House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he hopes for a return to free trade with the United States as regards softwood lumber.

If this is true, is the minister prepared to support a motion from all members of the House simply asking that Americans go back to free trade and nothing else?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the member would hardly expect me to arrogate unto myself the right to speak for the Minister for International Trade. That is exactly what he asked me to do. I will not take up that silly suggestion.

I will reiterate what I said. The minister has been very clear on the fact that the goal of Canada is to have free trade in softwood lumber with the United States. I repeat, he is raising that issue on Monday with trade representative Zoellick.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

February 23rd, 2001 / 11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada has no established process to deal with rail mergers. The transport minister claims that the government will not be caught flat footed, as it was with the Air Canada-Canadian Airlines merger.

As CN and CP both operate in the U.S. they would be subject to a very substantial review process while Canada has no similar process. There is much discussion about a possible major rail merger. Does the transport minister have a plan and a process in place to deal with any such merger?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is correct in saying that parliament in its wisdom or lack thereof in 1996, when it passed the Canada Transportation Act, took away the merger review provisions that were previously in the National Transportation Act, 1987.

This was somewhat controversial as the hon. member will know if he reads Hansard from those times. That is why there was specifically a clause included in that bill to have the act reviewed within five years.

I have named a panel of five prominent people who are looking into the act and I have specifically mentioned coming up with a strategy on rail mergers.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, when the government was confronted with the Air Canada-Canadian Airlines merger it was quite apparent there was no review process in place for such a merger.

The Canadian travelling public has paid a very high price for this crisis management approach to mergers. Other than the ineffective Competition Act, when will the government have a meaningful rail merger review process in place?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about the crisis management approach with respect to the airlines, but I might remind the hon. member, who is from western Canada, that in December 1999 Canadian Airlines was two days away from bankruptcy. It did not have the cash to meet payroll. That would have meant 16,000 people, many of them in western Canada, out of their jobs and absolute chaos in the air system.

I admit it has not gone 100% the way we wanted it to go, but I would challenge the hon. member. I think the airline restructuring has gone incredibly well, considering the huge number of issues that had to be dealt with in a very short period of time.

Volunteers
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has declared 2001 the Year of International Volunteers. As we know, many Canadians benefit from the tremendous efforts of volunteers across the country.

My question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue. Could she tell the House how volunteers are assisted by her department's community volunteer income tax program?

Volunteers
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the CCRA has sponsored the community volunteer tax program since 1971. This year marks its 30 year anniversary.

CCRA trains volunteers throughout the country to help seniors, people with disabilities and low income groups complete their income tax returns and receive their benefits. We are very proud to have such a program for volunteers to make such a contribution.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday about 3,000 farmers joined a rally in Winchester, Ontario, to get the Liberals finally to pay attention to the ongoing farm income crisis. They have been forced to take drastic action because the Liberal government refuses to pay attention.

The agriculture minister's delaying tactics and refusal to take any real action will force thousands more producers off the land. This hurts all Canadians. How many bankruptcies, how many suicides, how terrible does the disaster have to become before the agriculture minister wakes up and gets emergency funds into the hands of farmers?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington
Ontario

Liberal

Larry McCormick Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, certainly a lot of farmers gathered together yesterday. We on this side of the House have been meeting with producers from across the country. We feel for them because the grains and oilseed sector has been heavily attacked by the subsidies from the European Union and the United States.

We did sign a very historic agreement with the provinces this past year. In fact we are already committed to providing up to $5.5 billion to help these people. It is not enough. Our minister has been looking for every resource possible, and we will deliver.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is the problem; all talk and no action. The agriculture minister's AIDA program has failed to help the majority of farm families.

Over two years ago he announced his meagre attempts to help.

He has given the impression to the media and our city cousins that he has done a lot to assist farmers, but barely 50% of the funds announced have reached farmers.

Yesterday Statistics Canada confirmed what everyone but the Liberals know. Cash receipts are down for the third year in a row for grain farmers and soaring input costs are pushing farmers further into the dirt. Why does the government not keep its promises?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

Noon

Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington
Ontario

Liberal

Larry McCormick Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, for my hon. colleague's information, it is nice to tell one-half of the story but under the former AIDA program 90% of the money has gone out to these producers. They have the money.

We provided tens of millions of dollars last year, hundreds of millions of dollars in interest free money for our producers in the spring. We also made available several hundreds of millions of dollars in the fall, interest free so they could sell their crops. In fact we have done a lot in the last seven years. In the Speech from the Throne we committed to that and we will be doing more.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, February 9, the television program Vr showed that the Minister of National Revenue, who is responsible for that part of the Employment Insurance Act, was not at all aware of the fact that it discriminates against employees working for their spouse or for a relative, by imposing on them the burden of proving their insurability, and by treating them like cheaters.

Since Bill C-2, which is currently under review, is silent on this discrimination, is the minister prepared to correct the section of the act that equates workers who are related to their employers with cheaters?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

Noon

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to ensure that those receiving employment insurance benefits are indeed eligible for them. In certain cases where there are family organizations we have to ensure that there is an arm's length relationship. We will continue to do this in an effective way.

I would like to confirm that very few are turned down, but in the interest of applying and ensuring the act is adhered to the minister of revenue does these investigations.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

Noon

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Windsor—St. Clair asked me a question relating to U.S. social security benefits. Just so that I do not mislead him I will undertake to get back to him.