House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Canadian Avalanche Association
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, every winter Canadians take to the slopes to enjoy skiing, snow boarding, snowshoeing and outdoor sports of all kind. While we love our mountain environments and all that they offer, we must also respect weather and snow conditions that can lead to avalanches.

I am therefore pleased that the Canadian Avalanche Association, a non-profit organization, is building public awareness about avalanche safety and prevention. The CAA provides a number of services, including a web based avalanche forecasting service for both industry and recreation.

In support of the important work of the CAA, Mr. Justin Trudeau is touring ski resorts this month to encourage people to take safety seriously in the back country and carry along proper equipment, including radio transceivers, snow probes and shovels. These simple precautions would save lives and enhance our enjoyment of Canada's great outdoors.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians learned that the government has overpaid $3.3 billion because of incompetent accounting in Revenue Canada. The Prime Minister says that this is no problem, that these kinds of accounting errors happen all the time.

If a $1 billion HRDC boondoggle is no problem and a $3 billion CCRA boondoggle is no problem, I would hate to see a real problem.

Could the Prime Minister explain how even this government could be incompetent enough to lose $3 billion of taxpayer money?

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this was reported to the press by the Minister of National Revenue and the Minister of Finance. We only were officially informed of that problem yesterday and we informed the provinces.

I have said that every year there are adjustments. This error was not picked up, for example, by the auditor general either. It was a problem that occurred a long time ago, which has very important consequences.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the federal government wants to get this money back, it will have to come from somewhere else. The provinces are already facing a health crisis because of federal government funding cuts. Some of the provinces, especially Ontario and Manitoba, may face more cuts due to Liberal incompetence.

Will the government claw this money back from transfers for health care or will it put federal taxpayers on the hook for this $3 billion mistake?

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is important for Canadians to know that an error was identified and action was taken to correct it. This does not have an impact on individual taxpayers. Nor does it affect mutual fund trusts. Nor does it affect the investors in mutual fund trusts.

It is premature for us, however, to speculate because we do not have all the information going back to 1972. We are gathering that and sharing it with the provinces and the auditor general. We will take appropriate action because we want to ensure that we are fair to all taxpayers in Canada and the provinces as well.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, getting a straight answer from the minister is almost as hard as getting a Liberal membership in Ontario. The previous human resources minister blew $1 billion and got promoted to international trade. The revenue minister blows $3 billion and gets promoted to justice.

My question for the Prime Minister is this. How will he reward a minister who blows $5 billion; maybe appoint the minister Governor General?

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, one thing I would like to say is that when we took over we had a deficit of $42 billion. This is the fifth year in a row that we will have a surplus in Canada. It is something that even members of his party compliment me on when they talk to me in private.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

January 29th, 2002 / 2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister called the taking of prisoners in Afghanistan a hypothetical situation. However now we know it happened last week. The government has said that Canada would be following international law and the Geneva convention.

While the Canadian Alliance will always oppose torture and mistreatment, we do not believe that terrorists have exactly the same rights as legitimate soldiers do.

Could the Prime Minister confirm to Canadians that our soldiers were following international law by turning over captured fighters to U.S. forces?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for a clear answer for a change. I am shocked by that answer. I will be surprised if the answer to this question is that brief.

How can Canadians believe that this Prime Minister did not know that our troops have been turning over captured al-Qaeda fighters to the U.S. for detention when their pictures are on the front page of the Globe and Mail ? If the Prime Minister did not know, he is incompetent. If he did know, he has deliberately mislead Canadians. Which is it?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

I learned about it this morning, Mr. Speaker.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the Prime Minister said that if there were prisoners, Canadians, the government would take measures to ensure that Canadian and international laws were respected, that there were no prisoners and that the government would let us know when there were.

However, when the Prime Minister was making that comment on Sunday, it had been a few days since Afghans had been captured by Canadians and handed over to the Americans.

Either the Prime Minister misled the public, or else he did not know. Both possibilities are a cause for concern and unacceptable. Which one is true?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I told the media earlier that I learned about it this morning.

The Minister of National Defence decided to inform me this morning, because until then he could not confirm with absolute certainty the validity of that information.

When he was absolutely sure of this information, he informed me, this morning, and he also informed the other members of cabinet.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who is appointed Minister of National Defence should normally be sufficiently qualified to be appointed.

Since when did he know that Afghans had been captured by Canadians and handed over to Americans? Why did he not inform the Prime Minister who, as recently as Sunday, stated that there were no such prisoners? Why did he not bother to tell him during yesterday's caucus meeting, before oral question period?

What is going on with this minister? Did he know or did he not?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I first became aware of the possibility on Friday. It required further examination to determine whether in fact Canadians were involved. I informed the Prime Minister and my colleagues in cabinet this morning to that effect.