House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-48.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Statements by Members

October 9th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, insistent and repeated interventions by the Bloc Quebecois have finally made the Liberal government realize that employment insurance, in its current form, does not meet the needs of outlying regions, where seasonal work is an economic reality for those men and women who experience it daily.

By agreeing to extend the transitional measures until October 9, 2004, to lessen the effects on the unemployed in the Madawaska-Charlotte region of New Brunswick, and the Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore regions of Quebec, the Liberal government is merely confirming the mess it has made of the employment insurance program.

The announcement is a step in the right direction, but it does not go nearly far enough. The government needs to understand that it must do more than provide transitional measures and agree to an indepth review of employment insurance.

The government must promise to never again spend the money of the unemployed by raiding the employment insurance fund.

Official Languages
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the excellent work by the Standing Committee on Official Languages in producing a report called “Immigration as a Tool for the Development of Official Language Minority Communities”.

The government agrees with many of the committee's recommendations, and has already acted on some of them through the Action Plan on Official Languages announced in March.

Linguistic duality is a cornerstone of Canadian society, and the federal government considers the vitality of the official language minority communities to be of major importance.

I am therefore pleased to report that many of the standing committee's remaining recommendations will be addressed in the strategic framework to be released later this fall by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration's Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee.

Together with our federal, provincial, territorial and municipal partners—

Official Languages
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

Izzy Asper
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, many are gathered in Winnipeg today to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of a great Canadian and Manitoban, Israel Asper.

My first impression of Izzy Asper dates back to my student days at the University of Winnipeg when I heard him speak as the engaging and frank leader of the Manitoba Liberals.

I saw him last this summer when I attended the announcement of a new Canadian human rights museum to be built at the Forks in Winnipeg, something that will surely be the crowning achievement of a life already exceptional for its philanthropy.

Most of all, as a fellow citizen of Winnipeg, I want to praise the way that Izzy Asper tried and succeeded in making Winnipeg the centre of an economic success story that others might have taken elsewhere.

I may be a critic of corporate concentration in the media but it was nice to have it concentrated in Winnipeg for a change.

Izzy Asper's loyalty and generosity to Winnipeg will be an enduring legacy. Although we did not share his politics, my fellow NDP MPs from Manitoba and I salute a remarkable Canadian and extend our sincere condolences to his family.

World Sight Day
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate all those who supported World Sight Day today on the steps of Parliament Hill.

Every five seconds someone in the world goes blind. Every minute, a child in the world goes blind. In the next 17 years 28 million people will go blind and of those people, 80% are preventable with good water, with vitamin A and cataract surgery.

As we degenerate in the next hour into political manoeuvring, please just reflect for a moment on what we might achieve if we were to put all that energy into curing and preventing the blindness of those 28 million people.

Canadian Wheat Board
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, as if farmers in Canada have not suffered enough loss and devastation as a direct result of government apathy. Now grain producers in western Canada will not likely receive a final payment for wheat and barley sold by the Canadian Wheat Board in 2002-03 because the board pulled out of a lucrative world market and then sold into a depressed world market.

The Wheat Board's lack of competitive drive has resulted in sales so low that the federal government will be required to subsidize its initial payments out of the public purse. What we do not know is how much that subsidy will be. The minister will not tell us and the board's marketing information is locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

It has to be asked. What are they hiding? Was it not just last week that the Auditor General severely chastised the government for its lack of transparency? It is a simple question that I ask. What is the Wheat Board's deficit and how much will it cost taxpayers?

Climate Change
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences has awarded funds for further research on climate change in the Arctic.

One of the grants is going to Peter Lafleur of Trent University and colleagues who will be studying carbon exchange in the Daring Lake region of the Northwest Territories. The research is an important piece in the puzzle of climate change which is addressed by the Kyoto protocol. The fundamental question to be addressed is whether the Arctic is a net source or a net sink for carbon. The more Canadians understand carbon exchange, the better we will be able to comply with Kyoto.

I congratulate Professor Lafleur, his colleagues and students and congratulate the foundation for its fine work. I also congratulate the federal government for its wisdom in setting up such a foundation to address climate change.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, as of this morning an all party committee is asking the government to reinstate the VIP benefits to all 23,000 war widows. The government has heard from these widows. The government has heard from the public. The government has now heard from a committee of the House.

When will the minister reverse his position and extend the VIP benefits to all war widows?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it was not a case of taking the VIP benefit away from anyone. Actually we added 10,000 to the rolls. Within our budget that was within our capability at the time.

I would suggest that the hon. member opposite wait a while. She may see a change.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government can afford to forgive millions of dollars in technology partnership loans. It can afford to reward its Liberal friends with millions in advertising contracts. It can afford millions of dollars in corporate welfare.

Can the minister explain why his government cannot afford to support Canada's war widows?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in reply to the hon. member, the Department of Veterans Affairs operates within a budget. We reapportioned our moneys and managed to look after 10,000 widows who would not have been looked after otherwise, but that is within our budget.

We will have to wait and see what happens in the future with another budget.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has millions of dollars for corporate welfare and nothing for widows. It has millions of dollars for the next Liberal leader's private companies and nothing for widows.

Why does the government have millions for millionaires and pennies for pensioners?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the statement that there is nothing for widows. Ten thousand additional widows are going to be looked after through the rearrangement of funds within the department.

Member for LaSalle--Émard
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a big mystery. Lansdowne Technologies was part of the new Liberal leader's blind management agreement in 1994 and 1995 but by 1996, poof, it was gone off the list of declarable assets.

Can the government explain how one of the new Liberal leader's companies did $12 million in business with the government without being included in his declaration of assets?

Member for LaSalle--Émard
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the fact that this matter was brought to the House's attention has led the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard himself to ask the ethics counsellor why this particular company was not listed. In any event, as Mr. Wilson himself said to the press yesterday, the fact that the parent company was listed meant that the blind trust arrangements extended to all of the subsidiary companies, including Lansdowne.