House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, honestly the best thing I can do is repeat to the hon. member her own words. On March 12 she said in the House:

The principle of overpayment is a good one. If Canadians receive government benefits to which they are not entitled, they should pay them back. No one argues with that.

The only one who seems to argue with it is the hon. member and her party. The government has only ever recovered that portion of benefits paid to people who were not legally allowed to receive them. I never thought I would ever see the day when that party challenged us on recovering benefits that were not eligible to be paid.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the HRD minister said yesterday that changes were necessary to make the process fair. This would imply that it was previously unfair.

Will the minister admit that for five years her department ripped off innocent workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

No, Mr. Speaker, I will not.

Let me be clear. If individuals honestly or mistakenly fail to declare their earnings, the only amount that they are expected to pay back is the amount equal to the benefits that they received for which they were not eligible.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General of Canada reiterated to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that the spirit of employment insurance had not been respected in setting the premium rate, because of the exaggerated surplus in the EI fund: more than $40 billion.

Can the Minister of Human Resources Development assure us that the rates for 2003 and 2004 will be set in a process that is, and I quote the auditor general, “transparent and objective”, or will she continue siphoning money from the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. junior finance minister.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, this $40 billion surplus is not real money. It is not real.

What is real, is that over the last nine years, the government has reduced premiums substantially, giving contributors more than $6 billion. And the government announced its intention to continue these decreases in the future.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is real, is that the government paid down its debt on the backs of the unemployed.

Will the minister ensure that the rate setting process is transparent in order to guarantee adequate parliamentary control so that employers, employees and the unemployed stop getting fleeced by this government?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what the auditor general said at committee is exactly what she said in her report in December. What she indicated is that she thought there was a better way of setting employment insurance premium rates. We agree with her. That is why in Bill C-2 we included that as part of the act. I would remind the House, the hon. member and his party that they voted against that bill.

Arts and Culture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, there must be something about Scandinavian countries the Liberals do not like. First they send a scandal ridden politician to Denmark and now the heritage minister interferes with an upcoming royal visit from the king and queen of Norway.

The minister claims the Sami Inuit exhibit was cancelled in Toronto because of lack of funding. Ironically, if the venue were changed to Hamilton, funding from Heritage Canada would magically appear.

The minister is quoted as saying that she would love to fund the event, but is she not really saying that she would love to fund the event as long as it is in her home town of Hamilton?

Arts and Culture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. The member opposite and his party have been very critical of the government for allegedly funding organizations that never applied. In this case no application has ever been received either in Toronto or in Hamilton. It is very difficult to fund an exhibition for which an application has never been received.

I am awaiting the application. I hope the University of Toronto or any other organization will apply forthwith.

Arts and Culture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is rather interesting because the Norwegian ambassador confirmed today in a letter to the Globe and Mail that the foreign affairs department and the embassy contacted Heritage Canada. Ambassador Havnen was looking for alternative sources of funding; the minister was interested in alternative venues.

Why does the minister not just admit that she never intended to assist with the funding unless the event was moved to the Hamilton art gallery whose chairman just happens to be Jordan Livingston, a significant campaign donor and longtime political friend of the minister?

Arts and Culture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is rather sad that the member opposite would besmirch the reputation of a gallery which has the fourth largest collection of art in Canada, which had a curator who was a member of the group of seven and which has an incredible international reputation.

That being said, I am not surprised because the member quotes the ambassador. If he reads the letter that the ambassador wrote to the Globe and Mail he will find that the ambassador stated very clearly that the only thing that I attempted to do was to help the ambassador in achieving his objectives of bringing the exhibition to Canada.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

March 21st, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans just returned from holding hearings into foreign fishing violations just outside our 200 mile limit.

Witnesses were very forceful. In fact some were near tears in telling us directly that Canada must take action against these violations by NAFO member countries. In 2001 there has been a documented illegal harvest of greater than 10,000 tonnes of species under moratorium.

This strikes at the heart of this country's protecting its fish stocks. What is the minister willing to do to protect our fish?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member and his committee for the outstanding work on this most important issue for Atlantic Canada.

I should like to make it clear that Canada will not tolerate the deliberate abuse of NAFO rules by foreign fishing fleets on the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.

I have announced today as a first step that Canada is closing its ports to fishing vessels from the Faroe Islands for persistent violations of NAFO measures and disregard for conservation of the fish stocks.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the actions of Ari Ben-Menashe and his Canadian company, Dickens and Madson, have put the life of Zimbabwe opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in extreme danger.

Mr. Tsvangirai has been charged with treason which calls for the death penalty based on a highly questionable videotape done by the same individuals. These individuals have been involved in a history of fraud and extortion around the world.

Will the solicitor general instruct the RCMP to investigate the international activities of Ari Ben-Menashe, Alex Legault and their company, Dickens and Madson?