House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was card.

Topics

Airline Security
Oral Question Period

February 13th, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada and WestJet have reported less passenger traffic in January 2003 than in January 2002. This confirms what analysts have feared, which is that taxes more than terrorism are contributing to fewer people flying in this country.

The $24 air tax is the largest tax increase in the final budget of the former finance minister. Will the current finance minister concede that the air tax implemented by his predecessor was a big mistake and will he agree to scrap it next Tuesday, yes or no?

Airline Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Oak Ridges
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member across the way knows, on November 8 the minister announced that he would have a review of the air security charge. Over 300 submissions were sent in. I would tell the member that currently that is under review.

As the member knows, February 18 is budget day, as was mentioned earlier. I hope the member will stand and applaud the government for the type of budget we will bring forward.

Airline Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no way will I ever applaud such a tax.

Air Canada and WestJet have informed us that there has been a drop in passenger load factors between January 2002 and January 2003. Clearly, it is not terrorists who are discouraging Canadians from travelling, but the $24 tax.

My question is clear: is the Minister of Finance prepared, yes or no, to eliminate the $24 security tax, which was his predecessor's mistake? Is he going to cut the tax, yes or no?

Airline Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Oak Ridges
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again I would like to emphasize for the member that there was a review process. Over 300 submissions were made, including from WestJet and Air Canada.

If the member listened carefully, although it seems he is not interested in the answer but is only interested in asking the question, the reality is that it is under review. The budget is on February 18. We are taking this issue very seriously. Stay tuned.

Smart Regulation Strategy
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

I would like to follow up on a commitment that was made in the Speech from the Throne. What progress has been made in establishing an external advisory committee on smart regulation?

Smart Regulation Strategy
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased to inform the House of yet another Speech from the Throne commitment that has been delivered by the right hon. Prime Minister.

As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister in his wisdom has recently announced the appointment of Mr. Hugh MacDiarmid as chair of the External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation.

The government is committed to modernizing the regulatory process to make Canadian business and the Canadian sector otherwise work even better than it is at the present time.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister had no difficulty getting in touch with a bank president to try to save the Ottawa Senators.

Now the minister has decided to let the Senators help themselves by giving the team a $60 million tax cut. Regrettably, this money is going to be taken out of the surplus in the employment insurance fund. It is unacceptable that millionaire hockey players are receiving this money.

The employment insurance fund has a surplus of $43 billion. Will the Finance Minister pick up the phone, call the Minister of Human Resources Development, and get the eligibility criteria for the employment insurance program modified?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, once again the member opposite has asked for information and it would be a Criminal Code offence if I answered. I know, Mr. Speaker, you would not want to see me off to jail if I answered the question, so I will not.

I do want to assure the member opposite and all members in the House that there never has been, there is not now, and there never will be political interference in the decisions that CCRA makes. They are done by professionals and there is always an opportunity for the courts to review those decisions.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

I understand that next week the Minister of Finance will be looking for money to build his budget. I can give the House some indication as to where he could find $3.2 billion. He just has to take the tax incentives away from the fossil fuel and nuclear industries.

Will the government announce that it will do that next week and begin by replacing it with a package that provides remuneration for energy efficiency and conservation and tax incentives for the renewable energy industry?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we are doing a lot of those things already in terms of promoting renewable energy.

The hon. member should congratulate the government for spending $260 million to promote wind energy and to make sure that we look at all sorts of renewable energy. Our climate change fund of $1.6 billion is exactly the type of thing the member is talking about.

I thank the member for his support. We will continue to work on this to make sure that we tap all the renewable energy and make sure we do things to protect our climate.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transport recently posted an ad on the government website for intelligence analysts. There are now about a dozen departments and agencies adding intelligence officers to their lists, including Revenue Canada, immigration, foreign affairs, industry, environment, justice, transport, Privy Council, Parks Canada, defence, RCMP and CSIS.

Who is in charge of this security hodgepodge and how often do they meet to compare notes?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would have hoped that the hon. member would have congratulated the government for heightening the intelligence efforts of all of the departments.

Since September 11 the Deputy Prime Minister has chaired a committee of cabinet that has dealt with security matters. Each department has intelligence requirements and that is reflected in the hiring practices.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, speaking of intelligence, the Department of Transport ad for intelligence officers indicated a number of permanent positions. The job requires a knowledge of intermodal transportation which mainly includes containers and container ships in ports.

The strange thing is that people who live in any port in Canada cannot apply for the job. A person who lives or works in Vancouver cannot apply for the job. People who live in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax or Saint John cannot apply for the job. Only those people living in the great port of Ottawa can apply for the job.

Does the minister think the only intelligence is in Ottawa? What is wrong with giving people in Vancouver, Toronto or Halifax an opportunity?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are equal. No matter where they come from in the country, they will be considered for any position.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the price of fuel is an essential part of the budget for many Canadian families, especially those in rural and suburban areas. Today's prices threaten their ability to heat their homes and take their children to family activities.

Why is the government taking excessive fuel taxes from struggling overtaxed Canadian families?