House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House a number of times, it was not for lack of heart nor lack of will.

Today, I am pleased to announce, thanks to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance and the government as a whole, that we will be able to reinstate VIP maintenance and ground services for qualified surviving spouses.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, why does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food always react and never lead?

The culled cattle problem was apparent soon after the border closure on May 20. Almost six months later, there is still no program. The minister says he has a plan, but he cannot tell us about it because the process is not complete.

Is that his code word for “Let's play the provinces again”? What is his excuse?

Why is he taking so long? Why does he not take a page out of the Minister of Veterans Affairs and announce the program in the House of Commons right now?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that we have been working with the provinces and the cattle industry.

I know that he wants us to put in place a program that will meet the needs of everyone: the dairy industry, the beef industry, the concerns of the provinces, and the concerns of the whole beef economy.

That is exactly what we are doing. When that is completed, I would be pleased to announce the program.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know that cabinet has approved the money. We know from the minister's past programs that it can take months to get money into the producers' hands, or in some cases, the money never gets there.

Why can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food not fulfill just one of his promises, even if it is his last one, and send out the cheques now and tell us about the program?

Tell us how much money and tell us how you are going to get the money into the producers' hands, Mr. Minister.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris knows he must address all his questions to the Chair. I have told him this before and I am sure he intended to do that.

The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, this hon. member has been very vocal in the past suggesting that we in the government work with the industry to make any programs as satisfactory to the industry as we possibly can.

Those discussions are still ongoing as recently as yesterday and today. When those discussions are completed with the industry, that is when we will make the announcement.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the same minister but on a different issue.

Last month the agriculture minister expressed concern about the commercialization of genetically modified wheat without a market impact analysis, even if the tests on Monsanto's product were deemed to be safe.

The minister knows that 82% of our current international wheat buyers have stated they will not purchase our wheat if Canada licences GM wheat.

Would the minister advise the House, and particularly grain farmers, what discussions have occurred with provinces and the industry to ensure that a full market impact analysis is completed before this product is deemed to be put on the market?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I said in the House a number of months ago that the consultation process would be ongoing with the provinces and with the industry. That is exactly what is happening.

The decisions will be based on safety and science. We also said, and I have said, that we need to look at another step in the process before a product is commercialized in order to recognize any concerns that may come forward because of this development and innovation.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, U.S. Air Force Secretary James Roche declared that war in space had begun.

The U.S. acknowledges its ballistic missile defence system is an evolving project that will include weapons in space.

The government would rather stick its head in the sand and pretend that it is not the case.

When will the government see past the dollar signs, accept the truth about Bush's star wars, and reject any Canadian participation in weaponizing space?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of National Defence and I have often explained in this House, we are interested in protecting Canadians and ensuring the security of North America in partnership with the United States, with whom we have always acted in the interests of security of North America.

We will do that in discussions with the Americans in respect to missile defence, along with other discussions. However, in the course of those discussion, we make it plain that we have strong policy considerations. One of them is the non-weaponization of space. We have made that clear to our American friends and they understand that.

My hon. member's question is loaded with misapprehensions. Congress does not allow weaponization of space. Let us get on with discussions--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary West.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, our 40 year old Sea Kings were grounded for six days and one just caught fire yesterday. Yet the $101 million Challengers will serve fresh red snapper, scallops and shrimp. While on the Challenger, the new Liberal leader will enjoy crab, steak and shellfish.

Why is spending on Liberal luxury for Challengers better than safe Sea King replacements?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the two simple words safety first are very deeply embedded in the psyche of the Canadian Forces. It was that reason, just to be absolutely certain of safety, that the Sea Kings were temporarily grounded, and they will continue to fly at this time in a limited capacity while the investigations continue.

The bottom line is that nothing in the Canadian Forces is done without putting safety first.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, tell that to Iltis drivers.

When the new Liberal leader was finance minister, he oversaw 10 lean years for our military. The air force flies less for want of fuel, the navy sits idle for lack of crew and the army has thinned.

Will the new Liberal leader's appetite for review of current spending result in starvation or decimation of our armed forces?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was not in politics at the time, but as an economist I remember very well that at the time the government came in there was a $42 billion deficit. Therefore, it became necessary to reduce expenditures in virtually every area, including defence.

However more recent, thanks to the efforts of the government, the finances have improved in a radical fashion, and only this last year the defence department received $800 million in new base funding, the largest increase that has occurred in more than a decade.