House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was iraq.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

February 10th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the House has been debating Canada's position in the world and whether the government will take a position on Iraq. Certainly we have seen no leadership whatsoever from the government on the Iraqi question. We have seen no leadership from the government on any issue affecting foreign affairs with which Canada has to deal.

What we have seen after nearly 10 years of government, is a diminished position for Canada as a world player, as a country that is taken seriously. What we have seen after nearly 10 years of disastrous leadership and a lacklustre, difficult and poor understanding of the ability to negotiate with our foreign trading partners and our foreign NATO partners, is a government that does not know where it is headed, does not know why it is headed in that direction and does not know which position--

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Peterborough.

Parks
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, we committed to 10 new national parks, 5 marine conservation areas and the expansion of 3 existing parks. Each one would protect for future generations a representative part of Canada's unique natural regions. We would not be protecting just land, sea and seabed, we would be protecting the biodiversity of Canada.

Each area would become a model of sustainable use of land, sea or lake. For example, the marine areas would have a fully protected core surrounded by carefully managed use zones. They would provide economic opportunity while protecting biological richness.

From the throne speech to the budget is sometimes a long step. In this case, it is a step which must be taken. I urge that these parks be a significant feature of the upcoming budget.

Sports
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the rest of the world had to take second place. Melanie Turgeon of Quebec won the first world alpine skiing championship in 10 years. Melanie's blistering 94 second run topped off a remarkable week for Canada's ski team.

Cindy Klassen of Manitoba became the first Canadian in 27 years to win the overall title at the world all around speed skating championships, while Clara Hughes, also of Manitoba, took the gold medal in the 5,000 metres.

Brian McKeever of Alberta placed first at the world disabled ski championships, while world cup bobsledder Pierre Leuders steered this team to a first place victory.

In golf, Kelowna's Dave Barr, became the first Canadian golfer ever to capture a Champions Tour event.

Congratulations on behalf of many Canadians. These athletes made us proud, gave us spirit, enthusiasm and now the rest of the world knows why Canada is tops.

Presence in Gallery
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Göran Persson, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden.

Presence in Gallery
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, reports are airing today on the latest GST fraud scam: $22 million collected in rebates by phony lumber companies.

We now know that the Auditor General warned of this specific case in 1999 yet, instead of auditing the claim, the government sent it back into the system with approval for a refund cheque.

After months of the revenue minister bragging to the House about the government's record on GST administration, how does she justify this appalling incompetence?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, this particular case, which is now before the courts, came to the attention of CCRA in 1997. It is in the courts today because of the hard work of our auditors, not because of the CBC and not because of the Auditor General.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for weeks the minister has been telling the House that GST fraud is no more than $25 million and here is a case of where it is $22 million alone.

The question is obvious. Instead of feeding us these horse feathers, when will the minister come to the House and come clean on the real size of GST fraud in the country?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I have been absolutely truthful and forthcoming with the Leader of the Opposition and everyone else.

In the last six years, as identified by the courts, the total in GST fraud has been $25.4 million. That is a lot of money. However a lot of cases have gone to court because of the hard work of my officials. We are doing our job and he should stand up and acknowledge that.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the government that shut down the GST fraud unit and stopped reporting GST losses in the public accounts in 1994.

Even though this case was flagged and even though revenue ministers and finance ministers knew about the fraud in this case, managers at the credit union said that individuals were walking out with bags full of tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money.

Who does the Prime Minister hold accountable for this appalling incompetence and wasted tax dollars?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is important for everyone to know that as soon as CCRA has any suspicion of fraud, cheques are stopped. They should also know that we took the advice of the Auditor General in 1999 very seriously. We have implemented every one of the recommendations of the Auditor General.

As I said, we are doing our job. We have 5,000 auditors, 1,000 investigators and a special enforcement unit of 175 officers who are doing their job and doing it well for Canadians.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us just see if the government really is doing its job.

One of Canada's NATO allies, Turkey, has asked for help to protect its borders in light of a possible war in Iraq. It is requesting emergency consultations under NATO's mutual defence treaty.

After a weekend of dithering, our Prime Minister appeared to say this morning that Canada should prepare to help Turkey.

In light of the Prime Minister's statement, is Canada prepared to pre-deploy troops to Turkey?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is normal that Turkey would like to be ready in case there is a problem. Canada has always been ready for any situation. Because Turkey is Iraq's neighbour it is normal that it wants to be ready in case there is a conflict there. We all hope that this preparation will not be needed.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we could flip a coin as to whether that is a yes or no.

Of course everyone wants to be ready but Turkey feels that its territory is being threatened. It is the responsibility of NATO countries to respond to Turkey's request for consultations on this issue. Some of the allies seem willing to put NATO's credibility at risk.

Has Canada informed these waffling nations and members of NATO that they have a duty to protect their allies, yes or no?