House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is in fact wrong. All economists are telling us that we are looking at a planning deficit that will lead into the contingency reserve by the fourth year of this fiscal plan. We are also told that the finance minister will only give us a two year projection. Last October before the election he gave us a five year projection.

Why is he changing it? What will happen in those three ensuing years, like the planning deficit which he is afraid to admit to this House and to Canadians.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I never talked to that person, but there is a person by the name of Craig Wright, chief economist of the Royal Bank, who said:

Everything this government has done in the past would suggest we don't have to worry about a deficit.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, his own member for Markham said last October “the Liberal proposal does eat into the prudence reserve”. The Prime Minister has just told us that reserve is there for emergencies and emergencies only.

His former ADM of finance commented in the Economist . His own members are admitting that he is going to use the emergency reserve, which we may need for an economic downturn, to finance increases in Liberal spending.

Will he clearly commit that will not happen and that we will not have a planning deficit in the fiscal year 2004?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where his economists come from, but I have another quote from a gentleman named Tim O'Neill, chief economist of the Bank of Montreal. He said:

I don't think they are going to have any problems avoiding a deficit in the foreseeable future.

That was in the Toronto Star of May 11, 2001.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

May 15th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, some new facts support the statement made by a senior federal official to the effect that Canada is about to give its support to the U.S. missile defence shield program.

Indeed, the Department of National Defence has confirmed that a Canadian lieutenant-colonel will soon be at the Pentagon to act as liaison officer under the missile defence shield program.

When will the government finally be upfront, stop fooling the public and the parliamentarians, whom it has not yet seen fit to consult, and admit that it will support the missile defence shield program of the Bush administration?

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I told President Bush that we wanted a dialogue on this issue. He agreed to have a dialogue with us, with the NATO allies, with Russia and with China.

We are keeping an eye on what is going on and we are waiting for the President of the U.S. to make proposals and to discuss the issue with us. We want to be involved in the discussions. Once we have all the information, we will be in a position to make a decision. But we cannot make a decision on a project that the Americans themselves are not sure they can implement.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, at the end of the meeting with the U.S. envoys, the federal government will hold a briefing for the media. However, the government has not planned anything for parliamentarians.

Why is the government so intent on not having parliamentarians involved in this issue? Is it to put members of parliament before a fait accompli and thus avoid a true debate in the House before the government adopts its position and makes it public?

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when we talk to the media, we generally assume that some members of this House will read the newspapers.

Second, there are House committees that review these issues.

Third, nothing prevents the Bloc Quebecois leader from calling public officials and asking them to provide him with the same information that they are giving to the media. This is public information. Therefore, it is available to all. I do not understand why they are moaning.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, a week ago the leader of the Bloc Quebecois asked the Prime Minister for a meeting with the two U.S. envoys who are today in Ottawa to provide the Canadian government with more information on the missile defence shield project.

Does the Prime Minister intend to respond favourably, and what is more important immediately, to the request by the Bloc Quebecois to meet with the U.S. envoys. This is a decision that can be taken readily. All the Prime Minister has to do is say “right away”.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is not a political visit, but a briefing for departmental officials, a technical briefing.

If the hon. member wishes us to prepare a briefing, we can get the appropriate departmental officials to prepare it. That is not a problem.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government seems to be up to its old tricks once again. It is informing us that it is going to brief the journalists and departmental officials, while all parliamentarians are kept uninformed. I find that this government is absolutely arrogant in making decisions like this one.

I would ask the Prime Minister to rise and tell us that he intends to make a commitment for a debate to be held in the House on this matter, and that he will assure us that Canada will not take an official position until there has been a debate and vote here in this House.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has just offered the hon. member a briefing on the matter. We have therefore just said yes to him, yet he is rising to tell us that we are being arrogant.

Second, yes, there will be a debate in the House of Commons. I hope hon. members will also discuss it in committee.

We are not prepared to reach a decision. We want to know everyone's position, not just the position of the hon. members but also that of the public, before a decision is reached. That is what I have told President Bush.

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. CMHC has estimated that $4 billion yearly is needed for the next 15 years just to maintain safe water and water waste management systems. That is $4 billion annually that is needed urgently from the federal government.

Will the Prime Minister indicate whether such a clean water fund will have the priority it so desperately deserves in the forthcoming economic statement?

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the infrastructure program we put forward we said to the municipalities that money would be available for their water systems.

In fact almost 50% of the money in the infrastructure program is for what we call for green infrastructure. We are already doing that, and I hope this will satisfy the leader of the NDP Party.

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the point is it will not satisfy the need. It is a drop in the bucket compared to what is required.

Water experts and ecologists like David Schindler have been screaming for a national water strategy from the government since the day it took office. What do we have eight years later? We have Walkerton. We have North Battleford. We have up to 100 aboriginal reserves and over 700 other communities that are faced with contaminated drinking water.

How could the government maintain the fiction that safe drinking water is a priority when it will not put its money where its mouth is?