House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transportation.

Topics

Genetically Modified Organisms
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his report tabled today, the commissioner of the environment deplores the federal government's approach to biosafety and more specifically to GMOs.

In black and white, the report states that the final bargaining position, in both Cartagena and Montreal, strongly reflected Canada's commercial concerns.

Does the Minister of the Environment intend to ratify the protocol on biosafety, which is currently being discussed, in order to put human health and the environment ahead of commercial concerns? Will he sign the protocol?

Genetically Modified Organisms
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

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

It is true that there is a difficulty facing many countries in the world, in fact all trading nations, in making sure that environmental considerations are taken fully into account when economic decisions on trade are made.

Nevertheless, in Montreal in January we managed to agree to the Cartagena protocol on biodiversity. We think that provides a real opportunity for all the nations of the world under the United Nations to move successfully to reconcile these difficulties.

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

May 30th, 2000 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Wentworth—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the access to information commissioner tabled a report today in which he expressed concern about the time it takes the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to process access to information requests.

Can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration tell the House what she plans to do to address the commissioner's concerns?

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner actually acknowledged the excellent progress that citizenship and immigration has made in meeting the requirements.

Last year we were at 51% and this year we are at 75%. We are hoping to improve that record so that we can join the privy council office and Health Canada, which both received an A this year with 95%.

I want to point out one thing. When I went to high school 75% was an A . While we have to do better to achieve the 95% required by the information commissioner to get his A , we are making progress and we do want to do better.

Acoa
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister in charge of ACOA.

He said they did not fund one penny for a golf course in his first answer. In his second answer he said that golf course funding is one-third municipal, one-third provincial and one-third federal. If ACOA did not fund it, where did the one-third federal money come from?

Acoa
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure program was a national program. It gave funds right across the country on the same principle: one-third federal, one-third provincial and one-third municipal.

However, in the case of Atlantic Canada the funds were delivered through ACOA on behalf of the federal government. The funds did not come from the ACOA budget. ACOA does not fund golf courses.

Acoa
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope the minister can play golf better than he can answer this question.

Could the minister explain? He talks about one-third, one-third, one-third. We understand that one-third came from the federal government. The federal government is the taxpayer.

Will the minister agree that one-third of the funding for a golf course in his riding came from the taxpayers of Canada?

Acoa
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the research work from the official opposition be improved.

The last time the hon. member asked a question on ACOA it was alleged that ACOA gave grants to big corporations like Global and IBM. After we checked we found out that the so-called grant to Global was for studio time and the IBM grant was $29.40 for a floppy disk. Their research work is a flop.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today's report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development exposed the government's failure to deliver on a range of environmental promises.

For example, the commissioner says that the government and the provinces have been talking about smog reduction for 10 years, but that virtually nothing has been done. This deadly smog kills an estimated 5,000 Canadians every year.

Last week the minister did begin to play catch up, but the government has been in power for seven years. What has taken so long and how does the minister explain this lack of leadership?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, once more one of these questions from the NDP, which is stuck in the past.

I outlined to the House very recently the steps that are being taken on smog. This requires international action with the Americans on the ozone annex. It requires co-operation with the provinces, including the three provinces which have NDP governments, on Canada-wide standards for things like benzene, mercury, ozone, as well as particulate matter and others.

We then have domestic Canadian actions, which the Minister of Health and I are undertaking under the new CEPA which came into effect April 1.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, it was the environment commissioner himself who said this morning that we need leadership, not more talk.

The government has promised to lead by example, but today's report shows that government departments do not even know how much water they use, how much electricity they use or how much waste they produce.

How can the government set targets for the efficient use of water and electricity or greenhouse gas reductions if it does not even have this basic information about itself? How can Canadians trust the government to clean up their environment when it cannot even begin to manage its own?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know this is question period and when he asks a question and gets words he should not complain about hearing talk. That seems to be ridiculous.

With respect to the programs we are putting in place, I trust the NDP will support us and make sure the provincial governments which are controlled by the NDP similarly support us because, as the commissioner made clear, it is the failure of the provinces to proceed which is at the core of our problem.

Transport
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

A short while ago I asked the minister for an indefinite rate freeze on the ferry run from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and the minister scoffed at the idea. Even though this ferry route is essentially part of the Trans-Canada Highway, the cost of travel on it is much higher than an equivalent trip by road.

Given the importance of the ferry link to the future development of Newfoundland, and given that P.E.I. now has a fixed link, why can we not have our fixed rate?

Transport
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I might remind the hon. member that there has been no increase for three years. Recently on a trip to St. John's I said that we had no intention of increasing the tariffs this year.

Transport
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister about freezing the rate.

Given that he continues to evade that answer, let me try him on this one. Quite often the threat of a strike by workers disrupts tourists headed for Newfoundland. Given the importance of this ferry link to the economy of Newfoundland, would the minister consider having that service declared an essential service with no strikes facing the travelling public and some form of binding arbitration for the workers?