House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-17.

Topics

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that I cannot speak to any individual case.

What I can tell him is that the bankruptcy laws apply to everyone in Canada equally. For anyone who makes a proposal in bankruptcy which involves the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, CCRA then becomes a creditor like any other.

I will say to the member on the proposal in bankruptcy that, in my understanding, the timeline, which is public information, was long before; that was completed long before the decision on the appointment.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to believe that on July 26 George Radwanski knew nothing about the job and on July 27 he got the job.

Unless he misrepresented the facts, there is no doubt that the agency knew he was about to step into a $210,000 per year job. It should have rejected the deal and forced him to pay his back taxes.

Now, will the minister take the necessary steps to reopen this file and to recover the money?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that the member opposite is wrong in his assumption. If he looks very carefully at the timeline of the information, which is in the public domain, he will know that in fact the efforts of CCRA were appropriate. We treat everyone equally and fairly under the bankruptcy act and the Income Tax Act, which we administer, and where anyone has any concerns or complaints we always investigate to ensure that people pay their fair share.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Belledune project, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said yesterday that if ever, and I quote, “any specific information were to come to light indicating harmful effects, we would take the necessary steps”.

Did the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans not just admit that, under the Fisheries Act, he has the means to act after the fact; what then is stopping him from acting before the fact?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I realize that the hon. member has problems with this project and that he does not like it. There are always complaints and problems, whether it be an incinerator, an oil refinery, a pulp and paper mill or an aluminum plant. I cannot misuse federal powers to interfere in provincial jurisdiction. The province is going forward with this project, and we respect the Province of New Brunswick.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Fisheries Act is a federal responsibility. Resource protection is a federal responsibility.

The people of Belledune are concerned. All the communities along Chaleur Bay fear the negative impact of this project on the resource.

Does the minister not think that there should be a moratorium on Bennett's project in Belledune, and that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in the first proposal for Belledune, there was a plan to discharge water into Chaleur Bay. That required a response as it would have had an impact on the habitat. The department was required to respond. The project was amended to include a closed system, and no waste water will be discharged into the water at Belledune. Therefore, the department has no jurisdiction here.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the U.S. beef association are both calling for the harmonization of health standards in cattle. Industry on both sides of the border is in agreement. Harmonized health standards are essential to an open border and normal trade.

Why will the government not listen to industry, accept the science, remove the barriers and get the border open?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member fails to recognize the fact that before these types of things have to happen we need to have all the scientific risk assessments taken.

I understand, and I have heard him very clearly, that the industry wants it open, and there is no question that we want our borders open as much as we possibly can. But we have to recognize, for the health of the whole cattle industry in Canada and for the health and concerns of humans in Canada, that all of the disease and the risks that go around that have to be taken into account.

That we will do. When that risk assessment is completed, then we will act upon that risk assessment.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the risk assessments have been done over and over again. The industry says the risk is manageable. It is willing to take the risk. It is this minister who is standing in the way of that open border.

The government has a clear choice to make. It can do the right thing, and remove the barriers, harmonize the health in cattle and get the border open, or it could keep the border closed and be the grim reaper when it comes to the cattle industry in Canada.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the risk assessment has been done and is being redone as we speak. The risk assessment results to date have indicated clearly that to this date the border should not be open, but in that stage, even with that, some pilot projects were done this year so that risk assessment continues. I remind the hon. member again that all risk assessments by the scientists, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to date have indicated that the border should remain closed.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for CCRA. Since becoming an agency, Revenue Canada has effectively become judge, jury and executioner, with virtually no accountability to the Government of Canada.

In the last three years, we have witnessed CCRA officials aggressively pursue outstanding penalties on elderly widows, terminally ill people and large families.

The collection tactics used in any other realm would be inappropriate and unfair. What is the minister going to do to correct this totally unacceptable action before more families are ruined?

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in fact, CCRA prides itself in treating all Canadians fairly. There are fairness provisions in place and the statistics tell a very important story. Last year 41,000 individuals who were having difficulty paying their taxes received a break when it came to interest and penalty, through the fairness provisions, which resulted in forgiving some $166 million. Last year as well, 1.9 million everyday Canadians were assessed and got a total of $321 million back, while 477 corporations paid an extra--

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

October 7th, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians are aware that the Prime Minister and his cabinet are currently reviewing the legislation that excludes 23,000 war veterans' widows from the independence program. If this study is truly a government priority, it should have been discussed in cabinet this morning.

My question is for the Prime Minister. When can Canadians expect the long awaited announcement that all veterans' widows will be included in this program?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the member continues to maintain interest in the issue, and I am pleased that all members of Parliament continue to maintain an interest in this issue although the member had claimed that this was only his issue. I am very pleased that we have been able to extend to date benefits to the widows, some 10,000 of them.