House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was claims.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States has submitted to Canada a new draft agreement on softwood lumber. While industry people have expressed their dissatisfaction by describing the agreement as a setback, the Minister for International Trade finds that the U.S. proposal is a good basis for discussion.

The minister has to wake up and realize that the draft agreement is not satisfactory. Will he, today in this House, categorically reject this proposal by the U.S.?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, last week the U.S. coalition on softwood lumber did indeed make new proposals to open a dialogue with Canada. At this time, we are examining its requests. We are consulting the Canadian industry. Some industry representatives have expressed doubts as to whether this could possibly be used as a basis for discussion. Others within the industry have a different point of view.

At this time, we are reviewing the proposal and consulting the industry and we will see what happens when the time comes. We are determined to carry on with our two track strategy.

Canada Lands Company
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General. Last June, shortly after the Jean Charest Liberals came into power, the RCMP dropped an investigation into a case of political interference involving the Canada Lands Company, at the time when Alfonso Gagliano was the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Robert Charest, the Quebec premier's brother, was under RCMP scrutiny.

Since, for obvious reasons, it seems like this was a botched investigation, will the Solicitor General tell us why the RCMP dropped this investigation twice?

Canada Lands Company
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that I do not speak on operational matters of the RCMP and I do not intend to start today.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was almost a year ago that Roy Romanow warned the government that trade deals like NAFTA and the proposed FTAA could threaten our public health care system. Their possible expansion to pharmacare and home care could limit access to affordable generic drugs.

My question is for the Minister for International Trade. At the upcoming FTAA meeting in Miami, will he listen to Romanow and the thousands of Canadians in groups like Common Frontiers and others who are telling the government to take health care off the table entirely. Will he put public health ahead of corporate profits?

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have stated consistently that Canada will not negotiate health care in any of our trade agreements and negotiations.

We have preserved full policy flexibility for health care in all of our trade agreements, including NAFTA. We are continuing with this approach in our current trade negotiations, including the GATS and the free trade agreement of the Americas.

Sex Offender Registry
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, our party is in complete agreement to give unanimous consent to a vote on the sex offender registry immediately following question period.

Canadians were horrified to learn that our country was becoming known for making it easy for criminals to bring in women and children, and using them as sex slaves here and in the United States. Canada has been given a black eye internationally for its failure in combating the sex slave trade.

I ask the Secretary of State for the Status of Women, why is the Liberal government so callous on this issue?

Sex Offender Registry
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is definitely not callous, if that is the word the member used.

We have been working diligently on the issue of trafficking women and children. We have been looking at all the issues that confront our communities. We have passed legislation. We have also established, in the Status of Women, ways of working with communities engaged in combating this activity. We have gone to international forums. We have committed to work with women around the world on these issues.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, the Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

November 4th, 2003 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege on a matter arising out of question period.

In answer to a question, the Minister of Natural Resources failed to provide any assurance that constituents consulting with their members of Parliament could disqualify their application under the government's ethanol expansion program.

The only assurances the minister gave was that he would not hold any information about the program from a member of Parliament. That was not the issue. The issue was the communication between a constituent and a member of Parliament.

The minister's failure to clearly answer the question casts doubt on the privilege to have constituents communicate to members of Parliament in their respective capacity without fear of consequence.

Chapter 6 of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada addresses the issue of protection afforded members and their constituents. It concludes, on page 112 and 113, that:

A constituent may in good faith communicate to a member of the House of Commons in his representative capacity upon any subject matter in which the constituent has an interest or in reference to which he has a duty.

“The interest may be in respect of very varied and different matters...

Chapter 6 discusses a number of reasons why this right exists. This information could be used in various proceedings of Parliament, such as written questions, oral questions and production of papers.

On page 112 of Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada , he goes further in reference to Whitaker and C.U.P.W. v. Huntington, 1980. He states:

Where [a member]...receives in his capacity and function of Member of Parliament in regard to which he would have, as M.P., a common interest, he may pass that on to the proper authority, whether or not he uses the information in a proceeding or debate of Parliament, provided he does so in good faith.

The invitation to proponents application for the ethanol expansion program violates this privilege. It states:

To ensure the integrity of the selection process, all enquiries and other communications about this ITP, from the issue date of the ITP to the closing date and time, are to be directed only to the following individual: Christopher Johnstone, Chief, Ethanol Expansion Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada.

Enquiries and other communications are not to be directed to any other government official(s). Failure to comply with this paragraph 1 can (for that reason alone) result in the disqualification of the Proponent. Information obtained from any other source is not official and should not be relied upon.

If a constituent feels recourse for providing me with information, I am indirectly impeded in the performance of my duties in almost every capacity.

If I receive such information, I would be reluctant to use it out of fear of grave consequences to my constituent. The simple act of passing that information on to the proper authority would bring to my constituent an unwanted outcome.

This is unacceptable. I ask that the Speaker rule on this question of privilege.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, constituents or companies should at all times be able to contact their member of Parliament. If it is interpreted in such a way that they are not, that is wrong.

The wording I will look at, but all members of the House know that part of the job, as a member of Parliament, is to help their constituents and communicate with them.

As I said in question period, I will look at the exact wording. If changes need to be made, we will make those immediately.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the hon. member for Provencher rising on the same point?