House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was terrorism.

Topics

Human Resources
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House would be co-operating with the government if we had something concrete with which to co-operate.

The auditor general says there is a flagrant abuse of social insurance numbers across Canada. Yet HRDC is still considering offering social insurance numbers on the world wide web. This means anyone, including international terrorists, could apply for a basic building block of Canadian identity online. Will the minister today simply drop this frightening idea?

Human Resources
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect a high degree of integrity in this social insurance number program. That is why we continue to invest and increase strategies to protect the integrity of the system. That is why we tripled the number of investigations into fraud and abuse of the social insurance number.

The auditor general has reviewed our approach and concurs with the strategies that we have in place.

Human Resources
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously that is not the case. An audit on HRDC's Internet development completed in May said the following:

There is uncertainty around the protection of data, personal information, secure channel, privacy and access.

The minister must know it is absurd to allow anyone, anywhere, to apply anonymously for a social insurance number.

Would the minister today put our national security first and stop pushing the offer of social insurance numbers on the World Wide Web?

Human Resources
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we do not want individuals to apply for social insurance numbers anonymously. We want a system so that Canadians can be assured of integrity in the system.

We have a plan of action, which I outlined previously in the House, and the committee is dealing with that. The auditor general reviewed it and supported our approach.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Great Lakes hold about 20% of the surface freshwater in the world and the entire drainage basin measures over 750,000 square kilometres on both sides of the border.

In 1971 the Canada-Ontario agreement respecting the Great Lakes basin ecosystem was signed to stem the tide of environmental degradation within the Great Lakes and to restore the ecosystem's health.

Would the Minister of the Environment update the House on the status of the agreement, how it is working and what the government is doing to reduce pollution and restore areas harmed by pollution in the Great Lakes basin?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the negotiations with the province of Ontario have been successfully concluded and I expect shortly to be signing the Canada-Ontario agreement.

We invested some $40 million in last year's budget and the state of the Great Lakes report suggests that the ecosystem of the lakes is now cleaner than it has been since the second world war.

We will continue to work with the American, Ontario and Quebec governments to clean up some of the problems that yet remain.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year's report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which was tabled today, is a scathing indictment of the government and its failure to protect our environment.

The report found that in many cases the government is failing to meet its environmental commitments, particularly with regard to the Great Lakes and climate change.

It found federal priority funding to be unstable, insufficient and declining with key commitments not being met.

When will the government step up and start meeting its environmental commitments?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if I could advise the hon. member to read my previous answer in Hansard he will get part of the response.

With respect to the overall program, I welcome the report of the commissioner. She has accepted the concept of an ecosystem approach. There are, as I mentioned earlier, things that still remain to be done but at the same time there has been measurable improvement.

With respect to financing, we have increased financing and I would refer the hon. member to the $1.1 billion made available by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for climate change measures within the last 18 months.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should read the report in total with regard to funding.

The report also found that the information provided by most departments on the progress of meeting their sustainable development targets fell far short of the government's own guidelines and that it hampers parliament's ability to hold the departments to account.

Perhaps the Minister of Finance, who has said that a so-called green screen is a priority for him, could tell the House why his department, from which participation is considered crucial if we are to meet sustainable development objectives, has the worst grading as far as deficiency in the management of its sustainable development commitments.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned earlier that the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister made available $1.1 billion for one area of environmental activity alone, namely the climate change file.

We have indeed moved forward on a number of other fronts. I would be happy to provide the hon. member with information on those but I would point out that when we have an issue such as the security issue after September 11, inevitably there will be a review of budgetary priorities.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, there has long been the threat and presence of terrorists in Canada. However, the Prime Minister insists that no terrorist cell is operating within Canada and is acting as if these were new threats.

We now know that Montreal was a target of bin Laden in 1998, the year the two American embassies were destroyed in Africa. Two years later, surprise, surprise, Ahmed Ressam, a terrorist living in Montreal, was arrested.

Today, October 2, 2001, we still do not know what the Prime Minister wants to do. Probably he does not either. Perhaps he could tell us at least what he has done since 1998 to protect the interests of Canadians against the threats of terrorists?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Waterloo—Wellington
Ontario

Liberal

Lynn Myers Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is raising a specific issue that has been raised recently in the media. I can tell the House that the appropriate police have looked at that, but this is something that the member should know by now is extremely delicate. We always need to protect security intelligence and that kind of information.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, our borders have been described by the U.S. attorney general as rather porous, a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism. Unfortunately, he is correct.

Today there are numerous unmanned border crossings where the only barrier to prevent someone from entering Canada is an orange construction cone placed in the middle of the road. At night, people simply drive around the cone and enter Canada without stopping.

Does the government have any immediate plans to change this policy and, if so, when can we expect these changes?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, one should be proud that Canada customs started to reform the question of borders a year and a half ago. As a matter of fact, we have a plan in place. It is Bill S-23 which is a fantastic step ahead in the future, making sure that we will better manage the risk at the border, making sure as well that the border will remain open for trade between the two countries.

I would ask the hon. member to get involved with the team and to keep working together to ensure that we have one of the best customs systems in the world for trade, as well as for the safety of both our communities.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, last night the premier of Ontario outlined his government's action plan to address the threat of terrorism. He called upon the federal government to co-ordinate border security with the United States to protect the openness of that border.

The premier's plan includes hiring Canada's foremost security experts to advise him on ways to co-operate with other governments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

Why are the provinces leading the federal government on matters of international co-operation?