House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, everyone, except the solicitor general and Correctional Service Canada, says that he should be in a maximum penitentiary. Canadians are absolutely fed up with the velvet touch treatment the inmates receive.

Correctional Service Canada moved Suzack from one club fed to another medium security penitentiary.

Correctional Service Canada wasted $16,000 of taxpayer money only to find out that prisoners end up vetoing the new correctional officers' uniforms because they looked too authoritarian.

The solicitor general is responsible. He is responsible for corrections in this country. I ask him today, when will he listen and put the safety of law-abiding--

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. solicitor general.

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, public safety is always the number one issue.

I believe if my hon. colleague took a trip through a medium security institution he would find that it is not a very pleasant place to spend time.

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa attended the annual meeting of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Could the secretary of state please inform the House of the outcome of that meeting?

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Southeast
Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, 177 million people are living below the poverty line in this hemisphere, half of them in rural parts of the hemisphere.

We elected an outstanding Barbadian, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, as the new executive director. With Canada's help we can now begin to deal with the appalling problems of rural poverty in this hemisphere.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is following the error strewn path of 1995 in the current softwood lumber talks.

First, he has encouraged the provinces to table various proposals which up the ante.

Second, he has allowed months of Canadian proposals with no demand for U.S. proposals in return.

Third, he is undermining Canada's bargaining position by creating expectations for a December agreement.

Why is the minister following the bad bargaining handbook on softwood lumber?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Alliance Party is probably the only one that is not supporting the strategy our government has been proposing. Whether I am in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario or Quebec, I hear the same thing from governments and industry: that the federal government is providing the sort of leadership that is helping very much.

When I talked with the U.S. secretary of commerce, Don Evans, last week, I was very clear. I told him exactly what I have been telling Bob Zoellick, which is that it is time for the Americans to say what they need for us to continue the discussions in which the provinces have done a great job.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister sees what he wants to see. The minister has talked about having the Americans put their cards on the table. Everyone knows one should not play poker if the other guy has all the wild cards.

Canadian representatives have been talking for months at the softwood lumber discussions while the U.S. is scheduled to make its first proposal on December 12.

Why is the minister saying that there can be an agreement or parameters for an agreement in December when months of talks have been completely one-sided?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Alliance critic should follow the daily news because yesterday I was talking about January. It was the top news all over the country that we were talking about some evolution of the files.

I have always said that we hope the progress we are witnessing now will lead us to the parameters of a framework for an agreement before Christmas. It would be nice for our communities to get some hope that we are on the right track, which we know we are. We know the governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec supported us. We want progress. I am pleased they are united.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Standing Committee on Human Resources strongly criticized the government for doing nothing since 1993 for the more than 270,000 seniors entitled to a guaranteed supplement but deprived of it through government inertia.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development, who has known of the situation for nearly eight years, now, promise that the many seniors needing the guaranteed income supplement will get it retroactively in its entirety?

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources on this important piece of the Canadian pension program, the guaranteed income supplement. I will review it in detail and respond in a timely fashion to the committee.

I want the hon. member and the House to know that we have already taken action to ensure Canadians have the information they need to apply for the GIS. We are increasing our outreach strategies with local voluntary organizations. Along with my colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, we are ensuring that Canadian seniors have access to the information so those who are eligible for the GIS get the important benefits.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure we were all surprised to see the government of Ontario ads about health care spending in today's newspapers. Could the Minister of Health comment on the approach and content of these ads using taxpayer dollars?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Mike Harris always picks health care last. He chose tax cuts over health care and now he is once again engaged in cheap ads against the federal government instead of health care.

The million dollars he is spending this week on newspaper and TV ads could have brought down waiting lists and bought needed equipment. Instead, he publishes ads that are wrong and untrue.

The Government of Canada contributes one-third to health care spending in Ontario, not 18 cents on the dollar. We gave him $400 million for medical equipment but he has never told Ontario how he spent that. We put $213 million on the table for primary care reform and he has not yet put forward one proposal.

Ways and Means
Oral Question Period

December 4th, 2001 / 3 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion to introduce an act respecting the taxation of spirits, wine and tobacco and to implement increases in tobacco taxes and changes to the treatment of ships' stores. I am also tabling explanatory notes and draft regulations. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of these important, timely and excellent measures.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister on Thursday, November 29, alleging that the leader of the official opposition divulged the findings, proceedings and evidence of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs before that committee had presented its report.

I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for having raised this matter. I would also like to thank the House leader of the official opposition, the House leader of the New Democratic Party and the hon. member for Peterborough, chairman of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, for their contributions on this question.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister claimed that, during the debate on third reading of Bill C-36 on Wednesday, November 28, 2001, the Leader of the Official Opposition had breached the privileges of the House and contravened our practices by making reference to the proceedings of the procedure and house affairs committee before that committee had presented its report to the House.

The report in question, which was presented on November 29, 2001, dealt with a question of privilege related to the premature release to the media of the contents of Bill C-36, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities in order to combat terrorism.

The parliamentary secretary complained of the references made by the Leader of the Opposition to the proceedings of the committee and especially to his revealing the conclusion of the report. He was critical as well of the hon. Leader of the Opposition's comments on the work of the committee.

I have carefully reviewed the report of the committee as well as the minutes and evidence of its public meetings on the order of reference concerning Bill C-36. I can find nothing in the report to which the hon. Leader of the Opposition may be claimed to have referred that is not also available in the committee's public proceedings.

In particular, the conclusion of the report that no contempt had been found also forms the subject of a motion debated in public session, adopted by the committee at its meeting of November 22 and recorded in the official minutes of that meeting.

Therefore, since there has been no disclosure of in camera proceedings it is my ruling that there is no breach of privilege in this case.

However the parliamentary secretary in bringing this matter to the attention of the House also indicated that the remarks made by the hon. Leader of the Opposition transgressed against the usual practices of the House with respect to proceedings in committee. He referred to House of Commons Procedure and Practice , page 885, which states:

It is not in order for Members to allude to committee proceedings or evidence in the House until the committee has presented its report to the House.

The passage continues:

This restriction applies both to references made by Members in debate and during Oral Question Period.

The hon. member for Peterborough as chair of the procedure committee has explained that the presentation of the report was delayed until November 29 at the express request of the official opposition. Furthermore, the opposition House leader in speaking on this point has acknowledged that the Leader of the Opposition based his remarks on the public proceedings of the committee's meeting of November 22.

The House has a longstanding rule against referring to proceedings in committee until the committee itself reports back to the House. In this instance the Leader of the Opposition took upon himself the right to discuss those proceedings before the chair had presented the committee report. It is regrettable that the hon. Leader of the Opposition should have ignored usual House practice in this way and I would invite him to be more prudent in future.

It is our practice that committees may report their own findings in their own time without fear of having that role usurped by other members. It is my intention to see that this practice is upheld until such time as the House may decide otherwise. I remind all hon. members that it greatly assists the House and the Speaker when members exercise proper care in choosing their remarks.