House of Commons Hansard #175 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was china.

Topics

Taiwan Chamber of Commerce
Statements By Members

April 24th, 2002 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the pleasure to attend the 10th anniversary gala of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce of British Columbia, TCCBC. This organization was established in 1992 to promote business opportunities in Canada for Taiwanese and Canadian investors.

The Taiwan Chamber of Commerce has promoted many business and investment programs and activities for British Columbia and it continues to strengthen Canadian-Taiwanese business relations.

I wish to congratulate Mr. Jacob Lai and his members of the TCCBC for their contribution to B.C. I ask all members to join me in congratulating the hard work of the TCCBC for furthering Canada-Taiwan business relations.

Firefighters
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is redrafting public security legislation. I urge it to take a closer look at the initiatives brought forth by the International Association of Fire Fighters.

A $500,000 annual investment, a fraction of the cost of the Prime Minister's luxury jets, gives firefighters access to hazardous material training. While military reaction to disaster is often hours or days away, firefighters are on the scene within minutes. Training is necessary for their protection and ours.

Liberal cuts to ports policing, the coast guard and the military put safety and security of Canadians at risk. The events of September 11 and the ill-advised changes to airport policy have created new dangers. The real threat of bioterrorism, delays in response time and inability to board planes could cost lives. Firefighters, professionals and volunteers need the support of the federal government in the area of pensions and compensation for spouses and children.

On these and other important issues the Liberals pay lip service. What firefighters need to do their job is action and resources. The lives of our firefighters and those who they selflessly serve and protect deserve no less.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government took less care spending $750 million on four subs than people do when they buy used cars. When people buy houses, they hire a house inspector. When people buy boats or submarines, they hire marine surveyors.

Could the minister explain to Canadians if he hired a professional, independent marine surveyor to ensure that taxpayers were getting subs that worked?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there were numerous inspections, tests and test trials before the subs were handed over. The matter of this minor dent is being fully examined at the moment and all precautions are being taken.

I must say though, for the price the hon. member noted, we got a great bargain. It was 25% of the cost of what it would have been to build new submarines. It takes a while getting them into service and ensuring all these matters are resolved. That is being done.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is all good and nice but it does not answer the question. Even the Minister of Finance knows that when someone buys a boat, the person gets someone else to check it out. Canadians are always wondering if the minister is minding the store.

I ask him this again. Could the minister tell taxpayers what due diligence was applied to this deal and was an independent marine surveyor hired by the Canadian government to ensure that these subs were seaworthy and safe for our services?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have already said an all due inspection was made and due diligence was carried out to ensure that these were ready. The submarines were brought over to Canada. Further work was being done on them and in the course of the work this dent was discovered.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we still do not have an answer whether there was an independent surveyor, which should have been done.

The minister has failed to replace the Sea Kings. A billion dollars wasted and not a helicopter has been ordered yet. The clothe the soldier program is far over budget and delayed by three years. A $174 million went into a satellite system that is still in storage. We have a destroyer sitting in mothballs in British Columbia only a few years after it received a multimillion dollar refit. The list goes on and on.

Now we have submarines that have a problem and he cannot tell us whether there was an independent survey. When will the minister admit that he does not have control of his department?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

That is absolute nonsense, Mr. Speaker. What the hon. member and his party do not point out is the fact that the government has invested some 20% increase in the budget of the defence department. It has bought new armoured personnel carriers and new Coyotes. We have in fact invested a great deal to support the Canadian forces over these years, and that is what we are doing.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. The facts are that the government spends less on the military than it did when it took over government nine years ago.

The whole submarine fiasco points to a larger flaw in Canada's approach to replacing military ships. We know that if the government had not purchased these used submarines we would not have had any subs. That is because it has done nothing to plan for an ongoing shipbuilding industry.

When will the government finally draft a policy to replace our naval ships which will certainly lead to a Canadian shipbuilding industry?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have an excellent group of ships. We have the frigates and the coastal defence vessels. These submarines had seen only one or two years' service and were really quite new when they were mothballed by the U.K. We purchased them for a quarter of the price it would have cost to buy new submarines. When all of the work is done to get them ready, they will serve this country well.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government had not waited four years to buy these things, they never would have been mothballed. It is a complete double standard on the part of the government. It is made in Canada luxury jets for the cabinet and second-hand subs for our military. Why is that?

Canada is supposedly a modern G-8 country. We have the longest coastline in the world and we have a proud naval history. How is it that countries like Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands all build their own subs but Canada does not?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member mentions Australia, which did decide to build its own class of submarine but it took 15 years to get it into service.

Microbreweries
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to help small businesses that create jobs, France, Belgium, Germany, England and the United States all impose a lower excise tax rate on beer produced by their microbreweries than on bottled beer produced in large quantities by major beer breweries.

How does the Prime Minister explain that, contrary to their foreign competitors, Quebec and Canadian microbreweries do not enjoy a preferential rate to help them on a domestic market that is dominated by large breweries?

Microbreweries
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the bill that is currently before the committee has nothing to do with this issue.

However, the Minister of Finance is continuing his discussions with microbreweries, and we will soon have an answer.

Microbreweries
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we got the answer yesterday. The excise tax review under Bill C-47 includes wine, spirits and tobacco, but not beer. Indeed, the government has decided that Quebec and Canadian brewers, large and small, will continue to pay an excise tax of 28 cents on each litre of beer.

Could the Prime Minister explain to us the twisted logic whereby beer is the only product that is excluded from the excise tax review?