House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lobbying.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Durham
Ontario

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Treasury Board has, through its guidelines to other departments, requested them to inventory their contaminated sites and 85% of this work has now been done and is displayed on our Internet site. In addition, over $100 million a year is now being funded through various departments to ensure that we identify the remainder of those sites. By July 1, 2003, we believe that the balance, from 85% to 100%, of those sites will be identified and a plan for remediation will be in place.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

October 25th, 2002 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Deputy Prime Minister who tabled this week the government's new ethics package.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell this House whether the package is intended to cover situations in which parliamentarians advocate public policies that advance their own corporate interests?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, of course, some of the situations may prove to be rather complex so I do not want to give an off-hand answer. However there is a definition in the code that does try to catch private interests, including private pecuniary interests of parliamentarians, as being those with which they ought not to be advocating. That is distinct from a broader advocacy for interests that might be financial in their regions, for example.

I would commend the member to read the code and we will try to ensure it is clear in application.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, then let me ask the Deputy Prime Minister specifically about Senator Kirby who just released a report today which is a recipe for privatization and commercialization.

Given Senator Kirby's involvement as an active board member in Extendicare, which is a private for profit health company, could the Deputy Prime Minister explain how the government has been silent on that report and Senator Kirby's very obvious conflict of interest?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I do not think that the question relates to the ministerial responsibility to the government.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Kirby committee recommends raising the additional revenue for health care through a national health care insurance premium, and I quote:

--these new revenues will be earmarked and dedicated. The money will be spent on the health care of Canadians and health care only.

The current finance minister, the previous finance minister and the transport minister have all stated in the past that the Liberal government is opposed to a dedicated tax approach. Will the government be reversing this position by introducing a dedicated health care tax?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct in saying that our general approach has always been that we do not favour a dedicated tax, that it is better that revenues be collected and then applied to the priorities as determined by Parliament from time to time. Tax revenues can increase on a particular source and do not necessarily, if they are tied to an expenditure, reflect appropriate levels of accountability.

That being said, I am prepared to consider the recommendations of both Kirby and Romanow. I think the outcome of the first ministers meeting will be important and I look forward to the views of members of the House with respect to how to deal with those recommendations.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government spends less than 10% of gas tax revenues on highway infrastructure and pillages over $5 billion from the EI surplus for general spending. What guarantees will the government make that dollars raised for health care will be spent on health care? Why should Canadians trust it to not use dedicated money for health care for general Liberal spending?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member has to some extent illustrated the problem with a dedicated tax. I presume from what he is saying that he thinks 100% of all revenues from fuel taxes should be spent on highways. We do not know whether that is the right amount, too much, too little, or anything else. We know that highways are primarily the responsibility of the provincial governments.

When we consider whether we should impose a dedicated health tax, not only is there a question of how do we assure people that is where it will go, but is it the right amount, is it the right source and what do we do with increases in the amount of revenue that comes in for such a charge.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister stated that Standing Order 111 provides for the election by the House of Commons of the ethics commissioner. In fact it does not. It allows instead for the intended person's appointment to be referred to committee. After 30 days the proposed appointment would be put under routine proceedings. That is then decided on without debate or amendment.

There is no true election and no true influence by opposition parties on the outcome. Will the government commit to true, all party participation in the election of an ethics commissioner?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not know of any one else in the House who would think that an election is not a vote. Most of us think that it is. The member should recognize that under that Standing Order it is put to the House after a 30 day period so people can examine the candidacy. Then there is a vote. That is an election by the House for the individual by democratic majority, those principles with which the people across the way do not seem to be familiar.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to explain this. Perhaps the member could think of the days when he was in opposition. He would probably remember the anxiety that he felt from time to time when overwhelmed by a government majority. This choice will be made by a government majority and not give a true influence to opposition parties on a person who can rule on their behalf.

The last thing we need is an ethics commissioner who is a damage control officer for the Liberals and attacks people in opposition. Will they commit to allowing some true representation on this from opposition parties?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to this as seriously as possible. Yes, there needs to be consultation with opposition parties. Undoubtedly that is the case. That would occur before the name was even put to a vote in the House of Commons.

I would also say, however, that I would not recommend to the government that there be the ability by opposition parties to somehow prevent the choice of an ethics commissioner for reasons that are unrelated to that person's abilities, credibility or otherwise. I am interested in suggestions about things that would increase the credibility of the commissioner, including suggestions that were put forward by the leader of the--

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Charlevoix.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the announcement of a plan to assist workers in the softwood lumber industry, the disastrous effects of the trade dispute are multiplying, while companies are left on their own to fight it out and deal with the crisis.

What is the Minister of Industry waiting for to offer these companies loan guarantees, which would allow them not only to protect jobs, but also to save their investments while waiting for the crisis to end.