House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was china.

Topics

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. member for Calgary Centre.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Now there is a Freudian slip, Mr. Speaker.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

We would not want any more Freudian slips. We will hear a question of privilege after question period. We do not have them during question period.

The right hon. member for Calgary Centre.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Briefing notes for the minister revealed that the government was considering an American plan to put weapons into space. The memo also suggested to the minister that if he was asked, that he should keep the information secret, which should be easy for the minister.

Could the minister tell the House if Canada is having any discussions about space weapons with the United States, and do these discussions include missile defence systems?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada is opposed to the weaponization of space. Having said that, we do agree with surveillance programs, surveillance from space of earth, surveillance of space. We have been into those kinds of programs for many years and we have had discussions with respect to that.

With respect to ballistic missile defence, it has been said often that we have not been officially asked by the United States. We are following the progress of this matter. No decision has been made by that country and no decision has been made by this country.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question then is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Canada has long worked for a convention on the non-weaponization of outer space within the conference on disarmament. The defence briefing notes confirm that the United States is actively pursuing plans for space weapons in the next decade.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House if a joint working group has been struck between the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defence to establish a common Canadian position on the weaponization of space? Could he also tell us when this issue will be brought before parliament and when a clear position will be stated in parliament by one of the two ministers?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the right hon. member for his question because, as the Minister of National Defence stated very clearly, Canada's position has always been against the weaponization of space and we will maintain that position.

Surely the hon. member does not wish to suggest that we should not have conversations with our American allies. It is exactly in conversations that we can bring Canadian policies to bear. We will continue to insist with the Americans that we are against the weaponization of space. We will bring forward Canadian interests and Canadian values in our conversations with our American allies.

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that the U.S. president was looking into the problem of the softwood lumber dispute. However the clock is ticking and on March 21 the U.S. department of commerce will be issuing a decision on what duties the Canadian lumber industry may have to pay.

What assurances did the Prime Minister receive that real progress is being made to work out an acceptable solution prior to the March 21 deadline?

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I first want to say that I made a little mistake a minute ago in confusing two good ministers.

I talked with the president yesterday and I was informed that some discussions would be going on today and that there will be other discussions later in the week.

The administration in the United States knows very well that we are very preoccupied with this problem. I say again that I am hopeful that there will be a resolution of this dispute within the next month.

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would just remind the Prime Minister that he was preoccupied with this problem in November when he said that the problem would be fixed by Christmas. Now he is saying that he is hopeful a solution can be found.

I want to remind the House that in British Columbia alone 40% of its provincial GDP comes from forest industry exports. Tens of thousands of jobs are at stake. Nationally, this is a $10 billion export business and it faces devastation as of March 21 if something is not done.

Will the Prime Minister make a personal trip to Washington to intervene and make the case for this very important Canadian industry?

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I talk regularly with the president. I do not think he needs to see my physical presence. He knows about the problem. He knows we have a free trade agreement. He is supposed to be a free trader. He wants our resources in the United States. I keep telling him that we are happy to have free trade but not on a selective basis. We need to have free trade in all the resources of Canada.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

February 27th, 2002 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is preparing to consider, for purposes of calculating equalization payments, the Statistics Canada estimates on the value of residential capital stocks. Using this new figure will deprive Quebec, starting this year, of $500 million in equalization payments.

Whereas the protocol for calculating the equalization payments terminates in March 2004, what is the Minister of Finance's justification for again, as was the case for the Canada social transfer, unilaterally changing the rules in midstream?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there has been no unilateral change. This change was made by Statistics Canada.

I have made an offer to the provinces, one accepted by Minister Marois, for their public servants to meet with Statistics Canada staff to discuss this. At the same time, we offered to spread the payments out over five years, if this discussion does lead to payments.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the minister has surplus money coming out of his ears. He has no need to add any more by destabilizing the public accounts of Quebec.

Does the Minister of Finance not find it indecent that his departmental officials insist on using this source of data, whereas it would have been very simple, and not prejudicial to Quebec, to have used the true market value of the housing available in the municipalities, a value that was even proposed by Gérard-D. Lévesque in 1987, who referred to the predators of federalism?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are two kinds of changes, changes to methodology and changes in the order of things.

For example, this time the economic downturn in Canada has meant a drop in equalization payments for Quebec.

In the same vein, in 1999 Quebec received an unexpected cheque for $1.3 billion from the Canadian government.