House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, we heard this morning that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is prepared to allow armed U.S. customs officers to operate within our country. This clearly contradicts what the customs minister has stated repeatedly.

Is the customs minister actually involved in this decision or are the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. homeland security director calling the shots?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 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, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I are saying the very same thing. This morning we signed an agreement to make sure that we will have, jointly with the United States, what we call a smart border, using more technology.

What the hon. member is referring to is the notion of customs pre-clearance. That exists in Canada. I have said many times that it exists at international airports. The U.S. customs officers are doing their work without sidearms, using local police forces. It works very well.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, Tom Ridge stated clearly that he feels both U.S. and Canadian customs officers should be armed to adequately protect the border.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs now acknowledges that American customs officers stationed in Canada should be armed. Why the double standard?

How can the Minister of Foreign Affairs still leave our Canadian officers protecting our nation unarmed? Is it more important to protect Americans than it is Canadians? What is--

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid the member has this all fouled up. He should know from his background that people do not chase foul balls.

Clearly what we agreed to this morning is that we will try to work toward a model such as we have for pre-clearance at airports. Of course everyone is concerned about the safety and security of the customs officers. Currently, safety for pre-clearance customs officers in Canadian airports is provided by armed personnel who are members of Canadian police forces.

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Minister for International Trade took part in the inauguration of the Canada-Italy Business Council here, in Ottawa.

Could the minister inform this House of the benefits of this fine initiative?

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, indeed, this morning, my Italian colleague and I officially launched the Canada-Italy Business Council and its first important undertaking. It involves creating a strategic partnership between Canadian and Italian SMBs in the information and communications technologies sector.

By co-operating in key sectors, Canadian and Italian companies will be able to form strategic alliances that will afford them easier access to their respective commercial spaces, in other words, NAFTA and the EU. The governments of Canada and Italy support this council.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the transport minister says that the $24 round trip fee to pay for his new airport security fees is not a huge tax grab when in fact it is.

I would ask him to turn to page 92, table 5.1, of his own budget. It authorizes, in year 5, $306 million in new spending and in the same year $445 million in new revenue. That is a profit of $139 million. How can the transport minister say that he is not overtaxing consumers and providing a huge disincentive to travelling?

Will he lower the rate to provide people with a proper incentive and to bring real balance to this plan?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the initial years, in fact, there is going to be a number of very important upfront costs which the government is going to have to absorb and which these air charges will not cover, so there will be a shortfall in government revenues as a result of this. Then, over time, this will pick up and it will be compensated for over the course of the next five years.

I assure the hon. member, as the Minister of Transport said yesterday, that there is no intention for the government to make any money on this. If the cash drops so in fact will the charge.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, rather than creating a system that is so unbalanced and runs huge surpluses into the future for the government, why did this government not follow the recommendations that were tabled by the transport committee which said that there should be a balanced approach to financing this? Asking air carriers to ante up more money for the protection of their assets is not a radical suggestion. It is common sense.

Will this transport minister reconsider his $24 fee, which is a huge disincentive and is triple the rate the Americans are charging, and implement a common sense policy that gets people flying?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the standing committee said that Canadians need to be provided with the security of knowing that we have a national, single, accountable, consistent and seamless system of transportation security. That was what the Minister of Finance announced in the budget: the Canadian air transport security authority will provide just those guarantees for the travelling public.

The hon. member then said that the committee's report reflects his own thinking absolutely. Once again we have the hon. member in a political contortion act in the House of Commons, arguing against his own logic.

Minister for International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has the annoying habit of blindly exonerating his ministers, even when they blunder badly.

Sometimes, he calls it an error in good faith, other times, he says it was the fault of subordinates. In short, the Prime Minister always has good reasons. Now, he is submitting the case of the Minister for International Cooperation to the ethics counsellor, which is not going to reassure anyone.

Will the Prime Minister agree this is not a matter for the ethics counsellor, but more a matter of judgment and morality on which he himself can decide?

Minister for International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question at least six times in two days.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

December 12th, 2001 / 3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week the auditor general said that the government's claim that our Canadian forces have never been more combat ready “should be taken with a grain of salt”. Despite this critical report, this week the finance minister allocated a measly $300 million to purchase and maintain the equipment needed for our forces for combat.

Has the government made a major policy reversal and decided that our Canadian forces will no longer be a combat ready force and is--

National Defence
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon Minister of National Defence.