House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, once again, it is important to add that this is not about a senior official of the government but a senior officer of Parliament, an employee of this House and the Senate as well.

I told the hon. member that the benefit in question, a housing allowance, is not without precedent. That does not mean that if there were excesses in other areas we would approve of them. Of course we would disapprove of them; we have all done so.

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

October 2nd, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, hurricane Juan may be the worst storm to ever hit Nova Scotia. Will the Prime Minister commit to an advance disaster assistance payment from the federal government to the province of Nova Scotia and will he commit to the immediate payment of the four outstanding claims for previous disasters dating back to 1999?

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that this is an extremely serious problem. I was there yesterday and I also saw the fine work that was being done by more than 800 sailors and soldiers in the area. I spoke to the premier of the province and he and I both agreed that now is not the time to be dealing with money.

The province is eligible for DFAA assistance, but the immediate priority is to get the power back and to get the roads running. After that, we will deal with the money.

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, going back to 1999 and five disasters later, there has never been a good time for this government to pay its bills or to deal with money. It is about time that this government pays its commitments to the province of Nova Scotia. The federal disaster financial assistance program does not currently cover claims related to agriculture or the fishery. Both these sectors have sustained incredible losses due to hurricane Juan.

Will the government commit to including both agriculture and the fishery under the disaster assistance program?

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. member just said, this government has worked in an extremely productive way with the premiers and ministers of provinces where disasters have struck.

I know this first-hand from the very positive comments received from the premier of British Columbia during the forest fires, from the premier of Nova Scotia yesterday when it came to the hurricane, and also from Premier Eves, still today the premier of Ontario, in terms of the power failure.

We have done our job. Our military has done a fantastic job. We will be there with the money for Nova Scotia and for Prince Edward Island.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a day when Canadians are still dying in the service of their country, it might be a good day to fully honour the memory of those who volunteered to do likewise many years ago and restore the veterans independence program to all the widows who deserve it and who were wrongfully cut off.

Now the Minister of Veterans Affairs says that he has the heart but he does not have the money. Yesterday the Prime Minister said to his caucus that he was going to find the money.

I wonder if the Minister of Veterans Affairs can get up today and say, “This debate is over, all of us here agree that those widows should get the money to which they are entitled”.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member of what I have said over the last few days: that we were confronted with six urgent veterans' needs as well. The veterans independence program was one of them. We allocated half of what we have for the VIP, as we announced, and the other half of the total budget that we had at that time for the other five urgent needs of veterans, for their children to get benefits when their parent is killed in the line of duty, to extend in-house benefits for the other veterans and former prisoners of war.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

That is the problem, Mr. Speaker, with asking questions of this government. It cannot make any decisions because it has to check it out with the provisional government and clearly the provisional government has not made that decision yet.

So I say to the Minister of Finance with respect to the $2 billion that was promised to the provinces for health care, can he tell us, as a representative of this government, whether this government intends to honour that promise and have that $2 billion flowing toward the health care of Canadians?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly in the House that we will fully honour the promise. The promise is exactly as it was written in the health accord: that if in January the government has apparently a budgetary surplus in excess of the normal contingency, up to $2 billion will be made available to the provinces for their additional health care costs. It is pretty clear. It is now October. It is still not January. The determination has not yet been made. We will fulfill our obligations to the letter of the agreement.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance demand for a retroactive national sex offender registry has repeatedly met with fierce opposition from the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General argued that making it retroactive would be “constitutionally impossible”. In fact, on May 15 in the House, he said, “We do not intend to make our legislation retroactive for very good reasons”.

To the Solicitor General, why the flip-flop?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I still have very grave concerns about the Canadian Alliance proposal on the sex offender registry on full retroactivity. That concern still exists, but when we met with the federal-provincial-territorial ministers in Charlevoix, Quebec, yesterday and the day before, we were able to come to an agreement with them on a number of fronts. We are willing to look at partial retroactivity, with provincial agreement.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Solicitor General's provincial counterparts took a look at the national sex offender registry as proposed by this government, they had grave concerns.

The Solicitor General announced yesterday that he is now prepared to tinker with the registry to include some sex offenders. If he really wants to protect society from the worst kind of criminals, why does he refuse to place all high risk offenders on the national sex offender registry?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, when we tabled the legislation in May, we tabled it on the basis of a consensus that we had with the provinces and territories at that time. That consensus has somewhat changed as a result of the meeting over the last couple of days.

We are still moving forward with the sex offender registry as tabled. I indicated to the provinces that we would take a look, try to take a look at exploring the possibility of an amendment to bring in those individuals who are currently within the correctional system. We will do that and we will move forward.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the meeting of finance ministers only a few days away, the Quebec minister has again demonstrated the great harm being done to government finances in Quebec, and has pointed out that this situation could deteriorate still further if the federal government does not pay out all the money for health services that it promised.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that there is fiscal imbalance in Canada, that this situation needs to be corrected, and that the solution does not lie in such formulas as “Well, if there is a big enough surplus, I will hand over a bit of money, but if not, you will just have to fend for yourselves”?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada ensures that we continue to have a surplus, while the other G-7 countries are struggling with huge deficits.

We have been able to do this because we have never followed the Bloc Quebecois' advice and have made every effort to manage public funds in a very prudent manner. This is the best way to help the provinces' treasuries, because it keeps interest rates low and maintains confidence in the economy.