House of Commons Hansard #179 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was microbreweries.

Topics

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

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.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts with regard to vote 20 under finance in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2003.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour this morning to present a petition from the riding of Portage--Lisgar signed by 154 of the finest Canadians you will ever meet.

The petitioners express concern about Bill C-15B, the cruelty to animals legislation. They have concerns that the bill goes far beyond the government's stated intentions and that it may endanger farmers, ranchers and others who use animals for legitimate and lawful purposes.

The petitioners request that parliament amend the bill in support of fair and co-operative legislation that will not punish those who use livestock in sustaining the Canadian economy.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the fifth petition from constituents and others regarding the death of Dana Fair who was beaten to death by three men with wooden boards September 1, 2001, in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

There were many eyewitnesses to Dana's death. Three men, Raymond Cannepotatoe, Michael Harper and Cody Littlewolf, have been charged with second degree murder. Cannepotatoe has been released on $2,000 bail. He had offended in a serious way before.

The petitioners are asking that no bail be granted for all accused murderers caught in the act of committing their crimes and that only maximum sentences be given to those convicted.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this morning to present a petition on behalf of folks primarily from Nelson and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The petitioners note that the federal fisheries minister has a constitutional obligation to protect wild fish in their habitat and that the auditor general has issued a report stating that the minister is not fulfilling his obligation. They call upon parliament to request that the minister fulfill his obligation to protect wild fish in their habitat.

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. 125, 126, 127 and 130.

Question No. 125—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

With respect to the seizure of registered retirement savings plans, RRSP, by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency as part of collections activity, could the government itemize, by province, for the years 1990-91 through 2000-01: ( a ) the number of RRSPs seized; ( b ) the dollar value of the RRSPs seized; ( c ) the amounts of additional taxes resulting from the collapse of RRSPs in excess of the amount required to satisfy collections requirements, and ( d ) the date when the first seizure of an RRSP for collections purposes took place?

Question No. 125—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

In general, on the question of seizing registered retirement savings plans, RRSPs, the policy of the Canada Customs Revenue Agency, CCRA, is that RRSPs are a collection avenue of last resort, in that actions to attempt to seize funds in a RRSP would normally only be taken when other avenues of collection have been exhausted.

The CCRA does not keep any statistics with respect to the collection activities relating to the seizing of RRSPs and is unable to provide a response to questions (a), (b), (c). As information specifically relating to RRSPs has not been kept in any form, unfortunately the CCRA is also unable to provide a response to question (d).

However, with respect to question (c), on the amount of additional taxes resulting from the collapse of RRSPs in excess of the amount required to satisfy the crown’s debt, the following is offered:

The policy of the CCRA in this regard is to only attach to amounts that are equal to those that are due and payable. Unfortunately, on occasion this results in the collapse of a plan containing funds in excess of the amount owed to the crown. This, however, is as a result of the conditions contained in the covering plan and is not caused by any inappropriate actions taken by the CCRA.

In such cases, the alternative would be for the CCRA to forgo pursuing collection of the debt, which is contrary to its mandate as well as its fiduciary duty. In those situations where such action is deemed to be necessary, and which regrettably results in the collapse of a plan containing funds in excess of the amount required to satisfy the debt, there will be tax consequences on the whole amount of the funds contained in the collapsed plan.

When collapsing RRSPs, the financial institutions are required to withhold tax based on the dollar value of the RRSP that is being collapsed. Should there be any further tax consequences as a result of such collapse, there are numerous alternatives available to the tax debtor, some of which would include: holding any extra funds resulting from the collapse in order to pay off the anticipated tax debt; using those extra funds to purchase other RRSPs in order to reduce any future tax consequences; making an arrangement with the CCRA to pay installments to cover the anticipated debt; and, making arrangements with the CCRA to pay off the debt, once it has been established.

Question No. 126—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

With regard to the reporting of adverse reactions to drugs in Canada, and for each drug that an adverse reaction has been reported, can the government indicate: ( a ) the date of market release in Canada; ( b ) the date of each subsequent adverse reaction report received; and ( c ) the type and date of action taken in response?

Question No. 126—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Since the beginning of the Canadian adverse drug reaction monitoring program, CADRMP, in 1965, 155,000 domestic suspected adverse reaction reports have been received and entered into one of several databases used over this period of time.

There are more than 20,000 drug products approved and marketed in Canada. Product and company information, including the date of market notification, for these drugs is contained in Health Canada’s drug product database. Some of the information in the database is available through the Health Canada website.

The date of receipt of adverse reaction reports is included in the adverse reaction database maintained by Health Canada. Due to the volume of suspected adverse reaction and medication incident reports, the database does not link to actions in response to each report of suspected reaction. Moreover, actions in response to suspected adverse reaction reports usually follow detection and confirmation of a new signal or trend concerning a safety issue associated with a marketed drug or other health product as discovered by creating a series of case reports. In other words, a market intervention or action is taken once a sufficient level of scientific evidence from case reports of suspected adverse reactions or medication incidents has been received.

Adverse reaction reports to marketed health products are considered to be suspicious, as a definite causal association often cannot be determined. In some cases the reported clinical data may be incomplete, or the given reaction may be due to the underlying disease or to another coincidental factor. Signals may be identified through the systematic review of adverse reaction reports and any other additional information on product safety.

Potential signals need expert evaluation before more actions are undertaken. Actions must be based on scientific analysis of case series and this implies an evaluation of the signal and the appropriate benefit-risk review of the information available. Actions may vary depending on the nature, the seriousness and the frequency of the reaction, as well as on the intended use of the health product, the benefit obtained from its use versus the risks and the availability of alternative therapies.

Information concerning regulatory actions taken in response to submitted suspected adverse reactions and medication incidents is available on the Health Canada website. Health Canada posts advisories, Dear Health Care Professional letters, summary fact sheets and “It’s Your Health” issues on the Health Canada website. Health care professionals and consumers can subscribe to the Health_Prod_ Info electronic mailing list to receive timely safety information and notification of regulatory actions.

Since 1991, the Canadian adverse reaction newsletter has also summarized case reports of suspected adverse reactions and medication incidents and provides additional information regarding regulatory actions. For example, in the period from June 2001 to February 2002, 32 advisories for health professionals and consumers concerning drugs and health products have been posted on the Health Canada website.

Question No. 127—
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

With regard to the first ministers’ meeting in September 2000 and the federal government’s funding commitments to the provincial and territorial governments: ( a ) can the government provide a full accounting of the spending to date in each of the following areas, namely (i) transfers to the provinces and territories for new medical equipment, (ii) the acquisition of necessary diagnostic and treatment equipment, (iii) the renewed Health Transition Fund to support innovation and reform in primary care, (iv) the investment in an independent corporation mandated to accelerate the development and adoption of modern systems of information technology; and ( b ) can the government indicate, for items (i) and (ii), what is the final disposition of funds by the recipient government to the full extent to which the federal government is aware?

Question No. 127—
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 Finance and Health as follows:

(a)(i) To support the September 2000 first ministers’ agreements on health renewal and early childhood development the Government of Canada provided $23.4 billion in transfers and targeted funding. The Canada health and social transfer, CHST, received an additional $21.1 billion over five years, including $2.2 billion for early childhood development initiatives.

The Government of Canada also provided $2.3 billion in targeted support: $1 billion to provinces and territories for the purchase of medical equipment, $800 million for primary health care and $500 million for information and communications technologies. CHST funding is also available to assist provinces in purchasing medical equipment and investing in new technologies as priorities outlined in the agreement on health renewal.

The fund has been available to provinces and territories since October 23, 2000, through a third party trust arrangement. All jurisdictions have now received their full allocation of the fund which expired on March 31, 2002.

(ii) In September 2000, the Government of Canada established a $1 billion medical equipment fund to assist provinces and territories to immediately purchase and install medical equipment according to the priorities of their own health systems. Such equipment could include MRIs, CT scanners, dialysis machines, and other needed equipment, such as lifting devices, to improve the overall quality of health care and the working conditions for health care personnel.

(iii) In response the to first ministers’ agreement to accelerate primary health care renewal, the Government of Canada announced the $800 million primary health care transition fund to bring about systemic, long-term reform. It will support provinces and territories in their efforts, over the next four years, to improve the delivery of primary health care by supporting transitional costs of large scale, primary health care initiatives.

The fund has several envelopes: 70% of the funding (or $560 million) is be allocated to provinces and territories on a per capita basis to assist them in reforming their primary health care systems; 30% of the funding (or $240 million) will support: national initiatives which support renewal efforts; initiatives to advance primary health care reform for aboriginal communities; initiatives to advance primary health care reform for official language minority communities; and multi-jurisdictional initiatives in which two or more provinces and/or territories are collaborating to advance primary health care renewal.

Primary health care renewal is a major endeavour and planning for renewal takes time. Requests for funds under the PHCTF will need to be based on jurisdictions’ long term renewal plans. Accordingly, the upfront planning and preparations are important. It took several months of discussion before F/P/T governments agreed on parameters of the PHCTF that provided sufficient accountability while still offering sufficient flexibility for provincial and territorial governments to manage the system.

Provincial and territorial governments are at various stages in the planning of primary health care renewal. Many of the provinces and territories have applied for proposal development funding under the PHCTF. Full provincial and territorial proposals are expected to be submitted throughout the spring and summer of 2002. Although a final accounting of expenditures for the 2001-02 fiscal year has not yet been made, total spending is expected to be about $1.3 million under the provincial/territorial per capita component of the PHCTF.

(iv) The Government of Canada provided $500 million to an independent corporation, Canada Health Infoway Inc., Infoway, in March 2001 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding, MOU, between Infoway and the Minister of Health. The mandate of Infoway is to accelerate the development and adoption of modern systems of health information and communications technologies and to define and promote standards governing shared data to ensure the compatibility of health information networks. Public annual financial statements should be available in June 2002. Infoway’s website at www.canadahealthinfoway.ca can be referred to for further information on the corporation and its activities.

(b) CHST cash payments are $3.6 billion higher in 2002-03 than in 2000-01. CHST cash is now at an all time high of $19.1 billion this year. Together with the growing tax transfer component, CHST entitlements will reach $35.6 billion this year. Provinces can allocate CHST funding among health, post-secondary education, social assistance programs, including early childhood development, according to their priorities.

The medical equipment trust expired on March 31, 2002, and any funds remaining in the trust were dispersed accordingly to provinces and territories. Under the September 2000 agreements, premiers agreed to report to their respective populations rather than the federal government on the use of such funds. The Minister of Health is working with her provincial and territorial colleagues.

Question No. 130
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Can the Departments of Public Works, Fisheries and Oceans, and Transport, or any other department, provide the amount of revenue the federal government receives from leases of wharves and related infrastructure to ferry service operators, including: ( a ) how the amount compares to amounts received in 2000, 1999, and 1998; ( b ) the amount of this revenue that comes from leases in Nova Scotia; and ( c ) the formulas on which these leases are based?

Question No. 130
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 as follows: Fisheries and Oceans, DFO: DFO does not receive any revenue from leases of infrastructure to ferry service operators.

Although there are ferry services operating at harbours included in Schedule I of the fishing and recreational harbours regulations, all of these harbours are leased to and operated by harbour authorities. Any revenues generated through operations of these harbours are therefore retained by the harbour authorities to defray the costs of harbour operation and minor repairs.

Public Works and Government Services Canada, PWGSC: PWGSC is the custodian of 66 smaller wharves distributed throughout the country but does not lease wharves and related infrastructure to ferry service operators and, consequently, we do not have any revenues related to such actions.

Transport Canada: Transport Canada leases three ferry terminals to Bay Ferries Ltd. for the provision of ferry services. These ferry terminals are located at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Digby, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. The federal government has leased these facilities for $500 per annum since 1997, when the sites were leased to Bay Ferries Ltd. as part of the commercialization program carried out under the Canada Marine Act.

(a) 2001 = $1,500

2000 = $1,500

1999 = $1,500

1998 = $1,500

(b) Revenue from leases for Nova Scotia sites is $1,000.

(c) Nominal amount as established by commercialization process.

Question No. 130
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.