry suddenly cut off its program of internships with export businesses across Canada, it did a real disservice to 14 young Quebeckers, who were dumped, some of whom had given up their jobs, and to 22 businesses in Quebec.

Does the minister intend to compensate the young people and the businesses for the costs incurred in the pilot program?

Internship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the program was initiated in April 1997 and was intended to give work experience to young graduates, by twinning them with SMBs in Canada or abroad to support export development.

The alliance of manufacturers managed the implementation of the program. It was cancelled in June 1998 following an independent evaluation and audit, which concluded that the low level of business participation did not justify the continuation of the program. It was a necessary but difficult decision.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Prime Minister about his constitutional responsibility to appoint senators.

Later on this afternoon the government will use its majority in the House to approve an 11.7% cost overrun in the Senate's budget. Last week the Prime Minister said that when there was a large consensus on the Senate he would act.

In light of the fact that over 90% of Canadian people do not support the existing Senate in any way at all, I want to ask the Prime Minister whether or not he will acknowledge that consensus, listen to the people, put a freeze on appointments and agree to an all-party committee to look at the whole process of what we do with the Senate.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that to change the rules for the Upper House in Canada we need an amendment to the Canadian Constitution. We have debated this issue for years and years.

I am reporting to the House that there is no pressure by any government, and every government has an obligation to concur in the changes before we can proceed. I do not think we can do that at this time.

I do not think it would be useful to open debate on the Constitution. I do not think Canadians are ready for it at this time. They have had enough debate on the Constitution over the last 10 years.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue. In its ongoing efforts to build a richer government within a poorer country, the government has now decided to deduct employment insurance premiums from volunteer firefighters who receive honorariums.

Volunteer firefighters risk their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens and they receive small honorariums in return. The government is rewarding their brave service with a cowardly tax grab.

Will the Minister of National Revenue stop this deplorable tax grab now?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should have stood and applauded the Minister of Finance who increased the $500 to $1,000 for volunteer firefighters in the last budget.

In terms of deductions for the amount paid, this is something I am looking at right now because of the representations made by many of my colleagues. I will report back on what we will do. It is a very important issue and we are reviewing it right now.

Canadian Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Public service retirees and employees are saying that the government wants to use the surplus in the public service, RCMP and National Defence pension funds without being entitled to.

What makes the Government of Canada think that it has the right to this surplus but the employees and the pensioners do not?