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

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

January 29th, 2002 / 10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-423, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (unpaid wages to rank first in priority in distribution).

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. I thank the member for South Shore for seconding this important bill.

The bill seeks to amend the Bankruptcy Act so that in the event of a company going bankrupt, unpaid wages to workers would have first priority in the distribution of the assets of the bankrupt company.

It is a timely and topical issue. There are 10,000 bankruptcies every year in Canada. In many cases back wages, back contributions to pension plans, severance pay, et cetera, are only left to workers when other more secured creditors divide the assets of the company. The working people are left holding the bag and left wanting.

We look forward to debating the issue and voting on it in the House of Commons on behalf of all workers who are negatively impacted by bankruptcies.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be modified as follows:

Gary Breitkreuz for Richard Harris,

Randy White for John Reynolds

and that Richard Harris and John Reynolds be added to the list of associate members.

(Motion agreed to)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to present a petition on behalf of some of the constituents in my riding concerning VIA Rail.

They wish to bring to the attention of Parliament the fact that there is a review going on within the area of the Port Hope station. They are extremely concerned about the future of the station and the services it provides. As a result they have taken up a petition to ask parliament to continue to maintain the VIA stop in Port Hope.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 90, 91, 93, 96 and 98.

Question No. 90—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

With regard to an agreement between the Vancouver Port Commission and the City of Vancouver and 326754BC (Lafarge) to construct a concrete batch plant and subsequent arrangements to build the project on another site, the Sterling site, made by the Vancouver Port Authority: ( a ) was the Minister of Transport made aware of possible liabilities arising out of the subsequent changes; and ( b ) if not, what steps will the Minister take so as to be informed, not only as to potential liabilities, but also as to why the Minister was not informed?

Question No. 90—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Transport Canada: The Vancouver Port Authority, VPA, was established in 1999, under the Canada Marine Act, to manage the port of Vancouver. The port authority is required to comply with the act and its letters patent.

As part of the management arrangements that have been established between Canada Port Authorities and the federal goverment, the VPA is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the port and for making commercial decisions that are in the best interest of the port authority.

With regard to an agreement between the Vancouver Port Authority, the City of Vancouver and Lafarge, and subsequent changes to that agreement, the port authority has advised that there are no liabilities to the VPA or the federal government.

Question No. 91—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

With regard to a site acquired by the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA), the Sterling site, on which it proposes to construct a concrete batch plant: ( a ) what assurances has the Minister of Transport obtained that the project review process will fairly and independently review the application to build a concrete batch plant on this site; ( b ) what steps will the Minister take to ensure that the VPA adheres to both federal and provincial environmental legislation; and ( c ) what action will the Minister take to require the VPA to remediate the contaminated site in the spirit of the Canada Marine Act?

Question No. 91—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Transport Canada: The Vancouver Port Authority, VPA, is required to comply with its letters patent, regulations and bylaws, as well as all other applicable statutes and regulations.

The VPA has indicated that the application by Lafarge to construct a ready mix concrete plant on land held in the name of the Vancouver Port Authority remains under review by the port authority and that no determination has yet been made with regard to this.

The VPA has indicated that it is conducting an open and comprehensive process that involves input from VPA staff, independent expert consultants, external environmental agencies, the City of Vancouver and the general public. Under the management arrangements that have been established with Canada Port Authorities, the VPA's board of directors has the obligation to properly discharge its responsibility for the management of the application process.

The VPA, its directors and officers, are mandated to properly discharge their responsibilities to comply with applicable federal and provincial enviromental legislation.

Under the Canada Marine Act, remediation of the land is not required, although section 61 requires the VPA to take appropriate measures for the maintenance of safety within the port, and the VPA's directors and officers are to comply with applicable federal and provincial regulations when warranted.

Question No. 93—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

With regard to the Sterling site on which the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) proposes to construct a concrete batch plant: ( a ) is the site exempt from provincial legislation; ( b ) has the VPA or the Minister sought a legal opinion for that exemption; and ( c ) is the Minister aware of any legal basis under which the VPA may allow construction of a concrete batch plant on “Other Real Property”, as defined by the Federal Real Property Act, owned by the VPA?

Question No. 93—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Transport Canada: The site in question is non-federal land held by the Vancouver Port Authorithy VPA, rather than the federal crown, and, as such, it is possible that provincial and municipal legislation applies to some extent. Whether there is an exemption depends on the nature of the specific activity and whether the activity is being conducted by the VPA or a private sector entity. If the VPA is conducting the activity, it depends on whether or not the VPA is acting as an agent of the crown in respect of the activity. It also depends on the nature of the use and the nature of the provincial or municipal legislation and its impact on the use.

Transport Canada is not aware of the VPA requesting a legal opinion on this issue, and while appropriate officials, including those of the Department of Justice have been consulted on this matter, the department has not requested an opinion on this issue.

The Federal Real Property and Immovables Act does not define “Other Real Property”, but the Canada Marine Act does permit theVPA to hold property other than federal real property , provided that property is set out in the VPA's letters patent. There are several provisions of the letters patent which suggest that the VPA is authorized to construct the proposed plant.

Question No. 96—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

With regard to audits performed by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA): ( a ) how many audits are performed yearly on: (i) personal income tax returns, (ii) small business tax returns; ( b ) of these audits, for each of the said items, how many find money owing to CCRA as a result of the audit; ( c ) what percentage of these audits is appealed; and ( d ) what is the total number of audits performed annually by CCRA?

Question No. 96—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

The following information from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, CCRA, is for the year 2000-01.

Explanatory Notes:

  1. With respect to question (a) (i) and (ii): (A) Personal Income Tax Returns: The data includes audit actions by Compliance Programs Branch on T1 returns only. See (C) below for a list of included programs. A T1 return is an Income tax Return for Individuals. Income to be included on T1 returns includes, but is not limited to: employment income, self-employed income, professional income, commission income, farming income, fishing income, rental income, partnership income and taxable capital gains.

(B) Small Business Tax Returns: The data includes audit actions by Compliance Programs Branch on T2 returns only, excluding audit actions performed on the large and basic Corporations. Small Business tax returns also includes all GST audit actions whether the GST registrant is a corporation or a self-employed individual. See (C) below for a list of included programs. A T2 return is an Income tax return for corporations. All incorporated businesses are required to complete a T2 income tax return detailing their taxable income for the taxation year.

(C) Number of audits: The data indicates the count of files audited/reviewed in the following Program areas:

Business audit--Tax and goods and services tax, GST; Tax avoidance; Office audit; International audits; Non-resident audits; Competent authority; Tax incentive audits; Benefit employment income audits, BEIA; Post review; Refund examination.

  1. With respect to question (b):

Number of audits finding money owing to the CCRA: The data includes audits where federal tax payable has been increased or tax refunds have been reduced as a result of CCRA's audit presence.

  1. With respect to question (c):

Percentage of audits appealed: This data was provided by the Appeals Branch. It represents the number of audit files appealed from April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001. These numbers do not take into consideration any timing differences that may occur as a result of a 90 day appeal period. A taxpayer has 90 days from the date of notification of CCRA's audit adjustment(s) to file an appeal. Therefore, some appeals relating to audits completed in the year ending 2001, may not be received until 2002. Conversely, some appeals received in 2001 may relate to audits completed in 2000.

  1. With respect to question (d):

Total number of audits: The total number of audits includes all audit actions reported in the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency's 2000-2001 Annual Report. It includes the programs listed in note 1(C) above. In addition, it includes return types associated with the large file program and other tax returns audited aside from personal and business returns, such as trusts, charities, et cetera.

Excluded from this count are the number of files reviewed and/or processed in the following areas:

Non-filers; GST domestic rebates processed; non-resident returns processed; International tax other; Investigations.

Question No. 98—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Concerning the implementation of the Canadian Firearms Program: ( a ) what is the projected cost to fully implement and operate the program and enforce the legislation; and ( b ) what is the cost to the Canadian economy including the projected impact on: (1) the number of firearms owners; (2) the number of hunters; (3) the number of visitors to Canada; (4) tourism and outfitting operations; (5) wildlife populations; (6) aboriginal people, communities, business and employment; (7) international trade; (8) shooting sports; (9) Olympic and international shooting competitions; (10) firearms and ammunition manufacturing, sales and service; (11) sporting goods sales and manufacturing; (12) recreational vehicle sales and manufacturing; (13) gun shows; (14) gun clubs and shooting ranges; (15) firearms collectors and museums; (16) movie and television production; (17) heritage and historical re-enactments; (18) employment in all impacted industries and activities?

Question No. 98—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am informed by the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Justice as follows: a ) The firearms program is a national investment in public safety that is supported by the vast majority of Canadians. Over the first six years of operation, $487 million was invested in this program. Even when adding in the estimated investment of $139 million for this year, the total for seven years would still represent less than $3 per Canadian, per year of operation.

This investment comes with the public safety benefits of a licensing and registration system that helps keep firearms from those who should not have them. Since December 1, 1998, over 4,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by public safety officials. To date, there have been 32 times more revocations than over the last five years under the old program. b ) As to the projected impact of this program on the economy:

(1) While certain members of the recreational firearms community suggest that active firearms owners are leaving the shooting sports as a consequence of the individual licensing and firearms registration requirements included in the Firearms Act, there is no indication that this is true.

There are some indications that individuals who owned firearms but no longer use them have chosen to dispose of their unused firearms rather than apply for a licence and register firearms they no longer want, use or need.

(2) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from hunting in Canada. Any decline in hunting participation rates may reflect changing Canadian demographics and increased opportunities for Canadians to actively participate in other recreational activities that were not broadly available in the past.

Many hunting and outdoor organizations understand that cultural attitudes towards hunting and the shooting sports have changed significantly and are expending significant resources to attempt to bring new entrants into the hunting and shooting sports.

(3)-(5) This question is not in the purview of the Department of Justice and should be directed to tourism and natural resources authorities. Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes law abiding Canadians or non-residents from participating in hunting and shooting sports in Canada.

(6) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes aboriginal Canadians from participating in their traditional lifestyles. Nothing in the Firearms Act, other than licensing requirements to meet public safety requirements, limits the business opportunities for any Canadian to offer any service to any hunter or shooter in Canada.

(7) The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presently controls the export and import of firearms and ammunition. When the export and import provisions of the Firearms Act come into force DFAIT export permits will be deemed as authorizations to export under the Firearms Act, while authorizations to import will subsume DFAIT import permits. There should therefore be no extra cost to international trade arising from implementation of the Firearms Act.

(8)-(9) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from participating in shooting sports in Canada. Any decline in shooting sport participation rates may reflect changing Canadian demographics and increased opportunities for Canadians to actively participate in other recreational activities that were not broadly available in the past.

(10) The Firearms Act provides for the licensing of firearms businesses. Nothing in the Act precludes a business from operating within the terms of its licence.

(11)-(12) The Firearms Act does not regulate the sales of such materials in any manner.

(13) The Firearms Act gun show regulations are not yet in force. The changing demographics of firearms ownership may be reflected in the participation rate at gun shows. However, it should be noted that these changes may just reflect the result of other recreational opportunities being available to all Canadians in all seasons.

(14) The changing demographics of firearm ownership may be reflected in the participation rate at gun clubs and shooting ranges. However, it should be noted that these changes may just reflect the result of other recreational opportunities being available to all Canadians in all seasons.

Nothing in the Firearms Act prevents Canadians from participating in the shooting sports. In fact, the Firearms Act requires that long gun ranges be inspected and certified by a chief firearms officer to ensure that they meet safety standards. This is the first time that long gun ranges have had to meet any safety standard whatsoever.

(15) The Firearms Act provides that Canadians can continue to maintain their firearms collections and that new entrants may begin firearms collecting. Museums may be licensed to maintain firearms in their collection.

(16) The Firearms Act provides a framework to regulate movie supply companies. Nothing in the Firearms Act prevents licensed production supply houses from porviding materials to productions.

(17) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from participating in historical re-enactments.

(18) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians from participating in activities in which they participated in before the coming into force of the Firearms Act. While the forces of demographic change and the free choice of other recreational activities may have resulted in a decline in active participation in hunting and shooting sports, there is nothing to indicate that any decrease was the direct result of the introduction, passage, coming into force or implementation of the Firearms Act.