House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in many years we have locked in, for business risk management to help producers, $1.1 billion as a result of the announcement by the Prime Minister and myself in June of last year.

It is the goal and the intention of the government to make sure that all farmers across the country, with those business risk management programs that are being developed with and for the industry, are treated in an equitable manner, no matter what sector of the industry they are in or what province they are in.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, all agricultural stakeholders in Quebec recognize the key role of the Financière agricole du Québec. Only the federal Minister of Agriculture is ignoring this reality.

Why does the minister want to destroy a perfectly good system that everyone in Quebec is happy with?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the system that is being developed, as I said, will be equitable to all farmers in Canada from a federal perspective.

That certainly leaves every province at liberty to do the similar types of programs that they may be doing at the present time or even adding to them, as a number of provinces have in the past. The province of Quebec has chosen to do that. It will be at liberty to do that as a provincial government in the future.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

January 30th, 2003 / 2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency claims that there are 1,000 investigators assigned to GST fraud.

However it is clear that the investigations unit was disbanded and no one is specifically assigned to fraudulent GST claims. Instead of clamping down on criminal activity, it appears that the underground economy is now in charge of Revenue Canada.

Will the minister come clean and tell Canadians who disbanded the investigations unit and how many people are now working on this file full time?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in fact the unit has not been disbanded, it has been expanded. There are 1,000 people working on fraud. I can tell the member as well that there are 78 cases before the courts today and 125 active investigations awaiting charges.

Any assertion that CCRA is not actively pursuing fraud, and GST fraud in particular, is absolutely wrong. In fact our enforcement activities last year resulted in an additional $850 million being recovered because of our enforcement action.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is not just GST fraud though; it is all types of fraud in revenue. They are not focusing specifically on GST and that is where the problem is.

The minister proudly reported to the House that since 1997 there have been 13 prosecutions of GST fraud. That is just over two prosecutions a year. Yet there is a lot of controversy emanating from her department about the level of criminal activity involved here, its level of sophistication and Canada's inability to stop it.

How can we accept the minister's word that GST fraud is not a billion dollar problem when the government has only allocated enough resources to--

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Minister of National Revenue.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is absolutely wrong in his assertions. I keep giving him the facts and he does not want to hear them.

We have been extremely successful. There are 78 cases of GST fraud presently before the courts. There are another 125 active investigations at the present time. Last year alone, as a result of our enforcement efforts, we had an additional $850 million to--

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Oakville.

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

The Saskatchewan Penitentiary recently suspended an Alcoholics Anonymous program that supports inmates in that institution. We know that many inmates enter correctional facilities with substance abuse problems and that they need support in order to become rehabilitated and to become law-abiding members of society.

Will the Solicitor General please tell the House what the Saskatchewan Penitentiary is doing to help inmates to deal with these problems of addiction?

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct when she says that there are quite a number of inmates who come into prisons with serious substance abuse and alcohol problems. It is a concern that the Government of Canada and Correctional Service Canada take very seriously.

That is why we have established partnerships between the CSC and Alcoholics Anonymous to deal with this problem. I am pleased to announce today that the Alcoholics Anonymous program at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary will resume effective February 4.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, to be effective, an ombudsman has to be independent, yet the government is moving ahead with a plan to create 600 different mini-me ombudsmen appointed by chiefs and accountable to chiefs on each of Canada's reserves.

The Canadian Alliance for a long time has been urging the government to adopt a national ombudsman. We are supported in that by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Native Women's Association of Canada, and the National Association of Friendship Centres. We need an impartial and effective ombudsman.

Will the government ensure that aboriginal Canadians finally will get real protection for their rights from one independent ombudsman?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Miramichi
New Brunswick

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the member opposites sits on our committee. The committee is hearing witnesses. The committee will come back to the House with a report on the bill. I would hope that he would be patient with us in having an answer for the House of Commons.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, a system where everyone is appointed by the chief, everyone answers to the chief and everyone is accountable to the chief does not work in Ottawa so I do not think it is going to work on reserves.

Aboriginal Canadians should enjoy the same human rights and the same protections as all other Canadians. Once again I ask the government, will it assure Canadians that it will not waste $60 million, and aboriginal peoples' time and rights will not be put at risk by the appointment of 600 different ineffective ombudsmen?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Miramichi
New Brunswick

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed again. Chiefs are important people on their reservations. They are elected by their people, by a process. I would hope the party opposite would give them due process and give them respect. They deserve the same respect that we deserve in this House as members of the House of Commons.